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.
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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.
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.
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.
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.
Ten years ago, on 12 October 2002, a small group of men murdered 202 people, including 88 Australians and 38 Indonesians, and injured many others. It was our 9/11. Through horrific images and eye-witness accounts, we observed terror and pain, heroism and heartbreak.
Why not a helicopter from Wynard to Town Hall? Charles Frederick Beauvais, an illustrator and industrial designer came up a with a variety of futurists transport solutions for Sydney in the 1940s.
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.
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.
While doing research on the Bullard postcard collection held by the Museum I came across the following wonderful piece on the impact of the Picture Postcard as a cultural and technological innovation.
This gold cradle was the first to be used in Australia to discover payable quantities of gold. It was made by William Tom Jr following directions from Edward Hargraves and was based on similar cradles (also called rockers) used to wash for gold in California.
The Powerhouse Museum’s Style 20 Fotoplayer is a wonderful instrument on display in the Kings Cinema within the Museum. It was made to provide music and sound effects to accompany silent movies and is an upright player piano, with an effects box.