Australia - USA

When did the first American set foot on Australian soil? Was it during the Gold Rush or the 'coal rush' of the 1850s? Or was it earlier in the 19th century, when American traders, whalers and sealers roamed Australian waters? In fact, the first American visitors to our shores were three crew onboard the Endeavour in 1770.

The first foreign trading vessel to the new settlement of Port Jackson was also American, arriving in 1792. The ship carried a cargo of beef and rum. Arthur Phillip, governor of the starving, struggling colony, bought the lot.

The Australia - USA exhibition celebrates these early and enduring ties between the two countries. The museum's USA Gallery and the exhibition it contains derive from a US$5 million gift from the USA for the Bicentennial of European settlement in Australia, in 1988. The gallery, dedicated by President George Bush (senior), includes many fine objects in a growing collection that commemorates this shared maritime heritage.

Current exhibition in the USA Gallery is David Moore - Portraits of a shipping company.

David Moore, world-renowned Australian photographer, was commissioned by Columbus Line to create photographic portraits of their shipping activities. Columbus Line began operating between North America and Australia and New Zealand in 1959 and was the first company to regularly schedule a containerised shipping service.

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