Mysterious Night Parrots may not see in the dead of night

A Queensland Museum specimen of Australia’s most elusive nocturnal bird, the Night Parrot, has played a vital role in a new international study, which has found that this species may not be much better at seeing in the dark than other parrots active during the day. Queensland Museum Mammals and Birds Collection Manager Heather Janetzki said at the time of the study, the museum held … Continue reading Mysterious Night Parrots may not see in the dead of night

Our native Blue-banded Bees

By Dr Chris Burwell, Senior Curator of Insects, Queensland Museum Blue-banded bees, a name used for several species of Amegilla, are common visitors to Queensland gardens and are one of our most beautiful Australian native bees. Their boldly banded backsides (abdomens in entomological lingo) make these stocky bees stand out. The paler bands on the abdomen are made up of thousands of tiny, tightly-packed hairs. … Continue reading Our native Blue-banded Bees

What does it take to take to describe a new species?

by Dr Paul Oliver, Queensland Museum and Griffith University Describing new species is bread and butter work for the scientists at Queensland Museum. Across our campuses we have experts in groups ranging from corals to spiders to snails. And over the 158-year history of the museum our scientist have described over 5000 new species. This work underpins our understanding of biodiversity. Field guides, conservation planning, … Continue reading What does it take to take to describe a new species?

Evening Brown Butterfly

Queensland Museum Collection Imager, Geoff Thompson was picking some grass for guinea pigs when he found a beautiful caterpillar with two prominent horns on its head. He took some phone photos and took it inside, feeding it grass to keep it alive. It was a caterpillar of the Evening Brown Butterfly. The next day he found a second caterpillar on the floor near the guinea … Continue reading Evening Brown Butterfly

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

5 minutes with Dr Geraldine Mate

Today’s #CouchCurator is Acting Head, Cultures and Histories program, Dr Geraldine Mate who is sharing some of her favourite items from the Collection. I get to look after Queensland’s cultural history – it’s quite a privilege. And one of the things I love, as time goes by the intertangling of skeins, how one thread will connect to another, across collections and across object types – … Continue reading 5 minutes with Dr Geraldine Mate

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

Queensland’s biodiversity

Queensland has Australia’s greatest biodiversity, characterised especially by some iconic ecosystems recognised internationally as World Heritage Areas and defined by their living and fossil biodiversity. Queensland has 19 of Australia’s 80 terrestrial bioregions, 17 of the 60 marine bioregions, and 5 of the 13 world heritage-listed sites (comprising 36 million hectares). These include the rainforests of the Wet Tropics, coral reefs of the Great Barrier … Continue reading Queensland’s biodiversity

The ‘dogger’, the dingo and a little bit of know-how … the story of George Saunders

WARNING: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander readers should be warned that the following story contains images names of people who have passed away. By Judith Hickson, Curator, Social History, Queensland Museum In 2017, Mrs Gladys Waters donated two dingo traps to the Queensland Museum’s social history collection.  Handmade from discarded pieces of railway iron, the traps had belonged to Gladys’ father, George Maurice Saunders, who … Continue reading The ‘dogger’, the dingo and a little bit of know-how … the story of George Saunders

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

Geological maps and how to read them

Get exploring with these geology resources. This blog post supplements this video from our Discovery Centre team which you can watch here. Geological maps show the distribution of rocks on the surface of the Earth, and are a fantastic way to explore our planet from the comfort of your own home. To help you get started exploring, here’s a ‘toolbox’ of useful resources: Maps Macrostrat … Continue reading Geological maps and how to read them

Garden Insect Photography with Collection Imager Geoff Thompson

by Geoff Thompson, Queensland Museum Collection Imager  What does a museum micro-photographer do when locked down? He builds a modification for his flash diffuser and heads out into the garden to photograph small creatures, with his own camera and macro lens. After editing and adjusting, only a few images are worth sharing. Queensland Museum entomologists have identified these as far as is possible. Often it … Continue reading Garden Insect Photography with Collection Imager Geoff Thompson

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?

To the teachers, thank you

As of Monday 25 May 2020, all Queensland school students are set to go back to school, after many being at home doing school virtually for some time. The importance of teachers and their pivotal role in our youth’s lives cannot be overlooked. During this unique and unprecedented time, teachers have been responsive and supportive in transitioning whilst helping students and parents alike. With this, … Continue reading To the teachers, thank you

You could build a railway carriage for that!

What do manual arts students, dentists, domestic science students and leprosy patients all have in common? At one point in Queensland’s history they have all had custom railway carriages built for them. When railways were the most dominant means of transporting goods and people on land, some of the rolling stock used had to be customised to accommodate all sorts of passenger and freight needs. … Continue reading You could build a railway carriage for that!

New species: velvet gecko discovered on one of Australia’s northern islands

Scientists from Queensland Museum, Griffith University, University of Melbourne and the Northern Territory Government have described a colourful new velvet gecko from Groote Eylandt in the Northern Territory. This species only occurs on Groote, Australia’s third largest offshore island in the Gulf of Carpentaria. The Groote Eylandt Velvet Gecko, Oedura nesos, is a large and colourful species with white bands and yellow spots that lives … Continue reading New species: velvet gecko discovered on one of Australia’s northern islands

Searching for Surprise Rainbows with SparkLab

Kate, SparkLab Learning Officer, South Bank Discover rainbows around your home and explore the science of light and colour. Have you ever noticed a rainbow somewhere that you didn’t expect one? SparkLab Learning Officers have been discovering surprise rainbows all over their homes. This got us thinking… Where do rainbows come from? And how can we create our own rainbows at home? Search for your … Continue reading Searching for Surprise Rainbows with SparkLab


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.

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