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.
Photo by Max Dupain 1966, Powerhouse Museum collection. Courtesy Max Dupain & Associates.
We’ve just installed a small exhibition to mark the fortieth anniversary of Sydney Opera House on 20 October. The anniversary, by the way, is of the official 1973 opening by the Queen, not the first public performance there on the 28 September 1973, an interesting choice of dates.
95/298/1 Film costume, swimsuit, women’s, satin / nylon / sequins, worn by Esther Williams or Edith Motridge as Annette Kellerman in ‘Million Dollar Mermaid’, designed by Helen Rose, made by MGM Studios, USA, 1951-1952. Collection: Powerhouse Museum
Despite being a huge star for MGM in the 1940s and 50s, Esther Williams’ most famous connection to Australia is arguably her role in the film Million Dollar Mermaid where she portrayed the early life of Annette Kellerman.
Powerhouse Museum Collection, object 2001/84/108-5. Part of the Sydney 2000 Games Collection. Gift of the New South Wales Government, 2001.
These boots were made for dancing. They are Blundstone work boots modified for tap dancing in the Sydney Olympic Games Opening Ceremony. Entering into the quirky, innovative spirit of Wallace & Gromit’s World of Invention, I selected them for display alongside the staid historic Wellington boots that came from Britain with the exhibition.
2012/50/1 Shop display, mechanical, The Beatles, wood / metal, maker unknown, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, 1963-1964. Collection: Powerhouse Museum.
The Museum has started to develop a new exhibition about the Beatles’ 1964 tour of Australia. We recently acquired an unusual object from around that time. Does anybody know where it originated?
The player piano is on the left and the organ pipes and effects box on the right H10302
The Powerhouse Museum’s Style 20 Fotoplayer is a wonderful instrument on display in the Kings Cinema within the Museum. It was made to provide music and sound effects to accompany silent movies and is an upright player piano, with an effects box.
When a roll is played, it activates the piano and the organ sections, but the other special effects need to be operated by hand. This means that the person operating the Fotoplayer needs to know the movie they are accompanying really well, so that they can operate the effects at the right time (doorbells, gunshot sounds from the drums etc etc.). No mean feat! Continue reading
Lucky Starr on Six O’Clock Rock. Gift of Pamela M. Lindus, 2008.
We are marking the 80th anniversary of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation by highlighting some related objects and images in the Powerhouse Museum’s collection.
This photograph was taken by Bob Eaton, while working as part of the technical crew at ABC television studios at Sydney’s Gore Hill, in 1960 or 1961. It shows Lucky Starr performing on the ABC’s first rock ’n’ roll television show, Six O’Clock Rock.
2007/50/64 Music magazine, 'Juke' Melbourne, used by Festival Records, Sydney, 1986. Collection: Powerhouse Museum
Vince Lovegrove was an Australian journalist, music manager, television producer, musician and AIDS awareness campaigner. Perhaps best known for his job as manager of rock group Divinyls and singer Jimmy Barnes. Lovegrove was a member of a 1960s band the Valentines sharing vocals with Bon Scott whom he later introduced to heavy rock group AC/DC.
A bear with fond memories, 86/1053 Leslie Walford's teddy bear, Collection: Powerhouse Museum
In 1986 Leslie Walford donated a flamboyant collection of clothing and memorabilia to the Powerhouse Museum. Including this charming musical teddy bear. It was a gift from his father who died when Walford was two. This little toy has now outlasted its owner and will be fondly associated with Walford’s exuberant and generous personality. Walford remarked – He seems to be a bear of quality and his expressive features indicate his benign character.
The donation included Walford’s Mr Fish psychedelic shirts, Nutters of Saville Row suits, a kangaroo skin coat, an Yves Saint Laurent safari suit and set of Christian Dior ties. The collection tells of a time during the 1960s and 1970s when men’s clothing was exciting and exuberant.
86/1036, 86/1030, back of Mr Fish's psychedelic shirt and Milano trousers. Collection: Powerhouse Museum
Leslie Walford’s dramatic aesthetic perfectly suited this time. His perspective on interior design was eclectic and colourful and led to a very distinguished career. After studying in Paris and London he became a prime mover in this field in Australia and served on numerous committees and foundations including the Art Gallery of New South Wales and the Powerhouse Museum.
Walford’s Double Bay penthouse was bursting with intriguing stories reflecting his life and objects such as Fortuny silk lanterns and paintings by Jeffrey Smart that he collected through his extensive interests, friends and travels. In 2010 he received the Member of the Order of Australia for service to the performing arts and to the profession of interior design.
Leslie Walford will be sadly missed.