1/10/2000 or 10/1/2000
During the closing night ceremony for the 2000 Summer Olympic Games, held in Stadium Australia at Olympic Park, Homebush Bay. F-111s from No. 6 Squadron ‘stole the show’ with a spectacular ‘dump and burn’ routine. This presented the illusion of the Olympic flame transcending the skies like a comet, to be reborn at the Games’ next location in Greece, in 2004. The sequence demanded precise timing to achieve maximum impact on a potential world audience of 3.5 billion people. A second aircraft was on an equally precise mission, also to perform a ‘dump and burn’ over the Harbour Bridge, which initiated a massive fireworks display featured on television networks worldwide. With risk management a prime requirement, another two aircraft circled in a holding pattern - providing an unseen backup to ensure the necessary job would be achieved, without fail.
Shiva 1010-50 CE
bronze, silver and black glass glass inlay, mercury amalgam gilding
The elegant, slightly elongated appearance of this sculpture, as well as the pleated skirt cloth (sampot), is characteristic of the Baphuon style of Cambodian sculpture. The style is named after a major eleventh-century monument, the Baphuon temple. Located in the Angkor Thom complex near present-day Siem Reap, the Baphuon was created as a model of mythical Mount Meru, the centre of the Hindu cosmos. Both Buddhist and Hindu sculptures were created in this style, and Baphuon bronze casting demonstrates particularly skilled craftsmanship.
Shiva and Vishnu were very popular deities in Cambodia during the Angkor period. The lack of recognised divine attributes makes it difficult to identify this gilded sculpture with certainty, but the third eye on the forehead suggests it may be an image of Shiva. Originally the figure’s right hand may have held a trident, the principal symbolic attribute of Shiva. The pupils of the deity’s three eyes, the eyebrows and the moustache are inlaid with black glass, while silver is used for the whites of the eyes. The inscription around the base of the sculpture indicates that it was commissioned by Viralakshmi, the queen of the Khmer King Suryavarman I, who reigned during 1002–50 CE.
An Australian Anti-aircraft Machine Gun Company armed with Lewis Guns at Narrabeen, NSW, 1938.
Men of the Light Horse. Photographs taken between 1939 and 1940.
During the First World War, Light Horse regiments had fought as chiefly as Infantry, some minor engagements had been fought from horseback, but for the major part of the war, the horses were mainly used for speedy transportation and scouting missions. During the inter-war period, the 1st AIF was disbanded and a Citizen’s Force was implemented. Highly unpopular compulsory enlistment schemes led to drastically reduced numbers, however Light Horse regiments still remained in rural areas, using the same equipment from the 1914-18 war. Budget cuts during the depression, and workers’ fears of losing their civilian employment when away training also kept numbers low. By the mid to late 1930’s Defence spending was gradually increased, with efforts to double the size of the CMF in 1938, as the prospect of another war drew near. By 1939, around 80,000 men were serving on a part time basis. Equipment shortages still remained however, and when war did break out in September of 1939, the CMF was by no means an effective fighting force. As it become apparent that future engagements would no longer be conducted from horseback, Light Horse Regiments were retrained and reformed as Motorised, Armoured or Machine Gun Regiments.
Australian War Memorial
An early colonial watercolour painting of two Australian snakes, the Diamond Python and Stephen’s banded snake. ca. 1790.
Wanted poster, offering a reward for information leading to the capture of Ned Kelly, notorious Irish-Australian Bush ranger. This poster dates to the 13th of December, 1878. Kelly’s life and death made him an iconic figure in Australian Art, history, Literature and Film.
The crew of a Vickers Medium Mark II tank of the Royal Australian Armoured Corps takes a drink break. Photograph taken near Liverpool, N.S.W on exercises. 11th of March, 1938.
The Drake silver medal
Silver, mounted on a turquoise and velvet frame. 6.8 cm diameter, dating to 1659 CE.
Medal commemorating Sir Francis Drake’s voyage around the world from 1577-1580. The dotted line on both sides represents Drake’s voyage.
A watercolour drawing of a Platypus, 1810.
When first encountered by Europeans, a pelt and sketch was sent back to Great Britain for analysis. As the specimen was so unusual, it was though to have been a hoax created by Chinese taxidermists who were known for their skill in creating fantasy animals. It was thought that a duck and a beaver had been used to construct the animal. The first specimen was damaged by scissors in an attempt to find stitch marks. Indigenous Australians considered the Platypus to be a hybrid formed from the pairing of a female duck with a water rat and also knew the female Platypus laid eggs while the male had venomous talons. Traditional names for the Platypus were Mallangong and Tambreet in New South Wales but Dulaiwarrung in Victoria.
An Australian soldier of the 1st AIF scans the sky with his Lewis gun for enemy aircraft while his mate holds a pan magazine for a quick reload. The colour patch on the kneeling soldier appears to be of 8th Battalion, 2nd Brigade or possibly the 12th Battalion, 3rd Brigade. c.1917.
An Australian Light Horseman in Palestine. This photograph was taken during the Sinai and Palestine Campaign (1915-1918).
Australian Infantrymen sit in ‘funk holes’ during a gas attack on the Western Front. These two men appear to be wearing the Small Box Respirator mask. c. 1917.
Some of the first vehicles across the completed Sydney Harbour Bridge on the 20th of March, 1932.
A woman selecting and assembling artistic patterns of veneer for art furniture use, Frederick Rose’s factory at Mascot, Sydney.