Inside the Collection

Bionic body parts – Cochlear in the collection

October 21, 2013

Angelique Hutchison
Recent news of a bionic eye prototype being tested by Bionic Vision Australia is exciting for medical device research in Australia. There’s a number of other ‘retinal prosthesis’ devices being developed in Australia and overseas.

The Opera House industry

October 18, 2013

Charles Pickett
We’ve just installed a small exhibition to mark the fortieth anniversary of Sydney Opera House on 20 October. The anniversary, by the way, is of the official 1973 opening by the Queen, not the first public performance there on the 28 September 1973, an interesting choice of dates.

Selfies from the past, revealing but concealing

October 16, 2013

Debbie Rudder
Selfies are rampant today. We can see the phenomenon as harmless fun, as creative self-expression, or perhaps as a threat to civilisation, drowning us in egocentric banality. But of course people have long indulged in self-portraiture, and today I want to focus on an unusual pair of selfies that reveal one man in contrasting settings, telling us two stories about himself.

Billycarts

October 14, 2013

Margaret Simpson
  Did you see that amazingly candid and moving interview with Clive James the other week? He spoke with great affection about his "Unreliable Memoirs" growing up in Sydney's Kogarah. Funniest of all was his account of his billycart "super-train" taking out Mrs Branthwait's prize poppy garden in Irene Street.

Sailor suits and the Sydney Naval Review

October 9, 2013

Margaret Simpson
With thousands of sailors in Sydney this week for the International Fleet Review, celebrating 100 years since the Australian Navy sailed into Sydney Harbour in 1913, I thought I'd write about children's sailor suits.

Navy ships in Sydney Harbour, 1940s

October 4, 2013

Anni Turnbull
In recent years the sight of Sydney Harbour filled with navy ships is not a very common sight, particularly war ships. On Friday 4th October, 2013 the harbour will again be filled with war ships, this time from 20 nations to mark the centenary of the arrival of Australia's first fleet of seven warships in 1913.

Mauve, an unexpected discovery

October 2, 2013

Anni Turnbull
Mauveine, the first synthetic organic chemical dye, was discovered serendipitously by William Perkin in 1856. Perkin was 18 and working with Professor August Wilhelm von Hofmann, attempting to synthesise the anti-malaria drug quinine.

The Australian Navy’s centenary, October 2013

September 30, 2013

Debbie Rudder
To mark the centenary of the Royal Australian Navy, I’ve chosen to feature this naval phone, one of several that were crucial to the operation of the navy’s first flagship, HMAS Australia. I have a particular interest in that ship because my grandfather served on it for much of the First World War. The ‘loud-speaking’ hands-free voice-activated phone was used to communicate between the bridge and engine room.

Propeller from Sir Charles Kingsford Smith’s Southern Cross

September 25, 2013

Margaret Simpson
I must have walked past the mounted row of wooden propellers in our large transport store dozens and dozens of times without registering what I was seeing. They are all mostly of beautiful polished timber but it's the broken one that's should have caught my eye.

The original Sacco beanbag – very cool design

September 23, 2013

Lynne McNairn
Beanbags are something I take for granted.  They can be found  in many homes,  in family rooms, teenage bedrooms  and even as pet beds.  They are available in most ‘bargain’ stores and are a symbol of casual (even grotty) student households.

Learning from Denise Scott Brown

September 20, 2013

Charles Pickett
You might have been following the controversy about Denise Scott Brown and the Pritzker Prize. In 1991 Scott Brown’s husband and professional partner Robert Venturi was awarded the Pritzker Prize (often described as architecture’s Nobel Prize).