The author, Paul Donnelly collecting pottery on the survey,
November 2012. Photo:Meg Danes
Archaeology and the Powerhouse Museum go back a long way. The most obvious examples are exhibitions focussing on archaeological material including ‘1000 Years of the Olympic Games‘, ‘The Great Wall of China‘, and the recent, ‘Spirit of Jang-in‘ from Korea. Less well known is the Museum’s participation and support of archaeological excavations over the past four decades, with the most recent being the revived excavations at Zagora, on the island of Andros in Greece.
Continue reading ‘Archaeology Week – the Powerhouse Museum in Greece’
Sectioned XP Ford Falcon, Powerhouse Museum Collection. Gift of the Ford Motor Company of Australia, 1966. B1644
On 23 May, 2013, Australians were stunned to learn that Ford was to finish production of cars in Australia in 2016. The first Ford cars were sold in Australia in 1904 and a sales office opened in Melbourne in 1909, established by Ford of Canada. In the same year a local manufacturing plant was established in Victoria, at Geelong, 70 km SW of Melbourne. The Broadmeadows assembly plant, 16 km N of Melbourne, was opened in 1958 and an engine machine shop built in the expanded plant two years later. This enabled production to almost double from 50,000 to 90,000 units in 1961.
Continue reading ‘Ford to close in Australia: an Australian icon, the 1965 Ford Falcon XP’
Excavating the Wadi Mouth site at the South Tombs Cemetery © Melanie Pitkin.
I’ve recently returned from the 2013 Spring Season excavations at the South Tombs Cemetery in Tell el-Amarna, Middle Egypt. Tell el-Amarna, or more simply Amarna, is the ancient Egyptian city built by the ‘heretic’ King Akhenaten, husband of Queen Nefertiti, in c. 1350 BC. Occupied for less than 20 years, Amarna is where Akhenaten broke with 2000 years of tradition to “pursue his vision of a society dedicated to the cult of only one god, the power of the sun – the Aten” (Amarna Project). Continue reading ‘Archaeology Week – Excavating an ancient Egyptian cemetery: pondering the ethics of working with human remains’
A3161 Earthenware oil lamp, 1st-2nd century AD
Collection: Powerhouse Museum
There is currently great excitement in London as evidence of Roman lives – wonderfully preserved in the London mud – are being extracted by archaeologists. Among the material are hundreds of Roman shoes, jewellery, waxed wooden writing tablets with their writing styli, jewellery, cosmetic tools, part of the Temple of Mithras and of course, pottery galore.
Continue reading ‘Archaeology Week- ‘Pompeii of the north’ in Powerhouse’s Guildhall Collection’
Pub painting, photo by Jim Brown 1968-1972.
Jim Brown was a former US serviceman who lived in Sydney from 1968 to 1972. Like a lot of people back then he was struck by the oil-on-glass pub advertising paintings which adorned most of Sydney’s pubs. During the first half of the twentieth century a lot of advertising graphics and signs were the work of artists like those at the Rousel Studio. A painterly touch was common.
Continue reading ‘Lost paintings from the pub wall’
Collector, naturalist and Catholic priest Julian Tenison Woods (1832-1889)
Behind the scenes at the Powerhouse, a team of people has been chipping away at a coalface. They are mining the collection. As part of a TAM (Total Asset Management) project, they are digitising early acquisition records to make sure the collection database contains a record of every item collected since the beginning of the Museum in 1882. They are also improving the documentation of some of our important early collections. Among other discoveries, the TAM project has uncovered a small treasure-trove for historians and followers of Mary MacKillop and her mentor, and for scholars of Asian culture.
Continue reading ‘Julian Tenison Woods, spiritual advisor to Mary McKillop’
Miners hard hat, 1947, Kandos
Coming up with an idea for a research project was not difficult for me living on the edge of the Western coalfield of NSW. Evidence of Kandos’ past reliance on the winning of coal doesn’t take much digging.
Continue reading ‘Powerhouse Museum Movable Heritage Fellow for 2013 -Leanne Wicks from Kandos’
The other day I was walking through the museum and came across a family visiting the Steam Revolution exhibition. Their young son was racing around in typical fashion when he came to a dead stop in front of the above object and exclaimed ‘Wow – a giant exploded treasure chest!!’
The object in question is the Day Street Boiler and it does have a pretty interesting story. This large end section was unearthed in 1976 during construction of the Western Distributor freeway. It appears to have been used as landfill in the early days of Sydney when land reclamations took place for construction of the dockland area at Darling Harbour, between 1838 and 1848. There were only 6 steam engines operating in Sydney in 1831, which grew to 26 by the end of the 1840s, so the Day Street Boiler is quite a rare piece of metal.
Continue reading ‘Wow – a giant exploded treasure chest!’
85/1286-1005 Photographic negative, studio portrait of four soldiers, A Wedmore [Driver], G W Ralston, W C Potts, World War One Gunners, 21 Howitzer Brigade, and one unidentified man, glass / silver / gelatin, owned by Tyrrell’s bookstore, Sydney, 1916-1918
Sometimes museum work can take a long time to bear fruit and this collection of World War One portraits is a case-in-point. For most of the twentieth century they were buried within the huge collection acquired by James Tyrrell, the Sydney bookstore owner. Presumably he had acquired them in the 1920s and 1930s, either as part of one of the commercial studio collection’s built up by Charles Kerry and Henry King, or separately at one of the many auction’s he must have attended.
Continue reading ‘Discovery of 400 World War One Photographic Portraits’