'Very well, you find the flannel.' This is one of many translated phrases to be found in The self educator, an early Chinese-English phrasebook from 1892 soon to be on show in the Treasures Gallery. The book is thought to be the earliest of its kind, predating others by several decades, and forms part of an insightful new theme exploring early Chinese settlers in Australia.
Among the other new items is a poster of Melbourne 'then and now', showing the original land sale values from 1837 when a block on the corner of Collins and Queen Streets cost a meagre £42; a special new display of rare objects marking 100 years since the end of the First World War, including a handmade 'Welcome Home' banner; and a recently acquired list of young male convicts, some as young as 16, discharged from the prison hulk Bellerophon in 1824. The list details their names, ages, offences and remarks on their conduct, offering a rare insight into life on these 'floating prisons'.
These objects and more will be on display from 5 May.
Some old favourites will remain, including the rare and beautiful Archipelagus Orientalis or 'Blaeu Map', which has been extended on display for 6 months due to popular demand.