On 7 December 2018, State Library of Queensland launched its latest exhibition, Home: a suburban obsession, as well as the Corley Explorer, a database of over 61,000 photographs of homes taken during the 1960s and 1970s.
These photographs were taken by Frank and Eunice Corley who drove around suburban streets from Bundaberg to Beenleigh taking snapshots of the fronts of houses, which they would then attempt to sell to the occupant in the form of a calendar or greetings card.
It is estimated that the Corleys took approximately a quarter of a million photographs with around two-thirds of these images sold. The remaining 61,000 were donated to State Library in 1995.
House images are presented by suburb, then in the order they were photographed on the film spool, street by street. While the majority of images are not individually identified by street name and number, the Corley Explorer allows you to input the exact address as well as add personal stories and photographs of the property.
Browsing the photographs for the Brisbane suburb of Everton Hills I recognised the house I grew up in at 49 Olearia Street. Our family lived in this house from 1980 to 1999.
I raided my parents photograph collection and came up with a number of images of the facade, the garden and shots from inside the house, which I uploaded to the Corley Explorer.
One of the major changes visible from the Corley photograph to when I lived in the house was that a portico over the front entrance was added some time prior to 1980. The front and back verandahs were built-in in 1988.
The property backed on to Kedron Brook and had a multi-level backyard.
Can you identify your house on the Corley Explorer? Help us by adding your story to the image.
This short video looks at how this valuable collection of photographs was rescued and preserved by State Library staff.
Don’t forget to visit our free exhibition, Home: a suburban obsession, which runs until 14 July 2019.
Myles Sinnamon – Engagement Officer, State Library of Queensland