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DISPLAYING POSTS FROM: Mar 2012 (19)

Faces of the north

Author
by Patrick
Publish date
9 March 2012
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Live Exhibits staff visited Cairns and Cape Tribulation in North Queensland in December to augment our live animal collection with fresh genetic stock. We met many interesting animals along the way, so here are a few portraits of the critters that came back with us to Melbourne Museum.

The Giant Mantid is one of the largest mantid species in Australia. They feed on a range of insects but are large enough to overpower small frogs and lizards. Giant Mantids are currently on display in Bugs Alive!.

giant mantid Giant Mantid, Heirodula majuscula.
Image: Patrick Honan
Source: Museum Victoria
 

Raspy crickets derive their common name from the fact that all known species, both male and female, can produce a rasping sound at all stages of development. There are more than 200 species of raspy crickets in Australia and new species are regularly discovered. This very large adult female has powerful jaws and, like all raspy crickets, a bad temper. She ate her way out of several containers on the journey from North Queensland, causing havoc wherever she went.

Raspy Cricket Raspy Cricket, Chauliogryllacris species.
Image: Patrick Honan
Source: Museum Victoria

A male Golden Huntsman, probably the largest huntsman in Australia and generally considered the second largest in the world. This species sometimes causes panic when it enters houses, but like most huntsmans it is relatively harmless.

Golden Huntsman spider Golden Huntsman, Beregama aurea.
Image: Patrick Honan
Source: Museum Victoria

Net-casting Spiders are famous for their ability to spin perfectly rectangular silken nets, about the size of a postage stamp. These nets are thrown over passing prey as the spider sits suspended above an insect pathway. In honour of their enormous eyes, they are also known as Ogre-Faced Spiders.

Net-casting Spider Net-casting Spider, Deinopis bicornis.
Image: Patrick Honan
Source: Museum Victoria
 

French's Longicorn is one of Australia's larger beetle species. This one was found in a small mating aggregation on a strangler fig in the rainforest at night. Longicorns are characterised by kidney-shaped eyes which wrap around the base of the antennae.

French's Longicorn beetle French's Longicorn, Batocera frenchi.
Image: Patrick Honan
Source: Museum Victoria
 

The spiny legs of the Serrated Bush Katydid give it both its common and scientific name. Adults are always green, but nymphs may be red, brown or violet, depending on the colour of the leaves on which they feed. Males produce a short, loud call which is commonly heard in the rainforest at night. Another katydid, the Kuranda Spotted Katydid, is one of the larger and more robust of this group in Australia. The nymphs closely resemble ants, which may afford them some protection against predators. The eggs are glued to dead twigs by the female using a short, thick ovipositor.

katydids Left: Serrated Bush Katydid, Paracaedicia serrata. | Right: Kuranda Spotted Katydid, Ephippitytha kuranda.
Image: Patrick Honan
Source: Museum Victoria
 

These creatures, and many more, can be seen every day in Bugs Alive! at Melbourne Museum.

Q&A with Guy Grossi

Author
by Natasha D
Publish date
8 March 2012
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Natasha works in public relations for Museum Victoria.

Renowned Melbourne chef Guy Grossi is putting on a special event at the Immigration Museum, A Sweet Dinner with Guy Grossi,on 15 March as part of Sweets and the 2012 Melbourne Food and Wine Festival. He has also contributed a couple of items to the Sweets exhibition. I had a chat with him about why he got involved.

Guy Grossi preparing some Italian sweets Guy Grossi preparing some Italian sweets.
Image: Stewart Donn
Source: Museum Victoria
 

Why were you interested in being a part of Sweets?

Food has a magical way to be able to bring people together and share special memories together and many a moment has been shared over a dessert or sweet treat that has us all melting. We all remember those moments. I was really interested in exploring how delicious sweet ingredients have been used in dishes, both savoury and sweet, throughout different cultures and how this has evolved over time. It's such a fascinating journey and I'm excited to be a part of this exhibition.

What are some of the sweet influences that you grew up with?

My speciality is Italian food so I have incorporated a great Italian pastry as the dessert – Canoli alla Siciliana. My parents are not from Sicily but I remember every time we would visit a pastry shop or café in Carlton I would have one of their crispy pastries filled with sweet ricotta. Amazing!

Do you have any memory of sweet foods being used in Italian celebrations when you were growing up?

Celebrations in Italian culture are remembered for the particular sweets that are served at them. Different cakes, pastries, lollies and biscuits are used to typify different occasions such as weddings, Easter, Christmas and many more.

Your degustation dinner includes sweet influences from Indian, Mauritian, Turkish and Japanese cuisines. Have you enjoyed integrating other cultures into your cooking?

It has been a big adventure for me and as a chef, we're always looking for new ways to do things. Food is always evolving and whether it be a new ingredient or technique there's a constant drive in chef's to always improve and evolve. Throughout my travels I've been lucky enough to try so many incredible dishes and I tried to incorporate some of those memorable ingredients, as well as my own research and speaking to other chefs who are experts in their field, to gauge their opinion on integrating sweetness into my menu. I've tried to keep it authentic to the culture as I highlight the theme.


Sweets: Tastes and traditions from many cultures encompasses an exhibition, a one-day festival and the Sweet Dinner. To buy a ticket to the Sweet Dinner with Guy Grossi, call 13 11 02 and press '3' to connect to the Immigration Museum. Credit card payments are accepted.

Hope Black honoured

Author
by Rebecca Carland
Publish date
7 March 2012
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Bec is working on the history of Museum Victoria's Science Collections and all the people who have been part of them since the museum's origin in 1854.

Last night, twenty extraordinary women were inducted into the Victorian Women's Honour Roll at a ceremony in Parliament House. I was lucky enough to be invited to witness Curator Emeritus Hope Black join this group.

Hope Macpherson receiving award Hope Macpherson receiving her award at the Victorian Women's Honour Roll ceremony on 6 March 2012.
Image: R. Carland
Source: Museum Victoria
 

Each year, the Honour Roll recognises and celebrates inspirational women across Victoria who, through their vision, leadership, commitment and hard work, have made an exceptional contribution to their communities or areas of expertise.

Minister for Women’s Affairs the Hon Mary Wooldridge opened the events with this quote: "If your dreams do not scare you they are not big enough." These women, without exception, had big dreams.

Hope says she wasn't sure what she wanted to do "but it had to be zoology". In 1937, then 18-year-old Hope Macpherson successfully applied for a job at the museum. Initially, her role was to make biology cases and dioramas. Driven to progress further, she studied science part-time at Melbourne University. Shortly after she graduated in 1946, was promoted to Curator of Shells and, simultaneously, the museum's first female curator.

Hope Macpherson identifying shells Hope Macpherson identifying shells at the National Museum of Victoria, Melbourne, 1948 (MM 118931).
Source: Museum Victoria
 

Her fieldwork as curator took her to remote parts of the Australian coast and she was part of the first group of female scientists permitted to research in the sub-Antarctic.

Hope also led ground-breaking surveys of Port Phillip Bay from 1957-1963. That data is still used today by environmental scientists, managers and planners, providing a benchmark against which to monitor change.

MM 118931 Hope Macpherson and Dan Lynch sorting material on the jetty at yjr Quarantine Station, Port Phillip Survey, Victoria, 1959 (MM 118931).
Source: Museum Victoria
 

In addition to her scientific pursuits, Hope also pioneered specialist education programs by establishing a biology course for blind children held at the museum, using collection material.

Hope was required to resign from the Public Service when she married in 1965, as married women were excluded from employment in the service at that time. The forced change did not quell her drive. She retrained as a science teacher, passing on her passion for science to girls for 13 years.

Hope Macpherson running Photograph that captures Hope Macpherson mid-air while running, Wilsons Promontory, Victoria, 1950. (MM 118929)
Image: Charles Brazenor
Source: Museum Victoria
 

I have been privileged to work with Hope over the past couple of years, recording her history and acquiring personal working papers and images for the museum collection. After hearing her story and that of the other inductees I can only hope to be as fearless.

Links:

Victorian Women's Honour Roll

Hope Black nee Macpherson, Curator of Molluscs (1919 - )

Five things about goats

Author
by Dr Andi
Publish date
6 March 2012
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Like many organisations, MV has an internal website where staff can post information and notices about various things. Recently I saw this wonderful posting on the museum's intranet:

Anyone want a free goat?

I need to find a good home for my pet goat Sebastian. He is a 7yr old desexed male Toggenburg with horns.

He loves to go jogging, nibble on the neighbours' roses, sleep all day & then bleat & bash things in the evening. He'd make a great pet. Not suitable for small children.

Sebastian the goat Hi, I am Sebastian the Goat, and I have my own Facebook page.
Image: Shane Hughes
Source: Shane Hughes
 

I would love to go jogging with Sebastian and watch his evening Hulk moments, but alas, my flat's balcony is too small for even my pot plants. But it did get me thinking that goats are amazing animals. Here are five reasons why.

 

1. You can eat them, drink them, wear them... and wash, and knit with them.

Evidence suggests goats were domesticated in Eastern Turkey around 10,000 years ago. They were kept for their meat, their hide, milk and wool. Think luxurious cashmere, smooth goat's cheese, and gentle goat's milk soap.

I found some stylish kid (young goat) leather shoes in the MV collection. No doubt the collection managers handle them with kid gloves: figuratively and perhaps literally speaking.

blue women's shoes Pair of shoes, blue kid leather with Louis heel, circa 1905-1910. (SH 880814.)
Source: Museum Victoria
 

 

2. You can take a goat ride or use a goat freight service.

Historical images from the MV collection show harnessed goats at work and at play.

lantern slide of man and goats Lantern slide labelled ‘Old Ned and goats, hands blown off’. (MM 034986)
Source: Museum Victoria
 

boys with goat and cart Glass negative, circa 1900.
Image: A.J. Campbell
Source: Museum Victoria
 

 

3. Mythology combines goats with humans to become devilishly naughty characters.

Mythological depictions of the half-human, half-goat are often naughty types. Among the Greek gods was Pan the faun who was into partying with nymphs. Puck was mischievous fairy from English folklore. On the other hand, Satyrs, which are human-like beasts with goat bits, were often evil creatures.

This faun from the collection is a horse brass , which is a decoration, souvenir or amulet hung on a horse's harness. This faun appears to be seated in a lotus position!

Horse brass with faun motif Horse Brass - Faun, 1825-1939 (ST 034497)
Source: Museum Victoria
 

 

4. Goats are great for playtime.

People often kept goats to keep the grass down and for a bit of milk. That's why Mitzy the goat (pictured below) lived at Janet's place in Springvale in 1957.

Girl playing with a goat in a field, Girl Playing with Goat, in Field, Springvale South, 1957MM 110927).
Source: Museum Victoria
 

I remember as a kid I used to love to play jacks; mine were coloured plastic. I remember being quite grossed out when I learnt that real jacks were actually knuckle bones from a sheep or a goat.

goat knuckle bones Knuckle bones found during the Casselden Place archaeological dig, circa 1880 (LL 32184 2)
Source: Museum Victoria
 

 

5. Goats are not only sure-footed rock climbers but you can take them jogging.

billy goat flick book Flick book with a climbing billy goat by 'Cinematograph Living Pictures', circa 1920 (HT 25043.
Source: Museum Victoria
 

Flick books were a popular optical toys created in the 19th century. See our goat-inspired flick book in action in this video:

 

Sebastian the Goat's present owner Shane says Sebastian enjoys a bit of a jog and meeting new people. We wish him all the best in becoming an 'old goat' in his new home.

Cheers and bleats, Dr Andi

Tjukurrtjanu to travel

Author
by Simon
Publish date
5 March 2012
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Your Question: Which Museum Victoria exhibition is going to Paris this year?

The stunning Tjukurrtjanu: Origins of Western Desert Art exhibition, a collaboration between the National Gallery of Victoria and Museum Victoria in partnership with Papunya Tula Pty Ltd, is off to France. This exhibition was on show at The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia and is now being carefully packed to be sent to Paris for display at the Musée du quai Branly in October this year.

Big Pintupi Dreaming ceremony 1972 Anatjari Tjakamarra, Big Pintupi Dreaming ceremony 1972
Image: NGV
Source: National Gallery of Victoria © artists and their estates 2011, licensed by Aboriginal Artists Agency Limited and Papunya Tula Artists Pty Ltd
 

It is a wonderful example of cooperation between public institutions and generous private lenders to bring together and showcase over 200 paintings completed between 1971 and 1972 from the Papunya region of the Western Desert. This initial production of paintings represented the founding of the Western Desert art movement and led to an explosive growth in the Aboriginal art movement. Museum Victoria has loaned numerous artefacts for this exhibition from its extensive collections. Tjukurrtjanu also presents 150 objects, including 78 painted and incised shields, spear throwers, pearl shell pendants, stone knives, head bands and ephemeral body ornaments, that establish the paintings pre-existing Western Desert iconography.

Group of decorated shields from Central Australia Group of decorated shields from Central Australia
Image: Museum Victoria
Source: Museum Victoria
 

The Musée du quai Branly is a recent addition to the museum scene in Paris, opening near the base of the Eiffel Tower in 2006. It has a collection of some 300,000 objects and is well known for its beautiful external ‘living walls’ featuring a variety of living plants and mosses. The museum exists to display and promote the indigenous cultures of Oceania, Asia, Africa and the Americas. It already holds collections of Aboriginal art from the north and central desert regions of Australia; bark paintings from Arnhem Land collected in the 1960s, contemporary acrylic paintings and a ceiling spectacularly painted by Indigenous artists.

Old Man’s Dreaming at Mitukatjirri 1972 Charlie Wartuma Tjungurrayi, Old Man’s Dreaming at Mitukatjirri
Image: NGV
Source: National Gallery of Victoria © artists and their estates 2011, licensed by Aboriginal Artists Agency Limited and Papunya Tula Artists Pty Ltd
 

The Tjukurrtjanu exhibition will show a Parisian and European audience how Aboriginal people use art to tell their stories and to ensure the continuation of their culture.

  Exterior of Musee du quai Branly Exterior of Musee du quai Branly, Paris
Image: Andreas Praefcke
Source: Wikimedia Commons
 

Australian artists have had huge success in overseas markets over the years, the Tate Gallery in London holds works by Sidney Nolan; Russell Drysdale enjoyed overseas acclaim as do current Australian artists such as Ron Mueck with his hyper-real sculptures. Yet it can be argued that Australia’s Indigenous artists and their art are currently the best known examples of Australian art in the rest of the world. Indeed, this is the first time that an art exhibition solely developed by the NGV and Museum Victoria has been accepted in a major European venue.

Links:

National Gallery of Victoria - Tjukurrtjanu

Museum Victoria: Collections and Research – Indigenous Cultures

Papunya Tula Artists

MV Blog: Tjukurrtjanu: Origins of Western Desert Art

"Like croquet, only different"

Author
by Kate C
Publish date
2 March 2012
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Comments (1)

Most workers on a smoko break shoot the breeze or maybe have a cuppa, but on rare occasions, smoko engenders creative genius. In the railyards of Newport in the late 1920s, a new sport emerged as workers improvised a game played with bits and pieces around the workshop. This uniquely Melburnian game, attributed to a Mr. Thomas Grieves of Yarraville, is called trugo.

Workers at the Newport Workshops, circa 1925 Workers at the Newport Workshops, circa 1925. Perhaps a champion trugo player stands among them. (MM 8099).
Source: Museum Victoria
 

Every aspect of trugo is linked inextricably to its railyard origins. The thirty-yard field of play is the ength of a railway carriage. Teams of players hit a rubber ring – a buffer from a train –backwards through their legs with a wooden mallet. If the ring makes it through the goal, which is as wide as the distance between train seats, it's a 'true go'.

Trugo clubs sprang up all over the blue-collar suburbs of Melbourne. The first were in the west – Yarraville and Footscray – but it spread to Brunswick, Preston, Prahran, South Melbourne and beyond. By 1938, the social pages of the Healesville and Yarra Glen Guardian were raving about the game that was "like croquet, only different". From boom times in the 1940s, many clubs have struggled to remain open in recent years. Preston Trugo Club is shuttered up and looking grim, while the second-oldest club at Footscray is gone and replaced with a housing development.

Trugo equipment from the MV collection is on display in the Sportsworks exhibition. A group of History and Technology Department staff decided it was time to learn first-hand how it was used, so at the end of last year, they visited Brunswick Trugo Club to meet club president (and trugo champion) Gerald Strachan. Curator Bec Carland was among the MV guests and loved every minute of it – the history, the community, and the game itself.

Ben playing Trugo Ben ‘get outta the way’ Thomas with his strident trugo technique.
Image: R. Carland
Source: Museum Victoria
 

She described the set-up of the game as a "beautiful ritual of measuring out. It takes about half an hour to set up each pitch and they measure them out painstakingly as everyone stands around chatting. You can see how workers set up this process that's a little bit drawn out to make the break go longer."

Michelle and David playing Trugo Michelle Stevenson and David Crotty attempting a 'true go'.
Image: R. Carland
Source: Museum Victoria
 

"The rules are simple but they flew out the window after a little while because we were all having a go. There were some standout performances – it's really quite difficult." Bec said. "No one could get three for three yet Richard arrived late, picked up a mallet, hit three for three straight away."

playing Trugo Richard ‘4 for 4’ Gillespie and ‘Liza ‘strongarm’ Dale-Hallett on the trugo field.
Image: R. Carland
Source: Museum Victoria
 

The clubhouse is carefully maintained by the club members and is filled with memorabilia, trophies, and a rack of hand-made mallets. There's even a vegie patch out the back and a club dog. "Gerald's got this beautiful dog that chases the buffers that go off straight," according to Bec. "He says, 'don't worry, if it's on track he won't go near it'. Every time he'd follow it half-way down and if the dog veered away, you knew it was true. And if he stayed with it, you knew it 's not going to go in."

Brunswick Trugo Club interior Left: Brunswick Trugo Club's prizes are on display inside the clubhouse. Right: Hand-made wooden trugo mallets on racks at Brunswick Trugo Club.
Image: R. Carland
Source: Museum Victoria
 

In January, Gerald put out a call for new players in the Melbourne Times. He and other long-time members are worried that the game won't survive unless younger people start playing. Said Bec, "there wasn't a point in the day when the club members weren't discussing its past and its threatened present."

If you'd like to try trugo, Gerald would love to hear from you.

Links:

Victorian Trugo Association

YouTube video: Trugo

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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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