The second stop on our adventure was Hawkesbury Regional Museum. I finally witnessed the flabbit – a local myth first “sighted” in 1985. There is plenty of flabbit merchandise available for purchase.
There were three highlights that I will focus on. Firstly, and without bias at all, was the exhibition curated by Imogen herself! I was very lucky to gain an insider’s perspective! It was great hearing about how the display was curated and the surprise finds along the way. The case contains objects and information on the original inhabitants of the Hawkesbury region, the Darug People. These objects include stone tools, boomerangs, and digging sticks. Each object is accompanied by a label providing an ideal amount of information – just more than a snapshot, yet very informative.
Beneath each of the main display windows are two drawers that contain additional objects. A highlight object is a bark painting by Dick Roughsey depicting a creation story. Other bark paintings by Roughsey can be found in the British Museum and the National Gallery of Victoria. It is a very significant piece of Indigenous art displayed alongside two other paintings from 2008.
Another highlight of the display case is the use of technology. An iPad rests next to the case playing an Indigenous acknowledgment on loop. As this is the first case you see on entering the exhibition space, it provides a fascinating and important introduction to the space.
The second highlight was the exhibition Flood! From a design perspective, it was very effective. For example, here is one of the walls in the exhibition space.
I really like how the photo frames and glass boxes have been positioned on a plain black background. The wall doesn’t appear cluttered yet it is still eye-catching.
The main aim of the exhibition is to thematically cover the history of floods in the area. There are multiple materials utilised to tell these stories. These include engravings, photography, and film. As well as following the history of floods in the area, the exhibition also showcases the history of flood rescue. It made direct and clear links between the past and the present which was a real strength of the exhibition.
Last but not least, the third highlight was the recent acquisitions display in the museum foyer. I have visited a few museums that highlight their recent acquisitions. This, however, was a fully curated case with information such as provenance and significance acompanying each object. It was a great way to see the types of objects that continue to be donated and welcomed into their collection. It was as if you were seeing the museum’s collection policy literally on display.
Thank you again to Imogen for a wonderful day exploring north-west Sydney and for being my guide at Hawkesbury!
I am hoping to visit a couple more exhibitions before the Christmas season well and truly begins. I could not think of a better way to farewell 2016!