The Gum Leaf Letter

In 1910, a newly married couple honeymooning in Yetman, New South Wales, took it upon themselves to mail a gum leaf up to Brisbane to a Mrs F. Humfress at the Commercial Union Chambers, Eagle Street. The large gum leaf was written on directly, wasn’t placed in an envelope, and was even postmarked, before making … Read more

Queensland Places – Torres Strait – Wreck of the Conqueror

The Conqueror - an artist's depiction, John Oxley Library Neg. No. 66921

The vessel Conqueror was a wooden, three masted barque weighing around 340 tons, which was mainly engaged in the transport of cargoes of various kinds between Australian ports and various locations to the north and elsewhere, becoming well known along these shipping routes.  In July 1866, the Conqueror sailed from Adelaide, calling at Newcastle for … Read more

The Baby Killer – Mrs Winslow’s Soothing Syrup (Patent medicine in Queensland)

Trade card from the collection of Miami University Libraries

Browse through Queensland newspapers from the mid-1880s until the early part of the 20th century, you will discover they are filled with advertisements for elixirs, tonics, ointments and powders curing everything from rheumatism to baldness to cancer. Many of these so-called “cures” were either ineffective and/or contained dangerous chemicals. In the era of patent medicines, manufacturers … Read more

Shakespeare Fans

This is the Brisbane Shakespeare Society, dressed up for a production of Henry V at the Exhibition Building on 23 April 1918. Queenslanders at the time seemed to be equal fans of Shakespeare and Edward, the Prince of Wales. In 1920, to honor a visit by the Prince, they went all out with a Shakespeare … Read more