War Savings – Balancing the books of battle

Written by Judith Hickson , Social History Curator, Queensland Museum

The Cultures and Histories Program at the Queensland Museum frequently receives donations that, while seemingly ordinary, provide unexpected opportunities to uncover forgotten pieces of our history and at the same time offer us the chance to re-examine these from a recent and (hopefully) more enlightened perspective.

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Ask an expert

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?

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The mystery of Wally, the chair

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.
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