Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Museum envy

A museum which probably doesn't feature in the Lonely Planet is the Portuguese Ethnographic Museum of Australia near Camperdown Park.

For six months I have been phoning and visiting the "Museum" every now and again, but have never once successfully seen it open or had the phone answered. As a building, it doesn't have many windows. And it possibly doesn't have a functioning door at all. You wouldn't call it inviting, for example. At the back it's a Portuguese community child care centre, which is nice, but unsatisfying for museum-lovers. I fantasise about all the Portuguese ethnography going to waste inside.

I think it may be Newtown's only museum, apart from the Macleay and Nicholson museums at Sydney University, which don't really count. And admittedly the Portuguese Ethnographic Museum of Australia is probably disqualified on the basis of not opening ever. I am jealous of Tempe for having the Bus and Truck Museum, a jealousy which is heightened every time I see that historic double-decker bus of theirs parading through Newtown on a Sunday. Their museum even has a shop selling "bus and truck related merchandise", as depicted on their website:

I want a museum shop!

If you do find yourself in Camperdown Park, wandering aimlessly because the Portuguese Ethnographic Museum of Australia is closed again, visit the James Sullivan RSPCA Memorial Horse Trough (ha! Bet Tempe doesn't have one of those!), which bears a tear-jerking plaque explaining that Sullivan lost his life while trying to save his employer's horses from death by fire:

Sob! Gets me every time.


Cassie said...

Between Kindy and Year Two, I went to Camperdown Public School, and because both my parents worked, every afternoon I went to afterschool care, which was held in the same hall as now holds the Portuguese Ethnographic Museum.

From what I hazily remember of the inside, it's big hall with a kitchen and a small room (in which we used to watch Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) at the bowling-club end, and a stage at the Australia St end.

I assume the childcare centre's in the TV room if the rest of the hall is devoted to the never-open museum?

Dezza said...

I do love these emotionally charged and poignant meanders through history Nosey. The image of a working class lad doing the right thing by his master's horses and ending up a charcoal brickette will surely haunt my dreams tonight......

Nosey in Newtown said...

Thanks for the inside info, Cassie. The museum should be where you say the stage is. If only we could see inside!

Dezza: Glad you like my historical entries. Taking an interest in local heritage issues is a great way to meet old men.

humpy said...

Thank you very much Nosey! There I was driving down Australia St and I caught sight of the Portugese Museum and laughed so hard I nearly crashed the car!
Thanks for your lovely blog BTW, I always look forward to reading it :-)

Anonymous said...

Hi I was wondering if you had any luck in finding out who pute the Musuem at Camperdown to start with, is it run by the council? I would love to find out more. Is there a possibility that it could have moved to another hall? or suburb?

alumiar boutique candles said...

This museum is open on Sundays, from 2 to 5pm.
They also have a website
They will be having the Lusofonic movie showings the next few weeks.