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The Hon Peter Garrett AM MP
Minister for the Environment, Heritage and the Arts

‘Australian journeys’: a new permanent attraction at the National Museum of Australia

Media release
29 January 2009
PG/207

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Some of the best and latest acquisitions of the National Museum of Australia feature in the new Australian Journeys gallery, opened today by Arts Minister Peter Garrett.

This is the first permanent exhibition to be redeveloped since the museum opened in 2001 and explores the many voyages that connect Australia to the world and the diverse ways in which Australia has participated in world affairs.

“It’s a great celebration of our nation and in keeping with the times to see an Australian exhibition highlighting the impact of travel which has affected many different aspects of Australian life, such as sport and science.”

Australian Journeys’ stories of travel have been beautifully put together by the museum, and illustrated with a selection of its many treasures,” Mr Garrett said.

The development of Australian Journeys has enabled the museum to build the National Historical Collection with many new objects, such as the world’s largest collection of convict love tokens.

“The poignancy and permanence of love tokens engraved on coins brings home to us just how final and frightening the convict experience was, as they headed for the other side of the globe.

“Cultural objects can speak to the viewer with an intensity that words alone cannot convey.”

The importance of cultural heritage to Australia’s history is central to the Australian Government’s current review of the Protection of Movable Cultural Heritage Act 1986. This legislation helps ensure that valuable heritage objects remain accessible to Australians. Public submissions are invited until 6 March 2009: www.arts.gov.au/public_consultation 

Commonwealth of Australia