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Phar Lap's heart to stay in Canberra

17 JUNE 2010

The National Museum of Australia has declined a request to transport Phar Lap's heart for display in Melbourne. Research on transporting the heart has affirmed the extreme risk of damage during transit.

Phar Lap's heart is in an extremely fragile condition and the risk of damage to the organ from shock and vibration associated with transport is considerable.

The Director of the National Museum, Andrew Sayers, said: "We are very keen and willing to share our collection with the nation and treat every request for loan seriously. Having said that, it is also our responsibility to preserve the items in our collection for current and future generations of Australians. In this case we must follow the unequivocal advice of experts."

The National Museum consulted with national and international authorities and all warned of the grave risk of transporting Phar Lap's heart. One international expert noted that: "If we want to keep it in one piece, we should not lend it."

In researching the technical issues associated with Phar Lap's heart the National Museum of Australia consulted the Australian Defence Force Academy, Sound and Vibration labs and the ANU School of Anatomy.

The Museum also consulted institutions that hold tissue and wet specimen collections, including the Royal College of Surgeons, London; and the Museum of Anatomy, Leiden, Netherlands.

Mr Sayers said: "On the basis of current scientific consensus, the heart of Phar Lap will not leave the National Museum."


For images, interviews or more information please contact Dennis Grant on 02 6208 5351 or 0409 916 481 or email: media@nma.gov.au