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National Museum explores Australian Journeys

29 JANUARY 2009

The National Museum of Australia has opened a major new permanent gallery, Australian Journeys which explores the journeys of people to and from Australia and the social, political and economic impacts of those journeys.

Australian Journeys is the first permanent gallery development at the National Museum since it opened in 2001. The gallery features more than 750 objects which tell stories of Australia interconnections with the world beginning in the period before European settlement in Australia and continuing through to the 21st century.

Craddock Morton, Director of the National Museum of Australia, said the opening of Australian Journeys is an important milestone in the development of the National Museum.

"Developing a permanent gallery is amongst the most ambitious and rewarding work a museum can undertake. Renewing an entire gallery gives us the space to show new acquisitions and more of the National Historical Collection," Mr Morton said.

"A long development period means we can bring extensive scholarship and world's best practice to the National Museum's exhibitions and programs. It gives us a chance to respond to what our visitors tell us engages them: exciting objects, compelling stories and rich information."

Australian Journeys explores Indigenous trade and connections of exchange and ceremony sustained across the Australian continent and into the Pacific for thousands of years, the voyages of European explorers, including Captain James Cook, and details the experiences of people who flooded to the Australian colonies in search of gold in the 19th century. It features exhibits about migrants, tourists and travellers who journeyed to and from Australia in the twentieth century, as well as the stories of sportsmen and women, artists and scientists working on the world stage in the twenty-first century.

The gallery includes significant purchases made by the National Museum including the First Fleet table, made of beefwood collected near Port Jackson for the First Fleet Surgeon General John White in the early 1790s, and a rich collection associated with Captain James Cook including Cook's plane table surveying frame, a striking marble bust and copy of Banks' Florilegium. Other highlights from the Museum's collection include a motion picture camera used by Frank Hurley in Antarctica, a Little Red Riding Hood wall hanging given to an Australian aid worker in a German Displaced Persons camp in the aftermath of World War II, and tokens left behind in Britain by convicts transported to the Australian colonies.

For more information about Australian Journeys visit www.nma.gov.au

For interviews, images and more information please contact Dennis Grant on 02 6208 5351, 0409 916 481 or Caroline Vero on 02 6208 5338, 0438 620 710 or media@nma.gov.au