Photo of the Day

photos and stories from the Powerhouse Museum

Car on a dirt road

October 24th, 2014 by


This photograph from the Tyrrell collection shows a family group who have stopped their car next to a “Caution, Drive Slowly” sign in order to take a photograph. According to Wikipedia, the car carries a number plate that was issued to lorries between 1910 and 1924.

The exhibition Auto Obsession, part of our Re-Collect project to ensure greater public access to the Museum’s rich collection features over 25 restored and original historic cars.

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Photography by unattributed studio, Tyrrell collection 85/1286-2488

Portrait of a woman

October 23rd, 2014 by


In this portrait from the Tyrrell collection we can see another example of how a fashionable array of light pins was worn in the late 19th century. The young woman in the portrait above wears two geometric pins and a brooch made of two birds, possibly swallows, linked together by a chain. Her head is turned to the side to better display the jewellery at her throat.

The current MAAS exhibition, A fine possession: jewellery & identity, celebrates the central place of jewellery in our lives, from antiquity to the present day, through a sumptuous selection of jewellery made, worn and collected in Australia.



Photography by unattributed studio. Tyrrell collection 85/1286-1434


Sneak peek: Truus Daalder + Joost Daalder

October 22nd, 2014 by



This short introduction video featuring Truus and Joost Daalder was made for our exhibition ‘A Fine Possession: jewellery & identity‘.  We created an experience for the entrance space to the exhibition, in collaboration with Alphabet Studio, that showcases a range of different collectors of jewellery .  In doing this production we interviewed a range of people including Truus and Joost who shared their story about collecting jewellery and how doing this together has made collecting more enjoyable for them both.  This is just a sneak peek into the longer version that we will be sharing with you in the coming weeks.

Video produced by Leonie Jones, Media Producer

Photography by Marinco Kojdanovski, Media Producer

© All rights reserved

Lap timing

October 21st, 2014 by


This photograph of racing car driver David McKay lap timing was taken by leading Sydney-based commercial photographer, David Mist. In 1963 David received the 1963 Grand Prix job  through the USP Benson advertising agency. He went on to shoot the 1965 Shell Racing Series Scuderia Veloce Team, the 1967 Warwick Farm Grand Prix and an open wheeler race at Catalina Park.

See racing cars and other cars in Auto Obsession, part of our Re-Collect project to ensure greater public access to the Museum’s rich collection. Featuring over 25 restored and original historic cars, Auto Obsession comprises a curious, eclectic and fascinating collection from luxury tourers and family sedans to racing and sports cars.

More photographs by David Mist can be viewed in the David Mist archive collection.

Photography and digitisation by David Mist

© All rights reserved

Virapaksa with umbrella

October 20th, 2014 by

Document from the Powerhouse Museum Collection

This image of a hand-coloured glass lantern slide shows part of the Ming Buddhist mural painting in the Fahai Si (Fa Hai Temple) in Peking. The mural illustrates the story of “Di-shi Fan-tian Lifo Hufa Tu”, the emperor worshiping Buddha with Buddhist Gods. The figure on the left is Virapaksa who holds an umbrella in his right hand. Next to him are Vaisramana (with a red dragon) and a maidservant of the Emperor.

According to collection records, Serge Vargasoff established himself as a professional photographer at the age of 20 in Peking (Beijing), China, and became a long-term resident of the city. Later he established a studio, Serge Vargassoff Photography, at 3A Wyndham Street Hong Kong, as well as working at Gainsborough Studio in the Morning Post Building in Hong Kong. He was a contemporary of Hedda Morrison who also worked in Peking at the time.

Photography by Serge Vargasoff

No known copyright restrictions

More pearls in the portrait

October 17th, 2014 by

Positive image from a scan of a Powerhouse Museum, Tyrrell Collection, glass plate negative

This beautiful postcard image is from the studio of Charles Kerry & Co. The graphic elements of decorative plant and flower forms are in the style of Art Nouveau. The woman’s double stranded pearl necklace is long and worn low, in keeping with the looser and more relaxed fashions of the early 1900s.

By the early 20th century the popularity of the postcard was well-established. This image, with the woman’s smiling face and the decorative surrounds would have had wide general appeal for the postcard buying public.

More pearls and other jewellery can be seen in A fine possession: jewellery and identity, the current exhibition that celebrates the central place of jewellery in our lives, from antiquity to the present-day, through a sumptuous selection of jewellery made, collected and worn in Australia.

Photography by Kerry & Co

No known copyright restrictions

Bicycle shadow

October 16th, 2014 by



This shadow shape was shot during the Penny Farthing bicycle race at Steamfest Maitland on April 13, 2013


Photography by Marinco Kojdanovski

All rights reserved

Portrait of Miss Nathan

October 15th, 2014 by


Sitting for a photographic portrait can be an opportunity to display wealth and style. On the occasion of having her portrait done, Miss Nathan chose to wear a delicate necklace made of five strands of tiny pearls, (detail below). Her choice of jewellery may may have been influenced by contemporary trends. The choker style necklaces worn by the Queen’s daughter-in-law, Alexandra, who had a particular passion for pearls, became popular in Europe and America in the late Victorian period.

The current MAAS exhibition, A fine possession: jewellery & identity, celebrates the central place of jewellery in our lives, from antiquity to the present day, through a sumptuous selection of jewellery made, worn and collected in Australia.


Photography by unattributed studio. Tyrrell collection 85/1286-1410



Auto Obsession: last weeks

October 14th, 2014 by


Our exhibition Auto Obsession will be finishing on the 26th October so you have only two weeks left to look at more than 25 restored and original historic cars that are curious, eclectic and fascinating collections from luxury tourers and family sedans to racing and sports cars. We also have 600 models from the Museum’s extensive collection of Matchbox cars, arguably the most significant collection in Australia. It has been claimed that in the halcyon days of Matchbox in the 1960s, Australians purchased more of the little die-cast toy cars per capita than any other country.

Photography by Paula Bray

License: Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 




Couple under an umbrella, Stuttgart 1931

October 13th, 2014 by


According to our collection records, this image of a couple in regional dress at the Stuttgart Folk Festival are among the few known photographs taken by Hedda Hammer (Morrison) during her youth in Germany. The images were perhaps captured as an assignment undertaken while she was a student at the Bavarian State Institute for Photography in Munich. Hedda has carefully recorded the detail of regional costume and accessories, the shape and texture of hats and the beauty of elaborate headdresses as if discovering and exploring the ‘exotic’ within her own culture.

The festival was held on a bright sunny day as evidenced by the number of umbrellas that appear in Hedda Morrison’s photographs. (And also by the number of photographs that appear to be overexposed). Another, again of a couple with an umbrella, was posted previously on Photo of the Day. One of the many design features of the umbrella is that it is easy to share. In Japanese iconography, two people under an umbrella is associated with images of romance. One art historian has likened it to the Western symbol of a heart pierced by an arrow.

Hedda Morrison, (1908-1991), was born Hedda Hammer in Stuttgart, Germany. She acquired her first camera, a Box Brownie, at the age of 11. In 1929 Hedda enrolled at the State Institute for Photography in Munich. After completing studies at the Institute for Photography she worked in the studio of photographer Adolf Lazi (1884-1955) back in her home town of Stuttgart.

By 1933 Hedda Morrison had left Germany to work in China. In Peking Morrison managed Hartung’s photographic studio from 1933-1938. After her contract expired she continued to work freelance from a small darkroom in her home in Nanchang Street. The young photographer travelled around the city, usually by bicycle, often photographing its inhabitants. This photograph is one of many that document local craft workshops, is part of the Hedda Morrison Photographic Collection

Photography by Hedda Morrison

No known copyright restrictions

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