Queensland throughout the decades

Annually on 6 June we celebrate Queensland Day which marks the official separation from New South Wales as an independent colony since 1859. For over 157 years Queensland Museum Network has been collecting objects and items to document the past, and today we’re taking a looking back at items in the State Collection that relate to each decade. 1860’s – Silk Address This invitation, in … Continue reading Queensland throughout the decades

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

CHANGING COMMUNITIES. CHANGING LIVES.

For decades across the Queensland Museum Network, hundreds of volunteers have generously given their time and knowledge to ensure visitors to our museums enjoy an experience to remember. This year for National Volunteer Week, we celebrate the theme, “Changing Communities. Changing Lives”. We know our volunteers do exactly that, with visitors often speaking of the lasting impression left after an encounter or tour with a … Continue reading CHANGING COMMUNITIES. CHANGING LIVES.

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?

How objects shape our identity

Our doors may be closed but that won’t stop Queensland Museum Network from celebrating International Museum Day 2020! This event is celebrated globally on 18 May every year and this year, the International Council of Museums (ICOM) has chosen the theme of Museums for equality: diversity and inclusion. We’ve taken a trip around our campuses (virtually of course) and asked our curatorial staff from Queensland … Continue reading How objects shape our identity

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

Len and Gladys: They wouldn’t take the likes of you

by Judith Hickson, Curator – Queensland Stories, Queensland Museum He was Australia’s first and only Aboriginal fighter pilot during World War II. She was a driver for the United States Army in Townsville. Drawn together by fate, Len Waters and Gladys Saunders also found common ground in their shared cultural and wartime experiences. Their marriage, after a whirlwind courtship of two weeks, spanned 46 years … Continue reading Len and Gladys: They wouldn’t take the likes of you

Dr William’s Pink Pills For Pale People

Feeling a little pale and anxious from days in social isolation? Looking for a treatment or miracle cure for the virus that has taken over our lives and world? Don’t worry … you aren’t alone! Around the world, news services are reporting that social media is ‘awash’ with misinformation and advertising for ‘quack cures’ and fake treatments for coronavirus. Most people are familiar with the … Continue reading Dr William’s Pink Pills For Pale People

In Focus: The Ernie Grant Collection

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. In 2016, the Queensland Museum purchased a collection of items from Jirrbal Elder, Dr Ernie Grant. The Ernie Grant Collection, now housed at Museum of Tropical Queensland, represents the cultural and social life … Continue reading In Focus: The Ernie Grant Collection

The women of Cobb & Co

“Who will forget the meal served at Loder’s mail change? Roasted goat, prickly jam and jelly, splendid home-made bread, to say nothing of the hot scones and ‘nanny’s butter’, which made up a real ‘rich’ meal, and one that cheered the heart of the traveller for the next stage of the journey.”

– William Lees, on the Loders of Waldegrove change station near Surat QLD, 1916.

Cobb & Co coach drivers like Whistling Tom Elms, Flash Harry Bruce and Let ‘Er Go Gallagher were almost legendary in their lifetime, but for every coach driver there was a host of other workers keeping Cobb & Co’s coaches and horses on the roads. Grooms at stables and bush change stations harnessed, watered and fed the horses and cleaned the yards. The cooks not only fed the passengers, they grew the vegetables, fed the chickens and collected the eggs, milked the cow or goat, separated the cream and churned the butter. The cook might have even shot the wallaby or cockatoos in the stew.

Couples like Mr and Mrs Loder at Waldegrove ran the horse change between them. If there were no men around the women got on and did everything regardless. Mrs Fox and her four daughters ran the changing station at Boonoo Boonoo, on the Warwick to Tenterfield route. Women publicans and their families ran many of the country hotels where Cobb & Co’s parched and weary passengers stayed overnight. Their hotels acted as booking agents for Cobb & Co as well. Women filled vital roles in Cobb & Co’s day-to-day operations ‘on the ground’.

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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.

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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

Recreating the past

By Dr Elizabeth Bissell, Senior Curator, Cultures and Histories, Queensland Museum and Solitaire Osei, Senior Conservator, Textiles, Queensland Museum When Queensland Museum’s long-awaited Anzac Legacy Gallery opened its doors in November 2018, visitors may have been surprised to see a women’s mourning suit displayed near Mephisto, the rarest tank in the world. The suit was made for Mrs Christina Massey of Mayfield Road, Belmont, by Janet … Continue reading Recreating the past

Tune in to early TV transmission in Queensland

by Peter Volk, Assistant Collection Manager, Social History, Queensland Museum On 1st July 1959, nearly 60 years ago, Brisbane television station QTQ9 went on the air. A few months later, on 2nd November, ABQ2 started broadcasting as well. If you are of the right age, you can remember growing up on a steady diet of 1960’s era TV, all served in black and white, with … Continue reading Tune in to early TV transmission in Queensland