Fibro coast

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'Seaside Cottages', Wunderlich Limited, 1937. Powerhouse Museum collection.

‘Seaside Cottages’, Wunderlich Limited, 1937. Powerhouse Museum collection.

The Gold Coast City Gallery has been displaying the exhibition Fibro Coast; it will soon be at the University of the Sunshine Coast Gallery. Fibro Coast is about the holiday architecture that is still a feature of the Gold Coast and the Sunshine Coast.

When I was writing the Fibro frontier during the 90s I went on a research trip to  Brisbane, the Gold Coast and the Sunshine Coast. I hadn’t been to any of these places since I was a child so it was a revelatory sort of trip, especially the amount of fibro on view which I eagerly recorded on film. So I was pleased to be asked by the Gold Coast gallery to write for the exhibition catalogue and give a gallery talk.

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Steamfest 2014 Mystery Object revealed

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Powerhouse Museum Collection, object 86/370.

Powerhouse Museum Collection, object 86/370.

Would you have guessed the mystery object on display in the Museum’s marquee at Steamfest this year? Visitors to this event, held in Maitland over the weekend of 12-13 April, were invited to have a go. Congratulations to Gary Adamson of Cardiff, NSW whose answer was the first correct entry drawn.

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Agriculture-themed display for Steamfest 2014

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Powerhouse Museum Collection object B632. AA Stewart Model Collection.

Powerhouse Museum Collection object B632. AA Stewart Model Collection.

This fine model of a grain threshing machine will be on display in the Powerhouse marquee at Maitland Steamfest, 12-13 April 2014, along with model steam engines, toy trains, objects related to the timber, wool, dairy and beef cattle industries, and a wonderful group of historic agriculture-related photos and steam train videos. The weekend event also offers steam train rides, penny farthing bicycle races and much more.

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The Story of Australia’s first Airmail-part 1

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A view from Level 1 in the Boiler House looking up at Maurice Guillaux’s Bleriot XI soaring above the Transport exhibition with other historic aircraft. L611. Image: Powerhouse Museum

A view from Level 1 in the Boiler House looking up at Maurice Guillaux’s Bleriot XI soaring above the Transport exhibition with other historic aircraft. L611. Image: Powerhouse Museum

Soaring above the Transport exhibition is one of the Powerhouse Museum’s treasures, a tiny Blériot XI monoplane. With fewer than 30 aircraft made before World War 1 still preserved around the world, this aircraft would be significant for its rarity alone. But this Blériot, together its French pilot, Maurice Guillaux, also holds an important place in Australian aviation history, pioneering civil aviation in this country by carrying the first airmail from Melbourne to Sydney in July 1914.

To celebrate the centenary of the first Australian airmail, I will be contributing a series of posts on this blog over the coming months, charting the story of Maurice Guillaux, his aircraft and their important contributions to early aviation in Australia.
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Home made commode an ‘ensuite’ from 1909

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89/1428 Commode chair, make-do, kerosine boxes / fabric made by  Jack Male, Rose Bay, New South Wales, Australia, 1909

89/1428 Commode chair, kerosene boxes / fabric made by Jack Male, Rose Bay, New South Wales, Australia, 1909, Collection: Powerhouse Museum

A commode is defined as ‘a stand or cupboard containing a chamber pot or washbasin’. They date from before the days of sewerage and flushing toilets, when for obvious reasons, the toilet or can was located outside the house, usually at the far end of the backyard.

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Celebrating arts and crafts at the Sydney Royal Easter Show

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A6896-1 Sleeping Beauty Tableau, made by Rene Wilson, 1960 Collection:

A6896-1 Sleeping Beauty Tableau, made by Rene Wilson, 1960 Collection: Powerhouse Museum

Sydney’s Royal Easter Show came from agricultural beginnings. In 1822 in a new and small colony the Royal Agricultural Society was formed with the intention of increasing livestock within the colony and sharing farming practices. The first show was held the following year in Parramatta.

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ReCell spray-on skin kit: from pure ugliness comes a thing of healing beauty

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ReCell spray-on skin kit

ReCell spray-on skin kit

Feri walked into the packed nightclub. Drunk foreigners yelled and danced, as Western music pummelled the humid air. He headed toward the back of the nightclub and pulled a chord inside his jacket which detonated explosives strapped to his torso. His head tore instantly away from his neck, and nine people around him were torn apart. Those not killed from the blast were suddenly in a world of flame and fragment, and a suffocating need to get away if they could.
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Meccano orrery for Earth Hour

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2010/1/90 Meccano model of an orrery, made by Meccano Ltd, Liverpool, England. 1960-1975 (detail)  

Saturday 29th March 2014 from 8.30pm to 9.30pm EST is Earth Hour, when we get the chance to turn off the lights and possibly consider our place in the universe.

This Meccano orrery is a clever mechanical device used to demonstrate the position, motions and phases of our Earth and the Moon as we orbit the Sun. This motion explains much about our planet; day and night, the seasons, the tides and the prevailing direction of weather systems through the atmosphere.
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Cockatoo Island: From industry to art

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Cockatoo Island', Kerry and Co, Sydney, Australia, c. 1884-1917. Collection: Powerhouse Museum

Looking across to Cockatoo Island’, Kerry and Co, Sydney, Australia, c. 1884-1917. Collection: Powerhouse Museum

This image from the Museum’s Kerry and Co collection shows Cockatoo Island in the late 1800s. Now one of the venues for the Sydney Biennale, the island has had a diverse past, as a home to convicts, ship builders and now artists.
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Henry Parkes and the ‘crimson thread of kinship’

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Powerhouse Museum Collection object A7335. Gift of Stanley Lipscombe, 1980.

Powerhouse Museum Collection object A7335. Gift of Stanley Lipscombe, 1980.

In a speech to a Federation Conference banquet in 1890, Henry Parkes coined the term crimson thread of kinship to describe the ties that bound the Australian colonies. The reference was to shared Anglo-Celtic bloodlines, to the exclusion of Indigenous, Asian and other contributors to nation-building and the nation’s gene pool. This statuette celebrates his stirring speech, which was to resonate at least until 1914, when the ‘crimson thread’ was used as a call to arms.

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