Women’s swimsuit, 1968 Mexico Olympic Games, as worn by the Australian Team, nylon, Speedo, Australia, 1968. Collection: MAAS
Once proudly known as the great Aussie cossie, Speedo swimwear occupies an important place in Australia’s sporting and manufacturing heritage. From the company’s beginnings in the 1920s, its aim was to excel in the manufacture of competitive swimwear. Now owned by the UK-based Pentland Group, Speedo has been worn by more Olympic gold medallists than any other brand.
The Museum is privileged to house the world’s most significant and comprehensive collection of Speedo swimwear, primarily donated through former Speedo designer Gloria Smythe and an ongoing relationship with Speedo Australia. With competitive swimwear from the 1930s to the 2012 London Olympic Games, the collection highlights how innovation in design and textiles has been instrumental to Speedo’s success.
Detail model, entry structure 2008. Powerhouse Museum collection, donated through the Cultural Gifts Program by Rachel Neeson in memory of Nicholas Murcutt.
A lot of people were pleased when Prince Alfred Park swimming pool starred at the recent 2014 NSW architecture awards. As well as the prize gong, the Sulman Medal for public architecture, the new pool received the Lloyd Rees Award for urban design.
I was among the pleased people as during 2013 I acquired a collection of 18 models made during the pool’s design and approval process. Rachel Neeson who designed the pool with her late partner Nicholas Murcutt suggested that I must have ‘sniffed’ an award win 12 months ago. I certainly loved the pool but also like anyone who visits architect studios I was often struck by the number of design models lying around apparently discarded. Despite the advent of 3D imaging and design software models are still a crucial part of the design process for most architects, hence my request to Rachel for the pool models.
Jack Brabham driving a Repco-Brabham at Warwick Farm, Sydney, Lance Ruting, Australia, 1967, Collection: Powerhouse Museum
It was sad to awaken to the news of the passing of one of Australia’s great sporting heroes, Sir Jack Brabham at his Queensland home this morning. The Powerhouse Museum had a fruitful relationship with Sir Jack and his wife Lady Margaret in the late 1990s during the development of the exhibition Cars and Culture : our driving passion .
We were lucky enough to exhibit Sir Jack Brabham’s Formula One Repco Brabahm car, a Repco engine, and some of Sir Jacks memorabilia in the Museum’s exhibition Cars and Culture: our driving passion (1998-2000). The exhibition explored Australians passionate relationships with their cars and Sir Jack wrote a forward in the accompanying publication of the same name.
Sir Jack Brabham was one of the most accomplished drivers and team owners in the history of Formula One racing. The first driver to be knighted for services to motorsport, and the first Australian to win the Formula One World Championships, he won in 1959, 1960 and 1966. The the final time in a car designed and engineered by him with friend and fellow Australian Ron Tauranac .
Skateboard , with prototype graphic, “skateboarding saved my life”, mixed materials, artwork by David Griggs / skateboard by Riot Skateboards, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, 2003. Collection: Powerhouse Museum
Artist David Griggs reaches into the elements of popular and street culture, horror movies and the street sport of skate boarding. His art sources its inspiration from contemporary images and materials. David Griggs’art has had growing recognition since 1994 and he won the Archibald prize in 2013 for his portrait of TV Moore.
Photographic print, Junee Ex-Services Memorial Club, paper, photographed by Max Dupain for Max Dupain and Associates, New South Wales, Australia, 1961. Collection: Powerhouse Museum
Lawn bowls is one of Australia’s most popular sports, It has seen several transformations in its history. Beginning as an occasional public house sport, it was a leisure activity for the male elite in the nineteenth century, then a mass sport for men and women after the Second World War and now appeals to a much younger age group.
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…
Nota Type IV ‘Fang’ sports racing car, chassis No. 224/71, made by Chris Buckingham, Nota Engineering, Parramatta, New South Wales, Australia, 1971. Powerhouse Museum collection 90/557.
This Australian-designed and built sports racing car is the prototype for the Nota Type IV ‘Fang’ in the RT (Road Track) Series. It was manufactured in 1971 by a small Sydney-based automobile manufacturer, Nota Engineering, of 40 Smith Street, Parramatta, probably the oldest specialist manufacturer of sports cars in Australia.
Model, Aquatic Centre for the Asian Games, Bangkok, Philip Cox/Cox Architects, 1995. Powerhouse Museum collection.
The architect Philip Cox recently told us what we already knew: Star casino in Pyrmont is by far his worst building. Needless to say a Star flack was immediately reassuring the media that almost none of Cox’s 1997 design had survived the casino’s recent renovations. Whether the casino genre is a likely inspiration for good architecture need not concern us here – for his part Cox declared casinos a toxic genre and wished he’d never designed one.
Mannequins waiting to be dressed for ‘The 80s are back’ exhibition. Image Powerhouse Museum
This image above is from a series by Museum photographer, Geoff Friend capturing the secret world of mannequins. Sometimes when venturing into the basement or workshop areas, particularly late in the afternoon I feel I have interrupted murmurings between mannequins. Continue reading
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.