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Queensland Places – Somerset – Henry Marjoribanks Chester

Henry Marjoribanks Chester is prominent in the history of the Torres Strait region by virtue of his having been one of the Police Magistrates at Somerset.  Henry Chester was born in 1832 in England and immigrated to Queensland in 1864, where he worked for a time in the Union Bank of Australia.  He was then [...]

Location location location : real estate then and now

Guest Blogger: Sarah Beirne – Fieldwork Student Selling real estate in Queensland has always been big business and stirring interest among potential investors not only requires a hot location but also a fine command of the English language. A veritable plethora of examples can be discovered while perusing the various estate maps and real estate [...]

Queensland Places – Somerset – Part Two

The strategic former port of Somerset was established at the tip of Cape York in 1864, backed by grand visions of protecting shipping and trade in the area as well as acting as a beacon of British power and prestige.  However, despite some successes, Somerset failed to fully achieve its original aims, and only operated [...]

Q ANZAC 100 Fellowships

On the 26th September, CEO and State Librarian Janette Wright announced four Fellowships as part of the Q ANZAC 100: Memories for a New Generation commemorations. The announcement was made at the Serving Country Forum. The four fellowships valued at $15,000 each are on offer in 2014 to fund research projects relating to Queensland’s role [...]

Modern Queensland design

On 23 September, as part of the Night in the John Oxley Library series and in conjunction with the Hot Modernism exhibition, Robert Riddel and Eddie Codd joined Ian Townsend for a discussion on modern design in Queensland. The night’s discussions ranged from reminiscences of seminal design businesses West’s Furniture and the Craftsman’s Market, reflections [...]

James Birrell in Hot Modernism

James Birrell is one of the architects prominently featured in Hot Modernism. A range of his buildings, from the Centenary Pool in Spring Hill, through to the Jame Cook University Library in Townsville, are included in the exhibition, which concludes on 12 October 2014. Mr Birrell’s remarkable career is reflected in many of the show’s [...]

New acquisition – List of Motor Owners in Queensland

State Library is pleased to announce the addition of a rare book to the John Oxley Library collection: List of Motor owners in Queensland. Names, addresses, make of cars 1923.  Alphabetically and numerically arranged together with List of Motor Garages in Queensland. Publisher – A. Hardman Knight [Main Roads Board of Queensland] c1923 Link to Online: [...]

Queensland Places – Somerset – Part One

The former port of Somerset, at the tip of Cape York, was formally established in August 1864, for predominantly strategic reasons related to the protection of shipping as well as trade.  In this article we briefly discuss the initial establishment of Somerset with the next article looking at its operations as well as why it [...]

Housing a growing state

During WWII, the Federal Government introduced restrictions on the building and renovation of homes in Australia. A shortage in building materials and labour made development during the war a limited exercise. The increase in post-war population put further strain on the nation’s housing infrastructure. Show More Summary

Queensland Places – Sweers Island

Sweers Island is located to the east of Bentinck Island in the Gulf of Carpentaria.  The island was named in 1802 by Matthew Flinders during his voyage of circumnavigation, in honour of Cornelius Sweers, one of the councillors of Batavia, who had originally authorised Abel Tasman’s journey of 1644.  Tasman had been sent by the [...]

Karl Langer Architectural Plans

Karl Langer, architect, town planner, and landscape architect was one of the most influential Queensland architect’s of the 1950s. Born in Vienna, he was head architect in the Vienna office of Peter Behrens. Following the annexation of Austria, he came to Australia, together with his Jewish wife, art historian and critic, Gertrude Langer (1908-84), arriving in [...]

The great and not so great fires of 1864

Guest Blogger: Susan Boulton – Queensland State Archives Fire presented a grave risk to the timber-built shops which were commonly built in Brisbane 150 years ago. Three separate fires occurred in the centre of Brisbane city in 1864 and inquests held at Queensland State Archives provide details of the origin of the fires, property lost [...]


The romance comic Love illustrated was banned in Queensland in 1954,  one of the first ten publications banned by the newly created Queensland Literature Board of Review. The Board banned forty-seven publications in its first twelve months – most of them crime or love comics. Why were comics targeted in this way?  In its first [...]

Queensland Places – Cape York and Torres Strait Regions – Queensland Government Ketch Melbidir

The QGK Melbidir was a well-known vessel in the Torres Strait and Gulf regions, operating from around 1900 up until the 1950s. But, in fact, there were three vessels called the Melbidir with the second and third Melbidir replacing the previous vessels. The first Melbidir was built for the Queensland government, with the vessel’s name [...]

60 000 high resolution images for free download

Immediate access to 60,000 high resolution historic and contemporary Queensland images is now available free from State Library of Queensland. Out-of-copyright and Creative Commons-licenced images can now be directly downloaded through One Search, the library catalogue. Show More Summary

News this week in September 1914

This week in 1914 included speculation that Russia may relax restrictions against Jews, as an official announcement revealed that commissions in the Russian Army and Navy would now be made available to Jews. The anti-semitic press applauded this news. The Brisbane Courier enthusiastically reported a great Allied victory at Precy-sur-Oise, 15 miles north of Paris.  According [...]

Forgotten Australians: Micah Pilot Oral History and Digital Story Project

“[f]ar from being simply complementary to each other, memory and history tell of very different relationships to the past than we can or do possess” – Dipesh Chakrabarty “In a room where people unanimously maintain a conspiracy of silence, one word of truth sounds like a pistol shot.” – Czes?aw Mi?osz This week marks Queensland Child Protection [...]

Queensland Places – HMS Dart and the naming of some Cape York locations

In the late 1890s, the government survey vessel HMS Dart was undertaking on-going hydrographic survey work in the waters of far North Queensland. As well as this work preparing more detailed surveys, in areas important for the safety of coastal shipping, a number of places were named during the vessel’s various travels. In the midst [...]

Researching Queensland’s fashion business history

Guest bloggers: Nadia Buick and Madeleine King from The Fashion Archives When most people think of ‘business’ they imagine serious corporations and enterprises, not the ‘frivolous’ world of fashion. But fashion businesses have played an important role in the economic history of Queensland, and their story is a significant one. Through our online publication, The Fashion [...]

Queensland Places – Coen

The name of the town of Coen is said to have been derived from the Cape York Peninsula river of the same name.  The river was originally named by the Dutch navigator Jan Carstensz, during his 1623 voyage through the region, in honour of the then Governor of the Dutch East Indies. In the period [...]

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