The Libraries Act (1988) requires all Queensland publishers to deposit a copy of their publications with both the State Library of Queensland and the Queensland Parliamentary Library. This requirement ensures that publications will be preserved for present and future generations.
A good example of the importance of legal deposit is provided by one of the lesser known titles held by the State Library’s John Oxley Library. The Boys’ Town calling, published by the Boys’ Town facility at Beaudesert in south-east Queensland was deposited with the State Library under legal deposit during the period of the centre’s existence. Boys’ ‘Town was established in 1961 by the De La Salle Brothers as a boy’s residential facility and school in Queensland. This type of facility came under scrutiny during the investigations and deliberations of the Commission of inquiry into abuse of children in Queensland institutions, and commonly known as the Forde Inquiry, during the late 1990s. The Inquiry’s report was handed to the Queensland government in May 1999 with the government’s response to the Inquiry’s recommendations being handed down in two phases, in August 1999 and September 2001.
Amongst the detailed recommendations and government responses were that the effectiveness of larger residential facilities such as Boys’ Town should be reviewed. Another important initiative was that the government would encourage projects or activities that identified the repositories of information relevant to the lives of former state wards in Queensland.
Boys’ Town calling is a rich resource of photographs and other information detailing the names, lives and activities of many of the young people who spent a significant part of their formative years living there. Given that many of these people, now in adulthood, may have no other sources of information about there lives during these years, the importance of a publication such as the Boys’ Town calling becomes apparent. Therefore, the role and importance of legal deposit in society, in that it ensures the preservation of publications such as the Boys’ Town Calling and many others, cannot be overstated.
Brian Randall – Queensland Place Coordinator, State Library of Queensland