Category Archives: Brisbane Back

New Acquisition – “Toowong Rowing Club: One Hundred Years (plus a few)”

New Acquisition – “Toowong Rowing Club: One Hundred Years (plus a few)” / Jack Pritchard. Brisbane [Publisher?] 2011

Staff at the State Library of Queensland were very pleased to accept from Jack Prichard a copy of his recently completed history of the Toowong Rowing Club (TRC).  This work charts more than 100 years of one of the premier rowing clubs in Brisbane and provides a companion to his earlier epic work “Rowing in Queensland 1880 -1995” and represents a significant addition to the library’s holdings on the history of rowing in Brisbane.

The author’s latest contribution to the Queensland memory provides an extremely detailed and intimate view of rowing club life in Brisbane.  It reads almost like a diary in which the chronology of events, thoughts and aspirations as well as achievements and failures of the participants are captured.  This is more than just a history of TRC it places the club within the in the history of Brisbane and its mighty and some times angry river.  Indeed the Author’s labours in putting this history together would have been much less onerous if it were not for the January 1974 Brisbane River flood which destroyed much if not all of the Clubs historical records.

Toowong Rowing Club shed at the height of the 1974 Brisbane River flood. This photograph taken just before the shed was swept away down river into Moreton Bay. Photograph supplied by the Toowong Rowing Club.     The Shed. Toowong Rowing Club. Photo supplied with the permission of the Toowong Rowing Club 

Many prominent rowing identities names are associated with TRC such as, for example, Thomas Finney and Dave (“The Fox”) Magoffin.  Indeed while reading this book I discovered that the founder of Churchie (my old school) the Rev W. F. P Morris was a member of the Club and during the 1912 TRC regatta he rowed in the Kibble Cup wining crew and like me he rowed stroke side.

The history of TRC provides a window into the history of rowing in Brisbane and reveals the close association between Brisbane rowing clubs through the mutual occupation of a river, the development of the sport and the core reason for which rowing clubs exist – racing!

Alex Cutts, Senior Project Officer, Public and Indigenous Library Services – State Library of Queensland (practising accredited rowing coach)

Floodlines Tea and Music event Tuesday 10 April

Victoria Bridge 1893 floodJoin us for a special Tea & Music event at 10.30am, Tuesday 10 April. To mark the opening of the Floodlines exhibitions, critically acclaimed pianist Colin Noble will perform J.S. Bach’s technically outstanding Goldberg Variations BWV988 to a slideshow of historical images of the Brisbane 1893 flood and time lapse footage of the 2011 flood.

Brisbane River 2011 flood

Brisbane based pianist and teacher Colin Noble is a student of legendary Australian musicians, Pamela Page and Larry Sitsky, and holds Honours (UQ) and Masters (ANU) Degrees in Performance. He has made a specialty of playing music written after 1900, including six complete performances of Messiaen’s Vingt Regard sur l’enfant Jesus. He has made several CDs to critical acclaim, as a piano solo artist, a chamber musician and as a producer, mostly recently releasing his version of the J.S Bach “Goldberg Variations” on the Centaur Label, and an all-Debussy CD due for release in 2012.

Colin Noble’s Goldberg VariationsColin has worked as an accompanist and a piano teacher at several schools in Brisbane including St Peter’s Lutheran College, All Hallows School and currently works at St Margaret’s as well as guest accompanying for Mt St Michael’s. He has given many national radio broadcasts for the ABC, and his playing has been critically acclaimed for “formidable technique”, “depth and reverence” and simply as “a tour de force”.

The “Goldberg Variations” Johann Sebastian Bach’s Aria with 30 Variations or the Goldberg Variations was published in 1741, and is arguably the most important cycle of variations in the history of music before 1800. Technically outstanding, the large-scale cyclical layout (based on a sequence of 10 x 3 movements, incorporating a series of nine canons, one at every third variation, arranged in order of ascending intervals to move towards a climax, with a final quodlibet) is without precedent. The basis of the composition is a ground bass of 32 bars, developed from the Ruggiero and related bass patterns, first presented in the aria and then subjected to free and canonic elaboration in a wide variety of ways. In their monothematic and emphatically contrapuntal conception, the Goldberg Variations set the scene for Bach’s last keyboard works – the Musical Offering and Art of Fugue. Goldberg Variations excerptSome sources suggest that the Variations was a contracted work, but the lack of any formal dedication in the original edition suggests that the work was not composed to a commission. It is conceivable, on the other hand, that after publication Count von Keyserlingk of Dresden , whom Bach visited in 1741, received a copy of the work for the use of his young resident harpsichord player Johann Gottlieb Goldberg, a pupil of both J.S. and W.F. Bach. In his own copy (which came to light only in 1975) Bach added a series of 14 enigmatically notated canons on the bass of the Aria in about 1747–8. They place a special and individual accent on the canonic writing that occupied him so intensively at that period. (Paraphrased from The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians).

Tea & Music: Floodlines Tuesday 10 April, 10.30am, Auditorium 1

To purchase tickets for Tea & Music,go to or call 3840 7768

Embracing the "dark" – Brisbane’s Gothic nightclub scene

Recently we received a fascinating collection of posters and flyers from Gothic music venues in Brisbane during the 1990s. The collection was donated to the library by ex-Abyss DJ, Myles Sinnamon. Brisbane had a reasonably strong Gothic scene which more or less emerged from the Punk scene but without the aggressive protest element, Goths tending more towards artistic and romantic ideals. Brisbane’s Gothic heyday was probably the 80s and early 90s, but the Gothic scene tends to wax and wane and is still alive in Brisbane.

Flyer advertising the Abyss nightclub at Normanby Hotel, Brisbane, c.1996. Abyss was a Gothic nightclub. State Library of Queensland                 Flyer advertising the Abyss nightclub at the Normanby Hotel, Brisbane, c.1996. Abyss was a Gothic nightclub. State Library of Queensland                 Flyer advertising the Abyss nightclub at the Normanby Hotel, Brisbane, 1996. Abyss was a Gothic nightclub. State Library of Queensland

Most of the posters in this collection emanate from the Normanby Hotel, the Abyss Nightclub, Arcadia, London Burning, Midian, Dark Entries, the Bloodlust Ball and the Majestic Hotel. Collections such as these are extremely valuable in documenting Queensland’s music history, and I would like to hear from you if you have Queensland music material of any type, which you would like to donate to our collection. We collect contemporary and older materials. All items in our collections are housed in ideal conditions for their preservation and access by current and future researchers. Please feel encouraged to call me or email me at any time.

Laurel Dingle
Queensland Music Coordinator
State Library of Queensland
Ph: (07) 3840 7835

The Pearl ferry disaster on the Brisbane River (13 February 1896)

Pearl. Wreck of the Pearl off Hancock Brothers Wharf, South Brisbane. State Library of Queensland, Negative number 103398

“A terrible accident occurred on the river a short distance below Victoria Bridge last evening about five minutes past 5 o’clock. All traffic having been stopped on the bridge, the small steamer Pearl left the Queen’s Wharf for the Musgrave Wharf, South Brisbane. The vessel carried a large complement of passengers… On the journey across the Pearl steamed down the river a short distance in order to pass between the steamer Normanby and the Government steamer Lucinda. The Pearl, in avoiding the Normanby, was carried by the broadside on to the anchor chains of the Lucinda. The Pearl suddenly capsized and it is thought that she was almost cut in two by the force of the collision. In a minute or two after the first contact all the passengers were struggling in the water…. A number it is known, succeeded in scrambling up the anchor chains of the Lucinda, and others were rescued by boats… The accident was witness by a large crowd of people who were in the vicinity of Victoria Bridge and William-street at the time. A rush across was made by the bridge by hundreds of people, and as the news of the accident spread rapidly in South Brisbane and the city of people flocked in thousands towards the Bridge to gaze on the scene of the unfortunate occurrence.”
Brisbane Courier, Friday 14 February 1896, p.5.

February marks the anniversary of the capsizing and sinking of the Brisbane ferry Pearl, one of Australia’s worst ferry disasters. Of the 80 plus passengers aboard it is believed that between 23 and 57 people perished on the afternoon of 13 February. Diving operations were undertaken to salvage bodies from the wreck. Authorities were also concerned that debris from the wreck might damage the piles under the Victoria Bridge. The hull was eventually raised from the bottom of the Brisbane River on 6 March. A Marine Board of Inquiry was convened to investigate the incident. The Inquiry found the Captain, James Chard had “displayed a want of skill in navigating his vessel.” Chard’s certificates and licences to pilot steamers was cancelled.

Pearl - wreck. State Library of Queensland, negative number 9319

Below are several personal accounts from survivors/witnesses:

Interview with Captain Chard
“I called out to everybody to grip something, because she was going down. One fellow near me called out “Why don’t you grip hold of something?” I replied, “I don’t want anything; I am going down with her.” Almost immediately afterward she sank. I went down with her. When she reached the bottom I could feel the bridge breaking under me between my feet… When I next came up…I could see two women struggling in the water…I looked round and saw a lifebuoy close to me. I seized it, and got the two women to hold on to it. Three of us were supported in this way, and drifted down to the drydock.” Sydney Morning Herald, 15 February 1896, p.9.

Interview with Mr Bell-Booth –
“I saw the sharp nose of the Government yacht cut [the Pearl] almost in two, the steam escaping from the damaged boilers in all directions. I dived over the stern, to where I had dragged Mr Lamond out of harm’s way, and just missed the screw, which appeared to be still revolving. I took a long dive, and rose about twenty yards astern of the Lucinda. I then breasted the current, and attempted to save a woman floating towards me, but when she reached me I found she was quite dead. I then tried to save another woman, but she disappeared from sight before I reached her. I was now fatigued, and turning round swam downstream till I reached McGhie, Luya’s wharf, where I was picked up by a boat.” The Queenslander, 22 February 1896, p.376

Interview with Mr and Mrs Jewell who were watching from onshore -
Mrs Jewell – “The shrieks and screams startled me, and made me feel sick and giddy; indeed, I feel so now, and never shall I forget to my dying day the sight of the poor creatures perishing before my very eyes. I called my husband to see if he could render any help.” Mr. Jewell said: “I rushed out of the workshop on hearing my wife scream out. I saw the accident; the shrieks were fearful for a moment. The boat was against the bows of the Lucinda. I saw a few people jump, and it seemed to me glide (they were so quick) from the Pearl to the Lucinda, then the boat gave a turn and slid on her side, the steam hissing. Dozens of people slipped off as she turned, and were swept under as she sank. To picture what happened is almost impossible; so quick was the scene that I could hardly realize that so dreadful a catastrophe had taken place. I saw about twenty persons, men, women, and children fighting with the debris in the rushing waters, and sinking from exhaustion.” Evening Observer, 4 February 1896

 Earlier image of the steamer Pearl moored above the Victoria Bridge (second temporary structure ) in 1896. State Library of Queensland, negative number 9320
A photo of the Pearl before the disaster.

A special commemoration service was held on 12 February 2012 at the Queensland Maritime Museum. Descendants of those involved in the disaster were invited to attend and share their stories.

In 2011 Paul Seto wrote a book on the tragedy – “1896 “Pearl” Ferry capsizing near Victoria Bridge, Brisbane River : a compilation of newspaper research from National Library of Australia, supplemented by other sources“.

Myles Sinnamon – Project Coordinator, State Library of Queensland

Posted in Brisbane, Collections | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

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  1. On Sunday 12 February 2012 the first of what is hoped to be an annual commemoration service was held at the Queensland Maritime Museum, on South Bank, for those some twenty-nine people who perished, as well as in thanksgiving for those sixty people who were saved, and for their rescuers. The first body (Mrs. Nellie Harper), was recovered near the Dry Dock. The last body (Miss Maggie McGee) was recovered on the southern tip of Bribie Island two weeks later. She was identified by a silver brooch she was wearing, which was a gift from Mrs. May Bradshaw-Barker.

    Further inquires to Paul Seto about this event are welcome via the John Oxley library.

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Destruction of the Victoria Bridge : 1893 Brisbane Flood

Illustration of the first permanent Victoria Bridge looking towards the government offices and Queen Street, Brisbane, 1893. State Library of Queensland, negative no. 6734  South Brisbane and Victoria Bridge, ca. 1892. [State Library of Queensland, neg no.146810]
Images of the Victoria Bridge before the flood.


“…it is our painful duty to record the fact that the structure has been completely wrecked. The disaster took place about 4am yesterday [6 February], at which time there was a crowd gathered on the dry land at the bridge approaches. Gallantly as the structure had resisted the enormous weight of water rushing against it all day, when the first inroad was made it soon succumbed. The first portion to go was the second or third span, where the flood waters had probably been running the strongest. There was one loud crash, which shook the very earth, and made the surrounding buildings shake to their foundations; one convulsive heave, and the wrecked portion went down the river. Soon other pieces followed it, until before half an hour had elapsed fully one-half of the bridge had disappeared.”.
Brisbane Courier, 7 February 1893, p.2

February 6 marks the anniversary of the destruction of Brisbane’s Victoria Bridge in the early days of the “Great Flood of 1893″. The bridge was a vital artery connecting North and South Brisbane. The previous day, February 5th, saw the destruction of the Indooroopilly Railway Bridge. The extensive and historic photograph collection of the State Library of Queensland contains a number of images documenting this shocking event.

A view from North Quay of the wooden Victoria Bridge, Brisbane, during the 1893 flood, with the water almost over-running the bridge. An unidentified ship is moored at South Brisbane. A crowd views the scene from the bank at North Quay in the foreground. State Library of Queensland, neg 67645  Large group of people gathered to watch the rising flood waters under the Victoria Bridge in 1893. Half of the bridge was swept away in the flood. Looking south towards South Brisbane. [State Library of Queensland, neg no. 19470]
Views from North Quay of the Victoria Bridge, Brisbane, during the 1893 flood, show the water almost over-running the bridge. An unidentified ship is moored at South Brisbane. A large crowd has gathered in the foreground. If you compare these photos with the one above you can see how high the Brisbane River had risen.

All that is left of the Victoria Bridge after floods washed a section away. State Library of Queensland, neg no. 3993  A view over the Brisbane River to South Brisbane and of the Victoria Bridge after the 1893 flood. Shipping wharves and commerical premises are visible with some flood debris on the river bank. [State Library of Queensland, neg no.172633]
Sections of the bridge have now broken away, watched by a crowd of spectators at North Quay.

You can find further images detailing the destruction of the “Great Flood of 1893″ through our One Search catalogue or check our “1893 Flood” blog article published back in November.

Myles Sinnamon – Project Coordinator, State Library of Queensland

Posted in Brisbane, Collections, Events | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

One comment

  1. The dattsaevion doesn’t seem to stop with floods now extending south. I am way up north and not affected by the current situtation. This weather system probably started here just before Christmas when on Christmas morning we woke to a cyclone and flooding later that day. It seems to have followed the east coast south and reek it’s destruction. Great, informative post!I love comfort food particularly baking! Can’t wait to see what you come up with!

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A Hundred Years of the Red Heavies : a celebration

New Acquisition – “A History of the University of Queensland Rugby Football Club: the First Hundred Years” / Peter Meares, John O’Hare and James Meaney. Edited by Vincent Creagh. Brisbane: University of Queensland Rugby Football Club, 2011

Recently staff in the State Library of Queensland were very pleased to accept a handsome two volume work which charts the hundred year history of the University of Queensland Rugby Club. Given its broad coverage and original content, this publication, presented by Gilbert Shearer on behalf of the authors, represents a significant addition to the Library’s holdings on the history of rugby in Queensland.

“A History of the University of Queensland Rugby Football Club” provides the reader with substantially more than a mere chronological account of 100 years of the “Red Heavies”, a significant sporting institution in a significant Australian University.  Between the covers of this work are captured the events and atmosphere of the University of Queensland Rugby Club from its foundation in 1911 to the present day. This work locates the Club’s significance in the history of Brisbane, Queensland and the Nation’s rugby developments in the midst of complex social change.  The Club’s history is certainly larger than the story of the rivalry with the Brothers Rugby Club although this theme too is given its rightful emphasis.

Rugby Union match at Exhibition Oval, Brisbane, 1956. University of Queensland defeated GPS 19-6 in the A Grade Grand Final. State Library of Queensland. Negative no. 185394  Gilbert Shearer presents “A History of the University of Queensland Rugby Football Club: the First Hundred Years” to the John Oxley Library on behalf of the authors

The authors have painted a detailed and intimate portrait on a wide canvas of 100 years of existence.  The brush strokes that define this history are at times necessarily broad and yet there is an intimacy provided by a plethora of photographic images and the clamour of voices in the form of quotes and stories from players, coaches and administrators that reconstruct the character and life of the Club through time.  It is a history of the Club as a whole and not just the elite players and teams (although they get plenty of attention and justly so – there are plenty of them).  From all the grades the voices are heard and images brought into view.

The Club’s trials and tribulations are neither avoided nor neglected.  I was pleased to see that the story was told of the Woman’s XV 2004 Grand Final triumph under unusual circumstances over Norths, the subsequent controversial disqualification and the handing back of the victor’s trophy.  Bill Hind and I coached that team and we all kept the victors’ pennants and the knowledge of who the real winners were.  Bill and I again joined forces to coach the Premiership winning Women’s team in 2006.

The task undertaken by the authors in finding, assembling and organising the data from a myriad of sources was clearly a huge effort and a labour of love.  It is an extremely difficult task to encompass a hundred years of a rugby club’s history in just two volumes.  There is no way to give each year its allotted weight and to include each and every person who helped shape the character of this club.  What can be done is to be faithful to the spirit of the records as they exist and to try to find a way to the heart the organisation.  The end result of the authors’ endeavours clearly demonstrates that Rugby is indeed “more than just a game”.
Alex Cutts – Senior Project Officer, Public and Indigenous Library Services, State Library of Queensland

Centenary of the General Strike of 1912

30 January 2012 is the centenary of a general strike in Queensland which began with a Tramways Union dispute about the right to wear union badges and escalated quickly until at its peak up to 25,000 demonstrators and 50,000 supporters were involved.  This was at a time when the total population of Queensland was little over 636,000. 

A General Strike Photograph Album held by the John Oxley Library has compelling images of the strikers and their supporters.

Crowd gathered on a street in Brisbane during the General Strike, 1912. State Library of Queensland. Image number 10113-0001-0007
Crowd gathered on a street in Brisbane during the General Strike, 1912.
State Library of Queensland. Image number 10113-0001-0007

Women marching in a strike procession in Brisbane in 1912. State Library of Queensland. Image number 59436
Women marching in a strike procession in Brisbane in 1912.
State Library of Queensland. Image number 59436

Bushmen guarding essential foodstuff in William Street during the General Strike in Brisbane, 1912. State Library of Queensland. Image number 10113-0001-0011
Bushmen guarding essential foodstuff in William Street during the General Strike
in Brisbane, 1912. State Library of Queensland. Image number 10113-0001-0011

Black Friday Baton Charge

2 February 1912 became known as “Black Friday” or “Baton Friday” after mounted police baton charged a crowd of men, women and children and then chased them along George Street, Turbot Street and North Quay.  Many people were seriously injured.

This cartoon by Jim Chase became one of the best known illustrations of “Black Friday”.

Published in The Worker, 10 February 1912, p.12 - image taken from State Library of Queensland’s microfilm collection
Published in The Worker, 10 February 1912, p.12 – image taken from
State Library of Queensland’s microfilm collection

Further reading:

Unprecedented Scene: police act firmly, determined baton charges” as reported by the conservative Brisbane Courier, 3 February 1912

Black Friday’s Police Riots: what indignant citizens think”   A different viewpoint from The Worker, 17 February 1912

1912 Brisbane General Strike – Wikipedia article 

Centenary of the Tramways Dispute and Brisbane’s General Strike 1912

The big strikes, Queensland 1889-1965 [PDF ] (St Lucia, University of Queensland Press, 1983) p. 117-131

Joan Bruce, Queensland Literature Coordinator – State Library of Queensland

New Accession: John A. Crawford Architectural Plans and Drawings

This week’s ‘New Accession’ story is not strictly about a new accession—it is about a very exciting collection of architectural plans and drawings recently discovered in our Sorting Room. So, this item could be called a ‘Sorting Room Backlog Story’ (Sorting Room Story No. 1–more to follow).

The collection dates to the 1930s and 1940s and it consists of architectural plans and some amusing sketches by Mr. John A. Crawford, an Engineering Consultant. Mr Crawford’s address in the 1940s was ‘Ingleneuk’, 55 Paradise Street (off Dauphin Tce), Highgate Hill, Brisbane.

Unfortunately, I don’t know much about John Crawford. However, I cannot help but wish that I had known the man who drew these:

Hangover chart:

Hangover Chart.JPG

Potto’s Patent Beer Pot:

Potto’s Patent Beer Pot.JPG

There are many plans relating to Crawfords’ house, the ‘Ingleneuk’, as well as plans for alterations; additions to the house; the garage; double gate; furniture, even a stainless steel tray:

“Ingleneuk”, Paradise Street, Highgate Hill.jpg Improvements to Ingleneuk.jpg Stainless steel tray.jpg

As I said, I haven’t been able to find out more about John Crawford, but from some of the drawings in the collection I gather that he was in the Scouts in the mid-1930s and that his group was called 1st Hamilton Scouts.

There is a drawing by John Crawford of an ‘Australian Boy Scouts’ Tent’ (1931). The tent required Japara silk, 15 3/8 brass eyes and some rope:

Australian Boy Scouts’ Tent (1931).jpg

1st Hamilton Troop undertook a hike from Blantyre to Gleneagle (Queensland) during Easter 1933. The map of the hike, drawn by Crawford, shows the names of the Scouters, as well as the orders for the hike and the 1st Hamilton Troop badge:

Hike from Blantyre to Gleneagle, Easter 1933.jpg Blantyre-to-Gleneagle-Scouters-and-Orders.jpg 1st-Hamilton-Troop.jpg

At Easter 1934, 1st Hamilton hiked to Villeneuve (Queensland) and camped there. We have a map of that expedition as well, complete with the names of the Scouters:

Camp-at-Villeneuve, Easter-1934.jpg Villeneuve-Camp-Participants.jpg

In February 1935, the representatives of the 1st Hamilton attended the Australian Jamboree. John Crawford drew a map of that camp:

Jamboree-Camp-Site-Layout, February-1935.jpg

On 30 May 1934, three patrols of the 1st Hamilton undertook a hunt for the Kelly Gang, recorded for posterity by John Crawford. Portraits of Dan, Ned and Joe Kelly are included:

1st-Hamilton-Hunting-for-the-Kelly-Gang.jpg The-Hunt-for-the-Kelly-Gang-by-the-1st-Hamilton, June-1934.jpg

Accession 28226 abounds in plans and drawings for sailing boats and sailing equipment. For want of more information about John Crawford, I can only assume that he was either a keen sailor or that his engineering practice included sailing-related projects.

Here are some examples of plans and drawings of sailing ships and equipment:

1st-Hamilton-Sea-Rovers-Boat-Shed-Plan.jpg Detail-of-a-plan-for-a-sailing-boat.jpg 


Steering-wheel-for-a-boat.jpg Drawing-for-bronze-rudder-fittings.jpg

Veronika Farley, Librarian – State Library of Queensland

150 years ago in Brisbane: the evolution of the Queensland Museum

On Friday January 20, the Queensland Museum opened its doors again, several weeks after it closed for major renovations.  Just in time to celebrate the Museum’s sesquicentennial anniversary. Once again children and their families can visit the dinosaurs. However, this is not the first time in Brisbane’s history that we have been without a museum.

Once upon a time Brisbane had no museum. The newly created  colony of Queensland had a couple of  newspapers and a  newly created local council in Brisbane, but it was distinctly lacking in many other important things that we take for granted now. Much in the way  of infrastructure, for instance. And there was no museum. 

  Observatory (Windmill) on Wickham Terrace in Brisbane, Queensland. State Library of Queensland, image number: 4831-0001-0002 Queensland Museum in Brisbane, ca. 1879. State Library of Queensland, image number APU-049-0001-0014 Silvester Diggles. State Library of Queensland, image number 63784 Queensland Museum on Gregory Terrace, Brisbane. State Library of Queensland, negative number 203544

However, within a relatively short time, the citizens  of Brisbane did have a museum, even if it  was a small one.  On March 1, 1859, even before Queensland  became a separate colony, the Queensland Philosophical Society had been formed for scientific purposes. Prominent in the foundation of the Society were (among others)  Charles Coxen and Silvester Diggles, who remained actively involved in the Society and, subsequently, its Museum. On 20 January, 1862, a room of the Windmill (on Wickham Terrace, Spring Hill) became the home of the museum collection acquired by the Queensland Philosophical Society; the Government also made a grant of 100 pounds by way of financial assistance to the Society.  Karl Theodor Staiger was the first professional curator of the newly created Queensland Museum.

The fledgling Museum moved to the Parliamentary building in Queen Street in 1868, and three years later the Queensland government assumed primary responsibility for it. The Museum  was on the move again in 1873, when it was relocated to the old Post Office building.  By now a permanent, somewhat more adequate, home for the Queensland Museum had become highly desirable, not to mention urgent; in 1879 the permanent home became a reality. It moved into a dedicated building in William Street , which became part of the State Library’s history in 1899; the Public Library of Queensland   inherited the William Street building (then minus the extension and its mural) when the Queensland Museum moved again, this time to the Exhibition building. Where it remained for 86 years.    

The final change of address came in 1986, when Brisbane’s Cultural Centre complex became a reality. The following year the State Library moved out of the Queensland Museum’s old home to join the Museum on the South Bank.

 Trudy Bennett, Librarian – State Library of Queensland

Aboriginal boundary posts

Entrance to old Cumbooqueepa, the residence of Thomas Blacket Stephens, South Brisbane, ca. 1872. State Library of Queensland, negative no. 20289

The above image is of the entrance to old Cumbooqueepa, the residence of Thomas Blacket Stephens, South Brisbane. The photograph is from GS-66 William Boag Photograph Albums, held by the John Oxley Library.

I was shown this photograph 15 years ago by a good friend and SLQ colleague, the late Loris Williams. Not knowing which collection it came from, I have been trying to find it again ever since, and finally rediscovered it yesterday (18 January 2012). Loris told me that in Queensland white poles [marked in red] were placed in front of properties to inform Aboriginal people and police that Aboriginals were not allowed to venture further.  These poles were known as boundary posts.

Dr Ros Kid’s “Aboriginal History of the Princess Alexandra hospital site” (2000, p.17), provides further insight into the restriction of movements facing Moreton Bay Aborigines.

“During the last decades of the nineteenth century Aborigines were increasingly marginalised on their own lands. Although they were allowed into Brisbane town during the day, they had, since the early 1850s, been the targets of a curfew, which was enforced after 4pm and on Sundays. Rev Henry Stobart, who arrived in 1853, remarked that the blacks seem to leave this town at one regular hour each day, and one of the boundary posts was at Cumbequepa (Somerville House), South Brisbane. The major demarcation south of the river operated along Vulture and Boundary streets. Charles Melton wrote that police were empowered by regulation to drive them out of town at nightfall, but because police were so greatly outnumbered by Aborigines in the town the regulation was difficult to enforce. By 1877 it would appear the curfew was more efficiently applied. Recalling the forced expulsion of all Aboriginal men and women at sundown, one traveller wrote: After 4pm the mounted troopers used to ride about cracking stock-whips to notify the Aboriginals to get out. Those whose lands lay south of the river would have retreated beyond the town boundaries to the camping areas of Woolloongabba, Dutton Park, Fairfield, Annerley and the Coorparoo watercourses.”

These boundary posts are a sad reminder of the treatment of Aborigines in colonial Queensland.  Images of these boundary posts are rare and the reason for my search over the past fifteen years.

Tania Schafer, Librarian – State Library of Queensland