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DISPLAYING POSTS FROM: Jul 2011 (16)

"That's my dress!"

Author
by Kate C
Publish date
4 July 2011
Comments
Comments (3)

Curators Michael Reason and Deborah Tout-Smith were delighted to welcome Judith Durham, lead singer of the 1960s folk-pop group The Seekers, when she dropped in to today to see her dress in The Melbourne Story exhibition. "It's mind-blowing. That's my dress, and it's on display in the museum!" she exclaimed as she saw it for the first time in many years.

Judith Durham next to her dress Judith Durham next to her dress in The Melbourne Story, on loan from the National Film and Sound Archive.
Image: Jon Augier
Source: Museum Victoria
 

The dress is on loan from the National Film and Sound Archive and is featured in the Melbourne music history section. Judith donated it and other outfits to the NFSA some years ago. "I love it. It was so suited to me as a person," she said. She was pleased to give Michael and Deborah some more information about how and when she wore it.

Judith bought the dress from a South Yarra boutique to wear for a Channel Nine special program called The World Of The Seekers. It became an iconic outfit when a photograph taken during the film shoot at Como House appeared on the cover of The Best of The Seekers 1968 compilation album.

 

Links:

MV News: A dress of its own 

The Melbourne Story

Tiny star on film

Author
by Blair
Publish date
3 July 2011
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Comments (6)

In 2007, Museum Victoria research scientists described the world's tiniest starfish, the Paddle-spined Seastar. Here are three of them under the microscope last week, filmed by Ben Healley.

 

Like all starfish, these animals are powered by many legs called tube feet. Each has a sucker on the tip which is how they crawl around and hang upside down under rocks. On the video they appear transparent so are difficult to see moving out from underneath each arm. They stick to the glass and drag the animal across the surface.

They don’t have eyes but they do have eyespots. You can also see these on the video. They are the dark patches at the tip of each arm, on top of the animal. Detecting light and dark, they help the animal tell if it is under a ledge or on top of it, or whether something large, like a possible predator, is passing overhead.

Interestingly, the individual pictured in reports when this species was discovered has five legs, not six. According to MV curator Dr Tim O'Hara, "it’s typical for this species to have six arms but every now and then, you’ll get an uneven split during reproduction and end up with a five-armed individual.”

Links:

MV News: Tiny star

Bright light in the sky

Author
by Tanya
Publish date
1 July 2011
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Comments (0)

As I collected my boys from after school care the other evening, my seven year old stopped in the middle of the playground and cried out “Mum, what’s that in the sky? It looks like a rocket!”

He had stumbled upon the International Space Station, and let me tell you, it really couldn’t be missed. It was shining more brightly than any star and of course, it was moving. We stopped to watch it for a minute or so, as it slowly made its way across the sky before becoming lost in cloud.

International Space Station Sunlight glinting off the International Space Station.
Source: NASA
 

The boys were thrilled, especially when I told them that people were living up on that shiny dot of light. Right now, it’s home to “Expedition Crew 28”, made up of six astronauts who will live on the station from May to September.

We wondered what kind of view they were getting of the Earth. Perhaps looking down on us and seeing the twinkling lights of Melbourne and the other capital cities.

ISS Expedition 28 Crew The Expedition 28 crew members (from left to right): Flight Engineers Satoshi Furukawa, Mike Fossum, Ron Garan, Alexander Samokutyaev, Sergei Volkov and Commander Andrey Borisenko
Source: NASA
 

Maybe, like us, the astronauts were looking forward to dinner. The boys were chuffed to discover that even astronauts can eat Spaghetti Bolognese (a favourite in our household). Of course, up there you have to bolt your dinner plate down or have it float away.

If you haven’t seen the ISS, I really suggest you try. We might have lucked upon it, but there are great websites like Heavens Above that give the precise time and direction for your next chance to see it.

And while you stare up at that bright little light, travelling steadily across the night sky, I encourage you to imagine what it might be like to trade places, just for a moment,with a spacefaring astronaut.

Bug of the month

Author
by Chloe
Publish date
1 July 2011
Comments
Comments (6)

This guest post is by Chloe, a Live Exhibits keeper at Melbourne Museum.

Garden Wolf Spiders, Lycosa godeffroyi, are commonly found on the prowl around Victorian gardens at night. They are modern spiders, or araneomorphs, in the family Lycosidae and they differ from many other spiders through their prey capture technique. Wolf spiders are active hunters that chase down their prey.

Wolf spider, Lycosa godeffroyi	Wolf spider, Lycosa godeffroyi
Image: Alan Henderson
Source: Museum Victoria
 

During the day wolf spiders seek cover in vertical burrows, often utilising discarded invertebrate burrows, however they will dig their own if necessary.

Wolf spider emerging from its burrow Wolf spider emerging from its burrow
Image: Patrick Honan
Source: Museum Victoria

Wolf spider peering out of its burrow Wolf spider peering out of its burrow, using its posterior eyes
Image: Patrick Honan
Source: Museum Victoria
 

Wolf spiders are attractive spiders, ranging in colour from black to orange-brown with striking grey patterns on their carapace. Males have large bulbs on their pedipalps and females are typically larger and more robust than males. They are common throughout southern Australia in a range of habitats.

Wolf spider Wolf spider
Image: Alan Henderson
Source: Museum Victoria
 

Males court female through a series of leg drums and vibrations while ‘dancing’ with his forelegs.  If the female is receptive she will allow him to approach.  The male will then present the female with a sperm package on one of his palpal bulbs, (as spiders do not have penises) which she will store and use to fertilise her eggs.

Female wolf spider carrying her egg sac Female wolf spider carrying her egg sac
Image: Patrick Honan
Source: Museum Victoria
 

Sometime after fertilisation the female produces an egg sac, which she carries with her (even while hunting) under her abdomen. 30 – 40 days later the eggs hatch producing up to 200 spiderlings. The spiderlings do not immediately disperse; instead they ride on their mother’s back for a few weeks.  When they are ready to fend for themselves they disperse via silk strands.

Female wolf spider with spiderlings Female wolf spider covered in her spiderlings
Image: Patrick Honan
Source: Museum Victoria
 

Female wolf spider carrying her spiderlings Female wolf spider carrying her spiderlings
Image: Patrick Honan
Source: Museum Victoria
 

Wolf spiders are not aggressive by nature; they will however defend themselves if provoked. The anatomy of their feet – they have three claws and no hair tuffs on the tips of their legs – means they cannot negotiate slippery surfaces. This makes them good pets because they are easy to house and care for in a glass jar or terrarium.

Wolf spider, Lycosa godeffroyi Wolf spider, Lycosa godeffroyi
Image: Alan Henderson
Source: Museum Victoria
 

 

Links:

Victorian Spiders

Wolf spider infosheet

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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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