The Journeys gallery explores the journeys of people to and from Australia and the social, political and economic impacts of those journeys. Here are some of the highlights from the 750 objects on show in the gallery. These objects are from the National Museum's collections, unless otherwise stated.
All photos by George Serras, Lannon Harley, Dragi Markovic and Dean McNicoll, unless otherwise stated.
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Gold washing cradle
Discovery of gold in New South Wales
Edward Hammond Hargraves is credited with the discovery of gold at Ophir in Australia in 1851.
He returned to Australia from the Californian goldfields determined to find gold in New South Wales. In Bathurst local men John Lister and William, James and Henry Tom showed Hargraves sites where they had found gold specks.
Using a cradle similar to those Hargraves had seen in California, the men washed the first payable gold, and started the gold rush in Australia.
This cradle, collected in the Ballarat area of Victoria, is one of thousands of cradles used by miners to extract surface alluvial gold from sites across Australia in the mid-19th century.
Made of Douglas fir imported to Australia or recycled from packing crates or other objects, the cradle has handmade metal nails and corner fixtures.
Preserving the Welsh language in Australia
The 1850s gold rush drew thousands of Welsh immigrants to Victoria. A Welsh chapel was built in La Trobe Street, Melbourne, in 1857. A church was erected on the same site in 1871.
At the Welsh Church, settlers and sojourners from Wales could sing and worship in Welsh — for most their first language. Presbyterian services in the Welsh language continue there to this day.
This Welsh hymnal from 1869 was used in the Melbourne Welsh Church. An organ which accompanied services at the church from the 1880s to the 1930s is also on show in the Australian Journeys gallery.
Charlie Lloyd's Klondike flag
Australians seeking gold overseas
Charlie Lloyd, a successful Australian gold miner had this flag made for a boat that he and six other Australians had made on Lake Bennett at the head of the Yukon River, Canada in 1898.
In 1899 Lloyd wrote: 'We had an Australian flag, which we got painted there. It was a devil of a job to give the Yankee an idea of a kangaroo. We interviewed every Australian on the field to try to get a drawing, but the attempts were not a success'.
The Australians had joined the rush to the Klondike goldfields. Gold was discovered in the Klondike River in 1896 and a year later the rush to the Klondike began. The Klondike became known as one of the greatest and most brutal of the gold rushes.
Lloyd made the long trek to Dawson City – the town closest to the goldfields – only to be disappointed by what he found. Lloyd stated that the boom was ‘caused by the shipping and trading companies, aided by an unscrupulous and lying Seattle press.’
Colour aquatint plate Field Sports, &c. &c. of the Native Inhabitants of New South Wales 1813
Governor Bligh's memento
The newly colonised continent of Australia was a subject of great curiosity in Europe. In order to satisfy the demand for information about the indigenous people of the new Colony, the illustrated book Field Sports &c &c of the Native Inhabitants of New South Wales was published in England in 1813. It was the first work to draw exclusively for its subject matter from the Aboriginal people of Australia.
Field Sports portrays Aboriginal culture and features their weapons and tools in use. For the many keen collectors of such weapons and tools in England, Field Sports provided valuable information on their purpose and uses. This ensured that Field Sports was reprinted in numerous editions and supplements until the 1820s.
Wolseley shearing machine
A new shearing machine demonstrated to the citizens of Melbourne in 1885 by Frederick Wolseley of Euroka station, Walgett, New South Wales, was quickly adopted and soon replaced traditional hand shears.
Powered by a steam engine and incorporating a revolutionary handpiece and overhead mechanism, pastoralists hoped the mechanical shearing machine would enable even an inexperienced shearer to remove wool quickly and cleanly.
Wolseley established factories in Sydney and Birmingham, England. His machines were installed in shearing sheds across Australia and the world.
In England the Wolseley company began building engines, cars and agricultural equipment, as well as shearing machines.
The two-stand machine pictured here was manufactured in Birmingham in about 1930 and used on a sheep station in New South Wales.
Sandpiper specimen collected by Robert Hall and Ernie Trebilcock
Tracking migratory birds from Australia to Siberia
In 1903 Australian ornithologist Robert Hall and his assistant, Ernie Trebilcock, travelled to Russia to research the migratory patterns of birds.
They collected this sandpiper specimen at the mouth of the Lena River in Siberia. This was tangible proof that, each year, shorebirds such as the sandpiper travel 26,000 kilometres from southern Australia to their breeding grounds in the wetlands of Siberia and back.
This specimen was among more than 200 sold to English naturalist Walter Rothschild.
Today, the Australian Wader Study Group continues Hall and Trebilcock's work, tracking birds migrating along the East Asian–Australasian Flyway from Australia to Siberia.
Lent by the American Museum of Natural History.