Inside the Collection

The Story of Australia’s First Airmail-Part 11

October 29, 2014

Kerrie Dougherty
After thrilling Australian audiences with his airshows and making history by flying the first airmail, in September 1914 Maurice Guillaux realised one of the plans he had made earlier in the year by establishing a flying school at Ham Common, which is now the site of Richmond RAAF Base, to the west of Sydney.

Ice Bird – the unsinkable boat

October 27, 2014

Kate Chidlow
Restoration of the sailing boat that made the first single handed voyage to Antarctica Dr David Lewis was a courageous sailor, an extra-ordinary navigator and an adventurer with big dreams. He was the first navigator in modern times to cross the Pacific Ocean without using instruments, following a legendary Maori course from Tahiti to New Zealand.

Pacific objects in focus #3: New Zealand hei-tiki

October 22, 2014

Melanie Pitkin
The hei-tiki is the most famous of all Maori jewellery items. Humanoid in shape, they are typically characterised by a tilting head, huge, gaping open mouth, large, bulbous eyes, splayed hips with arms akimbo and a pronounced and often dilated vulval area (Starzeka 1996: p.43)*.

Farewell Gough Whitlam (1916- 2014)

October 21, 2014

Anni Turnbull
Former Prime Minister of Australia, Gough Whitlam led Australia through a period of massive social change from 1972 to 1975 before his ousting by governor-general Sir John Kerr. The photograph above was taken in 1975 at a land hand back ceremony for the Gurindji people in the Northern Territory.

History repeats itself with the new rail link at Castle Hill

October 20, 2014

Anni Turnbull
When people from the Hills District catch the new North West Rail Link in 2019 it will not be the first time a railway has come through the area. In 1901 construction began on a tramline that ran between Parramatta and Baulkham Hills with the primary purpose of carrying fruit and goods, as the Hills District was well-known for its plentiful orchards.

A Fine Possession and solving the mystery of a French pendant

October 8, 2014

Anni Turnbull
Every now and again when working with a Museum’s collection, you will come across an object that was acquired so long ago that little is known about its provenance. There are a few meagre clues to help uncover what you hope will turn out to be an enriching and surprising story, something that shows that this piece is special.

Mechanisation of road building – 1920 steam tip wagon

October 6, 2014

Margaret Simpson
In the early decades of the twentieth century steam-powered vehicles including traction engines, steam wagons, road locomotives, road rollers and steam fire engines were a common sight on Australian roads.

Pacific objects in focus #2: Admiralty Islands ceremonial regalia

October 1, 2014

Melanie Pitkin
This ceremonial regalia from the Admiralty Islands (early 20th century) is one of the Museum’s most prized Pacific pieces. While individual components of the regalia (like the armbands or apron) can often be found in public and private collections, a near or complete set, like this, is very rare.