Norman Hetherington and Mr Squiggle
Norman Hetherington was a creator of wonder, but also, what may not be as well known, he was a creator of edifying realism. Having served in the Second World War, Hetherington got a taste of and developed a talent for performance art, being part of an entertainment unit. After the war he began making marionettes and puppets, and joined the Clovelly Puppet Theatre. He attended the Australian Broadcasting Commission’s television training school just prior to the introduction of television to Australia, so Hetherington had the opportunity to create a children’s puppet show which aired in 1956. Two years later he developed another show, Mr Squiggle, which ran for four decades.
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.
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…
Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras 1993 poster, designed by Kendal Baker, Australia, 1993. 95/339/6-2 Collection: Powerhouse Museum.
As Sydney throw itself into another round of Mardi Gras celebrations, it is 35 years since the initial march. Attitudes have shifted since 1978 when the first march, which was more of a political protest, attracted the wrath of the police and condemnation from certain parts of society and the media.
This time of year is one of consumable abundance in Australia. We are encouraged to indulge in large quantities of high calorie, highly processed sugar-rich foods; and to consume alcohol. Although a legal and celebrated intoxicant, alcohol is a strong mood altering drug, and consumption levels can be quite difficult to gauge. Intoxication in individuals can vary greatly, depending on weight, health, tolerance, and state of mind at the time of consumption; however, the New South Wales Police have adopted and enforce the maximum level of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood be under .05 grams to legally operate a vehicle on a public road. Some individuals may drive a vehicle knowing that they are likely over this limit; others may have no real idea – having consumed alcohol in a socially accepted and sometimes expected manner. This may well ruin their Christmas and New Year holidays!
One of the 97 Australian AIDS Memorial Quilts held in the collection. 2011/109/. Gift of the Sydney Quilt project, 2011. Collection: Powerhouse Museum
The theme for this year’s WORLD AIDS Day is ‘getting to Zero, which mean zero new HIV infections. Zero discrimination . Zero AIDS related Deaths’. Australia has come a long way since the first World AIDS Day in 1988 and the first AIDS case came to its shores in 1982.
A looped string bag or bilum made from plant materials in Papua New Guinea in the early to mid 1900s. 2011/44/12-2 Powerhouse Museum collection
Always bulging, because that’s their nature, string bags are almost a thing of the past, relegated to memory by designer totes and paper carrier bags. One of the few string bags I see these days is the orange one my daughter uses to stuff all the beach toys into. This week however I’m reminded of those capacious multi-purpose string bags known as bilums that are traditional to Papua New Guinea. The connection? The photographic exhibition Access to Life which has just opened at Sydney’s Powerhouse Museum for World AIDS Day 2012. Sydney is the tenth city in the world to show Access to Life, but the first to add Papua New Guinea as a special regional component.
Penicillium notatum samples. Powerhouse Museum Collection, object 99/30/1.
These two historic petri dishes are on display at the Powerhouse Museum during Ultimo Science Festival as part of the Science Snaps activity. The sample of green penicillin-producing mould on the left grew for one day and the one on the right for four days. Letters that complement the samples provide glimpses of the 1940s penicillin research project led by Australian-born scientist Howard Florey at Oxford University. They also give us some insight into the hardships faced by families in Britain during and after World War 2.
2001/55/1 Anatomical model, female abdomen and foetus, ‘obstetric phantom’, maker unknown, [United Kingdom],  Collection: Powerhouse Museum
Many objects in the Powerhouse Museum’s health and medicine collection have a visceral, unique and incidental beauty to them. The skull saw , the mortuary table, even the speculums. And some objects engender an inspired beauty in both form and function, such as the obstetric phantom.
90/91 Poster, `Buy CAAMA Cassettes', paper, designed by Michael Callaghan and Jeff Stewart, made by Redback Graphix, Wollongong, 1984. Collection: Powerhouse Museum
The above bi-lingual screenprinted poster design by Michael Callaghan, was produced at Redback Graphix in Wollongong in 1984 for CAAMA, the Central Australian Aboriginal Media Association (established 1980). CAAMA is owned by the Aboriginal people of Central Australia, and aims to advance social, cultural and economic benefits to local people. CAAMA was the first Aboriginal group in Australia to be allocated a broadcasting licence, and this poster is one of the earliest bi-lingual posters designs produced for an Aboriginal community.