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National Museum of Australia

Where our stories come alive

Collection Explorer



  • Josef Lebovic Gallery collection no. 1(7551)

    Postcard featuring a photograph of two soldiers in full uniform photographed in a studio setting
    Pearl Bay, Middle Harbour, Sydney, N.S.W.
    Rose Gardens & Jens Hotel, Mt Gambier, SA
    NSW Aboriginals Black Australia Series
  • American-Australian Scientific Expedition to Arnhem Land (AASEAL) collection(218)

    Message stick
    Bark painting divided into square and rectangular panels and depicting a rectangular figure with two triangular prongs on the top
    Weapon - Spearthrower
    Weapon - Spear
  • Springfield - Faithfull Family collection(3501)

    School report
    Plate No. 16 from Carter's Floral Illustrations
    Long-handled carriage whip.
    Embroidery patterns

    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.

  • L Richard Smith breastplate collection(20)

    Nugget, Billee-ling-oo, Queen of Boulia, 1930
    Cobbler, King, Mogil Mogil
    King Pepper of the Biria Burdekin River 1897
    Bob Wheelpoolee, King of Boulia, 1930

    This collection is comprised of seventeen Australian Indigenous breastplates (also known as king plates or gorgets). They come from a collection accumulated by L. Richard Smith, a noted collector of medals and porcelain. The breastplates are associated with Indigenous people from Queensland, New South Wales and Western Australia. The breastplates are all metal, of varying size, and are generally crescent shaped. Each is inscribed with the recipient's name, and many include an associated region and an honorary title such as 'king', 'queen' or 'chief'.

    During the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, government authorities and settlers gave breastplates to Indigenous people for a variety of reasons. They were used as a way of selecting and identifying local elders to act as intermediaries between settlers and local Indigenous people. They were also given out in recognition of service and/or assistance (for example to Aboriginal stockmen or for saving people from ship wrecks). As such, they are significant cross-cultural objects that document early interaction between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples in different regions of Australia. They often record the names of Indigenous people, and the station or region with which they are associated; people who are not otherwise represented in historical records. The collection is also significant in expanding the geographical scope of the National Museum's existing breastplate collection.

  • World Trade Center Australian Flag collection(1)

    Australian flag recovered from the ruins of the World Trade Center, New York, after September 11, 2001

    The collection consists of an Australian flag measuring approximately 1200mm by 1780mm. It is intact but crumpled with minor tears and soiled with debris. The flag was flown at Australian ceremonial occasions at the World Trade Center in New York prior to September 2001.

    The flag survived the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York on 11 September 2001. It was one of thousands of objects excavated from the ruins of the World Trade Center site in the months following the tragedy. While the flag may have been in one of the twin towers, it is more likely that it comes from the hotel in the World Trade Center 3 building that once stood on the plaza between the towers. This building was largely destroyed by falling debris from the two towers. The New York Police Department presented the flag to Australia's Consul-General in New York, who collected it on behalf of the Australian people.

  • Timothy Millett collection(313)

    Convict love token from H. Honey, 1834
    Convict love token given to S.K., April 3rd, 1816
    Convict love token from J. Williams
    Convict love token from Charles Fry, 1833

    The Timothy Millett collection comprises 307 convict love tokens dating from 1762 to 1856, and seven contemporary documents relating to the criminal justice system including: recommendations to commute the death sentences of Hester Sampson and Thomas Hayes to life transportation; a calendar of prisoners awaiting trial in the goals of Durham, Newcastle and Northumberland; a request to the Middlesex assizes for rewards to be paid; a printed copy of George Skene's last speech prior to execution; a printed broadside listing prisoners in Dorchester jail awaiting transportation; and a 60 page handwritten account of the life of Thomas Jones, who was transported twice and finally hanged at Winchester Prison in 1856.

    Convict love tokens, typically made from smoothed-down coins and engraved or stippled with a message, derive from traditional sailors' farewells. The production of these 'leaden hearts' rose as criminal indictments increased in Britain, with the majority produced during the 1820s and 1830s. As mementos made by or for convicts facing transportation (or death) to leave behind for their loved ones, the tokens provide a poignant, personal insight into the transportation system.

  • Betty Hall collection(58)

    Menu for Luncheon on the 27th September 1945 at Parliament House, Canberra
    Luncheon tendered by the Government of New South Wales to The New South Wales and Queensland Members of The Australian Coronation Contingent - Parliament House Sydney, 30th June 1937

    The Betty Hall Collection represents a unique collection of material relating to the history of the Parliamentary Dining Rooms in the Provisional Parliament House.

    This collection was put together by Mr H L Napthali who worked as the Chief Steward in the Parliamentary Refreshment Rooms from 1939 - 1945. He moved to Canberra in 1939 after having worked in the NSW Parliamentary Refreshment Rooms. While at Provisional Parliament House Mr Napthali supervised a staff of fifty people and was responsible for purchasing as well as servicing the various bars and dining rooms within the House. He was also responsible for organising special dinners for commemorative occasions and for overseas visitors. Mr Napthali accumulated material relating to the history of the Federal Parliament both when worked in the NSW Parliament and in the Federal Parliament.

  • Ellarose Savage collection no.1(4)

    'Susu Shell III' by Ellarose Savage, 2009
    'Susu Shell IV' by Ellarose Savage, 2009
    'Susu Shell' by Ellarose Savage, 2009
    'Susu Shell II' by Ellarose Savage, 2009

    This collection consists of a series of four lino prints on paper titled 'Susu Shell Suite'. The artist, Ella-Rose Savage, is from Erub Island in the Torres Strait. Susu shell is the Torres Strait Creole name for Trochus shell. Ella-Rose accompanied her father on a camping and diving trip to collect and process Trochus shells. The prints illustrate the events of the expedition and the different stages in the collection and processing of the shells.

    Trochus shells were collected for trade and jewellery and, in the post-contact period, were widely sought after for buttons. Torres Strait Islanders have a close connection with, and understanding of, the waters around their Islands. Many Islanders worked in maritime-based commercial activities in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, including diving for pearl and Trochus shells, gathering Beche-de-mer (Trepang) and commanding or crewing on sailing luggers. Ella-Rose Savage documents her interest in expressing her relationship with the sea and the links between her surroundings, objects and culture. These prints not only tell the story of a common secular activity but also provide representations of the modern resources used in that activity. These include the western board shorts worn by the divers, the aluminium dinghy and outboard (an iconic feature of the Torres Strait today) and the tents at the temporary processing site.