SMaRT innovations at National Museum exhibit

Some of UNSW SMaRT Centre's manufacturing and built environment innovations are being be featured in a new exhibition at the National Museum of Australian in Canberra as part of the Australian of the Year 2022 celebrations.

The exhibit is to celebrate the eight extraordinary state and territory recipients of the 2022 Australian of the Year Awards. Learn about their lives, aspirations and experiences through objects of personal significance.

The 2022 Australian of the Year exhibition was developed by the National Museum of Australia in collaboration with the National Australia Day Council.

Do the online tour.

The exhibit runs until 14 February 2022 in the Gandel Atrium and is free.

How to go to the exhibit.

Details on Veena being named 2022 NSW Australian of the Year.

Museum media release - excerpt below:

The National Museum of Australia and the National Australia Day Council launched their annual exhibition of significant objects chosen by the eight 2022 Australian of the Year state and territory recipients.

The exhibition places focus on the objects, which tell us something about recipients’ lives, aspirations and experiences.

National Museum director Mathew Trinca said after a year of immense challenges, the state and territory recipients had selected objects that brought a sense of hope for the future, while National Australia Day Council CEO, Karlie Brand, said the objects had moved beyond being ordinary possessions and were now extraordinarily significant.

Curator of the show, Lily Withycombe, said: “I love this exhibition. These unexpected, personal objects give the background story to such extraordinary Australians and help everyone connect with their life journeys. It makes their achievements all the more inspiring.”

Images of Veena's display:

National Museum installation image
National Museum installation image 2

Below: 2022 Australian of the Year exhibition curator, Dr Lily Withycombe, at the National Museum of Australia. Photo: Denholm Samaras.

2022 Australian of the Year exhibition curator Dr Lily Withycombe


  • ACT Australian of the Year, Patrick (Patty) Mills, basketball champion, is in the middle of the NBA season in the US, so had no chance to choose an object for display, so the NMA has displayed an object from the Museum’s collection – the singlet Danny Morseu wore at the 1980 Moscow Olympics – in the expectation that Mills will contribute an object later.
  • NSW, Prof Veena Sahajwalla, best known for her invention of “green steel” technology, has selected coloured tiles created from recycled timber, textiles and glass and designed for use in domestic and commercial buildings.
  • NT, Arrernte woman Leanne Liddle, was a young officer with SA Police when she found some handcuffs in an antique shop that would have been attached to leg and neck chains and used to imprison First Nations people. Despite her distress, Leanne felt compelled to buy them to teach future generations about Australia’s history.
  • Queensland, Sue and Lloyd Clarke, hope to empower victims of violence to speak up, help family members to be aware of those who may be in an unsafe environment.
  • SA, Prof Helen Marshall. Specialising in vaccinology, public health and infectious diseases, she chose a photo and football belonging to a family friend, 18-year-old Jack Klemich, who died suddenly of meningococcal disease.
  • Tasmania, environmental documentary filmmaker Craig Leeson, chose the camera he used to film “A Plastic Ocean”. It was the first of the ultra-definition cinematic cameras, and captured underwater sequences and interviews with his hero, Sir David Attenborough.
  • Victoria, Dylan Alcott, who won an Olympic gold medal in wheelchair basketball before switching to tennis and winning three more Paralympic golds, also winning 23 quad wheelchair Grand Slam titles and a Newcombe Medal, recently became the first male in any form of tennis to win the Golden Slam, so chose the ”gold” tennis racquet he used for this achievement.
  • WA, Paul Litherland, while working as a police officer, became aware of how vulnerable children are on the internet and began conducting cyber-safety presentations at schools, and chose a 78rpm record, on which 15-year-old Patricia, to become his mother, sings an old Scottish hymn.