Provenance and context are two key principles when using Original Materials in the John Oxley Library. Interesting material can come from unexpected sources.
One such collection is Accession 2804 from the Uniting Church in Australia. This collection consists of material created by the Methodist, Presbyterian and, later, the Uniting Church. Of particular interest are the documents that reflect the Presbyterian Church’s activities in remote Aboriginal missions. Mapoon, or as it was previously named, Batavia River Mission, was formed in 1891 by Moravian missionaries under the supervision of the Presbyterian Church. Mapoon, as it came to be known, was administered by the Presbyterian Church, with varying influence from the Queensland Government, until 1963, when residents were forcibly removed to a new settlement (New Mapoon) in the Northern Peninsula Area.
A collection of slides from this collection have recently been digitised, following research conducted by historian Geoff Wharton, who has had a long involvement in the area. These 20 slides, taken before Mapoon’s closure, depict some of the infrastructure that was deemed unsuitable by the Presbyterian Church and Queensland Government. A small moment in time, captured before things changed irrevocably.
Gavin Bannerman – Acting Manager, Original Materials, State Library of Queensland