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SEVENTY YEARS ON
EXHIBITION NOW OPEN
Ludwig Hirschfeld-Mack (1893--1965) Orange 1941
woodcut, printed in black ink; 14.7 x 20.0 cm. Collection of Chris Bell (grandson)
02 6262 1111
This display reveals wartime stories of survival and achievement and coincides with the 70th
anniversary of the arrival from Britain of HMT Dunera. The ship carried over 2500 German,
Austrian and Italian 'enemy aliens' to Australia, for internment in rural camps. Many internees
were of Jewish heritage and had escaped to Britain from the horrors of Nazi Germany in the 1930s.
along the floor, is the basement. Located
in the depths of the building, the room
ser ved briefly as a morgue for the institute
and also contained animal forensic
laboratories. Evidence of the building's
past is embedded in the doors in the form
of the old morgue sign.
e basement was home to the institute's
publicly prohibited exhibition items which
included human and animal specimens
bottled in formalin, the death masks
of some of Victoria's and New South
Wales' most notorious murderers, and a
mummified body of a New Guinea native.
For those who have an ethereal interest,
there has apparently been quite a bit of
ghostly phenomena and stories linked to
the basement, the library, the theatre and
around the residence building.
If you're visiting the exhibition space
you may possibly see a ghostly apparition
wearing period costume or sense the
same presence that a caused a dog
staying overnight in the building to howl
unremittingly and refuse to cross from the
north to the south side on the first floor.
With dark wood and seats covered in
deep-red material, the eatrette at the
end of the corridor has an ambient
old-world atmosphere and charm.
While the eatrette, which is positioned
directly above where the institute's
morgue was located, currently screens
black and white footage from television
ads of by-gone eras, it has also been used
for lecture presentations.
ere is a rumour that about five or six
years ago when a lecture was being given,
and a couple of late-comers turned up,
there were still a few vacant seats towards
the back of the room. Surprisingly
though, the late-comers quietly wove
their way through the filled seats to
the spare seats towards the front of the
When the lecturer inquired with
curiosity at the end of the lecture as to
why people hadn't simply taken the seats
closest to the door they'd entered through,
the somewhat baffled response came that
when they'd entered the darkened theatre,
the only spare seats were the two at the
front, all the others were taken.
Next time you're visiting the National
Film and Sound Archives to explore one
of their exciting exhibitions, be sure you
take the time to obser ve the beauty of the
building and take a moment to reflect on
the rich history it holds.
National Film and Sound Archive
Where: McCoy Circuit, Acton
When: Monday to Friday, 9am-5pm
Phone: 6248 2000
TREASURE: The National Film and Sound Archives is a striking building with an interesting heritage.
MOTIFS: The foyer displaying the platypus
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