Skip to content

These stories reflect a selection of the objects that appeared in the exhibition Captivating and Curious, held to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the National Museum of Australia Act 1980. Objects were chosen for the exhibition both for their intrinsic historical interest, and because they are representative of the breadth and depth of the National Historical collection.

Museum conservator applying an adhesive to the outside walls of the doll's house.
Conservator Cathy Collins works on the doll's house
Sir Thomas Mitchell duelling pistols

Duelling pistols owned by Major Sir Thomas Mitchell who played an important role in the early exploration of colonial Australia.

Oscar's sketchbook

Sketchbook that belonged to Oscar, a young Aboriginal man who grew up in Queensland in the 1880s.

Ned Kelly’s Jerilderie letter

'Manifesto' letter by bushranger Ned Kelly which provides a detailed justification of his actions.

Florence Faithfull’s satin dress

Elaborately constructed day dress that belonged to the Faithfull family and dates from 1875 to 1880.

Aboriginal breastplates

Breastplates were awarded to Aboriginal people under Lachlan Macquarie, Governor of New South Wales.


Whole preserved body of a thylacine, commonly known as the Tasmanian tiger.

Kanangra Express

Pram modified by Myles Dunphy in order to take his baby son, Milo, on bushwalks.

Hetherington doll's house

Doll’s house made by Eva Howie in the 1930s for her oldest daughter, Barbara Hetherington.

Holden Prototype No. 1

Early model Holden car that is one of the most recognisable cultural artefacts of 1950s Australia.

Azaria Chamberlain’s dress

Black dress and booties belonging to Azaria Chamberlain, made by her mother, Lindy Chamberlain.

September 11 Australian flag

Australian flag retrieved from the ruins of the World Trade Center following the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001.

Kewpie doll

One of the 12 giant kewpie dolls that featured during the closing ceremony of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games.

Explore more capitvating and curious

Collecting for a nation Learn about how the National Historical Collection was formed.
Caring for the collection Learn how we care for objects in our collection.
Captivating and Curious Captivating and Curious featured over 450 objects from the National Historical Collection, many of which had never before been displayed.
Return to Top