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National Museum of Australia

Collection Explorer



  • J Davidson collection no. 3(319)

    Wawilak at Mirramina.
    Painting depicts butterflies and human heads
    Painting depicts a Dukurrurru stone story
    Bama Bama story - rats from  Manguldji.
  • Canning Stock Route collection(124)

    'Natawalu' by Mayapu Elsie Thomas, 2007
    'Wantili to Wuranu' by Lily Long and Sarah Brooks, 2007
    'Katatjilkarr to Kaningarra' by  Miriam Napanangka, 2007
    'Kumpupirntily Cannibal Story' by Billy Atkins, 2008

    The Canning Stock Route collection is comprised of 125 works and includes paintings, drawings, baskets, boomerangs, coolamons, headdresses, carved figures and shields.

    The Canning Stock Route is a no-longer-used cattle droving route that traverses the Great Sandy and Gibson Deserts of central Western Australia. Comprised of 48 wells along an 1800 kilometres stretch of track, the route links Wiluna in the south with Sturt Creek in the north and traverses the traditional lands of nine Aboriginal language groups. The route was founded in 1905 when Alfred Canning was commissioned to investigate a route suitable for the droving of 500 head of cattle, with water sources spaced at intervals of no more than one day's walk apart. Although Canning's map records observations of the land and water resources, it makes no mention of Indigenous places and their associated meanings which the route traversed. This collection, composed of 'painting stories', sculptural works and oral histories, re-dresses Canning's omission and records the impact of the stock route on Indigenous lives and country. A six week journey with traditional owners held in July and August of 2007 inspired the artworks, many of which were produced during the journey, and provided an opportunity for more than 70 senior and emerging artists to reconnect with traditional lands..

  • Stan Mitchell collection(1320)

    Utilised core [stone implement]
    Palaeolithic European hand axe
    Emu feather headdress
    Palaeolithic European hand axe
  • Turner and Valentine Families collection(177)

    The Stool Journals
    Scientific Expedition to Haymen Island May, 1934
    Grandma Turner
    Grandfather Turner. Father of John Turner
  • American-Australian Scientific Expedition to Arnhem Land (AASEAL) collection(218)

    The Hammerhead Shark, work on paper, Oenpelli, 1948
    Weapon - Spearthrower
    Cabbage tree palm leaf basket
    Weapon - Spearthrower
  • King Wanney Breastplate collection(1)

    Aboriginal breastplate for King Wanney, 1861

    This collection comprises one small, round, metal breastplate inscribed "COUNT DORSAY". A radiant crown is engraved in the middle, and it is flanked by an emu on the proper right side and a kangaroo on the left side.

    In the absence of firm evidence, it is speculated that Count D'Orsay may have been named after Gédéon Gaspard Alfred de Grimand D'Orsay (1801-1852) who styled himself as Count D'Orsay. If so, this could place the date this breastplate was presented at between the 1820s and the 1850s. The absence of information like a place name on the breastplate precludes further cultural documentation of this item at this time. In terms of the manufacture of breastplates, this plate is very rare in that it's shape is round. Less than one per cent of known breastplates are round.

  • Josef Lebovic Gallery collection no. 1(7553)

    Bird's eye view, Wallaroo, 1918
    Murwillumbah Fire, Sept.15th, 1907
    Belmont Guest House, Dromana, Vic
    Randwick Race Course, Sydney NSW
  • Peter Wherrett archive collection(6)

    Photographs - 34 black and white prints and 14 digital reproductions
    Advertisement -  1912 advertisement 'F. Birtles always selects Dunlop Tyres'


    Book- 'Battlefronts of Outback' by Francis Birtles

    The Peter Wherrett Archival Collection includes material collected by Peter Wherrett whilst writing his fictionalised account of Francis Birtles' nine-month trip from London to Melbourne in 1928-29 in the Bean 14 motor vehicle that is now in the National Historical Collection. It includes photographic prints and negatives, two books and some photocopied material.

    Francis Edwin Birtles (1881-1941) was an adventurer who, in 1926, was commissioned by Barlow Motors, the Melbourne agent for Bean cars, to drive a modified Bean 14 motor vehicle from Darwin to Melbourne. He and his co-driver, Alec Barlow, completed the 5440 kilometer journey in the record time of eight days and 13 hours. In October of the following year, driving the same vehicle, he left London on an epic eight month jouney that carried him across Europe and Asia to Australia, thus becoming the first person to drive from England to Australia. This feat was not repeated until 1955. In 1929, the Bean car was presented to the Australian Government on condition that it be placed in a National Museum.