Below we present a growing set of our favourite Object Stories posted to ABC Open.
As a journalist, Solua Middleton bore witness to Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's apology to the Stolen Generations: 'I remember the words "We say sorry". You could feel the tension release from the room, which was filled with many Indigenous Australians who were affected by those removal policies.'
Not only does this story explain how a sextant works, it's a story of ocean navigation from the central desert. Thank you, Fiona Walsh.
Aunty Dorrie Moore's father's certificate of exemption gave him some of the privileges of white people but also (at least in theory) restricted his access to culture, language and family. Find out more about these certificates.
At the end of the era of Holden manufacturing in Australia, 'samgraffeo' describes the place of the FJ in three histories – of his family, Holden and Australia. See also a beautiful example of the model from whence this light comes.
So many rabbits! And on land where English traps were almost useless. Enter the Warrigal trap, a tool for putting an environmental disaster to good use. Rabbit stew! Akubra hats (like this one)! Or for the crafty, warmth.
In 1941 the No. 5 platoon – some of the Rats of Tobruk – crafted this medal from shrapnel and presented it to the battalion doctor, Dr Stanley Goulston, who quietly treasured it for the rest of his life.
From Sophie de Vitis, an object story with the lot: underpants made during WWII from material purchased with ration coupons – and a sign roll for Sydney tram stops – to a WWI pattern with seams in which lice could not hide. And yes, they have been 'mended and restitched over and over'.
As Marilyn Berry explains, these copper penny spoons were crafted on the quiet in a railway metal workshop – a product of larrikin enterprise in the age of postwar frugality.
Did you know that in the 1950s Australian history was taught via comic books? Does that approach work for you? Follow the link and share your thoughts.
news article reports.
From Andrew West in Broken Hill, a story two million years in the making, of serendipity, sensitivity, and chivalry – and not, actually, of fences at all, however fascinating fences are.
On the challenge of riding sidesaddle: "I've tried it, and I'm useless, and I've been riding for 80 years." So says Lez Taylor, in this story of how jodhpurs – and the Indian women that inspired them – helped relegate sidesaddles to history.
Donna Hellier's mother rescued a piece of the 1956 Melbourne Olympics finish line as it was being dug up for the cricket – and saved it in a chutney jar. And we have the ABC TV outside broadcast van, which shared the critical moments as runners crossed the finish line.
Having been at both ends of the strap, Howard Lowe reflects on the era of corporal punishment in schools.
Wilma Williams' Aunt Betty was 16 and dux of her school when she landed a job with Fletcher Jones, a newly established clothing manufacturer. Always generous with his staff, Fletcher Jones was also a pioneer of workforce participation, converting his business into a co-operative so that all staff owned shares in the company.
In 1903 Miles Franklin's sister Laurel died, aged 11. To commemorate her short life, another sister, Linda, made this bracelet from Laurel's hair; it's now part of the Tumut Museum collection.
"I declare that I am a genuine smoker" – Margaret M is fascinated by these forms for tobacco rations for ex-service personnel, from an era when smoking 'was expected, condoned, assisted and supported'.
"Harry Freakman, Shrink, hee har, are you mad?" Dr Harry Freeman worked at the infamous Aquarius Festival that overtook Nimbin in 1973, and ended up with a psychedelic Tshirt treasure. Also worth a look is the contemporary ABC Four Corners report on the festival.
From the Museum of the Riverina, an object of many lives. First, a gentleman's firm brim hat. Second, a showman's bread and butter. Then, before finally coming to rest in the museum, it was good old timey fun.
When we’re sitting in the trenches / Midst the hail of shot and shell / We still have time to send a line: / “Dear Mum, I’m safe and well.” How wartime mementos helped Vera Rayson understand the impact of war – on all parties.
You can also hear an interview with Vera Rayson via ABC Radio National's Hindsight program.
From Gilgandra Historical Society, a war story of culture, communications, feminine industry, the impassioned Cooee March and, of course, loss. Also of comfort?
The objects of Leeanne Wilson's story are housed in the National Museum of Australia, part of a large collection of Aboriginal breastplates. For the Museum, they represent pivot points in the history of cross-cultural relations. For Leeanne, whose ancestors received them, they represent souls that need to be healed.
As Wendy King explains, smokers like this one pacify the bees so beekeepers can inspect a hive, harvest the honey and – most importantly – protect the bees on which our food security depends. See also this bark painting self-portrait by Jimmy Wululu, Sugarbag Dreaming.
Vanessa Brennan describes a soft and successful approach to teaching children empathy and responsibility.
For 52 years June Cashman worked as a nurse. Her most rewarding time was in Aboriginal health in the 'red centre' in the 1960s. She has always treasured the woomera (spearthrower) she was given when she left, reminding her of the knowledge and talents of people then considered 'primitive'.
Rudy Sabbo's grandmother was given this armband or bracelet when, to escaped from an arranged marriage in Vanuatu, she followed her lover on to a blackbirding boat.
With the holiday season of over-indulgence looming, listen to June Noble describe the fun, healthy pastime of skipping.
in 1981 Donna Hellier worked to ensure the historical accuracy of The Sullivan's show. She's a second-generation Australian television industry professional – her mother quit because "you couldn't show a pregnant woman on TV in 1958".
Remember when (or imagine if!) telephoning someone involved a human Operator and one of these contraptions? Helen Wallace shares some inside knowledge on how it worked.
Whew, it's been a long journey for this coach. It was built around 1878, and carried passengers between Surat and Yuleba until 1924. Acquired by the Commonwealth in 1925, it arrived in Canberra in 1927. Then in 1932 it was back in Sydney for the opening of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Restored (with vinyl!) in 1962, it was transferred to the National Museum in 1979. And since March 2013 it's been back in Queensland, on loan to the Cobb & Co Museum. Now – thanks to Janelle Insley – there's a new chapter in its story.
Sometimes it may be better to not know the whole story. Maybe the details are too awful to contemplate. In a way, not knowing also gives you space to wonder and imagine, as this story by Norm Clarke shows.