Restoration of the sailing boat that made the first single handed voyage to Antarctica Dr David Lewis was a courageous sailor, an extra-ordinary navigator and an adventurer with big dreams. He was the first navigator in modern times to cross the Pacific Ocean without using instruments, following a legendary Maori course from Tahiti to New Zealand.
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In the early decades of the twentieth century steam-powered vehicles including traction engines, steam wagons, road locomotives, road rollers and steam fire engines were a common sight on Australian roads.
As part of the Ultimo Science Festival 2014, the Powerhouse Museum hosted a night of the Science of Sex. Along with talks form Dr Karl Kruszelnicki from University of Sydney, evolutionary biologist Professor Rob Brooks, and marine biologist Professor Emma Johnston from UNSW, Museum curators brought out a selection of sex related objects from the collection.
The Powerhouse Discovery Centre will celebrate Science Week with lots of activities on the weekend of 16-17 August. Our example of the Super Sopper, an Australian innovation that has been removing excess water from sports fields for forty years, is one of many objects that will star in behind-the-scenes tours.
I chose this object to celebrate Engineering Week (4-10 August 2014). It’s an excellent working model of a steam tram, the first type of tram that served Sydney. Now the city’s light rail system, which is tiny compared to the extensive electric system that followed the steam tram era, is set to grow.
You've heard of steam trains, steam fire engines, steam trams and maybe even steam wagons but what about steam cars. Not many people realise it but up until 1908 there were more steam cars being produced than internal combustion engine cars.
Save for sparse and sporadic failed convict rebellions and escapees who stole arms and turned them on their British overlords, prisoners and Aborigines had been the foremost human recipients of firearm discharges prior to the Australian gold rush.
One of the most visually impressive objects in the Museum's collection is this fabulous steam ploughing engine. It's an example of the world's first successful method of powered cultivation, developed by John Fowler of Leeds, England, in 1863 and was part of the mechanisation and industrialisation of agriculture during the nineteenth century.
It's 160 years ago this year (2014) since the first railway was opened in Australia in 1854. The railways were a vast improvement on the Cobb and Co. coaches, which carried people, and the drays and wagons, which carried goods, over the rough bush tracks.
3D printing is the buzz word of the moment. Some say we will all soon be printing out nifty little plastic things on our home 3D printers. It is already possible to replicate body parts for implantation in the human body.
Coal miners are very aware of the risks posed by fuels. Whenever they go underground they carry self-rescuers like this one, which turns toxic carbon monoxide into harmless carbon dioxide. News that a Sydney family was rushed to hospital recently suffering from carbon monoxide poisoning demonstrates that the rest of us should be just as aware of the dangers.
This little green steam locomotive, which looks remarkably like Percy from Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends, is in the Museum's collection. Percy is the Small Engine and Thomas’ best friend. He's quite happy puffing around the yard with no particular desire "for adventure in the world outside".