This Regency TR-1 transistor radio was one of the earliest portable radios imported into Australia. It is significant for the way it combines science, design, and culture: the solid state physics that led to the development of the transistor; the aesthetics and functionality of the plastic radio body; and the portability that took radio out of the home and made listening to it more often an individual experience rather than a group activity.
Inside the Collection
Sometimes museum work can take a long time to bear fruit and this collection of World War One portraits is a case-in-point. For most of the twentieth century they were buried within the huge collection acquired by James Tyrrell, the Sydney bookstore owner.
This writing desk is linked to an important figure in Australia’s early colonial history. It is thought to have been owned by David Lennox who arrived in Australia, in 1832, seeking his fortune.
This Commemorative mug celebrates the achievements of Edward Hanlan who first came into prominence as a sculler in 1880, when he defeated the Australian Edward Trickett for the world's sculling championship. Trickett had earlier won the title in 1876 by defeating J.
The image above is of a thumbscrew which I came across here in the Museum’s collection while looking for something far more innocuous – a wooden mallet made from a girder of the old Sydney Stock Exchange.
The story of the creation of the Powerhouse museum starts with the project to host an international exhibition in the grounds of the Sydney Domain in 1879. Based on similar displays in London and Paris it drew from around the world all manner of objects relating to the industrial and applied arts.These were all to be housed in the ‘Garden Palace’ exhibition building, which was designed in a week and built in less than a year.
Aboriginal breastplates, like this one, are rare reminders of the relationships that once existed between the Indigenous population of Australia and the European colonists. These breastplates were similar in design to the gorgets worn by Officers in British Regiments and were tailor-made for the recipient As a result the inscriptions and motifs are significant records from the early colonial period right up to the 1930s when they appear to have stopped making breastplates.
In the years following the 1850s gold rush a new breed of entrepreneur, the Australian bush ranger, took center stage. And even though they held up gold and mail coaches, killed travellers, and in some instances took entire town’s hostage many have been described favourably by historians.
There are numerous ways in which information is added to our collection. One of the most obvious is a result of the work done by staff to update our records but another important source of information comes as a result of the continual enquiries and suggestions from the general public.
Sir Henry Parkes was one of Australia's more significant politicians and journalists and the Museum's collection of objects relating to him is a varied one. It includes objects representative of his years as a manufacturer of domesticware, toys and turned wood and ivory articles.
These sections of pipe originally connected the outback mining town of Broken Hill with its the water supply at Unberumberka 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.