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Not all horse play

Nowadays when you talk about a ‘work horse’, you are probably referring to a ute, truck or some other form of mechanised equipment.  In the not too distant past, a work horse was, as the phrase suggests, a heavy horse used for work and most likely for haulage.  In many museums (including the National Museum) you can view displays of machinery that these horses hauled or powered.  Rarely, however, do you see or think about the objects that helped to power the horses. Continue reading

Bob Pitt with his award winning bantam at the Longford Show, Longford Tasmania

A winning chicken

Australians seem to be falling in love with chooks. Poultry keeping and showing is booming around the country, and the Museum is building its own flock.

The Museum recently acquired an oil painting, believed to be by S.Thomson, of ‘Robert’, a striking black-red, hard feathered, Modern Game Bantam. This magnificent rooster won the Waugh Cup for ‘best bird’ at the Old Goulburn Poultry, Pigeon and Canary Club’s annual show in 1921. Continue reading

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A working addiction

beech forest smPart of the joy of being a museum curator is working with amazing objects and their stories.  In recent months this work has been focused on helping to develop an upcoming exhibition on the history of horses and humans in Australia.  The National Museum of Australia has a rich collection of horse-related objects.  It includes the iconic Phar Lap’s heart, the Junius Cup (the earliest known Australian made racing trophy) and an enormous wool wagon, as well as, smaller everyday objects such as children’s toys like rocking horses and toy horses hand-crafted from wire.

Continue reading