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National Museum of Australia

Collection Explorer



  • Professor Peter Spearritt collection no. 2(185)

    1954 Royal Visit pennant
    Souvenir flag of the Royal visit to Australia, 1954
    Souvenir flag of the Royal visit to Australia, 1954
    Pennant commemorating the Royal Visit 1954

    The Professor Peter Spearritt collection No. 2 is divided into four categories; British Royal Family memorabilia, Australian Republic Movement material, T-shirts with Indigenous motifs and anti-logging material. The British Royal Family memorabilia category predominantly relates to Queen Elizabeth II's 1954 tour of Australia. The items were specifically collected by the vendor for the 1993 exhibition entitled Australians and the Monarchy. The Australian Republic Movement material was also featured in this exhibition. The Indigenous motifs T-shirts and the anti-logging material were collected for the 1992 exhibition Lie of the Land. Both exhibitions were jointly created by the Powerhouse Museum, Sydney and the National Centre for Australian Studies at Monash University. Professor Spearritt was the head curator of both exhibitions.

  • Josef Lebovic Gallery collection no. 1(7553)

    Iron Cove Bridge, Sydney
    Post Office and Wesleyan Church, Leichhardt
    Maitland Street, looking South from Post Office, Narrabri, 1905
    George St, Sydney at Railway Sta.
  • Springfield - Faithfull Family collection(3501)

    Envelope addressed to William Pitt Faithfull, Springfield, Goulburn
    Embroidery patterns
    Print - A Flood tide - Ship Ahoy!
    Home of Peace, Marrickville

    The Springfield Collection comprises about 1550 artefacts from Springfield station, south of Goulburn. It includes colonial era costume, a bushranger medal, surveying instruments, a late-19th century landau, firearms and edged weapons, wool samples and Joseph Foveaux's pocket watch and bible. The objects are complemented by over 400 photographs. This diverse collection reflects the growth and economic success of the property, responses to changes in the wool market and the daily lives of the people who have lived on Springfield.

    Springfield has grown from a 518-hectare land grant given to William Pitt Faithfull in 1828 to the current 3183 hectares with ownership remaining in the one family. William Pitt Faithfull established the Springfield Merino Stud in 1838 with ten rams selected from the Macarthur Camden Park stud. The stud evolved slowly over the years until the early 1950s when, under the management of Jim Maple-Brown, a scientific approach to wool-growing was adopted and the stud's name was changed to Fonthill to reflect this.

  • Solomon and Josephine Ahmat collection(18)

    American Fighter Aeroplane Headdress
    British Fighter Aeroplane Headdress
    Waisted tubular drum with hollow wooden body, carved handle, snake skin drumhead
    British Mitchell Carrier Aeroplane Headdress

    Solomon and Josephine Ahmat are two Torres Strait Islander dancers from the Badu Islands in the Torres Straits. They are members of the Goigai Pudhai Badu Island dance group. Their collection, the Solomon and Josephine Ahmat collection of dance costumes and objects, consists of three model Aeroplane mounted headdresses and an aeroplane dance outfit comprising a singlet, a pair of pants, a wrap skirt, two ankle and wrist bands and a grass skirt. The collection also includes Josephine's dress, headband, leg bands and two white hand flags - a costume associated with the Flag dance. A snake skin drum and a seed rattle are also included in this collection.

    This collection of dance outfits and associated objects was used at the Australian War Memorial to celebrate the opening of the 'Australia Under Attack 1942 - 1943' exhibition on 14 December 2004. This was the first time the Aeroplane and Flag dance had been performed outside of the Torres Strait Islands. The dances reflect the memories of World War II in the Islands by the original composers James Eseli and a unnamed female Elder. The Aeroplane dance represents the flight of Allied American and British planes over the Torres Straits with the dancers moving in slow controlled movements in a V formations as the planes would have flown during the war. The headdresses use detailed model replicas of a British Mitchell Carrier plane, an American Fighter plane and a British Fighter plane. This dance is only performed by the men. The Flag dance, which is only performed by women, was conceived after a female Elder saw images of the Navy Semaphore flag signalling system in an old Scout book. The dancers use the flags to signal out words relating to the War and the Torres Straits. Both dances are unique to the Torres Straits and show the creativity and ingenuity of the Islanders when telling a story through performance. The headdresses are significant as they are rarely made and are symbolic of the transfer of knowledge from an elder to the young people in the community. The headdresses and costumes are also significant for their association with the way in which Torres Strait Islander performers recollect a non-Indigenous event or interaction. As such they are an example of the Torres Strait Island tradition of using dance as a narrative form in the representation of their history.

  • The Christensen Fund collection no. 1(67)

    Native Encampment
    Typical portraits of the aborigines
    Portraits of the aboriginal inhabitants
  • Canning Stock Route collection(124)

    'Lake Disappointment' by Clifford Brooks, 2007
    Fibre basket by Rosie Williams, 2008
    'Jila' by Nyuju Stumpy Brown, 2007
    'Wantili to Wuranu' by Lily Long and Sarah Brooks, 2007

    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..

  • Jack Wherra collection no. 1(21)

    Engraved boab nut 'Capturing the Cattle Killers' by Jack Wherra
    Engraved boab nut 'Whiteman's Justice' by Jack Wherra
    Engraved boab nut 'Spearing Stockman' by Jack Wherra
    Engraved boab nut 'The Card Game' by Jack Wherra

    This collection consist of a series of 21 incised boab nuts by the Kimberley artist Jack Wherra (or Wheera). They were executed between 1964 and 1966 and record contact history stories.

    The nuts are a significant social record of cross-cultural interrelations between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people from the perspective of a known Aboriginal person. The range of topics as described in the titles include: Whiteman's Justice, Spearing A Stockman, Police Intervene After A Fight Over A Woman, Capturing The Cattle Killers, Illicit Drinking And Violence, The Card Game That Ended Badly and the anthropologist Records Rock Art. Jack Wherra's own story as an tribal man who found himself at the mercy of both white and black law after a tribal incident provides additional insights into the complexities of contact history.

  • Count Dorsay Breastplate collection(1)

    Count Dorsay circular disc breastplate

    This collection is comprised of a small round metal Aboriginal 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.

    Due to its round shape, this is a rare breastplate. Less than one per cent of known breastplates are round. Although there are no historical records about the Aboriginal person given this breastplate it is probable that they were named after Gédéon Gaspard Alfred de Grimand D'Orsay (1801-1852), who styled himself as Count D'Orsay. D'Orsay was a prominent artist and dandy in Britain during the mid-nineteenth century. This would place the date the breastplate was presented at between the 1820s and the 1850s.