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National Museum of Australia

Where our stories come alive

Collection Explorer


Shot belt

Object information

Physical description

A single leather shot belt featuring a metal buckle and brass stopper charger. The amounts '1½' and '1¼' (ounces) are engraved along the side of the charger. The belt has a tapered gusset which extends approximately half the length of the belt. The belt was habitually buckled at the seventh hole, the second-last hole furthest from the end.

Statement of significance

This collection comprises objects relating to the colonial period of Australian history, particularly the convict era, the gold rush, and nineteenth-century policing. They include a record of punishments meted out to the inmates of the Point Puer Boys' Prison, the Empire's first juvenile detention centre; a waistcoat worn by a convict assigned to work at a Hobart inn; a bullion box used to transport gold from the diggings to the Sydney Mint; a musket belonging to a soldier of a regiment deployed to quell miners at the Eureka Stockade and Lambing Flat riots; and a spring gun of the kind used to kill thylacines (Tasmanian tigers).

These and the other objects in this collection help to tell stories of the development of wider colonial and post-colonial Australian society, including the emergence of Australia's financial sector, transport networks, representational structures and police services. The convict-era objects also help chart how successive systems of discipline, influenced by the latest concepts in penal reform, transformed the convict experience over the years. The collection documents the changing way in which Australians and others regard this nation's convict heritage, and how this heritage has been represented in museums and the media. It also demonstrates the often misguided approaches used by settlers to manage Australia's natural heritage.

Object information

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