NEWS CENTRE

Uncovering Animals in the Archives – A Snapshot into the Institute Collection



Since the formation of the Institute 10 years ago the Institute archivists have worked tirelessly to bring together all collections from the former congregations to be housed under one roof, where the team can manage the collections in a cohesive way as well as carry out preservation and appraisal activities. Whilst executing these tasks, archivists have begun to recognise a cast of characters across the collections. These characters or animals of the archives appear as representations on various objects, subjects of artworks, or emerge through photographs or textiles. At times, we are unable to determine if these animals were a part of the Sisters of Mercy family or merely sources of entertainment. What we can determine is that these animals were a real presence in the lives of the sisters; they were a part of their every day, even if it was just as a source of transport or as a feature in an artwork that hung on a wall in one of the many convents. These animals are now part of a historical record, evidence of human animal relationships, and an archival catalogue description.

 

 

Left to Right: Hand craved wooden representation of an alligator (Grafton Congregation); Hand craved wooden representation of a PNG bird of paradise (Grafton Congregation); Horse and carriage on Barkly St, North Fitzroy (Melbourne Congregation)

 

 

 

Left to Right: Sr. M. Vianney Dimmann holding the resident pet lamb Lilia (Adelaide Congregation); Sr. M. Columba Maguire with cat (Perth Congregation); Sr. M. Thecla Geddes feeding a brolga on a Winton property (Townsville Congregation)

 

 

Left to Right: Bird in cage with cat photographed next to a jubilee cake (Goulburn Congregation); Set of two vases with images of birds (Perth Congregation); Sr. M. Anne Chester with small dog (Townsville Congregation)

 

 

Left to Right: Mercy Hospital tray cloth featuring rabbits (Perth Collection); Five sisters of Mercy with a horse (Townsville Congregation); Frequent visitor of the Institute Centre Stanmore, honorary archivist and curator Homer the cat (ISMAPNG Collection)

 

 

Image Above: Painting of birds by Sr. M. Nolasco Burg (Singleton Congregation)

 

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December 7 2021

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