Still more important than anything money can buy

This blog post is part of an ongoing series titled Connecting with Collections. The series offers readers a peek inside the collections at Museum of Tropical Queensland, highlighting objects and their stories. “I am giving you this gift – not to buy a bride – but to remember the Purpuruk Family and our beautiful Country.” Between 1980 and 1984, Jenny Sebba and Arnold Young lived … Continue reading Still more important than anything money can buy

Held within eternal wrappings | Animal mummies in the Queensland Museum collection

Animal mummies in Ancient Egypt In ancient Egypt, a wide variety of animals were mummified. Household pets could be interred with their masters so they could be together in the afterlife; joints of poultry and meat were wrapped in linen and placed in tombs as […]

Continue reading Held within eternal wrappings | Animal mummies in the Queensland Museum collection

The oldest Lepidoptera book in the Queensland Museum Library

by Shannon Robinson, Queensland Museum Librarian Inspired by the recent butterfly activity this is the perfect time to share a couple of the rare Lepidoptera (moths and butterflies) books held in the Queensland Museum Library. Unlike today, where we can photograph insects from using our phones to a microscopic-lens camera, the early naturalists relied on the art of hand-drawn illustration to accompany their text. There’s … Continue reading The oldest Lepidoptera book in the Queensland Museum Library

Henry Lawson’s other skill

Henry Lawson remains one of Australia’s best known poets and authors a century after his death. Poems such as ‘The Lights of Cobb & Co’, ‘The Teams’ and ‘Andy’s Gone with Cattle’, and short stories like ‘Joe Wilson and his Mates’ flowed from his pen. His face has adorned banknotes and stamps. Henry Lawson’s life was glorious and tragic in equal measure. At once blessed … Continue reading Henry Lawson’s other skill

What’s the oldest book in the Collection?

by Shannon Robinson, Queensland Museum Librarian The Museum library has just over 2400 titles within the Rare Books Collection, spanning publication dates from the 16th century through to the 20th century. Over half, 1450 books to be precise, are from the 1800’s! Much of this material is irreplaceable and, being paper-based objects, in a fragile state. These factors contribute to placing these items in a … Continue reading What’s the oldest book in the Collection?

Grindstone – ancient multi-tools

Marisa Giorgi, Information Officer, Queensland Museum Grindstones are a relatively common tool found across Australia. But did you know grindstones have many varied uses? Archaeological science is revealing the complex nature of these stone artefacts. Introduction At Queensland Museum we have many grindstones of different shapes and sizes from across Queensland. These grindstones represent durable examples of everyday items used by Indigenous Australian people.  They … Continue reading Grindstone – ancient multi-tools

Discovering the world’s largest kangaroo – Part 2: In the lab

By Rochelle Lawrence, Palaeontological Research Assistant, and Scott Hocknull, Senior Curator, Geosciences, Queensland Museum  The giant kangaroo tibia (shinbone) found at the megafauna fossil sites of South Walker Creek, travelled safely back to the Queensland Museum’s Geosciences collection. The specimen is treated like evidence for a case (fossil evidence!) and is processed through a series of stages from field collection (Part 1) and preparation, to … Continue reading Discovering the world’s largest kangaroo – Part 2: In the lab

Discovering the world’s largest kangaroo- Part 1: In the field

By Rochelle Lawrence, Palaeontological Research Assistant, and Scott Hocknull, Senior Curator, Geosciences, Queensland Museum  As the weather begins to cool, the ‘dig’ season starts for us (palaeontologists) as we venture off along the coast and into the outback heart of Queensland. Over the last ten years we have been investigating a series of fossil sites at South Walker Creek located near the town of Nebo, … Continue reading Discovering the world’s largest kangaroo- Part 1: In the field

A Crime scene of the past – investigating tropical ice age megafauna

By Rochelle Lawrence, Palaeontological Research Assistant, and Scott Hocknull, Senior Curator, Geosciences, Queensland Museum In 2008, an extraordinary discovery was made at South Walker Creek, located near the town of Nebo, west of Mackay in Queensland, Australia. Traditional owners of the area, the Barada Barna people, were conducting a cultural heritage survey for the South Walker Creek Mine when they came across some interesting bones. … Continue reading A Crime scene of the past – investigating tropical ice age megafauna

What are megafauna?

By Rochelle Lawrence, Palaeontological Research Assistant, and Scott Hocknull, Senior Curator, Geosciences, Queensland Museum. Megafauna are giant animals usually weighing over 44 kilograms (kg). Most megafauna are now extinct (no longer exist) and were closely related to living species of animals we see today. You have probably heard of the more commonly known megafauna species, like the saber-toothed cat and woolly mammoth from North America. … Continue reading What are megafauna?

Contemporary collecting: Recording history as it happens

This blog post is part of an ongoing series titled Connecting with Collections. The series offers readers a peek inside the collections at Museum of Tropical Queensland, highlighting objects and their stories. What springs to mind when you think of museums? How about words like old, ancient, artefact or taxidermy? That’s not surprising.  Museums have a long history of collecting and displaying ‘curiosities’ just like … Continue reading Contemporary collecting: Recording history as it happens

The convict who got Australia’s wheels turning

Australia’s first wheelwright* was Hugh Hughes, a convict with the First Fleet in 1788.

He was the only wheelwright in the First Fleet so Hugh would have been kept very busy. Wheelwrights had to have the eye, skill and accuracy of cabinetmakers, but it was also a very laborious trade requiring strength and endurance. Hugh Hughes would have soon discovered timbers in this strange land were much harder than any he encountered in England.

There was no powered machinery at the time to saw and dress the ironbark, blue gum and stringy bark. Every timber component Hugh made was split, sawn, chipped and shaved with wedges, pit saws, adzes, axes, draw-knives and spoke shaves. Even the lathe that turned the wheel hubs was hand powered. Hugh, like country wheelwrights in Britain, probably even felled the trees he needed.  Yet Hugh Hughes was not making the big wheels, carts and wagons we might expect.

Continue reading “The convict who got Australia’s wheels turning”

The Book of the Dead of Amenhotep

By Dr Brit Asmussen, A/Principal Curator, Cultures and Histories, Queensland Museum, Southbank  To celebrate World Book and Copyright Day on 23 April 2020, we’re shining the spotlight on the oldest ‘book’ we have in the Queensland Museum Collection. What is a ‘Book of the Dead’? Ancient Egyptian funerary texts are colloquially known as the ‘Book of the Dead’.  Although they are called books, these don’t … Continue reading The Book of the Dead of Amenhotep

Electric Vehicles: Technology recharged

Electric vehicles (EVs) are gradually becoming visible on Queensland roads. The pioneer of this cutting-edge electric technology was a plain 1980s parcels van.

The converted Bedford van carried the digital clock showing Robert de Castella’s time in the 1982 Commonwealth Games marathon in Brisbane. For a short time the van was perhaps the most watched vehicle in the world. The Lucas Bedford van was virtually silent and produced no exhaust fumes, making it perfect for use in sporting competitions like the marathon and 30 km walk. It has a range of 100 km and a top speed of 80 kph.

Continue reading “Electric Vehicles: Technology recharged”

THE WHEELS ARE IN MOTION

Many expressions we use today date back to the era of ‘horse and cart’ transport. Cars feature 21st century technology like sat-nav systems, but they also have reminders of travel in the 1800s. The dashboard was originally a timber or leather panel in front of a buggy which stopped mud from the ‘dashing’ horse flicking onto passengers. On rainy days buggy owners also rode with … Continue reading THE WHEELS ARE IN MOTION

Cowboys in the Museum

This blog post is part of an ongoing series titled Connecting with Collections. The series offers readers a peek inside collections at the Museum of Tropical Queensland, highlighting objects and their stories. Like most Queenslanders, I grew up knowing that Rugby League was a central part of life. I remember sitting with my dad watching the Friday Night Footy, the entire family wearing jerseys or … Continue reading Cowboys in the Museum

Re-imagining Pandora

This blog post is part of an ongoing series titled Connecting with Collections. The series offers readers a peek inside collections at the Museum of Tropical Queensland, highlighting objects and their stories. In 1790, HMS Pandora sailed out of England with a clear mission: to find the HMS Bounty and its 25 mutineers. Pandora reached Tahiti in March 1791, and captured 14 of the mutineers, … Continue reading Re-imagining Pandora

International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples

Today we acknowledge International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples. Did you know there are 370 million Indigenous peoples belonging to 5000 different cultures across 90 countries with over 7000 languages spoken?  Indigenous peoples, also known as First peoples, Aboriginal peoples or Native peoples, are ethnic groups who are the original settlers of a given region, in contrast to groups that have settled, occupied or … Continue reading International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples

Snapshots in Time

This blog post is part of an ongoing series titled Connecting with Collections. The series offers readers a peek inside collections at the Museum of Tropical Queensland, highlighting objects and their stories. You don’t often go to a new place without seeing at least one postcard for sale. Beaches, small towns, big cities – there’s always a tourist shop, and there’s always a postcard stand. … Continue reading Snapshots in Time