C4737 pumice from the summit of Mount Erebus, collected during Sir Ernest Shackleton’s British Antarctic Expedition, Antarctica, 1909-1911
Over summer the beaches of Sydney have seen the arrival of a ‘pumice raft’. The high tide line has been marked by a distinctive row of small light weight rocks which floated in on the tide. The phenomenon caused much comment amongst beach goers and gave children an exciting new material for their sandcastles. As usual a search in the Powerhouse Museum collection turned up something interesting; samples of pumice collected in 1908 by the party who made the first ascent of Mount Erebus in Antarctica. The party included Sir Douglas Mawson and Dr T. W. Edgeworth-David and the climb was undertaken during Sir Ernest Shackleton’s British Antarctic Expedition. Continue reading
Heliostat, Tornaghi, Sydney, Australia, c. 1887 H8086 Collection: Powerhouse Museum .
Do you know what a heliostat is? As with most scientific instruments, I had my educated guesses but didn’t know for sure. Luckily my colleagues are Matthew Connell and Nick Lomb and they can assist me in understanding my curiosities.
Powerhouse Museum Collection object 85/304.
When I first saw this engine, running quietly on steam in the Powerhouse Museum, and read that it powered a gold dredge on the Ovens River in Victoria, I imagined a fairly benign operation, sucking up part of the river bed, extracting gold from it, and replacing the material. The ecology of the river would have suffered local disturbance, but that section of river would have recovered over time. I failed to guess the full impact of gold dredging.
Toy Hill’s Hoist “Mini-Hoist” rotary clothes line, made by Hill’s Hoists Ltd, Adelaide, South Australia, 1956-1959. Powerhouse Museum collection 87/664.
I’ve seen this little 60-cm high Hill’s Hoist clothes line in our basement storage area for years and always assumed it was a model which reps might have taken around to secure sales. Clearly, lugging a full-size clothes line around with you was out of the question and this is a perfect model of the famous clothes line which sprouted up in backyards across the nation. However, research in The Australian Women’s Weekly between 1956 and 1959 revealed ads for a Mini-Hoist, a toy version of the Hills Hoist rotary clothes line.
Brooches, ‘Found Out – Floral Brooches’ aluminium / stainless steel, Roseanne Bartley, Australia , designed 2004, made 2013. Collection: Powerhouse Museum, Photography: Rebecca Evans
I am pretty excited to share these floral brooches with you by contemporary studio jeweller Roseanne Bartley. Not only are they recent acquisitions for the Museum’s permanent collection, but they will also be displayed in our exciting and upcoming jewellery exhibition, due to open September 2014.
Underpants worn by James Castrission and Justin Jones during the Crossing the Ice Antarctic expedition. Image courtesy of James Castrission and Justin Jones.
These two pairs of undies are part of a large collection of equipment and personal items used by Antarctic adventurers James Castrission (Cas) and Justin Jones (Jonsey) on their ‘Crossing the Ice’ Antarctic expedition to the South Pole, 2011-2012.
You may rightly notice that the pair on the left does not look like your average pair of underpants and it would not be remiss of you to ask what the unusual thing attached to them could possibly be…
Danny De Vito, Richard Dreyfus and Cadillacs in Tin Men, 1987. Copyright Allmovies.com
Re-skinning of buildings takes several forms, not all of them particularly reputable. During the 60s and 70s salesmen prowled the suburbs, seeking out fibro and weatherboard cottages that could be re-clad with aluminium or vinyl. The hard sell would then begin, with promises of capital gains, improved appearance and insulation. I’m not sure that many houses were actually improved, especially as the new cladding was usually screwed on over the existing one.
This business was immortalized in a popular US movie of the 1980s: Tin Men was both satirical and nostalgic about two competing aluminium cladding (‘siding’ in US lingo) salesmen, played by Danny De Vito and Richard Dreyfus.
97/63/1-23 Botanical illustration of ‘Acacia pycnantha (Broad-leaved Wattle)’ by Agard Hagman.
September 1st is Wattle Day, the perfect excuse to feature another of Agard Hagman’s lovely botanical illustrations from 1888.
The Museum’s first Curator, Joseph Maiden (later Director of the Royal Botanic Gardens) was a well known wattle enthusiast. He loved wattles for both their beauty and their usefulness.
National Tree Day is a community tree planting event held at the end July. Schools Tree Day is today, 26th July 2013 and it seemed like a good excuse to feature another of Agard Hagman’s paintings from 1888.
This painting illustrates Eucalyptus incrassata a mallee species. Mallees are generally smaller than the better known Eucalypts or Gum Trees and have multiple stems rather than a single trunk. They tend to grow in low rainfall areas of Australia. This painting is titled ‘Oil’ indicating the Museum’s assessment of the potential use of this species.
85/1218 Armchair, ‘Peninsula Tasmania’, hardwood / King William Pine, designed by Gay Hawkes, Melbourne, Australia, 1985
This armchair titled ‘Peninsula Tasmania’ was made by Gay Hawkes in Melbourne in 1985. It is made from shipwreck hardwood, collected at Forestier Peninsula in Tasmania and King William pine.
Tourists drive across the Forestier Peninsula on the way to Port Arthur but it remains very undeveloped and there appear to be few roads to the wild east coast where the artist was probably camped.