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National Museum of Australia

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4

Brown painted canvas trunk

2002.0051.0001

Brown painted canvas trunk

Object information

Physical description

Brown painted canvas trunk with four wooden braces, metal fastenings and leather handles on each side. Text reading "R.H / Cabin" has been stencilled in white paint on the lid of the trunk. Other black painted text on the lid reads 'A.D.H. / ESP". The trunk is lined with beige fabric and contains a removable tray which is covered with the same fabric. There is a metal key attached with string to the right hand leather handle.

Statement of significance

The T, K, N and J Helms collection comprises of two travelling trunks that were brought to Australia by Rudolph Andreas Christian Helms and Margrethe Ingeborg Helms (nee Møller) when they migrated to Australia from Denmark in 1885 and 1922 respectively. Both travelling trunks have insert trays and are in good condition.

The number of Danes migrating to Australia has always been small, and according some historians at times nearly 'invisible', especially in comparison to other European nations. Around the time that Rudolph Helms migrated there was however a dramatic growth in the number of Danes coming to Australia. In 1881 there were 4744 Danish settlers however by 1891 the number had increased to 6403. In the first half of the twentieth century the number of Danes migrating to Australia declined, which resulted in a smaller and older Danish population. The Helms family has an interesting and complex history of migration and return migration between Denmark and Australia over two successive generations and they reflect these different periods of migration.

Object information

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