My name is Patrick Bailey. This is the final of three posts that I’ve prepared as an intern at the National Museum of Australia (and as part of the Australian National Internship Program), which explores how the interaction between human and non-human forces in Southern NSW and the ACT combine to form continual and changing expressions of community identity. This last post will explore how the land has been influenced by people and formed ongoing relationships which resonate with inhabitants today.
One of the more common stereotypes of alpine Australia involves the presence of brumbies and cattle, and their impact on the environment. However, these two animals are only a recent addition to the region. Until Europeans arrived, no such animals existed here. These new species, along with rabbits, dogs and sheep, and plants such as wheat and barley, changed the landscape Continue reading
In 2012 the Museum acquired a small collection associated with the distinguished career of the Surveyor-General of Hobart, James Sprent. The collection includes a large and very early map of Tasmania, Sprent’s degree certificate, a Reeves parallel ruler, three small certificates for short courses at the University of Glasgow and a wooden box which is likely to have held Sprent’s drawing instruments. The map was the first accurate map of the colony and the first to reflect the colony’s name change to ‘Tasmania’.
My name is Patrick Bailey. This is the second of three posts that I’ve prepared as an intern at the National Museum of Australia (and as part of the Australian National Internship Program), which explores how the interaction between human and non-human forces in the alpine region of Southern NSW and the ACT combine to form continual and changing expressions of community identity across time. This second post explores Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal practices which enabled strong connections between people and their environment.
“In summer the arrival of the Bogong moths provided another food source…[they] travelled to the Alps… not just about food, they involved ceremonies and exchanges between different groups. The opportunity to climb the mountains was an important spiritual experience.” (Matthew Higgins, Rugged beyond Imagination: Stories from an Australian Mountain Region p. 13) Continue reading
On 1 August 1898, a crowd gathered at Township Hill in the Snowy Mountains for the Kiandra Snow Shoe Club’s annual race meet.
Today marks 114 years since the birth of famous Western Arrarnta artist Albert Namatjira. Born at Hermannsburg mission on 28 July 1902, Elea, later christened ‘Albert’, learnt to paint with watercolours during the early 1930s, and had his first solo exhibition in 1938. Within a decade, Namatjira had become famous and his sons and relatives also began painting watercolour landscapes, forming what became known as the Hermannsburg School of Art. He is now remembered as a grandfather, uncle, teacher, leader and founder of an art movement.
I am excited to introduce Julie Ryder, our artist-in-residence for 2016. Julie is an accomplished textile artist who draws inspiration from the natural world, combining her scientific background and creativity to produce innovative artworks. Julie has started a six month residency at the National Museum of Australia and has received support for her project from the Australia Council for the Arts.
Our artist-in-residence program provides opportunities for artists to work with objects in the Museum’s National Historical Collection. This project will involve working with curators, accessing and researching our botanical collections and exploring the role played by women in early collecting practices in colonial Australia. Continue reading
My name is Patrick Bailey. As an intern at the National Museum of Australia (and as part of the Australian National Internship Program), it has been my privilege to research and compile a report on interactions between human and non-human forces in the alpine region of Southern NSW and the ACT, and how they combine to form continual and changing expressions of community identity across time. This research is designed to contribute in part to the development of one component of a new gallery of environmental history at the Museum. This research explores key alpine areas in order to communicate Continue reading
“Since the earliest times, man has collected shells for food, for adornment, for domestic utensils and for their beauty.” Lady Helen Blackburn (1918–2005).
As part of the background work for the development of a new environmental history gallery, we’ve been searching the Museum’s holdings for collections that will help illustrate some of the themes we hope to explore. The Lady Helen Blackburn collection features more than five hundred seashells from Australian beaches, reefs and islands, making it a perfect fit for a gallery on environmental history. The significance of this collection, however, resides not just in its breadth and the beauty of the shells themselves, but in the stories it tells of how, where and by whom they were collected, and the insights it offers into a truly remarkable Australian woman: Lady Helen Blackburn. Continue reading
The landscape of Central Australia has attracted millions of visitors since the area was opened to tourism, most notably following the extension of the railway line to Alice Springs in 1929. Where the local Aboriginal communities were displaced and banned, they are now leading conversations about land management and tourism. The watercolour paintings of celebrated Western Arrarnta artist Albert Namatjira have transported generations of Australians into his country, west of Alice Springs across the West MacDonnell Ranges, and today Namatjira’s descendants and kin continue to use their art to create opportunities and keep their culture strong.
These stories are being remembered and shared in a new exhibit about Ntaria (Hermannsburg), as part of the Landmarks gallery at the National Museum of Australia, from 28 July 2016.
Museum and gallery curators have not been served well by popular representations of their craft. There are two primary archetypes. The first is an introverted, nerdy, lab coat-wearing boffin who prowls corridors of specimens, guarding them with singular and obsessive diligence. The second is a hyper-extrovert who petulantly and arrogantly pursues the realisation of their unimpeachable curatorial vision. Continue reading