Remembering Australia’s Drive-ins

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Metro-Twin drive-in in the Sydney suburb of Chullora in 1956. MAAS Collection, 2007/191/1-2/7/2.

Metro-Twin drive-in patrons in the Sydney suburb of Chullora, 1956, MAAS Collection 2007/191/1-2/7/1

Open-air cinemas are popping up all around Sydney as our famed summer weather rolls on. An earlier form of open-air cinema, the drive-in theatre, originally became popular in the 1950s as car ownership in Australia soared. Continue reading

Julia Johnston – a sassy first generation colonial gal

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Cotton dress, probably made in Australia and worn by Julia Johnston, Australia, 1836-1840, MAAS Collection, 2015/21/1

Cotton dress, probably made in Australia and worn by Julia Johnston, Australia, 1836-1840, MAAS Collection, 2015/21/1

Frocks may seem rather innocuous but dress was essential in the creation of colonial Australia. In the 19th century, appropriate attire was a marker of respectability and an expression of status, wealth and beliefs. Continue reading

Sydney’s Capitol Theatre – a century of entertainment

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A horse bus trundles past and carts line up outside the New Belmore Markets, published by Kerry and Co, Australia, 1893-1909, MAAS Collection, 85/1284-1538

A horse bus trundles past and carts line up outside the New Belmore Markets, published by Kerry and Co, Australia, 1893-1909, MAAS Collection, 85/1284-1538

Have you ever wondered why the Capitol Theatre in Sydney’s Haymarket is such a strange design? It was originally a fruit and veggie market! 2016 marks the theatre’s 100th birthday. What a century it’s been, filled with performing seals, elephants, mermaids and now the von Trapp children.

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Guy Buckingham and Australian Motor Racing

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Prototype for RT Series Nota Type IV 'Fang' sports racing car, Nota Engineering, Parramatta, 1971, MAAS Collection, 90/557

Prototype for RT Series Nota Type IV ‘Fang’ sports racing car, Nota Engineering, Parramatta, 1971, MAAS Collection, 90/557

Last month saw the passing of Guy Buckingham (1921-2015), the man who introduced low-cost motor sport into Australia with the Formula Vee. This was an inexpensive open-wheeled racing car for beginners using a VW engine, suspension and transmission, devised in 1959. Guy played an important role in the bespoke manufacture and maintenance of Australian sports and racing cars during the halcyon days of budget motor sport from the 1950s until the 1970s. Continue reading

George Gittoes collection

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Gittoes in the Yellow House Puppet Theatre, photograph by Greg Weight, about 1970

Gittoes in the Yellow House Puppet Theatre, photograph by Greg Weight, about 1970

This evening, George Gittoes receives the 2015 Sydney Peace Prize award and presents the annual Sydney Peace Prize lecture in the Sydney Town Hall. This is the first time this Prize, Australia’s only international prize for peace, will be awarded to an artist. Significantly, the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences (MAAS) in Sydney holds the most important collection of Gittoes’ early works – centred around Gittoes’ renowned Yellow House Puppet Theatre.

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Kingsford Smith, Lady Southern Cross and Malaysia Airlines’ Flight 370

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Model of Lockheed Altair Lady Southern Cross made by Iain Scott-Stevenson, Powerhouse Museum, MAAS Collection, 89/719

Model of Lockheed Altair Lady Southern Cross made by Iain Scott-Stevenson, Powerhouse Museum, MAAS Collection, 89/719

Eighty years ago today on 8 November 1935, Australia’s greatest pilot, Sir Charles Kingsford Smith (Smithy), tragically and mysteriously disappeared off the Burmese coast in the Indian Ocean while flying his plane, the Lockheed Altair Lady Southern Cross. Smithy and his co-pilot and engineer, John Thompson ‘Tommy’ Pethybridge, were trying to break yet another England–Australia speed record.

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Stewart Walton for ‘Collette Dinnigan: Unlaced’

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Portrait of artist, illustrator and furniture designer Stewart Walton. Image courtesy of Stewart Walton.

Portrait of artist, illustrator and furniture designer Stewart Walton. Photograph by Leo Cackett.

One of the greatest pleasures when developing a museum exhibition is collaborating with a breadth of highly talented creatives. In the case of Collette Dinnigan: Unlaced, Kat Bond and Fil Bartkowiak in our design team collaborated with Stewart Walton, an artist, illustrator and furniture designer based in England to create our paper doll making activity space. In this post, the team explain how they worked together from concept through to the final product.

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Happy Birthday to our Sydney Opera House

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Photographic print of the Sydney Opera House under construction, photograph by Max Dupain, Sydney 1958-1973, MAAS collection, 2006/25/1

On this day in 1973, Queen Elizabeth II officially opened the Sydney Opera House. The ABC beamed the occasion by satellite to an appreciative world. Closer to home there were sighs of relief from the politicians, architects and engineers who had, to that time, weathered one controversy after another. The brave decision in January 1957 that saw the four judges (architects Cobden Parkes, Eero Saarinen, Ingham Ashworth and Leslie Martin) choose Jorn Utzon’s design out of 700 entries was just the beginning of a long journey befitting one of the world’s most challenging and famous buildings. Continue reading

Happy 160th Birthday Sydney Trains

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Cover of the sheet music for the 'Sydney Railway Waltz', composed to celebrate the opening of the Sydney to Parramatta line in 1855. National Library of Australia collection, 6340871.

Cover of the sheet music for the ‘Sydney Railway Waltz’, composed to celebrate the opening of the Sydney to Parramatta line 1855. National Library of Australia collection, 6340871.

Today marks 160 years since the first railway officially opened in New South Wales on 26 September 1855 between Sydney and Parramatta.

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An Interview with Collette Dinnigan

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Collette Dinnigan, photographer Holly Blake

Collette Dinnigan, photographer Holly Blake

Iconic fashion designer Collette Dinnigan has been creating beautiful clothing for more than 25 years. On the eve of our new exhibition, Collette Dinnigan: Unlaced, she spoke to MAAS curator Glynis Jones, about her background, inspiration and changes in the industry throughout her career. Continue reading