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DISPLAYING POSTS FROM: Dec 2010 (17)

Beautiful books in both cities

Author
by Leonie
Publish date
20 December 2010
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Comments (1)

This post comes from Leonie Cash, librarian at the Museum Victoria library.

Finally, something Sydney and Melbourne agree upon! Both Museum Victoria and the Australian Museum were avid collectors of books in the mid-19th century.

Gould's Birds of Australia Gould's Birds of Australia in the MV Library Rare Books Collection.
Source: Museum Victoria
 

Matthew Stephens, reference librarian at the beautiful Caroline Simpson Library & Research Collection at the Historic Houses Trust of NSW, recently spent time examining MV's archives and rare books. As part of his PhD research on the growth of book collecting from 1850 to the late 1880s. Matthew was keen to compare his findings from the Australian Museum with evidence of the early book collections at Museum Victoria. His research here confirmed the richness of the scientific book collections nurtured in Sydney and Melbourne at that time.

Links

MV News: Biodiversity Heritage Library

MV News: Library Week rare book viewing

Rare books at the Australian Museum

International Harvester Collection

Author
by Kate C
Publish date
17 December 2010
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The History & Technology Department is steadily listing the vast International Harvester Collection on Collections Online. This collection of over 50,000 items records the operations, products and manufacturing of the Australian subsidiary of the International Harvester Company. This US-based company began selling its agricultural machinery and trucks in Australia in 1902. Local manufacturing in Victoria began in the late 1930s.

The IH Collection includes colour transparencies which are particularly interesting because colour photography was still quite rare in the 1940s. It’s unusual to see scenes of this era captured in vivid reds and blues and greens.

Horse-drawn GL-60 plough Horse-drawn GL-60 plough manufactured by International Harvester, 1940. This is one of several colour transparencies in the collection. (MM 115209)
Source: Museum Victoria
 

Nearly 200 images are now online and more will be listed in coming months. Curator David Crotty is keen to hear from anyone who could help identify some of the people in the images, particularly the photos of farmers and town residents who attended presentations by International Harvester sales reps.

Group of International Harvester salesmen A group of International Harvester salesmen presenting the Farmall A Tractor in Albury, 1940. The company embarked upon regional tours demonstrating its agricultural machinery. (MM 115021)
Source: Museum Victoria
 

Group of farmers from Cohuna Group of farmers from Cohuna outside International Harvester factory, Geelong, 1940. (MM 115033)
Source: Museum Victoria
 

Links:

International Harvester Collection

Benalla: then and now

Author
by Kate C
Publish date
15 December 2010
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Comments (15)

On our recent trip to Benalla Art Gallery, Nicole and I took the chance to track down some of the town's historic buildings that appear in Collections Online. We wanted to see how they had fared over the years.

The State Electricity Commission (SEC) building was flanked by some impressive automobiles back in 1948:

State Electricity Commission, Benalla Glass Negative - State Electricity Commission, Benalla, Victoria, 9 August 1948 (MM 011402)
Source: Museum Victoria
 

We spotted it on Main Street now housing a second-hand bookstore. A local helpfully shouted, "that's the SEC building!" at us from his ute as he drove by.

Benalla SEC building Benalla SEC building in 2010.
Image: Nicole Alley
Source: Museum Victoria
 

This hotel was a little bit harder to find because it looks quite different these days.

Floodwaters around a Benalla hotel Negative - Floodwaters around a Benalla hotel, September 1921 (MM 6159).
Source: Museum Victoria
 

We spotted it near the railway station. The friendly owner confirmed that it's the same building pictured in the 1921 photograph, but it had a significant facelift following a fire not long after that picture was taken. The basic bones of the building are still there, even though its iron lace verandahs are long gone.

Victoria Hotel in Benalla in 2010. Victoria Hotel in Benalla in 2010.
Image: Nicole Alley
Source: Museum Victoria
 

We ran out of time before we could locate the Farmers Arms Hotel, but I've since found a recent picture of it on flickr that shows it too has lost its decorative iron lace but is otherwise much the same.

Farmers Arms Hotel, Benalla A bullock team and car outside the Farmers Arms Hotel, Benalla, pre-1940 (MM 001773).
Source: Museum Victoria
 

We'd love to hear any stories about these buildings from Benalla locals. Anyone know the character leading the bullock train?

UPDATE: Several excellent commenters have identified the building as the Bank of New South Wales, not a hotel. More info on the Benalla building update post from October 2013.

Links:

Collections Online: search for Benalla

Victorian Telecommunications Museum visit

Author
by Nicole A
Publish date
13 December 2010
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Comments (4)

This guest post comes from Nicole Alley, who currently works in the Webteam. She is a geek at heart who loves taking photos.

Here in the ICT (Information Communications & Technology) Department, we work with plenty of digital stuff – telephones, computers, software, servers, video cameras, touch screens...you name it. So it was a refreshing change of pace when a group of us visited the Victorian Telecommunications Museum last month to revisit some of the old ways of communicating.

The museum is housed in the Telstra Hawthorn telephone exchange near Glenferrie Station and is managed by Stef Nowak and a group of volunteers who are passionate about preserving Australia's telecommunications heritage. The items come from both Telstra and the volunteer affiliate that manage the collection.

Ken Hoskins gave us a tour through the museum, where we learned about the history and technology of cables, insulators, phones, switchboards, talking clocks, exchanges and more.

Ken Hoskins Ken Hoskins guided us through the history of communication in Australia, from the first telephone to more recent technologies like this VOIP (voice over IP) phone.
Image: Nicole Alley
Source: Museum Victoria
 

There were, of course, telephones galore, showing the evolution of technology: wooden wall phones powered by two enormous batteries, where you had to turn the handle and speak to an operator; black rotary dialers that appear to be coming back in fashion; kids' phones in the shape of cartoon characters; public phones and phone booths; and the ubiquitous mobile phone (remember when they were the size and weight of a brick!?).

Old telephones There's a certain charm to these old telephones.
Image: Nicole Alley
Source: Museum Victoria
 

A highlight was a morse code demonstration from Brian, John and Bob, members of the Victorian Morsecodian Fraternity who meet at the museum every week. They explained how morse code worked and reminisced about the days when they would hop on the red Post Master General bike and deliver the typed messages to their recipients, including some lottery winners. You can see John in action in the video below, turning our names into dits and dahs.


We also met Bob Muir, who showed us the Violano Virtuoso that he is restoring for Museum Victoria. It's a cross between a violin and a piano, and is expected to go on display at Scienceworks next year. Can't wait to hear it!

Violano Bob Muir with the beautiful Violano Virtuoso.
Image: Nicole Alley
Source: Museum Victoria
 

Phone boxes The evolution of the public phone box. I'm sure Superman preferred the wooden red ones to the more modern glass version!
Image: Nicole Alley
Source: Museum Victoria
 

Rotary diallers Who knew there were so many different styles of rotary diallers?
Image: Nicole Alley
Source: Museum Victoria
 

Cable cross-section and phone cover Left: This cross-section of a telephone cable housing hundreds of smaller cables looks a bit like liquorice! Right: These dolls were used to hide the "ugliness" of the telephone in the home.
Image: Nicole Alley
Source: Museum Victoria
 

Exchange Eight exchanges built from the 1920s through to the late 90s, including the first ever designed and built electronic exchange in Australia by the old Telstra Research Laboratories.
Image: Nicole Alley
Source: Museum Victoria
 

It's fascinating to see the technology changing so rapidly. I wonder what our phones will look like and what we'll be able to do on them in another five years?

Links:

Victorian Telecommunications Museum

Collections Online: Information & Communication Collection

Ilkurlka biological survey

Author
by Kate C
Publish date
8 December 2010
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Comments (1)

In May, Dr Joanna Sumner, Manager of Genetic Resources, joined a trip to Ilkurlka in remote Western Australia to work with Indigenous people and the WA Department of Conservation to survey the wildlife of this desert region.

Ancestral Power opens in Benalla

Author
by Kate C
Publish date
8 December 2010
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A crew from MV spent much of last week in bushranger country in the town of Benalla in Victoria's north, readying the exhibition Ancestral Power and the Aesthetic: Arnhem Land paintings and objects from the Donald Thomson Collection for its opening on Saturday 4 December.

The exhibition, curated by Lindy Allen, was first shown at the Ian Potter Museum of Art at the University of Melbourne in 2009. This showing at the Benalla Art Gallery is the first stop on a tour that will include other galleries in regional Victoria plus the Northern Territory and New South Wales.

Installing Ancestral Power The exhibition crew carefully cover a display of objects with a protective case.
Image: Nicole Alley
Source: Museum Victoria
 

The exhibition features large bark paintings by Yolngu people that were collected in the 1930s and 40s by Donald Thomson. They capture the sacred patterns, known as minytji, that were painted onto the bodies of ancestors in creation times. The same destictive designs were painted onto ceremonial objects also.

Nicole and I were there to interview Lindy about the exhibition for an upcoming Ancestral Power website, but it was a rare treat for us webteam staff to see an exhibition being installed, too.

Lindy Allen preparing for interview Lindy Allen preparing for her video interview about the works in Ancestral Power and the Aesthetic.
Image: Nicole Alley
Source: Museum Victoria
 

Benalla is well worth a visit to see this amazing show. Admission is free and it will be on display until 30 January 2011.

Links:

Ancestral Power and the Aesthetic MV News story

Benalla Art Gallery

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Updates on what's happening at Melbourne Museum, the Immigration Museum, Scienceworks, the Royal Exhibition Building, and beyond.

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