Leading Museums, Museum Leaders

Australian Natural History Platform

Sweetheart, a large male Saltwater (Estuarine) Crocodile, is a legendary part of recent Northern Territory history. Picture: Museum and Art Gallery Northern Territory.

Google launches the Australian Natural History platform, unveiling natural treasures, The Courier Mail, 14 September

Australia’s rich natural history has always been one of the country’s best selling points — and now it’s available for the whole world to see.

Google today unveiled their new Australian Natural History platform, showcasing more than 50 immersive collections from partner museums across the country in what will be Australia’s biggest online museum.

Users will be able to learn about impressive specimens like “Sweetheart”, a 5.1-metre-long Estuarine Crocodile from the Northern Territory. Tipping the scales at 780kg, Sweetheart gained notoriety for attacking small, aluminium fishing boats at Sweets Lookout Billabong, a local fishing spot. By 1979 he became aggressive and was relocated to a crocodile farm.  Unfortunately, Sweetheart became entangled with a sunken tree and drowned during the capture process.

Engineering director of Google Australia, Alan Noble, said the Google team was “immensely excited” to launch to Natural History platform on Google Arts & Culture.

“This new platform celebrates Australia’s rich and unique offering for natural history, which we can now provide access to for the entire world to experience, especially our education institutions across the country,” Mr Noble said.

In addition to learning about Australia’s natural history, users will also be able to “teleport” to different museums such as the Natural History in London, which offers virtual reality tours of dinosaurs.

Seven of the contributing partners from Australia and New Zealand — including the Australian Museum (NSW), Museum Victoria (VIC), Queensland Museum (QLD), South Australian Museum (SA), Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory (NT) and Geoscience Australia (ACT) — came together at Melbourne Museum on Wednesday morning to introduce the new platform.

Director of Public Engagement at Museum Victoria, Tim Hart, said visitors to the platform would be able to experience the museum’s collections and specimens in incredible detail.

“From exquisite butterfly eggs magnified to reveal their intricate, crystalline structures, to photographs of native fauna in the wild from our award-winning photographers, this new platform will let visitors experience Australian natural history like never before,” he said.

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See also:

Rare New Zealand animal images from Auckland War Memorial Museum used in major Google collection, stuff.co.nz, 14 September 2016

Council of Australasian Museum Directors, c/o Ms Daryl Karp, Museum of Australian Democracy at Old Parliament House PO Box 3934 Manuka, Australian Capital Territory 2603 Australia, © CAMD 2022
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