In every suburban street

Many of us think nothing of picking up a few things for dinner on the way home, or purchasing a trolley load of groceries at the supermarket on the weekend. Shopping in supermarkets is a part of everyday life in Australia, but it is a fairly recent phenomenon. Large suburban shopping centres only sprang up in the years since car ownership became commonplace in the 1950s. Continue reading In every suburban street

Caravanning in Queensland

By Jeff Powell, Curator Cobb+Co Museum. A caravan in Queensland Museum’s collection (H46579) was made by Duncan (Len) Macpherson around 1945. Although simple in appearance, the caravan is evidence that Len was a bit of a trendsetter. His wooden caravan is a tangible example of social changes that were about to sweep the nation. Caravans were not completely unknown in the late 1930s, but were … Continue reading Caravanning in Queensland

Tower Mill: An Archaeological Investigation of Queensland’s Oldest Surviving Building

By Taylor O’Neill – Museum Studies student at the University of Queensland with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Archaeology. Known as the Old Windmill or The Observatory, Tower Mill is an instantly recognisable part of Brisbane City and Queensland’s oldest building. What can archaeology tell us about this place? Located on Brisbane City’s Wickham Terrace, you’ve probably glanced at Tower Mill once or twice … Continue reading Tower Mill: An Archaeological Investigation of Queensland’s Oldest Surviving Building

5 minutes with Dr Paul Muir, Research Officer and Collection Manager, Corals

Dr Paul Muir is the Research Officer and Collection Manager for Corals at Museum of Tropical Queensland in Townsville. His research interests lie in mesophotic (deep reef) corals, coral bleaching, coral biogeography, coral taxonomy and marine microbiology. What is your favourite object/species in the collection and why?– Welllll…….there’s about 50 000 coral specimens in our collection, so it’s difficult to say!  But, there is this … Continue reading 5 minutes with Dr Paul Muir, Research Officer and Collection Manager, Corals

To the beach, by Cobb & Co

By Jeff Powell, Curator, Cobb+Co Museum Cobb & Co delivered mail and passengers to some of the most remote and dusty corners of Queensland such as Boulia, Croydon, and Thargomindah, but Cobb & Co was just as important to settlements around Brisbane and southeast Queensland. The opening of the railway between Brisbane and Ipswich in 1875 spelled the end of Cobb & Co’s original route … Continue reading To the beach, by Cobb & Co

‘I Do’, More Than a Dress

One of the stories featured in the ‘I Do: Wedding Stories from Queensland’ exhibition is from Torres Strait Islander man, Walter Waia who was married in the Blue Mountains in Bilpin, New South Wales in 1986. Walter met his first wife, an Australian Caucasian woman while he was working for the Department of Aboriginal Affairs in Canberra. They developed a relationship and decided to get … Continue reading ‘I Do’, More Than a Dress

Seven Fascinating Stories to Discover at I Do! Wedding Stories from Queensland

Few things change our life more than getting married. It binds us legally or emotionally to a person, a family, a community and a shared future. Currently on display at Queensland Museum are more than 40 ensembles from the museum’s collection together with loans and commissioned artwork that explore the significant rolefashion plays in revealing the diverse, rich, heartbreaking and hopeful stories behind wedding garments. … Continue reading Seven Fascinating Stories to Discover at I Do! Wedding Stories from Queensland

Once Made in Queensland (including the kitchen sink!)

2020 has been a year when many accepted practices have come under review; commuting to work, socialising with friends and family, how and where we take holidays to name a few. Covid-19 has also focused scrutiny on the origins and reliability of commodities we have come to expect as necessary for life. There was concern about the supply of toilet paper, antiseptic hand wash and … Continue reading Once Made in Queensland (including the kitchen sink!)

A Wedding Anniversary on Christmas Eve!

How many couples do you know celebrate their wedding anniversary on Christmas Eve? One married couple whose wedding story features in the museum’s exhibition I Do! Wedding Stories from Queensland did so throughout their married life. Mary Ann and John Dunlop were married 157 years ago today in 1863. What a big day it must have been for the couple to travel from Oxley down … Continue reading A Wedding Anniversary on Christmas Eve!

Is it a buckboard?

Cobb+Co Museum has always wanted a Queensland buckboard, and we think we have one… By Jeff Powell, Curator, Cobb+Co Museum The American buckboard was about as simple a four wheeled vehicle as it was possible to build. They looked like someone had taken a section of picket fence, attached a wheel in each corner and placed a seat on top and halfway back. Comfort was … Continue reading Is it a buckboard?

7 things to do these school holidays

1. Scales & Tales Reptile Workshop Come and join herpetologist and wildlife photographer Steve Wilson at the museum in a small group workshop experience like no other, exploring the amazing diversity and incredible adaptations of reptiles. Experience first-hand how the Museum scientists identify different species. Sessions available from $35 per participant on Thursday 24, Friday 25, Monday 28 & Tuesday 29 September Learn More 2. … Continue reading 7 things to do these school holidays

Museum Revealed Podcast [Ep 5]: Rare Book Collection with Librarian Shannon Robinson

Spotted our big and small finches at the museum yet? Brisbane Festival is now in full swing. To celebrate all things birds, today on the next episode of our podcast we are talking to our Librarian Shannon Robinson about Queensland Museum’s rare book collection. In particular John Gould’s The Birds of Australia publication. Listen now on Apple Podcasts or Spotify. Let’s meet our guest: Shannon Robinson Shannon started work as the … Continue reading Museum Revealed Podcast [Ep 5]: Rare Book Collection with Librarian Shannon Robinson

Remembering Queensland Mobilised

The mobilisation of the people of Australia and their possessions means that the country will be turned into one vast war machine. Every person whether civilian or soldier will be a cog in that machine… Women and children according to their individual capabilities, have a place in the wartime economy… ‘Mobilisation’, Queensland Times Ipswich, 14 March 1942. A pair of pilot’s goggles sit quietly on … Continue reading Remembering Queensland Mobilised


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

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’.

Continue reading “The women of Cobb & Co”

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”


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