Objects Conservator, Catherine Millikan, has held senior roles at Australian art galleries and museums including, Head of Conservation at the Northern Territory Museum and Senior Conservator of Objects at the National Gallery of Victoria. Catherine is now a freelance conservator of art and cultural materials with a focus on Australian Aboriginal Art and an interest in the arts and culture of Cambodia. Florence Zenith Tours (originally Florence Outback Tours) was established to share her privileged experience of working with the people of both these unique places and their important cultural heritage.

Catherine’s work In Phnom Penh, as Director of The National Gallery of Australia Training Program for the National Museum of Cambodia, has led to an enduring connection with staff at the National Museum and a love for the culture of Cambodia spanning twenty years. This role resulted from her earlier work as Project Conservator for The Age of Angkor exhibition. It was a momentous experience to assist with the restoration of the historic museum building and its collection, at such an early stage in the rehabilitation of Phnom Penh which was still suffering from the Pol Pot years of turmoil and neglect.

After Cambodia, Catherine returned to Australia to take up her role at the NGV, continuing art conservation work with their indigenous collections. After her time at the NGV Catherine worked as Project Conservator for the Yuendumu Mens Museum, under the direction of the senior men of Yuendumu and  Warlukurlangu Artists Aboriginal Association, This nationally significant museum houses murals and sacred installations dating from the late 1960’s. Catherine was involved in this landmark project from its inception in the early 2000’s through to the Museum's ceremonial opening in September 2015. 



The Cambodian and Australian team take a break at the National Museum of Cambodia during months of preparation work on a selection of precious religious objects to be transported to The National Gallery of Australia for “The Age of Angkor” exhibition. The famous portrait head of Jayavarman VII and an entire architectural pedant from Bantaey Srei were in the works exhibited. King Sihanouk said at the time “ I am delighted that 33 of Cambodia’s most precious stone and bronze works from the glorious Angkor period, which have never before left our country, will be shown in Canberra, these works form our most valuable collection from the National Museum”.


Yuendumu Mens Museum

To learn more about the Yuendumu Mens Museum, listen to this ABC Radio National documentary about the revival of this remarkable heritage site here or read Catherine’s article here.

When my conservation work in Yuendumu was completed I wanted to continue my connection with the Yuendumu community and Warlukurlingu Artists. So I launched Florence Zenith Tours in 2015 for people to respectfully travel to Central Australia to experience the Yuendumu Mens Museum and meet some of the indigenous artists producing world renowned art in this spectacular desert country.

In 2018 I added a Cambodia tour for people to experience this complex and fascinating country at a quieter pace away from the tour buses. A trip to take in Cambodia’s astonishing architectural legacy, its ancient spiritual traditions, recent history and contemporary arts. Old friends from the National Museum in Phnom Penh guide us through their extraordinary collection of sacred objects, many from temples we will go on to see in the World Heritage Angkor Archaeological Park.