A new season of treasures

A new season of treasures
New highlights to explore in the Treasures Gallery
26 April 2018

Along with falling leaves and the first hints of cold weather, this autumn also brings a change in the Treasures Gallery. We like to change items in our permanent display space a couple of times a year. This helps keeps objects in their best condition—being on display can often be tiring for delicate material, like paper. While we are a little sad to see some things go back to the stacks, it’s also a good opportunity to show you some exciting objects that haven’t been displayed before.

Here are some of the highlights for this season. It is definitely worthwhile coming in from the cold to see these treasures. These new additions, as well as old favourites like William Bligh’s notebook, the extremely rare Blaeu Map  and the tiny books collection, are on display in the Treasures Gallery from May to October 2018. We hope to see you there!  

Plan your visit

Armistice centenary

Handmade textile Welcome Home banner

Welcome Home handmade textile banner  ca. 1918-1919, nla.obj-138252790

We have gathered a collection of very special material to honour the passing of 100 years since the end of the First World War. This display includes a cablegram to Sir John Monash on his victory at the Battle of Hamel, a homemade banner, a draft copy of the Treaty of Versailles belonging to Australian Prime Minister Sir Joseph Cook, and a commemorative plaque (also known as a 'Dead Man’s Penny') given to the relatives of those killed during the war.

Two centuries of immigration

Chinese phrasebook

Sun Johnson, The Self-educator  1892, nla.cat-vn216435

We also commemorate another special occasion this year: the 200 year anniversary of the very first Chinese migrant to arrive on Australian shores. In addition to a rare Government proclamation issued in Chinese and a copy of the first Australian Chinese newspaper, we have also chosen a nineteenth-century Chinese-English phrase book. Predating other Chinese-English language phrasebooks by several decades, The Self-educator is a testament to the lives of early Chinese immigrants to Australia. Written by Sun Johnson (孫俊臣), the editor of the first Chinese-language newspaper in Sydney, the book translates a variety of useful phrases for everything from buying groceries to writing cheques. 

A list of young offenders

Passenger list from the prison hulk the Bellerophon

Samuel Owen, List of male convicts discharged from the Bellerophon hulk  1824, nla.cat-vn7498930

One of our recent acquisitions, this fragile document lists 18 young male convicts discharged from the hulk Bellerophon in 1824. The Bellerophon's Commander, Samuel Owen, records the name, age, offence, place of conviction, and occupation. He includes comments about how each of the boys behaved under his supervision. The youngest among them—Charles Lewis, William Bumbie, John Foster, Robert Grout, James Walker and Edward Burton—were only 16 years old. Their crimes ranged from bacon theft to fraud. You can find the full list of their names and ages on our catalogue.

'Gay and proud': 1981 Mardi Gras photograph

'Gay and proud', Mardi Gras 1981

William Yang (b. 1943), Man holding an Australian flag and wearing a t-shirt with the phrase 'gay and proud', Gay Mardi Gras, 1981, nla.obj-136860626

Noted photographer William Yang captures the atmosphere of the early gay and lesbian Mardi Gras in this extraordinary 1981 photograph, taken only three years after the first ever Mardi Gras was held as a march for gay rights. The event has since gone from strength to strength and is now a major festival, bringing hundreds of thousands of visitors to Sydney every year.

Tindale’s Map

Tindale's mapNorman B. Tindale (1900–1993), Map showing the distribution of the Aboriginal tribes of Australia  1940, nla-obj230054338

Norman Tindale was an anthropologist, ethnologist and entomologist who worked at the South Australian Museum. Throughout the 1920s and 30s he travelled all around Australia collecting information from Aboriginal communities. He produced the first map that showed the Australian continent divided into over 250 language and Nation groups. His findings, updated in 1974, played a major role in dispelling the principle of Terra Nullius.

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