The John Oxley Library’s Simon Farley and Serena Coates attended today’s opening of Thomas Welsby – Recognition at Last at the Royal Historical Society of Queensland’s headquarters, the Commissariat Store, 115 William Street, Brisbane.
A lovely morning tea was provided and an interesting overview of the life of Thomas Welsby was given by Susan Martin, whose thesis on Welsby, titled Recogition at Last, informs the curatorial basis of the display. The exhibition was organised by Janice Hess, Hon Exhibitions Curator, and Robyn Stephensen, Hon Assist Exhibitions Curator. Janice has written a piece on the exhibition in vol. 7, issue 1. of Seascape, Maritime Safety Queensland’s quarterly publication.
Thomas Welsby – Recognition at Last covers many areas of the great man’s life including his early childhood, time as an athlete, businessman, Commodore of the Royal Queensland Yacht Club, involvement with the Queensland Amateur Fisherman’s Association, with Rugby Union Queensland (the Welsby Memorial Cup is on loan from Queensland Rugby Union along with a jersey from the current holders Brothers), presidency of the Royal Historical Society of Queensland, and historian of the Moreton Bay area.
Thomas Welsby bequethed his magnificent library to the Historical Society of Queensland and some of his scrapbooks, photos, letters and books are on display. Many thanks to Janice and Robyn for the wonderful personal tour of the library. It was a treat to see Welsby’s meticulous, fine handwriting and the care with which his records are kept.
Thomas Welsby was an incredible all-rounder and achieved a great deal in his life. The John Oxley Library has a number of publications by and about him and records of organisations he was involved in such as those of the Queensland Amateur Fisherman’s Association of Queensland (1904-2004). Welsby was in fact instrumental in the naming of the John Oxley Library.
Congratulations to all at the Royal Historical Society of Queensland involved in the creation and launch of this excellent display. For more information on Thomas Welsby please see Dr Ruth Kerr’s definitive overview of his life in her entry in the Australian Dictionary of Biography Online at http://adbonline.anu.edu.au/biogs/A120492b.htm .