All posts by qldmuseum

Vehicle building in Australia

Written by Jeff Powell, Cobb+Co Museum

Anders Nielson’s Coach Factory in Fitzroy Street Rockhampton, around 1900.

October 2017 marks the end of motor vehicle building in Australia, but the industry goes back further than most people realise. The first car with a ‘Holden’ badge was built in 1948, but Holden in Adelaide had been building car bodies for General Motors’ Chevs, Pontiacs and Vauxhalls since the 1920s. GM-Holden had assembly plants in other state capital cities by the 1930s. Ford Australia also had assembly plants in Australian capital cities since the mid-1920s. Yet vehicle building in Australia began even a century before the earliest motor cars.

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How big was the Leviathan ‘Monster coach’?

Written by Jeff Powell, Cobb+Co Museum

This lithograph illustration of the coach by H Deutsch may be a fairly accurate image of the ‘Leviathan,’ matching the description in The Argus, although the people seem a little too small. (Image courtesy State Library of Victoria)

Contemporary newspapers which are now accessible via the TROVE website may help clear up the confusion. Regarding when it first Continue reading How big was the Leviathan ‘Monster coach’?

The Maritime Archaeology Collection: Part 2 Islands and Reefs

Written by Dr Maddy Fowler, Museum of Tropical Queensland

Following from Part 1 Shipwrecks, which detailed the 17 named shipwrecks represented by artefacts in the Museum of Tropical Queensland collection, Part 2 explores objects discovered at islands and reefs that are not ascribed to a known shipwreck. With the Great Barrier Reef, one of Australia’s greatest ship-traps, lying off the Queensland coast, it is unsurprising that shipwreck material occurs on many of the islands, reefs and cays both there and further offshore in the Coral Sea.

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The Wreck of the Foam and the Queensland Labour Trade

Written by Dr Stephen Beck,  Honorary Officer (Volunteer) with the Cultures and History Program at Queensland Museum.

The wreck of the Foam provides amazing archaeological insights into the conduct of the Queensland labour trade, the process by which it operated and the effect of contact, trade and exchange between different cultures.   The Foam has the unique status of being the only known wreck on the Great Barrier Reef of a Queensland labour vessel that was actively engaged in the labour trade at the time of its demise.   Thus, the Foam, together with its wreck site, has provided archaeological insights into life on board a labour vessel, both for the returning Islanders and the European crew, at a specific time in the Queensland labour trade.
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Lagoon Creek Shearer’s Strike Camp

Written by Nicholas Hadnutt, Curator, Archaeology.

In the 1890’s, work relations in Australia were a hot topic. Working conditions and wages were at an all-time low for shearers and they were preparing to fight for their rights. The Queensland wool industry was rapidly growing and shearers and pastoralists were seeking to define fair working conditions. Unfortunately, the opinions of the two groups as to what constituted reasonable working conditions were poles apart and conflict was looming. By 1890, shearers and other labourers began forming unions to better represent their rights, including a key requirement that pastoralists only employed union members. The pastoralists reacted by coming together nationally to create a shearing and labouring agreement of their own. The wealthy pastoralists were expecting a fight and were working together to defeat the union movement.
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The Maritime Archaeology Collection: Part 1 Shipwrecks

Written by Dr Maddy Fowler, Museum of Tropical Queensland

As the recently appointed Senior Curator Maritime Archaeology, I have faced the challenge of familiarising myself with the maritime archaeology collection, predominantly housed at the Museum of Tropical Queensland. The HMS Pandora artefacts are justifiably the most well-known of this collection, due to both their international value and significance, and their substantial quantity. The collection, however, also includes artefacts from at least 16 other named shipwrecks located across Queensland’s coast and rivers. The maritime archaeology collection can therefore be seen as a cross-section or a sample of the total shipwreck resource in the State, and a brief analysis of these sites can inform significance and research potential.
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