The Australian 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 objects that were previously 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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Tania Verstak's Miss Australia 1961 trophy
Tania Verstak becomes the first migrant to win the Miss Australia Quest
Tania Verstak was born in Tianjin, China to Russian parents who escaped the 1917 Russian revolution. When the Communist Chinese government began pressuring Russians to leave, the Verstaks fled to Australia, arriving in Sydney in 1952, where they settled in Manly.
In 1961 Verstak became the first migrant to be crowned Miss Australia. She also won the United-States based title, Miss International. The Miss Australia Quest ran annually as a fundraiser for the Australian Cerebral Palsy Association.
By the 1960s Australian society was becoming more multicultural. Verstak's win reflected a change in the national image.
Tania Verstak's national costume
Australia wins Miss International
As Miss Australia 1961, Tania Verstak travelled to California to compete for the title of Miss International. Wearing her 'national costume', Verstak spoke of how, as an adopted daughter of Australia, she was grateful to live in a land so full of opportunity. In front of 7000 spectators and millions of American television viewers Verstak was crowned Miss International for 1963.
Verstak was welcomed home to Sydney by huge cheering crowds. The lord mayors of Sydney and Manly held civic receptions in her honour and she was congratulated by the Minister for Immigration and the Prime Minister, Sir Robert Menzies, for representing Australia so well on the global stage.
See also Tania Verstak's 1961 Miss Australia win (previous slide)
Handmade telescope 'model' given to Hermann Wehner
Building the Anglo-Australian Telescope
Engineer Hermann Wehner arrived in Australia from Germany in 1952, contracted by the Australian Government to spend nine months refurbishing and installing the Great Melbourne Telescope at Mount Stromlo Observatory near Canberra.
He was still working there 15 years later, when he was seconded to work on the Anglo–Australian Telescope, a joint British and Australian initiative to construct a world-class telescope in the Southern Hemisphere.
The Anglo–Australian Telescope was opened by Prince Charles in 1974. Wehner returned to his job at Mount Stromlo and, as a farewell gift, his colleagues presented him with this handmade 'model' of the Anglo–Australian Telescope.
Irish dancing costume made by Rachel Franzen
An Australian teaches Irish dancing in Dubai
Australian Rachel Franzen took up Irish dancing as a young girl living in Canberra. Irish culture isn't in her blood — she started dancing simply because classes were offered as an after-school activity conveniently close to her home.
After a year, Franzen was hooked. She went on to enjoy success in 10 consecutive Australian National Irish Dancing Championships.
Today, Franzen lives in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates where she works as an Irish dancing teacher and choreographer. She also runs a business designing and making Irish dancing costumes for students in Dubai and, via the internet, around the world.
Her designs blend traditional styles of Irish dancing dresses with modern fabrics and motifs drawn from Islamic architecture and decoration.
The design on this Franzen dress blends traditional Irish decorations with motifs derived from Arabic architecture. The pattern in the centre of the bodice, for example, is a traditional Celtic form signifying the continuity of life; while the decorations on the skirt petals were inspired by a tile from the Lutf Allah Mosque in Isfahan in Iran.
'Ningkushum' (Freshwater shark), by Lesley Walmbeng, wooden sculpture from Cape Kerweer, Western Cape York Peninsula
Taking Indigenous art to the world
In 1962 men and women of the Wik people — the Aboriginal peoples of western Cape York Peninsula in northern Queensland — organised a series of important totemic ceremonies.
Lesley Walmbeng created this shark sculpture for dances held at the Aurukun Mission station. The sculpture, now part of the National Museum collection, was originally collected by anthropologist Frederick McCarthy.
In 1988 curator Peter Sutton of the South Australian Museum selected the sculpture to appear in Dreamings, a large exhibition of Australian Aboriginal art that travelled to the United States. The sculptures first went on international display at the Asia Society Galleries on Park Avenue, New York.
Cotton scoreboard banner from the Melbourne Cricket Ground given to Nance Clements
Cricketing journeys to and from Australia
Cricketer Nance Clements made her debut for Victoria against a touring English side at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) in 1934. She went on to play for Australia, becoming part of a long tradition of contests with bat and ball between Britain and its former colonies.
After her debut match, Clements souvenired the scoreboard banner bearing her name and discovered that 'LARWOOD' was painted on the back.
The MCG had apparently reused the banners from the Ashes Test series of the previous year, when Englishman Harold Larwood outraged Australian crowds and strained British–Australian relations by bowling fast, attacking 'bodyline' deliveries that injured several Australian batsmen.