World War One Soldier Portraits- a sense of being Australian, slouch hats and emu plumes

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Photographic negative, studio portrait of William Grant Green, World War One, Gunner, 9 Field Artillery Brigade (33rd Battery), glass / silver / gelatin, The Warren, Marrickville, Sydney, New South Wales, March-April 1916. Collection: Powerhouse Museum

Photographic negative, studio portrait of William Grant Green, World War One, Gunner, 9 Field Artillery Brigade (33rd Battery), glass / silver / gelatin, The Warren, Marrickville, Sydney, New South Wales, March-April 1916. Collection: Powerhouse Museum

As we approach the centenary of World War One commemorative activities will be taking place across the world by all the countries involved in World War One. Australia’s responses will be many and varied from re-enactments of recruitment drives like the Coo-ee and Kangaroo marches to exhibitions and publications.

The Museum has been researching its collections linked to the war. We have discovered our very own ‘Lost Diggers’ collection, though on a smaller scale. A collection of 404 World War One soldier portraits are part of the Museum’s extensive Tyrrell Photographic Collection.
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What’s the link between rabbits, eggs and Easter?

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85/2600 Children's Pop Up Easter book, 1950-1975. Collection: Powerhouse Museum

85/2600 Children’s Pop Up Easter book, 1950-1975. Collection: Powerhouse Museum

The image above is a familiar one used to celebrate Easter, for many people a religious holiday. However some of its components such as Easter eggs, are linked to pagan traditions. The origins of the Easter bunny have been ascribed to a 13th-century, pre-Christian Germany, when people worshipped gods and goddesses. The Pagan deity Eostra was the goddess of spring and fertility, and feasts were held in her honour on the March equinox which marks the beginning of Spring in the northern hemisphere. The symbol of the rabbit or hare was chosen because of the animal’s high reproduction rate.
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The Story of Australia’s First Airmail-part 2

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Maurice Guillaux flying his Blériot monoplane over Victoria Racecourse. Gift of S. Dyson, 1982. Collection: Powerhouse Museum

Maurice Guillaux flying his Blériot monoplane over Victoria Racecourse. Gift of S. Dyson, 1982. Collection: Powerhouse Museum

Flying in Cloudland! Looping the Loop! The World’s Most Daring Aviator! Aviation Extraordinary! Not long after his arrival in Sydney on April 8, Maurice Guillaux began to make headlines, as his promoters and newspaper reporters searched for superlatives to express the excitement of Guillaux’ aerial performances.
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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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