Australia’s involvement in the space race celebrated in new Melbourne exhibition

Australia’s involvement in the space race celebrated in new Melbourne exhibition

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words by sidonie bird de la coeur

‘Out of This World: Australia in the Space Age’ has landed at the Victorian Archives Centre – an exhibition that aims to capture the electrifying zeitgeist of the mid-20th Century and its prospects of space travel.

Out of This World presents a retrospective on the 1950s through to the 1970s, a time when Australia played a key role in the rapidly developing and culturally all-encompassing historical phenomenon that was the Space Race. Featuring memorabilia and artefacts from unidentified flying objects, mid-century fashion, early satellites and the Moon landing, visitors to Out of This World can learn about the role Australia played in the Apollo missions and how these futuristic ideas influenced pop culture.

What you need to know

  • Out of this World is a new exhibition that showcases Australia’s involvement in the Space Race
  • You can see it at the Victorian Archives Centre in North Melbourne until July 17
  • Exhibition admission is free

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“Celebrating Australia’s involvement in the space race, Out of This World has something for everyone, from cutting-edge scientific research to space-inspired design, television and much more”, states National Archives curator, Catriona Donnelly. “Sparked by the launch of Sputnik 1 by the Soviet Union, the world’s first artificial satellite, in 1957, the space race really captured the imaginations of Australians.”

The Space Race saw an explosion of technological and scientific advances, but also marked an important cultural turning point as the world’s attention turned toward the exploration of the unknown. Within Out of This World, the exhibition presents a diverse range of stories, all connected by the thread of mankind’s burning desire to understand space.

“As new technologies were developed, it inspired people of all ages to explore their own ideas and aspirations for the future,” she continues. “What occurred was an explosion of creative responses from Australian scientists, designers, architects, television producers, community groups and children alike.”

The exhibition supported by the State Library of South Australia, the National Collecting Institutions Touring and Outreach Program and Visions of Australia.

For more information about Out of This World and the National Archives of Australia, head here