Inside the Collection

Tag: chemistry

Amelia Earhart’s last contact

November 29, 2017

Margaret Simpson
This ordinary looking stamped-addressed envelope in the Museum's collection features two signatures, one is of the famous American aviator, Amelia Earhart, and the other F. (Fred) J. Noonan, her navigator during their pioneering world flight in 1937.

Sydney’s most famous shipwreck – the ‘Dunbar’

August 21, 2017

Margaret Simpson
On 20 August 2017 it was the 160th anniversary of New South Wales' worst maritime disaster, the sinking of the 'Dunbar'. On a pitch-dark rainy night with a gale blowing a total of 121 passengers and crew of the sailing ship, 'Dunbar', lost their lives not long after midnight.

The Queen’s 1954 Royal Tour of Australia – a rare surviving memento

January 14, 2015

Margaret Simpson
Many of the objects which come into the Museum have great stories. One of the most delightful over the last few months was the acquisition of this very rare fabric-covered railway timetable. It was used in the Museum's superb 1901 Governor-General's railway carriage in which Queen Elizabeth II travelled to parts of New South Wales during her 1954 Royal Tour of Australia.

Carbon monoxide alert: take care when burning fuel

May 28, 2014

Debbie Rudder
Coal miners are very aware of the risks posed by fuels. Whenever they go underground they carry self-rescuers like this one, which turns toxic carbon monoxide into harmless carbon dioxide. News that a Sydney family was rushed to hospital recently suffering from carbon monoxide poisoning demonstrates that the rest of us should be just as aware of the dangers.

Light globe repaired by the Electric Lamp Repairing Company

December 9, 2013

Debbie Rudder
‘Save your Burnt-out Lamps. Repairs guaranteed equal to new.’ This line appeared in Sydney newspaper ads from 1918 to 1920. The small ads included an eye-catching drawing of a light globe with ‘OLD LAMPS MADE NEW’ written inside it.

Propeller from Sir Charles Kingsford Smith’s Southern Cross

September 25, 2013

Margaret Simpson
I must have walked past the mounted row of wooden propellers in our large transport store dozens and dozens of times without registering what I was seeing. They are all mostly of beautiful polished timber but it's the broken one that's should have caught my eye.

Doing jigsaws at work, recapturing an 1880s image

March 20, 2013

Kate Chidlow
Most people don't have the patience to attempt what our recent intern, Amir Mogadam from the Universtiy of Newcastle has just finished – probably one of the most challenging jigsaws you’re ever likely to see.

Steamfest 2012 Mystery Object Revealed

April 30, 2012

Margaret Simpson
Would you have guessed the mystery rail object on display in the Museum’s marquee at Steamfest this year? Visitors to this event held in Maitland, NSW, over the weekend of 28/29th April were encouraged to have a go.

How to make a nib – a story of gold rainbows and diamonds for Valentine’s Day

February 14, 2012

Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences
I struck gold in the basement last week: 14 carat gold in the form of this delightful didactic display showing stages in making a fountain pen nib. Note the shape of the ‘breather hole’, which exposes ink to the air and helps it move smoothly towards the writing tip: a tiny heart.

Flash of insight led to brilliant Australian invention

December 16, 2011

Debbie Rudder
Dr Alan Walsh had an ‘aha’ moment while gardening in 1954. Straight away, he phoned a friend and said: We’ve been measuring the wrong bloody thing! A CSIRO chemist, he wasn’t referring to delphiniums (blue) or geraniums (red).