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

NAIDOC WEEK

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. The 7-14 July marks the 2019 NAIDOC Week. Each year, NAIDOC Week celebrates the culture, history and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. NAIDOC Week is commemorated by both Indigenous communities … Continue reading NAIDOC WEEK

14 June 2019: Bicentenary of Philip Parker King and the HMS Mermaid visiting the Townsville Area

This article is the first in a series about the historical maritime mapping and interaction along the North Queensland coastline. The Mermaid at Cape Cleveland On Sunday 14 June 1819, HMS Mermaid rounded Cape Cleveland in north Queensland and made an unscheduled stop, anchoring off present day Red Rock Bay. In command was Lieutenant Phillip Parker King RN, the Australian-born son of the third New South Wales … Continue reading 14 June 2019: Bicentenary of Philip Parker King and the HMS Mermaid visiting the Townsville Area

National Reconciliation Week

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. National Reconciliation Week (27 May – 3 June) celebrates the shared histories, cultures and accomplishments of Aboriginal People and Torres Strait Islanders and the broader Australian community. It urges all Australians to learn … Continue reading National Reconciliation Week

International Women’s Day: women in Australian history

Today is International Women’s Day and we’re highlighting some of our favourite females in Australian history, shared through the lens of the incredible women who are part of the Queensland Museum Network team. Our collections are full of amazing stories and we’re thrilled to be able to share them with you to celebrate this special day.  Jennifer Wilson, Senior Curator, Transport Energy and Science Favourite … Continue reading International Women’s Day: women in Australian history

A Man From Glamorganvale

Mephisto, the world’s only remaining German First World War tank is without doubt a unique and fascinating object. Visitors come from across the world to see it, and many words have been written about it. It is also a treasured object to many Queenslanders who remember it out the front of the old Museum on Gregory Terrace, or lurking menacingly in the Dinosaur Garden of … Continue reading A Man From Glamorganvale

Reconstructing the Kronosaurus

Kronosaurus queenslandicus was the largest predatory reptile to swim the seas of western Queensland 105 million years ago. This icon of the paleontological world is thought to have grown up to 11 metres in length, with around two metres of that dedicated to its unusually large skull, containing a mammoth set of jaws and dozens of enormous teeth. Recently, an opportunity arose for the Queensland … Continue reading Reconstructing the Kronosaurus

Stories in living colour

By Dr Geraldine Mate, Principal Curator, History, Industry and Technology, Queensland Museum When I was asked to say a few words at the opening of the new Anzac Legacy Gallery, I thought “yes, that would be great”…then they said three to four minutes and I thought that would be impossible. I could talk for an hour, but how could I fit so many incredible stories … Continue reading Stories in living colour

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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