The helpful and knowledgeable staff of the Queensland Museum Network often assist members of the public with the identification of insect, animal, fossil and geological specimens. Our experts also answer questions about Queensland’s animals, rocks and fossils, people and history. In this new section, we share some of these questions and answers with our readers.
Is it true that scorpions glow in the dark?
Continue reading Ask an expert
Written by Judith Hickson , Social History Curator, Queensland Museum
Take a seat, Brisbane!
Last week, a small folding wooden chair winged its way across the Tasman Sea to its new home in the social history collection of the Queensland Museum. Made in Brisbane in 1904 the so-called ‘Wally’ chair caught the eye of Auckland-based curator and historian, John Webster, on one of his frequent visits last year to iconic bric-a-brac and second-hand store Junk & Disorderly in the Auckland suburb of Northcote.
Intrigued by a small metal plaque attached to the front of the chair which reads, ‘WALLY CHAIR COY/ 15 CENTRAL CHAMBERS/ BRISBANE/ REC 25 FEB 1904’; John’s curiosity was instantly aroused. After spending time with his own research, he eventually decided to contact the Queensland Museum for help in solving the chair’s mysterious origin. Working together with social history curator, Judith Hickson, the pair has drawn on their mutual passion for history and storytelling to piece together an account of the ‘Wally’ chair.
Continue reading The mystery of Wally, the chair
Written by Caroline Mercer, compiled by Dr Madeline Fowler
Part 3 of a blog series written by undergraduate students at James Cook University, who undertook research on objects in the Museum of Tropical Queensland’s maritime archaeology collection as part of the 2017 topic AR3008 Boats and Beaches.
Coolangatta was built by John Brinksell in 1843 in Shoalhaven, New South Wales (NSW) (Davidson 2014). It was commissioned and owned by Alexander Berry, who named the brigantine sailing vessel after his property in the area (Potts 2010). The boat’s life was largely spent transporting goods up and down the eastern coast of Australia, bringing materials such as coal to the north and most often returning to Sydney with a cargo of timber (Potts 2010). At the time of the wrecking of Coolangatta, it had recently delivered coal to Brisbane and was starting its return trip back to Sydney when it was wrecked. On 19 August 1846, Coolangatta was driven ashore during a gale as it attempted to enter the Tweed River (Davidson 2014). The ship was abandoned by the crew and Captain Steele, after it was stripped of any removable gear and rigging (Davidson 2014). A couple of months later there was an attempt to repair the vessel, with Brinksell being brought up from NSW to repair the damage on the port side (Davidson 2014). However, shortly after the wreck was lifted onto rollers, another gale forced it into a worse position and the keel broke, ending any hopes of repairing the ship (Potts 2010).
Continue reading Copper-alloy sheathing from Coolangatta
The Workshops Rail Museum has installed a new exhibit 12 years in the making: Hunslet locomotive 327.
In 2005 the Museum was donated a 2 foot gauge tank locomotive that had operated between the early 1920s and the mid-1960s at the North Eton Mill, in Mackay, Queensland, hauling sugar cane. However, the locomotive was originally built in England in 1916 for use on the Western Front during the First World War.
Continue reading The Restoration of Hunslet 327
Written by Tate Devantier-Thomas, compiled by Dr Madeline Fowler
This is part of a blog series written by undergraduate students at James Cook University, who undertook research on objects in the Museum of Tropical Queensland’s maritime archaeology collection as part of the 2017 topic AR3008 Boats and Beaches. Continue reading A sperm sewing machine oil bottle from Aarhus
Remembering the men and animals of The First World War
Written by Jeff Powell for Cobb+Co Museum
Around 332,000 soldiers left Australia for the battlefields of the First World War, and they took 60,000 horses with them. Another 70,000 horses were sent away to other allied armies. In total, ‘British Forces’ which included Australia, used well over one million horses and mules in the First World War. (War Office 1922:396-397) Continue reading They Also Served
Written by Robyn Blucher, compiled by Dr Madeline Fowler
This is Part 1 of a blog series written by undergraduate students at James Cook University, who undertook research on objects in the Museum of Tropical Queensland’s maritime archaeology collection as part of the 2017 topic AR3008 Boats and Beaches. Continue reading An earthenware bottle from Yongala