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10 April 2003

The personal stories of 25 extraordinary Australians, including cricketer Victor Trumper and bionic ear developer Professor Graeme Clark, will be brought to life in one of the National Museum of Australia's most popular galleries next month.

Eternity explores the stories of 50 Australians, based on 10 emotional themes that speak directly to people's real experiences. A blind woman's passionate campaign for equality, the fear of sharks, the thrill of an Aboriginal cricketer's bowling style provide a new angle into Australian history.

'Eternity underlines the importance of individuals in the Australian story,' said curator Sophie Jensen. 'It is not about biography, but catching people at moments when their stories act as windows to larger events and figures in Australian history.'

The introduction of the new stories is a major Eternity changeover. The famous and not-so-famous, the living and the dead, who will join the gallery include:

  • Chance: Speedskater Steven Bradbury, whose unexpected victory at the 2002 Winter Olympics enthralled audiences across the world
  • Mystery: Murdered woman Linda Agostini, whose remains sat preserved for a decade at the Institute of Anatomy until her body was identified in 1944
  • Passion: Gallipoli veteran Sir Gilbert Dyett, who campaigned to establish the Returned Soldiers League at the end of World War I
  • Hope: Young Australian of the Year Tan Le, the first first-generation Australian to win the award in 1998 partly for her work with new migrants from Vietnam.

Using objects and innovative multi-media techniques to tell each story, Eternity also includes interactive Your Story video booths, where visitors choose their emotional theme and record their own stories. Since the National Museum opened two years ago, more than 10,000 visitors have left their personal stories.

'One of Eternity's messages is that all our stories are timeless and that our lives are an important part of Australian history and culture,' Ms Jensen said.

'The stories left by visitors reflect current events and emotions especially fear of summer bushfires and hope for peace after the events of September 11.'

For more information and images, please contact Public Affairs Director Martin Portus on 02 6208 5351, 0409 916 481 or

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