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A touring exhibition with the Australian Museum and regional NSW venues during 2023-2025. 

Birds of Australia STORYBOX

Inspired by the work of John and Elizabeth Gould, The Birds of Australia STORYBOX showcases a unique digital experience that brings to life this incredible collection of 19th century illustrations. 


The Birds of Australia STORYBOX brings to life John and Elizabeth Gould's iconic 19th century illustrations using innovative technology and multi-sensory forms of storytelling.

Featuring a 12-min audio-visual production by ESEM Projects, Birds of Australia STORYBOX brings to life Australia’s unique and distinctive birds using the rich and timeless illustrations from John Gould's Birds of Australia.


Through digital interactives and storytelling, the illustrations are combined with birdsong and First Nations storytelling and knowledge, inviting audiences to contemplate the significance of Australia’s colourful bird history, and why we need to conserve them for future generations.

Presented by The Australian Museum, the activation is touring public precincts across regional NSW from March 2023 - 2025. More information about the touring program can be found on the Australian Museum's touring exhibition website. 

Produced by Esem Projects.


Project Lead: Dr. Sarah Barns

Creative Director: Michael Killalea

Technical Direction: Leif Wilson

Design Director: Anna Fraser

Animation: Julian Burgess

Music Composition: Freya Berkhout

Creative Technologist & Software: Rene Christen (Socketumi)

Production Assistance: Sarie O'Brien

Videography: Brendan Blacklock (Blacklock Media)

Below: A short introduction to the digital exhibition featured on STORYBOX. 

An interactive, immersive experience 

The Birds of Australia STORYBOX features new interactive features developed with Rene Christen of Socketumi. 

Audiences can use their mobile phones to follow along and listen and learn from key birds featured in the main production. At the end of the main show, an interactive birdscape invites audiences to connect with the birds and learn more about First Nations stories in the area, and some of the key challenges facing many of Australia's native birds today. 

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STORYBOX Birds of Australia Gould mobile interactive

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First Nations storytelling 

Working with Brendan Blacklock of Blacklock Media, the team has been interviewing First Nations Elders and Knowledge Keepers to learn and discover more about the important role of storytelling in the care and protection of Australian birds. 

As Aunty Rhonda, Birpai Elder and Knowledge Keeper reminds us: “We just have to listen, and remember. Listening to birds can bring us so much joy, and reminds us that we all have a role to play in protecting them.”      

Learn more at the Australia Museum's unique digital publication about the project. 

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