Inside the Collection

People and practice

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.

Margaret West, jeweller (1936-2014)

November 5, 2014

Anni Turnbull
“At present I am concerned with certain metaphysical, psychological and social aspects of jewellery-with its ability to inform and transform'. Margaret West, 1982 * Margaret West was an influential jeweller, lecturer as well as poet and writer.

LES WELCH (1925–2014)

November 1, 2014

Peter Cox
As a bandleader, singer and musician in the late 1940s and 1950s, Les Welch brought the sounds of popular jazz and blues to Sydney’s dancehalls and nightclubs. He developed a reputation for his piano playing, his vocal style and a repertoire that mixed rhythm & blues, trad jazz, boogie-woogie and pop.

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.

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.

Jewellery at the Powerhouse: an interns perspective

September 17, 2014

Anni Turnbull
One of the striking things I have discovered while researching Australian and international jewellery in preparation for the exhibition A fine possession: jewellery and identity, is the way in which the contemporary Australian jewellery scene has been shaped by European tradition.

Remembering World War One: Geoffrey Hargrave’s life in six photos

September 5, 2014

Debbie Rudder
Lawrence Hargrave, aeronautical inventor, was one of thousands of Australians who lost a son in World War 1. Among the Hargrave artefacts and papers in the Museum’s collection, there are six photos that tell the story of his son, Geoffrey Lewis Hargrave.

David Mist collection digitization project

August 20, 2014

Anne-Marie Van de Ven
The Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences holds two important photography archives related to Sydney photographer David Mist - the Studio Ten archive (92/401) acquired as a gift of the photographer in 1992, and the David Mist archive (96/44/1) acquired as a gift of the photographer under the Australian Government Taxation Incentives for the Arts program in 1996.

Sir Henry Parkes: Not just the father of federation

August 18, 2014

Anni Turnbull
Many Australians associate Federation with Sir Henry Parkes and his significant contribution in bringing Australia together in 1901, but he was much more than that. Parkes arrived in Sydney in 1839 with his wife and young child (Sir Henry would eventually father 17 children), finding work as a laborer and later in a foundry.

The Marchinbar find – Medieval travels to Australia from Africa?

July 9, 2014

Paul Donnelly
In 1944 when Morry Isenberg discovered nine coins lying in the sand on the island of Marchinbar in the Northern Territory, little would he have imagined they would lead to explosive claims about Australia’s early global connections and, nearly 70 years after this chance encounter, provide the motivation for an international expedition.