About us

Touching the Past: All About Australian Journey

‘Objects’, the Director of Australia’s National Museum tells us, ‘have the power to connect us to the others’ lived experience, to collapse time and space and … feel [the shape] and character of their worlds’. ‘Australian Journey: the story of Australia in 12 Objects’ is a free resource developed by Monash University, the Australian National University and the National Museum of Australia. Structured around the themes of Land, People and Nation, it will take you across the length and breadth of the continent, reveal the forces that shaped our history and offer new and nuanced perspectives on Australia. Some of the objects we’ve chosen are famous, iconic or familiar; others obscure, even quirky. But all our objects tell a story and all find a place in the National Museum of Australia.

The issues canvased in this series are as various as Indigenous and Non Indigenous views of the landscape, the threats posed by climate change, new ways forward in the reconciliation process, the unsettling of Anzac and the need to affirm multiculturalism in the face of fear and prejudice. ‘Australian Journey’ is co-presented by Dr Susan Carland (from ‘The Project’ and ‘Salam Café’) and Professor Bruce Scates (from ‘Compass’ and ‘The War that Changed Us’) and uses objects as a window to view Australia’s past.


Partnership and Collaboration

Over three years in the making and filmed in hundreds of locations, ‘Australian Journey’ has involved a host of cultural institutions and relied on the generosity of countless individuals. In addition to the support supplied by the National Museum of Australia, Monash University and the Australian National University, images and/or advice site access was provided by ABC Scuba Diving, Pt Douglas; ACT Government; Adelaide City Council; Anzac Memorial, Sydney; Australian War Memorial; Baldja Aboriginal Network, Fremantle; Cascade Brewery, Hobart; Cascade Female Factory, Hobart; Centennial Park Authority; Co.As;It. (Italian Historical Society); Cockburn City Council; Custom’s House, Sydney; Don Loffler, Fremantle city Council; Fremantle Harbour Trust Authority; GMH Archives; Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority; Hellenic Museum Melbourne, Historial de la Grande Guerre, Peronne, France; Historic Houses Trust of New South Wales; Hyde Park Barracks, Sydney; In Flanders Fields Museum, Ypres, Belgium; Jai Wilson: Julie Kimber and Phil Deery; Melbourne City Council; Melbourne Cricket Ground; Menzies Centre for Australian Studies, King’s College London;Mogumbar Aboriginal Corporation, Monash Indigenous Studies Centre; Monash University Rare Books Collection; Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences, Sydney;  Museum of Parliamentary Democracy, Canberra; Museum Victoria; National Archives (UK); National Archives of Australia; National Film and Sound Archives; National Gallery of Australia; National Gallery of Victoria; National Herbarium of Victoria; National Maritime Museum (Royal Museums Greenwich, UK), National Parks Victoria; National Library of Australia; Old Treasury Buildings Melbourne;  Perth City Council; Pete Deegan; Port Campbell National Park;  Public Records Office Victoria; Royal Botanic Gardens, Victoria, Shrine of Remembrance, Victoria; Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of American History; Southwest Aboriginal Land and Sea Council; St Martin’s Church, Sydney; State Library of South Australia; State Library of Victoria; State Library of Western Australia; State Records, NSW; Sydney Botanical Gardens; Sydney City Council; Sydney Harbour Trust Authority; Sydney Opera House Authority; Tourism and Events Australia; Tourism Australia; Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery; Tourism Victoria; Victoria Police Museum; Wakefield Press and Wendy McDougall.

We also thank the technical staff, educational advisors, film crew and sound technicians  listed on each episode's credits, acknowledge the outstanding work of our director Mark Warren and thank the individuals and entities who provided sound clips.

This series was produced for educational purposes and may not be used for commercial or private gain.  ‘Australian Journey’ may be screened in any public venue, provided appropriate acknowledgement is made.  We acknowledge the Traditional Owners of all the lands where filming took place.

This project is a non-traditional research output (as defined by the Australian Research Council). Professor Bruce Scates gratefully acknowledges the support of the universities that facilitated his research in the course of his career., namely (in alphabetical order) the Australian National University, Monash University, Murdoch University, the University of Auckland, the University of Melbourne and the University of New South Wales.

The views expressed in this series are those of the author and interviewees and do not necessarily reflect the view of their host institutions. The authors, presenters and interviewees assert moral rights over their work.