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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William Smith O'Brien figurines
Transportation of an Irish rebel
Parliamentarian William Smith O'Brien was convicted of high treason in the 1840s for leading a rebellion against British rule in Ireland. He was transported to Van Diemen's Land, now Tasmania.
These Staffordshire figures, made in 1848, both portray William Smith O'Brien.
The standing figure shows O'Brien in chains and convict clothing, though in Van Diemen's Land, he was not required to dress in convict uniform or wear irons. This figure was based on the popular image of a convict.
The seated figure was made about the time of O'Brien's arrest. It shows him in the clothes of an aristocrat, wearing the chains of his imprisonment.
Listen to 'Captured in Staffordshire: Staffordshire figurines of Irish nationalist, parliamentarian and convict William Smith O'Brien' audio
Curator Rebecca Nason detailed her research on the William Smith O'Brien figurines in a presentation at the National Museum on 11 June 2008.
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.
Brick used to construct a Bendigo kiln
Chinese industry on the goldfields
In 1859 the Bendigo Advertiser reported that A'Fok, Fok Sing and Co. had applied for a lease of ground near the Chinese encampment to build a brick kiln.
One hundred and forty-five years later, archaeologists from Heritage Victoria excavated the site of the kiln, recovering bricks including this one, believed to be part of an arch.
Some 4000 Chinese men and women migrated to the Bendigo goldfields in the 1850s. They were entitled to mine surface alluvial gold but the authorities excluded them from delving for the deeper quartz deposits.
As a result, many gave up mining and started businesses in service industries instead, doing laundry, market gardening, shopkeeping or, like A'Fok, Fok Sing and Co., making bricks.
Lent by Heritage Victoria.
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.