Inside the Collection

Portrait of the artist

December 29, 2014

Anne-Marie Van de Ven
This rather majestic black and white photographic portrait of Australian artist, designer and photographer Dahl Collings (Dulcie May Wilmott 1910-1988) was shot by her husband Geoffrey Collings (1905-2000) during a trip to Stonehenge around 1936.

Locomotion No. 1, George Stephenson and the world’s first public railway

December 24, 2014

Margaret Simpson
The Museum has an amazing collection of models. One of my favourites is this one representing "Locomotion", the engine used on the world's first public railway. It opened in 1825 in the north east of England to transport coal from mines near Darlington to the coast at Stockton.

The Wirth brothers — from band to circus

December 22, 2014

Peter Cox
After leaving Ridge's Royal Tycoon Circus in 1880 the Wirth brothers established themselves as the Star Troupe of Varieties. With just six artists, including Japanese acrobats and a German comedian, they assembled a program of acrobatics, clowning, contortion, spinning hats, boxing and comic songs.

Curating shoes: from heel to toe

December 17, 2014

Melanie Pitkin
On 29 November 2014, the Museum opened 'RECOLLECT: Shoes' – a new exhibition inspired by the idea of visible display storage. Comprising more than 800 shoes dating from the 1500s to now, visitors can see everything from the first pair of elastic sided boots in the world made for Queen Victoria in 1837 to designer names like Louboutin, Yves Saint Laurent and Lacroix.

The diary of John James Wirth

December 8, 2014

Peter Cox
Diary of John James Wirth, 1879. Gift of the Wirth family, 2012. Collection: Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences. John James Wirth was one of the four brothers who founded Wirth's Circus. One of the gems of the Wirth's Circus collection is his handwritten diary from 1879, describing daily life on tour in northern New South Wales and southern Queensland performing with John Ridge's Royal Tycoon Circus.

Wirth’s Circus — musical beginnings

December 3, 2014

Peter Cox
Johannes Wirth (1835-1880) was a young immigrant from Bavaria who arrived in Australia in 1855 with his three younger brothers. They were musicians who performed as a German brass band. Johannes took to the life of an itinerant gold seeker, travelling with his wife and infants, following rush after rush to the gold fields, all the way from southern Victoria to the north of Queensland.

World AIDS Day 2014

December 1, 2014

Anni Turnbull
“Unless we tell their stories, they are not there.”* Since it began on 1 December 1988, World AIDS Day has put strong focus on the global fight to remove the threat of HIV and AIDS. First diagnosed in 1981, the HIV and  AIDS epidemic remains one of the most significant public health issues, particularly in less affluent countries.