Around the world in eight objects


1The first humans who travelled were generally encouraged out of necessity in the search for food, water and shelter.[1] However, due to advancements in technology, the manner and rate in which people travel has adapted and increased incredibly over time. This can be demonstrated with the statistic that on average there are approximately 102,465 flights scheduled every day![2] Hurstville Museum & Gallery is fortunate to have a number of items in its collection which relates to this evolution in travel.

No souvenir has become more synonymous with travel than the humble postcard. In 1870, the first postcards were issued in Britain.[3] As the stamp was placed on the card, this removed the need for an envelope; however, many thought postcards would not catch on as the messages on the back would not be private.[4] This wasn’t the case as the release of postcards was met with great enthusiasm. On the first day of issue it was estimated that over 500,000 were sent through the London postal centre.[5]


R2001.30 – Postcards and envelope from Bob Andrew

The New South Wales Government was the first state of Australia to introduce official postcards in December, 1875. As they were cheap to buy and produce, they became instantly popular for writing brief and informal messages, becoming common travel souvenirs to send home to loved ones. These postcards and envelope [1] were written by Bob Andrew to keep his parents, who resided in Beverley Hills, up to date from his holidays in 1965.


1980.1624 – Luggage tag

This passenger luggage tag [2] dates from 7 January 1925 and indicates its owner Mrs N. Lobb travelled from Leura to Carlton by New South Wales Government Railways. This Government agency was officially opened on 26 September 1855.[6] By the time the Federation of Australia occurred in 1901, all the states except Western Australia had an established railway network with 20,000 km of track having been laid.[7] Unfortunately these separate railways systems could not be connected together as three different gauges had been used across the nation. According to the website of the Department of Infrastructure, Regional Development and Cities, if someone wished to cross the nation from Perth to Brisbane by rail in 1917, they would have had to change trains six times![8] This was improved by the 1970s as a passenger could have stayed on the same train from Perth to Sydney. There are still three different gauges used in Australia, however the all the capital cities are now linked with one gauge.[9]


H2005.5 – Travelling clock and case

Levi Hutchins invented the first known mechanical alarm clock in America in 1787.[10] This was just for his personal use, as he had the personal belief that he should be up before sunrise.[11] He did not patent his invention; the first patented alarm clock was in 1847 by Antoine Redier.[12] It was during the 1950s that alarm clock companies began producing portable travel alarm clocks such as this one which dates from the 1980s [3].

What souvenirs have you collected from your travels?


[1] ‘A history of travel and tourism’, Love Exploring, visited 1 May 2019,

[2] ‘100,000 flights per day’, The Garfors Globe, visited 2 May 2019,

[3] ‘Information’, Australian Cartophilic Society, visited 18 May 2019,

[4] Ibid.

[5] Ibid.

[6] ‘NSW Railways, Museums Victoria Collections, visited 1 May 2019,

[7] ‘Introduction’, Department of Infrastructure, Regional Development and Cities, visited 18 May 2019,

[8] Ibid.

[9] Ibid.

[10] Naomi Russo, ‘A 2,000 year history of alarm clocks’, Atlas Obscura, visited 2 May 2019,

[11] Ibid.

[12] Ibid.

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