March 8 is International Women's Day, a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity.
Inside the Collection
Colonised Australia felt it had grown into an independent, and quite sexy young adult by the 1980s. The 1988 bicentenary was a celebration of all that Europeans had acheived in Australia in 200 years. It was also a year which benefited from the optimism of the Wran NSW Labor Government - which commissioned, among other public institutions and spaces, the ingeniously designed converted power station as the new home for the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences in Ultimo, Sydney.
This post was written by Grace Cochrane AM, independent curator and writer, Sydney; former senior curator of Australian decorative arts and design, MAAS, Powerhouse Museum. It is very sad to hear of the death on 24 February 2015, of John Smith, a key figure in furniture designing and making in Australia for over 40 years.
This space age looking piece of domestic technology, reminiscent of Mr Squiggle's rocket, is a manually operated washing machine made in Melbourne by Echberg, Wolter and Company in about 1879 and marketed as the 'compressed air' machine.
There are 30,00 types of flies, one of the most familiar and widely distributed is the house fly. Besides being annoying it can also carry diseases.like typhus, dysentery, and tuberculosis, The introduction of cattle to Australia in 1788 gave the fly increased access to one of it's food sources, animal dung.
The image above shows a few of the chairs in storage at the Powerhouse Discovery Centre: the museum's off site storage and collection care facility at Castle Hill. The collection stores are generally not open to the public but behind-the-scenes tours and open days are programmed throughout the year. Please be seated was one such tour conducted for Sydney Design 2013.
Recent news of a bionic eye prototype being tested by Bionic Vision Australia is exciting for medical device research in Australia. There’s a number of other ‘retinal prosthesis’ devices being developed in Australia and overseas.
This neat Australian-made Braille note-taker, the Jot a Dot, is on display in the Powerhouse Museum's version of Wallace & Gromit's World of Invention. I selected it to complement the story of inventor Louis Braille, which came with the exhibition but without any objects.
Keith Hensel was principal designer at Breville, and previously a designer with Sunbeam and Nielsen Design Associates. For more than 20 years he had been involved in designing household products from lighting to kettles, toasters to toothbrushes.
The Powerhouse Museum’s Style 20 Fotoplayer is a wonderful instrument on display in the Kings Cinema within the Museum. It was made to provide music and sound effects to accompany silent movies and is an upright player piano, with an effects box.
When was Australian flora first used to celebrate Christmas? (Image: from Christmas bells floral design, Plate, porcelain by Reginald Austin for Royal Worchester, England , retailed by Flavelle Bros Ltd, Sydney, 1912-14.) Letters from settlers in the colony of News South Wales in the 1830s described the use of Australian native plants like Christmas bush and Christmas bells.
The world’s smallest ultrasound machine is now on display in the Australian International Design Awards exhibition. The Signos Pocket Sized ultrasound system uses high frequency sound waves to look at organs and structures inside the body.