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Despite being a huge star for MGM in the 1940s and 50s, Esther Williams’ most famous connection to Australia is arguably her role in the film Million Dollar Mermaid where she portrayed the early life of Annette Kellerman.
When the author of this blog's first 'evocative object' post asked me to think about what object from the Museum's collection evoked strong emotions, a few childhood memories flashed through my mind – my first football with its strong smell of fresh leather and my first cricket bat, which I associate with another strong smell, linseed oil – but if I had to choose the earliest special thing from my early childhood it would have to be my pedal car.
This painting is another botanical illustration by Agard Hagman from 1887. The first curator of the Museum of Applied and Sciences was the botanist Joseph Maiden who later became Director of the Royal Botanic Gardens.
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.
I’ve recently returned from the 2013 Spring Season excavations at the South Tombs Cemetery in Tell el-Amarna, Middle Egypt. Tell el-Amarna, or more simply Amarna, is the ancient Egyptian city built by the ‘heretic’ King Akhenaten, husband of Queen Nefertiti, in c.
Jim Brown was a former US serviceman who lived in Sydney from 1968 to 1972. Like a lot of people back then he was struck by the oil-on-glass pub advertising paintings which adorned most of Sydney’s pubs.
Behind the scenes at the Powerhouse, a team of people has been chipping away at a coalface. They are mining the collection. As part of a TAM (Total Asset Management) project, they are digitising early acquisition records to make sure the collection database contains a record of every item collected since the beginning of the Museum in 1882.
Coming up with an idea for a research project was not difficult for me living on the edge of the Western coalfield of NSW. Evidence of Kandos’ past reliance on the winning of coal doesn’t take much digging. With superior Kandos cement from kilns heated with Kandos coal contributing to the concrete footings and pylons of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, no wonder it stands strong after 80 years. Evidence of the region’s present reliance on coal is also easy to find with many coal mines dotting the landscape. Fascinated by the objects in the Kandos Bicentennial Industrial Museum that came from the Kandos Collieries located within a kilometre of the back door, I want to tell the story of the many men who have mined this black treasure from 1913 to 2001. Having grown up with green coloured glasses, I’m enjoying the challenge of respecting the history of coal-mining, researching the facts about this industry and recoiling at what some mines are doing to the land. In just the same way as you always see the same type of car that you’ve just purchased, but never really noticed that model before, I am finding coal everywhere. From statues of miners in Lithgow to 1936 maps of NSW minerals in my late grandfather’s books. Being a city girl, I have not grown up with any sort of wood heating and cannot share in people’s memories of the smell of coal, but I am a poet and there’s plenty of coal miner’s poetry to be found in Kandos. There must be some time for musing underground. And before you think that coal references can be boring, even Alfred, Lord Tennyson describes the amazing knight, Sir Lancelot: His broad clear brow in sunlight glow'd; On burnish'd hooves his war-horse trode; From underneath his helmet flow'd His coal-black curls as on he rode, As he rode down to Camelot.
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.