Ian Hutton


At the time of forming the original museum in 1978, the Curator Jim Dorman had collected many artefacts and items from the community.
There is a wealth of items illustrating the island’s past – communication equipment from the Aviation Department; everyday household items, farming equipment such as cream separators and corn huskers, whaling implements (donated by Ian Kiernan); shipwreck items including the ship’s bell from the S.S. Ovalau donated by Greg and Ellis Whitfield
In 2004 PhD student Kimberley Owens carried out a project on the early archaeology of the island. During this research she excavated several sites and uncovered what is believed to be the 1834 foundations of the very first cottage on the island, buried under sand in the Old Settlement paddock. She uncovered over 3,000 artefacts which, along with her research papers, are all lodged at the museum.

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Many models can be found in the Museum – ships, aeroplanes, animals, birds, and geological structures. The Museum houses quality models of various items. These include two of the First Fleet ships, Supply and Lady Penrhyn, involved with Lord Howe Island’s discovery; the 1850s American whaling ship Charles W Morgan; the SS Morinda that serviced

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Natural History

There are several collections of natural history items endemic to Lord Howe Island – from snail shells to stuffed birds. The collections of natural history items include marine snail shells collected and donated by many residents; collections of rock types found on the island; skeletons of other marine organisms; a collection of taxidermed birds that

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The Museum is home to many original artworks, photographs and limited edition prints.
• original black and white photographs hand printed by Max Dupain in the 1970s, donated by his daughter Danina Anderson.
• two of Jack Earl’s original oil paintings – one depicting the Supply at the time of discovery of Lord Howe Island; the other depicting the early Island trading boat Sylph in a storm off Ball’s Pyramid.
• three original paintings by Irwin Weber done in the 1970s.
• a set of two Island bird posters done by artist Kevan Hardacre in the 1980s.
• several prints of extinct birds from 1790 publications.
• original artworks by local artist Margaret Murray as part of the Environmental Gallery displays.
• a watercolour commissioned by the owner of the ship Ovalau that burnt off Lord Howe Island in 1903.

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On display in the Historical Gallery are several maps of Lord Howe Island dating from the mid 1800s, including some rare first editions. The prize of our collection is an original 1853 map, prepared from data given to a Sydney mapmaker by the British research ships Herald and Torch in 1851. The map shows detailed

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There has been interest in Lord Howe Island from philatelists for over a century. Housed at the Museum is the world’s largest collection of stamps and related materials depicting Lord Howe Island. Many philatelists have sent letters and postcards to be stamped with the Lord Howe Island Post Office postmark. Also, there have been a

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The backbone of the photo archives is the Dick Morris Collection. Dick Morris was resident photographer from 1931, producing a unique record of island events – weddings, boat building, school events etc. The first Museum Curator Jim Dorman secured the collection of Dick’s negatives and these are stored at the museum. Many residents and visitors

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Audio and video histories

The earliest recordings were collected by our historian Chris Murray in the 1970s, including interviews with Phil Dignam and Lil Wilson. More recently James and Leonie Furber sponsored a series of video interviews with residents carried out by Chris Murray with our associate videographer Dick Collingridge.
Current Curator Ian Hutton has also compiled a number of video interviews with researchers and residents – Peter Fullagar, John Disney, Glenn Fraser & Pete McLelland.
These recordings are securely archived on the museum digital platform.

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Scientific publications

There have been many scientific studies on Lord Howe Island dating back to the 1850s.
The Museum holds an extensive collection of science papers on various research topics related to the island. These include the flora, invertebrates, seabirds, landbirds, marine life, geology and conservation of the island, and of Middleton and Elizabeth Reefs.
More recent articles are digital PDFs. Many older ones are original documents, which we plan to scan and add as searchable PDFs to the collection that will be available on computers at the museum.

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