In the 19th and early 20th centuries museums often purchased specimens to increase the size and variey of their collections. Read about one intended purchase that unfortunately did not proceed.

Archives volunteer John Rankin is indexing the Reports of the President of the Board of Trustees. Recently John found a report from 1903 which told of the Australian Museum's interest in the Mr Harry Stockdale Collection. This extensive Collection of over 1,000 specimens included island spears, glass & flint-headed spears, boomerangs, tomahawks, bull roarers and fighting picks. Mr Stockdale was selling the Collection via an auction. Curator, Robert Etheridge, had not been able to negotiate the purchase of any of the specimens, prior to the auction, because the price wanted by Mr Stockdale was prohibitive. It was agreed that Etheridge would attend the auction with £25 and try to purchase some specimens. .

The Parkes-Farmer Eastern Wing
The Parkes-Farmer Eastern Wing demonstrating the international style of the William Street extension. 1959-1963: Parkes/Farmer Eastern Wing William Street Extension International Style In 1957 plans were made to extend the Museum down William street, and Joseph Van der Steen under Government Architect, Edward Farmer, designed a six storey extension, linked to the Lewis building by a glazed entrance & stairwell. The two basement floors providing workspace for scientific staff were built 1959-1960, and the superstructure was finished in 1963. This wing presents a blank windowless façade to the street. In 1977, to mark the Museum's 150th anniversary, bronze lower case letters were added to the façade identifying the building as 'the australian museum'. Image: G.Millen
© Australian Museum

Unfortunately before the auction a fire started at Stockdale's residence. Despite a steam engine being dispatched from Paddington the house was completely destroyed. According to a pressclipping, attached to the President's Report, the household contents which included curios, maps and drawings was valued at £350. What an unfortunate loss for our cultural heritage