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10 November 2005

A five-tonne wagon that was workplace and home to a self-styled 'saw doctor' during the Depression will be moved from Mitchell to the National Museum tomorrow in preparation for an exhibition which showcases the wide diversity of the National Historical Collection - Captivating and Curious.

The wagon - more than six metres long - and adorned with colourful, hand-crafted decorations - is one of several large objects going on show in the exhibition, which opens on 13 December. A 1936 Percival Gull aeroplane and a giant kewpie doll which featured in the Sydney Olympics closing ceremony are already in place.

The saw doctor's wagon was the combined workshop and home to Harold Wright - saw sharpener extraordinaire - and his family for three decades. Initially pulled by a single horse, it was later fitted to a truck chassis, later converted to a trailer pulled by a tractor. It came to the museum after being discovered on a farm in Victoria.

'The wagon is one of many objects in the exhibition which tells the story of individual Australians - in this case the challenging existence of a man who needed to make a living in tough times,' said Guy Hansen, senior curator for Captivating and Curious.

The wagon will be lifted into its display place by an eight-tonne forklift tomorrow after hours of planning and preparation. Guy Hansen and other Museum staff will be available for interview.

WHAT: Saw doctor's wagon being installed for new Captivating and Curious exhibition

WHEN: 12-12.30pm, Friday 11 November 2005

WHERE: Loading Dock, National Museum, Acton Peninsula

Captivating and Curious includes 450 fascinating objects, including a wide array of Aboriginal breastplates, tools, weapons and art; early biological specimens; Sir Robert Menzies' movie camera; Sir Thomas Mitchell's duelling pistols; Dame Nellie Melba's farewell letter; Azaria Chamberlain's dress and booties.

The free exhibition will be on show at the National Museum from 13 December 2005 to 20 March 2006.

For images, interviews or more information please contact Sandy Forbes on 02 6208 5351, 0409 916 481 or Leanda Coleman on 02 6208 5338, 0438 620 710 or email

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