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National Museum opens Landmarks gallery

2 JUNE 2011

The National Museum of Australia has opened a major new permanent gallery, Landmarks: People and Places across Australia. Bringing together more than 1500 objects, Landmarks explores Australian history since European settlement.

"Every place in Australia has its share of stories. Landmarks takes 34 places and localities and draws out their multiple meanings over generations. There are Indigenous stories, settlement sagas, tales of triumph and failure, of cities and the bush," said Andrew Sayers, Director of the National Museum of Australia.

A 15.2 tonne rock shovel bucket used in mining iron ore at Mount Tom Price, Western Australia, donated to the National Museum by Rio Tinto in 2010, is one of many striking large objects conveying an important Australian story.

Tiny treasures such as four small pieces of gold, wrapped in a crumpled note expressing 'many happy returns' from a digger in the goldfields of the Lachlan Valley, New South Wales evoke the dreams of wealth pursued, within and without the law.

Jeannie Gunn's writing desk on which she wrote We of the Never-Never, an account of her experiences on Elsey station, one of the first pastoral stations established in the Top End near Mataranka, Northern Territory helps present insights into relationships between the Mangarrayi people of Elsey station and settler Australians who lived there.

A Simplex windmill donated to the National Museum by a family in central Queensland is one of the most dominant objects in the gallery. The windmill rotates slowly with the distinctive sound of creaking metal.

Phar Lap's heart forms the centrepiece to an exhibit about the history of Melbourne's Flemington Racecourse, with particular focus on the Melbourne Cup as it connects far distant people to Flemington and each other.

The Holden prototype no.1, one of three experimental cars brought to Australia in 1946, explores the design and development of the first Holdens as well as the experiences of GMH employees, many of whom stayed with the company for their entire working lives.

Stories of objects in Landmarks from every state and territory and an overview of the new gallery by Senior Curator Dr Kirsten Wehner are available on the National Museum's website: http://nma.gov.au/media/media_kits/permanent_exhibitions/landmarks/


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