Inside the Collection

Tales of a travelling platypus, supporting regional museums

October 31, 2012

Vanessa Pitt
Bright and early on a Monday morning in September, Conservators Carey Ward and Vanessa Pitt made the long and sometimes bumpy ride in the Powerhouse Museum (PHM) truck to Alstonville Plateau. Carey and Vanessa had been given the task of taking a very special A category object to the Crawford House Museum - a rare platypus skin rug made from the pelts of approximately 80 platypuses, and bordered in possum fur, backed by soft felt.

Designer Suburbs – architects and affordable homes in Australia

October 29, 2012

Charles Pickett
My new book Designer Suburbs: Architects and affordable homes in Australia is back from the printers and will be launched soon. Designer Suburbs began a couple of years back when our former curatorial colleague Judith O’Callaghan asked me if I’d like to co-author a book about the architect-designed project homes of the 1960s and 1970s.

Round and round the world we go, travel in the 1930s

October 24, 2012

Anne-Marie Van de Ven
I have just catalogued the 1930s photographs from The Dahl and Geoffrey Collings Archive as part of an internship project for my Masters of Art Curatorship at the University of Sydney. Although photography was only a small part of their practice, beginning in the mid 1930s, it paints a very broad picture of their holistic approach to art and design.

All is not lost – the collection recovery book

October 22, 2012

Kate Chidlow
Remember the floods from last year and the year before? The earthquakes in New Zealand? The hurricanes in far north Queensland? The bush-fires in Victoria? How can you forget? Well conservators around Australia and New Zealand have been kept busy assisting with the salvaging of many personal and public collections.

Mystery Beatles object

October 17, 2012

Peter Cox
The Museum has started to develop a new exhibition about the Beatles' 1964 tour of Australia. We recently acquired an unusual object from around that time. Does anybody know where it originated? It is a large rectangular wooden board in a metal framework, painted with the four Beatles holding their musical instruments.

Sydney streets in the 1980s

October 15, 2012

Charles Pickett
A couple of years back I was contacted by a photographer named Alex Mattea. From 1987 to 1989 Alex photographed every building and every street in the Sydney CBD. He wanted to show me the results.

Rare Doulton dessert plate painted by Louis Bilton with Australian wildflowers

October 3, 2012

Lynne McNairn
This beautiful dessert plate from the collection features a plant common in Sydney bushland but unusual as a subject for china painting. The plant is the Fringe Myrtle or Calytrix tetragona. Waratahs, Flannel Flowers, Christmas Bells, Wattle and Gum Leaves are frequent subjects but the Fringe Myrtle has not attracted many artists to its cause.

The Water Pipeline to the Broken Hill Mines

October 1, 2012

Geoff Barker
These sections of pipe originally connected the outback mining town of Broken Hill with its the water supply at Umberumberka Creek. They remain significant reminders of just how difficult it has been for the town to find water for both its townsfolk and the silver, lead and zinc mining for which it is famous.