You are in site section: History & ideas



The National Museum of Australia holds a rich and diverse collection of Australian historical material in trust for the nation. People's interaction with the environment is one of our three core collecting areas. Here, you will find object and collection information developed by the People and Environment program.

Collection highlights

Collection reflections

Writers and artists look closely at our collections to produce essays and artworks that suggest new ways of understanding Australia, other species, and ourselves.

A thylacine pelt
Cat skin rug and thylacine pelt
Artist Amanda Stuart reflects on the stories of two less-loved animal species.
Sugarbag Dreaming (detail) by Jimmy Wululu bark painting
Sugarbag bark paintings
Natasha Fijn takes a closer look at sugarbag bark paintings and Indigenous identity.
Black and white photograph showing a settler family outside a slab hut.
Cowey photographs
Kate Rigby reflects on the transformation from forest to farmland on her home turf in Victoria.

Collection interactives

Flemington on Cup Day

Flemington on Cup Day

Explore the workings and wonders of Flemington, Australia's largest racecourse, on Melbourne Cup Day. See how fashions have changed over the years, hear about broadcasting from veteran race caller Greg Miles, see a parade of champion horses and check out some of the objects on show in our Landmarks gallery.

Launch the Flemington on Cup Day interactive

Read more about Flemington in Landmarks

Exploring the world at Port Macquarie

A screenshot image of the 'Exploring the world at Port Macquarie' multimedia interactive.

Port Macquarie, on the central coast of New South Wales, has inspired scientific and historical inquiry for generations. Learn how artist Annabella Innes, amateur astronomer William Macdonnell and agriculturalist Thomas Dick recorded and responded to landscapes, plants, animals and people in the area.

Launch the Port Macquarie interactive

More about Port Macquarie in Landmarks

European voyages to the Australian continent

European voyages to the Australian continent

Explore various journeys to the Australian continent through themes of trade, navigation, science and empire. Learn more about the voyages and how the objects carried by different voyagers were made, used or conserved.

Launch the Banks' Florilegium Flash interactive
(Flash 9 compatible – download Flash)

Launch the Voyaging with a needle Flash interactive
(Flash 9 compatible – download Flash)

View the European voyages to the Australian continent HTML website