Category Archives: Brisbane Back

New Accession: Equal Love Brisbane Collection

The John Oxley Library recently received a wonderful donation of memorabilia from the pressure group, Equal Love Brisbane, relating to the Marriage Equality campaign.

Equal Love Brisbane poster

Equal Love Brisbane poster

Assorted memorabilia

Assorted memorabilia

Equal Love is a nationwide organization which was formed in 2004 as a response to the Howard Government’s amendment of the Marriage Act to outlaw marriage between people of the same sex.  Equal Love’s objective is to campaign for same sex marriage in Australia through education and direct action, the aim being to change public attitudes towards gay and lesbian relationships and put pressure on the government to legislate for equal marriage rights.

It is timely that in 2014, the 10 year anniversary since the amendment to the Marriage Act and a significant year of action for the group, that material has been donated to State Library.  Also of interest is the very recent legalisation of same sex marriage in England and Wales where the first weddings took place on March 29th.  Scotland has also legislated to allow same sex marriage with ceremonies expected to take place later this year.

The collection includes T-shirts, badges, stickers, flyers, posters, rainbow banners, magazine articles and other memorabilia, as well as two life size wooden figures of same sex couples in wedding costume.

It's Okay to be Gay Sticker

It's Okay to be Gay Sticker

Assorted badges

Assorted badges

Marriage Equality T-shirt

Marriage Equality T-shirt


The collection also includes items relating to the 2013 Federal Election in which marriage equality was one of the key issues.  The rallies held in Brisbane leading up to the election attracted crowds of supporters and significant media attention.  A recent rally held  on the 8th March 2014 in Queen’s Park, Brisbane, attracted up to 1000 supporters.


Rally Poster

Rally Poster

Marriage Equality 2013 election material

Marriage Equality 2013 election material

The Equal Love Brisbane Collection may be viewed in the John Oxley Library Reading Room, Accession No. 29397, Boxes 18356-18357, 17387 O/S, 18359 O/S.


Lynn Meyers – Original Materials Librarian, State Library of Queensland

First baby born at the Women’s Hospital in Brisbane (1938)

First baby born at the new Women's Hospital, 26 March 1938. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 53863

First baby born at the new Women's Hospital, 26 March 1938

The first baby to be born at the new Women’s Hospital in Brisbane arrived on March 26, 1938. Five days later, the then minister for health and home affairs – and future Queensland premier – Ned Hanlon visited the new arrival and presented mother and baby with a 14-inch (35cm) silver loving cup to mark this important event (pictured above). The baby was also presented with a small silver drinking cup, silver porridge bowl and spoon.

Opening ceremony for Brisbane's new Women's Hospital. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 201609

Opening ceremony for Brisbane's new Women's Hospital

The hospital’s official opening ceremony had taken place two weeks earlier on March 13, at which premier William Forgan Smith said, “The best investments a people can make are in health services, maternity services and child welfare. They are investments giving increasing dividends”.  In an editorial, The Courier-Mail boasted of the new facility that “a stranger who dropped from the clouds and found himself at the portals of the new Brisbane Women’s Hospital could be convinced, after less than an hour’s inspection, that he was in one of the most modern cities in the world”. But it would take almost a fortnight before patients could be admitted.

Royal Women's Hospital in Brisbane at the time of its opening 1938

Royal Women's Hospital in Brisbane at the time of its opening 1938

According to The Courier-Mail: “It was necessary to cleanse and refumigate the whole place, repolish the floors, and remove fingermarks everywhere”, following the crowds who had passed through during the opening.

The hospital finally opened its doors to receive patients at midnight on March 25 with “a large staff of trained nurses”. The first patient did not arrive until 2.56am.

Maternity ward at the new Women's Hospital Brisbane March 1938. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 54380

Maternity ward at the new Women's Hospital Brisbane March 1938

Nursing staff signing on for the first shift at the Women's Hospital in Brisbane 1938. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg

Nursing staff signing on for the first shift at the Women's Hospital in Brisbane 1938

Then, at 3.15am, a second patient was admitted, a Mrs Mollie Kirkwood, whose baby girl, Noela Margaret, became the celebrated “first baby” of the hospital.

Myles Sinnamon – Project Coordinator, State Library of Queensland

Boundary Hotel West End – 150 years of trading

The Boundary Hotel in Boundary Street in the south Brisbane suburb of West End has been an important landmark in the suburb since 1864.  This year the hotel is celebrating 150 years of continuous trading.  The history of the hotel is linked to some significant figures and events in Brisbane’s history.

Boundary Hotel, West End, Brisbane, ca. 1930, John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland Neg: 37972

Boundary Hotel, West End, Brisbane, ca. 1930

The original Boundary Hotel was a wooden building built by Donald Wilson.  Wilson and his wife and four year old son John, arrived in Brisbane aboard the S.S. Artemisia in December 1848.  This was the first passenger ship to bring free settlers to Moreton Bay.  The John Oxley Library holds a copy of the journal of Robert Inglis, a Scottish ironfounder, who was also a passenger on this historic voyage.

Artemisia (ship), John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland Neg: 60903

Emigrants aboard the Artemisia

The Wilson family soon took up residence in West End, then virgin forest.  John Wilson lived on the same plot of land in Jane Street, West End for the next 76 years until his death in 1925.  Donald Wilson and his sons built many houses around their own as well as the hotel and John Wilson saw West End grow from virgin bush into a thriving suburb.  The Brisbane Courier published an article based on an interview with the then 78 year old John Wilson in 1922.

Some of the people who arrived in ’64 are still about, but Mr. Wilson knows of no one else in Brisbane who arrived so far back as ’48.  Still continuing to live at West End he has watched the place grow. What now is Davies Park was all standing scrubland, owned by a man in Sydney. Ultimately the late Mr. Hargrave bought it, and sold it to the council for a park. Mr. Wilson, Snr., built the old Boundary  Hotel—a wooden structure—which some maintain was a four-roomed cottage, a  ’photo, however, proving it to be almost as big as the present structure. Then father and son proceeded to build all  round their home, the result of their activities showing from Thomas street to where the Baby Clinic now stands. Mr. Wilson is justified in any pride he may feel at his accomplishment, for he never had a “boss,” nor was he ever a carpenter—but he had no labour troubles. When asked whether he could have succeeded similarly under more recent working conditions, he smiled. But there was much meaning in that smile.

John Wilson (The Brisbane Courier, 17 October 1925)

John Wilson 1814-1925

More information about John Wilson can be found in the obituary published in the Brisbane Courier in October 1925.

Mr. Wilson was one of the founders of the West End School of Arts, and for many years continued to evince keen interest in this, as well as exercising silent but generous support to all movements for the advancement of the West End district. Mr. Wilson’s spirit of sportsmanship was keen, and in the early eighties he was prominent in racing circles, amongst his notable wins of that time being the Brisbane Cup of 1880 with the horse Major. In connection with recent Brisbane Centenary Celebrations, it is of interest to note that Mr. Wilson was fourth on the list of the then surviving pioneers of Queensland. Mr. Wilson married in 1872, Miss E. A. Clarke, daughter of the late Mr. and Mrs. James Clarke, of South Brisbane. He is survived by his widow and eight children, and two of his sons gave three years’ active service in the Great War. Deceased was of a retiring disposition, and by his death is removed another of those pioneers who were noted for their generous and kindly natures.  

West End School of Arts in Brisbane, 1928, John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland Neg: 108637

The West End School of Arts with the memorial clock tower under construction in 1928

In 1896 the licensee of the hotel was Thomas Lehane, and his daughter Mary, then aged thirteen was caught up in one of Brisbane’s great disasters.  On the afternoon of 13 February 1896, Mary and her cousin Mary Cain and two other school friends boarded the ferry Pearl to return home to West End.  The Pearl never made it to the other side of the river, colliding with the anchor chains of the government yacht Lucinda and rapidly sinking in the river. What happened to the four girls is described in the Queensland Times, Ipswich Herald and General Advertiser.

The girls were in a group on the deck when the collision tools place. They rushed forward, and the girl Lehane took hold of a seat and kept a grip of it after she was precipitated into the water. A rope was flung to her from a vessel-she thinks it was the Lucinda-and she was thereby rescued. The girl Cain, was successful in catching on to the Lucinda’s anchor chains, and was speedily taken on board the steamer by willing hands. The sisters M’Groarty clung to each other as the Pearl collided, and went into the river together. Geraldine caught hold of a piece of wood which was floating past, and bravely supported her sister Maud, who was clinging to her as they were carried down by the current. The sisters were picked up by a boat when a little below the Ernest-street Baths. Last night the four girls were suffering no ill-effects, from their trying experience.

Pearl (ship), John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland Neg: 103398

Wreck of the Pearl 1896

More details about the Pearl disaster can be found in a previous blog story.

In 1910 another licensee of the hotel, Walter Aspinall, died in mysterious circumstances.  The death was reported in the Northern Miner as Mr Aspinall had previously lived in Charters Towers.

Further details as to the death of Walter Aspinall are published in the “Brisbane Courier:”–”About 1.30 p.m.  on Thursday, a full suit of male attire was found lying on the river bank in the West End Cricket Reserve. The matter was immediately reported to the West End police, who found the clothes to be the property of Mr. Walter Aspinall, licensee of the Boundary Hotel, West End. The Water Police were communicated with, and dragging operations were commenced, but up to a late hour last night were unsuccessful. It is stated that Mr. Aspinall left his home about 10.30 yesterday morning, and soon afterwards was seen in the reserve by a man named Matthew Pitt, who was employed by the Council in cutting weeds there. About midday Pitt noticed him sitting close to the water’s edge smoking, and, on visiting the spot again later, found the clothes lying on the bank. It is supposed that the missing man, who is said to have been unable to swim, entered the water, and was carried downstream by the ebb tide. Mr. Aspinall was a married man, with three children – a son and two daughters. He was 51years of age. He formerly resided at Charters Towers, whence he came to Brisbane in October, 1906. Mrs.  Aspinall and her two daughters are at present on a holiday visit to the Blue Mountains, New South Wales.

The Boundary Hotel has had a number of different licensees over the years but the ownership of the hotel has been remarkably stable.  Donald Wilson passed the hotel on to his son John who replaced the original wooden hotel with a new brick building.  John Wilson sold the hotel in 1922 to Thomas Corrigan who transfered ownership to Corrigan Pty Ltd in 1934.  Corrigan Pty Ltd still own the hotel today.

Thomas Corrigan also seems to have owned the Metropolitan Hotel in Bundaberg and appears in a number of newspaper advertisements endorsing the benefits of Bile Beans for the relief of colic and indigestion.  His obituary appears in the Courier-Mail of 21 August 1935.

The death occurred recently at his home, Boundary Hotel, West End, of Mr. Thomas Corrigan. At the age of 19 he came to Queensland from Ireland in 1874. He settled in Warwick and was later attracted to the Palmer goldfield. Later he settled in Bundaberg, first as a contractor, and later in the hotel business. In 1910 Mr. Corrigan paid a visit to the United Kingdom and the United States of America. Of late years he had lived a retired life in Brisbane. He is survived by a grownup family.

Metropolitan Hotel, Bundaberg, ca. 1888, John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland Neg: 66916

The Metropolitan Hotel, Bundaberg, ca. 1888

Simon Miller – Library Technician, State Library of Queensland

Those Days – Living History in the QPAC Tunnel

Last Tuesday a group of State Library staff enjoyed the privilege of a curated walk through of the Clancestry visual exhibition Those days…a Living History.  The installation, the achievement of a joint QPAC /State Library of Queensland project, is currently enlivening the QPAC tunnel at the South Bank cultural complex until 23rd February – and its viewing is a highly recommended experience.

Those Days...A Living History. Aunty Joan Hendriks, February 2014, John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland

Those Days...A Living History. Aunty Joan Hendriks, February 2014

Clancestry is a word you may have seen advertised around the city in recent days.  As my bus whizzed past a street corner in the western suburbs the other day, I saw it writ large on a billboard – community festival, produced by QPAC, celebrating the arts and culture of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, mention of some interesting looking cultural events, many of them free.

The rest of the story is that Clancestry is a three-day celebration of country features music, dance, crafts, workshops, visual arts and storytelling – and most of it is staged in the open air at South Bank. It’s an annual festival and when it was initiated last year, the inaugural event received a Queensland Reconciliation award.

Behind the Festival is a highly talented team of guest curators and it was one of these curators, Nadine McDonald Dowd, Executive Manager of kuril dhagun at  the State Library – and curator of Those Days – who shared her passion and enthusiasm for storytelling with us as we absorbed the cultural memories of indigenous people living in and around the South Bank precinct over several decades.

What emerges through the shared stories of traditional elders and community leaders – such as Uncle Bob Anderson, Aunty Joan Hendriks, Raelene Baker and Tiga Bayles -  is the importance of this side of the river in establishing and preserving connections amongst the community who lived here.

The collected stories of the Brisbane Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community – who have maintained a continuous presence in the area since the 1920s – reflect a South Brisbane which existed before the establishment of the present day Cultural Complex. There was a different vegetation, a denser tree canopy, we are told, and trams and sprawling boarding houses, a pub on most corners between the Victoria Bridge and Plough Inn, fish markets, protest events, the Black Maria (or prison van) which prowled along the streets and laneways of South Brisbane.

Aunty Valda Coolwell "Being black is what kept us together...", February 2014. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland

Aunty Valda Coolwell "Being black is what kept us together...", February 2014.

Listening to Nadine, reading the stories of the elders, it was as if one of those coloured cellophane overlays had been gently pulled back from our present day impression of sophisticated South Bank elegance to reveal an altogether different view of this side of the river. It’s an important story and a history that enriches our understanding of this part of Brisbane. As I said earlier – well worth a visit!

Libby Fielding, State Library of Queensland

Remembering World Expo ’88 and the Expo City Marching Band

Expo City Marching Band show at the Piazza. 28957 Douglas Isaac Papers 1988, John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland

Expo City Marching Band show at the Piazza

In 1988, Brisbane staged the unforgettable World Expo ’88, and from April to October that year the South Bank was filled with sights and sounds and crowds from all over the world. One of the highlights of an Expo day was the appearance of the Expo City Marching Band, an accomplished outfit whose drills and antics were as entertaining as the music they played. For most Australian Expo visitors, the Expo City Marching Band was their first experience of American style formation drills and drumming. Over 350 young musicians auditioned in cities all over Australia to score a spot in the colourful 65-member line-up, and their Director Barry Spanier and Percussion Instructor Douglas Isaac led them through a daily schedule of rehearsals, drills, parades and performances that culminated in a nightly show in the Piazza.

Percussionists of the Expo City Marching Band. 28957 Douglas Isaac Papers 1988, John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland

Percussionists of the Expo City Marching Band

In 2013, Douglas Isaac donated his considerable archive to the State Library. As a percussionist and music educator Mr Isaac not only auditioned, trained and conducted the Band’s percussionists prior to and during Expo ’88, but also composed and arranged for the ensemble. For several weeks he too put on a uniform and marched with the Band as a cymbal player.

Percussion Instructor Douglas Isaac. 28957 Douglas Isaac Papers 1988, John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland

Percussion Instructor Douglas Isaac

The collection includes manuscript scores and parts for music composed or arranged for the Percussion Ensemble, drill diagrams for each piece played as part of the daily and nightly shows in the Piazza, Expo ’88 and Band uniforms, video footage, and plenty of photographs of the Band in action. The Douglas Isaac papers are now available via State Library’s One Search catalogue, and you can view the video footage online.

Expo style. 28957 Douglas Isaac Papers 1988, John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland
Expo style

Robyn Hamilton – Queensland Music Coordinator, State Library of Queensland

Allies in war, rivals in the ring

Members of the US servicemen's boxing team, Brisbane, February 1943. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 102776

Members of the US servicemen's boxing team, Brisbane, February 1943

On February 27, 1943, two allies in war became rivals in the ring, as the Australian and American servicemen came together for a night of boxing. This inter-Allied competition was held at the old Brisbane Stadium (which stood on the corner of Albert and Charlotte Streets in Brisbane’s CBD). There were an estimated 5,000 people in attendance, including the Governor of Queensland, Sir Leslie Wilson and the Brisbane Lord Mayor, Alderman Chandler.

On the previous evening the Australians held an “elimination series” between the Army and the Air Force to decided who would make the final team. In the end the Australian team featured several experienced and professional boxers, including Fred Corton, Lionel Orreal and Bill de Blein.

American born Tod Morgan was the trainer of the United States boxing team, himself a former world lightweight champion. Morgan was confident, describing his team of sailor and soldier boxers as being “pretty hot”.

American servicemen boxers in Brisbane. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 104178

American servicemen boxers in Brisbane

There would be 14 fights in total, each bout would be awarded points – 3 for a win, 2 for a draw and 1 for a loss. The Australians had an extra impetus to win; in a previous stoush back in May 1942, they suffered a bruising defeat against the Americans, winning only 4 of 12 bouts. This time around the Australian fighters proved too strong for the Americans, who despite fighting valiantly, won only 5 of the 14 bouts, finishing with 24 points compared to Australia’s 32. The biggest upset of the tournment, according to The Sunday Mail, was when Colin Moody defeated “the star of the American team” Eddie Markham, a light heavyweight.

The tournament raised £1626 for the Queensland Patriotic and Comforts Funds.

Myles Sinnamon – Project Coordinator, State Library of Queensland

Pamela Connan Papers

Looking down Brighton Rd, Sandgate, ca. 1930. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 93432

Looking down Brighton Rd, Sandgate, ca. 1930

The suburb now known as Sandgate was originally called Cabbage Tree Creek. The Aborigines called the area Warra which means a stretch or expanse of water. The town is situated upon the western shore of Moreton Bay, a few miles north-west of the entrance to the Brisbane River, and has been, in years past, a fashionable watering place for pastoralists from the Darling Downs. In 1880 Sandgate was declared a town by the Governor of Queensland. The population steadily grew as more people moved to the area and local business began to develop, one such business belonged to Dymoke Percival Dart.

Pamela Connan, nee Dart, was the daughter of Dymoke Percival Dart and Jean Ethel Willkie. Dymoke was born in Sleaford, Lincolnshire, England and the son of John Dart and Ellen Brewster Harrison. They came to Australia, settling at first in Victoria. Dymoke and Jean had two children and moved their family to Queensland and settled in Sandgate.

Dymoke established a business known as Dym. Dart Clothier and Mercer which was situated on Brighton Road, Sandgate opposite the Einbunpin Lagoon. They stocked a grand array of gentleman’s attire and were known for the elasta-strap and gripu trousers.

Sunshine Advocate, Friday, 1 October 1937, pg. 9

Elasta-Strap beltless sports trousers

In the period around 1920 – 21 their finances slumped, and Dymoke became unwell. Another daughter Patricia, born in Australia, was about two years old; and Ethel made the heart-breaking (but to her mind, necessary) decision in 1922 to send Pamela back to England until the family fortunes were restored in Queensland. The eleven-year old girl made the long sea voyage accompanied only by a chaperone. Once in England her time was divided between Dart relatives in Lincoln and the Mr and Mrs Charles Gray Hill at Wyken, near Coventry. Through her mother’s letters in particular we can see the young girl’s struggles to adapt to the unknown, and to try to behave in the manner expected of her.  The voyage to England departed just before Christmas 1922 and correspondence from her mother, dated 20 December 1922, gives a clear insight to how Jean Dart felt.

“My dearest Pam, Next Monday is Xmas Day and if the grocer had not reminded me I should never have known, for all the days are alike to me here and I never know one from the other – but I do want to think of you having your dinner on board ship and unpacking the little presents from home darling – if only mummy could give you a kiss and watch your face”…

Pamela was eleven years old at the time.  Pamela eventually returned to Australia later marrying Gordon Connan in 1935.

The John Oxley Library holds letters written to Pamela from her family, friends and others, during her time away at school and after her marriage to Gordon Connan.  The letters are intermittent until her marriage in the late 1930s and continue regularly from this time until the death of both parents. The collection includes letters, photographs and some cuttings.

Letter to Pam.  Pamela Connan Papers, John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland

Letter to Pam. Pamela Connan Papers

Janette Garrad – Original Content Technician, State Library of Queensland

Indigenous Languages Research Discovery Workshop February 2014

The State Library will be hosting an Indigenous Languages Research Discovery Workshop from 24-26 February. Since 2009, State Library has conducted seven (7) Research Discovery Workshops – this represents over 150 participants researching 85+ Queensland languages!

Wordle showing the diversity of Queensland languages.

This event is aimed at language workers and community members who are currently working/have an interest in traditional languages and supporting language revival programs in communities.  The main focus for the Research Discovery Workshop is to facilitate access to State Library collections for community language workers and allow them to source new language references from some unusual materials. Original Materials such as pastoral records, journals, diaries and notebooks can hold valuable language material that was collected in the 1800′s.

Extract from Barlow Notebooks - South-West Queensland languages (1860's).

The Research Discovery Workshops have been supported through funding from the Indigenous Languages Support Program (ILS) from the Australian Government’s Attorney-General’s Department, Ministry for the Arts. The February workshop will continue to build upon the successes of previous years as well as extend community knowledge. Similar to previous years, guest speakers will complement the research sessions and provide snapshots of significant resources and projects happening in community language revival.

Talisa at the Research Discovery Workshop (March 2012)

Another outcome from the workshops has been the networking opportunities with other community members who are researching their local community languages. This has lead to very insightful discussions on issues that are impacting in communities as well as highlighting success stories in language revitalisation. Such discussions has prompted State Library to host a Queensland Indigenous Languages Roundtable as part of the workshop, on Wednesday 26 February.  State Library in partnership with the Yugambeh Museum Language & Heritage Research Centre will be co-hosting this event and bring together key stakeholders to network, share ideas/projects and explore issues with a view to coordinating actions and energies for language revival in Queensland.

Simon Farley with Norman and Jenny from an earlier Research Discovery Workshop.

Over the course of the Research Discovery Workshop, our facilities are transformed from quiet research spaces in the John Oxley Library Reading Room to conversation hubs with people chatting about their research, sharing resources, and supporting each other in their language work. These events have been very well supported and produced some exciting finds for the workshop participants as well as State Library staff. Participants have also assisted in the identification of materials of significance and interest to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people for future digitisation by State Library.

Wordlist from Halifax collected by Archibald Meston (1900's)

Further details on the Indigenous Languages Research Discovery and Queensland Indigenous Languages Roundtable, including Expressions of Interest can be obtained by contacting Des. Crump, Indigenous Languages Researcher –

Visit the State Library of Queensland Indigenous Languages Webpages.


Jon Barlow Hudson Collection: Official Handover to State Library

The papers of acclaimed American sculptor, Jon Barlow Hudson, the creator of two large scale sculptures commissioned for Expo 88, were officially handed over to the John Oxley Library on Wednesday 22nd January.  The papers relate to the two large scale sculptures Hudson created for Expo 88 – Paradigm and Morning Star II.  Jon Barlow Hudson has been making public sculptures since 1976 with installations in twenty-three countries.  His sculpture, Wind Dragon, created for the Beijing Olympic Games is now permanently on display in Chaoyang Olympic Park.

The collection includes photographs and slides documenting the construction of his two Expo 88 sculptures as well as plans, correspondence, newspaper clippings, rough notes and a structural engineer’s report for Paradigm.

Morning Star II

Morning Star II

Morning Star II was constructed of mirror polished stainless steel with a fifteen metre diameter and was located in the centre of the Expo site in Times Square.  The sculpture has the basic model of a tetrahedron (triangular pyramid) and according to the artist is symbolic of symmetry and centre.  After Expo 88 it was reinstalled in the Brisbane Botanic Gardens.



Paradigm was constructed in stainless steel and towered over the Expo site being thirty metres high.  During Expo 88 it included sixty-six aeroplane landing lights installed in the openings for night-time display.  Paradigm was based on the double helix of the DNA molecule and was located at the northern end of the Expo site.

Jon Barlow Hudson with a plasterboard model of Paradigm, 1987.

Jon Barlow Hudson with a plasterboard model of Paradigm, 1987.

Queensland Arts Minister, Ian Walker, accepted the papers on behalf of the State Library, stating “Public art was a feature of Expo 88 and these two brilliant sculptures would have made an impression on every visitor”.

The Jon Barlow Hudson Papers may be viewed in the John Oxley Library, Accession No: 28876.

Lynn Meyers – Original Materials Librarian, State Library of Queensland

Brisbane in your pocket – The Pocket Brisbane tourist guide

Pocket Brisbane, 1928 edition. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland

Front cover of Pocket Brisbane, 1928 edition

It’s 1928. You’re a tourist, just arrived in the beautiful city of Brisbane. You ask yourself – What attractions does Brisbane offer? Where can I get the best views of the city? What forms of public transport are available? Are there excursions? Where can I see a film or go to a play?

Never fear, the Intelligence and Tourist Bureau have all the answers and more in one little book – The Pocket Brisbane – published annually between 1910 and 1929.

"Looking south from Srare Insurance Building over Brisbane River". The Pocket Brisbane, 1928 edition. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland

"Looking south from Srare Insurance Building over Brisbane River". From The Pocket Brisbane, 1928 edition

The 1928 edition of The Pocket Brisbane lists a variety of places of interest for the curious traveller. One major attraction, not to be missed, is the Botanic Gardens with its “avenues of palms and other sub-tropical umbrageous foliage”. Pocket Brisbane also points out the Botanic Gardens features aviaries of Queensland birds and a miniature zoo with emus, cassowaries, kangaroos, wallabies, monkeys and deer. Light refreshments can be purchased at the Garden’s kiosk and recitals by brass bands are given every Sunday afternoon in the Band Rotunda.

A number of Brisbane’s public buildings are also highlighted, including Parliament House, the Supreme Court, Central Railway Station and the Customs House.

"Victoria Bridge, Queen Street". From The Pocket Brisbane, 1928 edition. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland

"Victoria Bridge, Queen Street". From The Pocket Brisbane, 1928 edition

For the more adventurous, consider a self-guided tour around Brisbane, Pocket Brisbane lists several. Directions are provided on how to get there and the form of transport needed (walking, trams, trains, buses and/or motor car). For example, to enjoy the scenic views from Eildon Hill in the suburb of Windsor, the guide advises -

“Take Lutwyche, Chalk Street, or Windsor tram from corner of George and Adelaide streets, opposite Railway Offices) to Constitution road, or motor bus from Duncan street, Valley. Then a fifteen minutes’ walk, and on reaching the crest of the hill the visitor gazes upon one of the finest panoramas imaginable. Cost by tram, 3d. each way.”

For the best views of Brisbane, the guide suggests a number locations including One Tree Hill (Mt Coot-tha), Hamilton Hill, Albion Heights and White’s Hill. Some public buildings also are listed as offering excellent vantage points – South Brisbane’s Town Hall, Parliament House (George St), Telegraph Chambers (Queen St), Trades Hall (Edward St), the State Insurance Buildings (George St) and Executive Buildings (George St).

White's Hill. From The Pocket Brisbane, 1928 edition. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland

White's Hill. From The Pocket Brisbane, 1928 edition

Pocket Brisbane lists a variety of cultural pursuits designed to please the most discerning tourist. The Queensland Museum (situated on Bowen Bridge Road in Bowen Hills in 1928) is described among the many places of interest as “being filled with a very interesting collection of exhibits”. Brisbane theatres and other forms of indoor entertainment are included also. For theatre goers wanting drama or opera, a night at His Majesty’s Theatre on Queen Street is just the ticket; for less highbrow theatre you can’t go passed vaudeville at the Empire Theatre on Albert Street; and if you prefer to trip the light fantastic, the Trocadero in Melbourne Street, South Brisbane is recommended.

If you are one of the fortunate few to own a motor car, Pocket Brisbane offers some important advice to visiting motorist from interstate.

“Motorists entering Queensland by road should report to the nearest Police Station after crossing the border. On arrival in Brisbane go straight to the Main Roads Commission Office and obtain a temporary permit, which lasts for two months. Should the visitor remain for a longer period in Queensland, registration is compulsory…It is also necessary to notify the police (Traffic Department, Old Fire Station, Ann Street), produce driving license, and register interstate number of car.”

Lastly, Pocket Brisbane seeks to reassure you, the visiting tourist, that dying during your Brisbane holiday is unlikely. The guide states that the “salubrity of the climate of Brisbane is emphasised by the lowness of the death rate…the death rate in 1926 was only 10.63 per 1,000 inhabitants”. However to cover all eventualities, a list of Brisbane hospitals and cemeteries is also included.

Front cover of The Pocket Brisbane, 1910 edition. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland

Front cover of The Pocket Brisbane, 1910 edition

State Library of Queensland have digitised the following editions of The Pocket Brisbane, which can be easily browsed online - 1910, 1913, 1915, 1917, 1918, 1921, 1923, 1924, 1927, 1928 and 1929.

Myles Sinnamon – Project Coordinator, State Library of Queensland