Tinonee Victory Parade Flag dress worn on Australia Day 1919
The Australian Dress Register (ADR) is a website that celebrates men’s, women’s and children’s dress that has an Australian provenance. Museums and private collectors are encouraged to research their garments and share the stories and photographs on the Register. The Register supports the garments remaining in their locations, but allows the information to be shared with a world-audience. The criteria for contributing to the Register is simple – if an item of clothing has a good story behind it and is put in the social context of the time it was worn, then we’d love to see it on the Register. With the 100 year anniversary of World War 1, it’s a good opportunity to look at what entries are on the Register that are associated with wartime. You can search the browse option or the timeline on the front page. You can do in-depth searches by clothing type, era, location, theme or manufacture details. There are not many uniforms on the ADR, so we would like to focus on this area in the next few years.
Model, Jacksons Landing, Pyrmont, made for Lend Lease by Porter Models, 2001-2010. Powerhouse Museum collection, gift of Jacksons Landing Community Association.,
The Powerhouse is located in what is now the densest suburb in Australia. With 14,300 people per square kilometre Pyrmont/Ultimo packs more residents into less space than any suburb or town in the nation. I suppose this should be no surprise given the numerous apartment developments completed here in the last decade, notably the repurposing of the wool stores and CSR’s former factories at Pyrmont Point. We recently acquired this large model of the Jacksons Landing development at the Point.
Pyrmont/Ultimo is on the leading edge of a much-debated urban trend towards apartment living rather than the ‘Australian dream’ of single-family cottages in sprawling suburbs. Sydney has historically been Australia’s leading apartment city. Way back in 1934 Melbourne’s Australian Home Beautiful observed ‘Sydney has always, to some extent, been the home of the flat-dweller. For this a variety of reasons may be suggested, the most popular one being that the Sydneysider is more easy-going and less home-loving than his Melbourne brother…’ Continue reading →
H6741 Revolver, pinfire, Navy, colt, America, c. 1870.(OF). Thuers conversion, 6 chamber revolver, No. 207161. Calibre .362010/31/1 Set of assaying equipment, weights (8) and wooden storage box, portable balance and wooden storage box, metal / glass / wood, made by L Oertling Ltd / W & T Avery Ltd, London, England, c. 1860
Save for sparse and sporadic failed convict rebellions and escapees who stole arms and turned them on their British overlords, prisoners and Aborigines had been the foremost human recipients of firearm discharges prior to the Australian gold rush. Free settlers and freed convicts were able to arm themselves; however, this was for culling native animals and humans, not specifically for self-defense. The gold rush changed this. Continue reading →
Locomotive No. 1 shown in Sydney yard with a frock-coated railway official, possibly a station master. Detail a stereoview published by William Hetzer, Sydney, 1858-1860. Powerhouse Museum collection P.3145-7. Gift of Royal Australian Historical Society, 1981.
It’s 160 years ago this year (2014) since the first railway was opened in Australia in 1854. The railways were a vast improvement on the Cobb and Co. coaches, which carried people, and the drays and wagons, which carried goods, over the rough bush tracks. Pulled by horses or bullocks, wagons were slow and expensive, while the threat of being held up by bushrangers was a real possibility for coach travellers. Continue reading →
62 Pasadena Street, Monterey. Photo by Andrew Frolows, Powerhouse Museum.
With design historian Michael Bogle I recently completed a heritage report and a visitors’ guide called Monterey Moderne. Commissioned by Rockdale City Council the report and guide are about a group of 1930s houses in the streamlined Moderne style in the small suburb of Monterey on the western shore of Botany Bay. I can still recall my excitement years back in coming across photos and plans of these houses in a Wunderlich Durabestos catalogue. I quickly headed to Monterey to find that some of them were still standing. Continue reading →
Sculptural figures (4), 2012/7/1. Collection: Powerhouse Museum
Each year since 1977 International Museums Day (18 May) has celebrated and explored an aspect of Museum work. The multiple connections inherent in these figures make them ideal ambassadors for this year’s theme – ‘Museum collections make connections!
This group of porcelain ‘souvenirs’, re-purposed by Melbourne artist Penny Byrne from kitsch sentimental figurines, generically represent the intangible connectivity of Facebook, and the ability of social media to empower populations sufficiently enough to topple governments. More specifically these figures also connect us across the world to the political turmoil of the ‘Arab Spring’ events of 2011.
It would be very dull to summarise my 2013 Movable Heritage Fellowship (MHF) with how influential the Powerhouse Museum staff were and how useful and life-changing the experience was. Nevertheless it needs to be said.
Charlie Wong Hing at Clear Springs. Image courtesy Museum of the Riverina
One needs only to spend a few hours in Wagga Wagga to feel the real impact multiculturalism has had on the city. It is evident though its diversity in everything from restaurants to public parks, from a stroll down the main street, – to looking at the varied streetscape and at the people who inhabit the ever-growing city. Wagga has embraced cultural difference and has a long history with migrant resettlement. However, this has not always been the case.
2000/86/1-2 Badge, ‘WORLD AIDS DAY’, metal, designed by the AIDS Council of New South Wales (ACON) / Commonwealth Dept of Community Services and Health, maker unknown, Australia, 1987-199. Collection: Powerhouse Museum
Since its inception on 1 December 1988, World AIDS Day has played an important role in the ongoing global fight to remove the threat of HIV and AIDS. First diagnosed in 1981, the HIV and AIDS epidemic continues to be one of the world’s most significant public health issues, particularly in less affluent countries. Continue reading →
Powerhouse Museum Collection object 94/227/4. Gift of Erica Mann, 1994.
Governor-General Quentin Bryce surprised Australia by mentioning two controversial issues at the conclusion of her final Boyer Lecture. She spoke with her usual grace as she presented positive opinions on both marriage equality and a future Australian republic. While the first issue has only risen to prominence in recent times, the idea of becoming a republic has a long history. This badge, probably made in the 1990s, uses the 1854 Eureka flag as a symbol of republican sympathy. I think it was refreshing to hear Bryce’s forthright declaration that she shares that sympathy, and that she also cares deeply about human rights. The media attention served to prompt me, and I hope others, to listen to her lectures in full.