Moonshine, Cane Farms and Mascots: Histories of a Jug

How one jug in Queensland Museum’s collection can lead to many histories. Tess Shingles, Acting Assistant Curator, Queensland Stories Have you ever wondered what moonshine, Queensland farming, and mascots have in common? Answer: The Beenleigh Rum Character Jug, though perhaps not at first glance. This jug, held in Queensland Museum’s collection is quite small, colourful and full of character. The “Beenleigh Rum” painted on the … Continue reading Moonshine, Cane Farms and Mascots: Histories of a Jug

The Mabo Decision 30 years on… the legacy lives on

By Leitha Assan, Senior Curator, Indigenous Cultures From its inception in Townsville in 1981 to the High Court victory on 3 June 1992, 2022 marks 30 years since the historical landmark Mabo decision was handed down by the High Court of Australia. The High Court ruled that the Meriam people were entitled to possession, occupation, use and enjoyment of their Islands, effectively recognising their Native Title. … Continue reading The Mabo Decision 30 years on… the legacy lives on

Getting Drawn into Archaeology for National Archaeology Week

Guest Blogger – Dr Emma Rehn (@BlueRehn), James Cook University and ARC Centre of Excellence for Australian Biodiversity and Heritage (CABAH) Alongside the fascinating artefacts and objects in the archaeological collections at Queensland Museum, you’ll also find a range of maps and drawings. Archaeological illustrations record crucial data and come in many forms – read on to learn more about visuals in archaeology in honour … Continue reading Getting Drawn into Archaeology for National Archaeology Week

Resin: an essential piece of kit

By Marisa Giorgi, Information Officer, Queensland Museum There is nothing new about the use of adhesives and sealants. They have been a critical element in the technology of First Australians for thousands of years. Plant-based resin has been employed in the production of many traditional tools and when prepared correctly, resin can become as hard as rock. There is evidence of resin-use in toolmaking from … Continue reading Resin: an essential piece of kit

Mistakes can happen

By Patrick Couper, Senior Curator Vertebrates, Queensland Museum The biological specimens in museum collections need constant monitoring to ensure their long-term preservation. Initially they are treated in a manner that prevents decay. For wet vertebrate collections (whole specimens stored in jars or vats of alcohol), an animal’s organs, muscles and other tissues are fixed, usually with formalin. This results in the formation of covalent bonds … Continue reading Mistakes can happen

Panzers, parsley, soap and the devil!

By Damien Fegan, Information Officer, Queensland Museum Among the numerous objects and specimens on display at Queensland Museum are some with truly extraordinary stories! Today Damien Fegan from the Discovery Centre shares new research on one of his favourite objects on display at the Anzac Legacy Gallery. Mephisto, or more formally, A7V Sturmpanzerwagen (armoured assault vehicle) #506, the only surviving German tank from the First … Continue reading Panzers, parsley, soap and the devil!

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

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

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

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?

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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19th century Australia: grog and salad dressing?

Written by Nick Hadnutt , Curator, Archaeology.

Many of the artefacts recovered from historical archaeology sites in Australia are essentially the same types of material. Any researcher investigating these sites will expect to handle a range of material including various metal fragments, spent munitions, lost buttons, broken slate pencil tips, fragments of tools, bits of bridles and horse gear, lost coins and tokens, pieces of fabric, discarded leather material and ceramics. Amongst the most common objects are those made of glass: either whole vessels or as fragments. In fact, so much glass material is recovered from sites, it could be easy to assume 19th century Australians lived on a diet of alcohol and salad dressing, simply from the kinds of bottles we find most often.
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Meaning in Maps

Written by Dr Geraldine Mate, Principal Curator, Industry, History and Technology.

It’s a nerdy boast, I know, but I love maps! Colourful touristy maps, contour maps, historic maps with wheat, sugar and gold country blithely shaded out, hand-drawn maps with names of people as important as names of places, and even the busy cadastral maps – dimensioned and officially (officiously?) denoting gazetted reserves, roadways, property boundaries and survey points. They all somehow convey a little bit about the landscape they depict. So what do maps have to do with archaeology?
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From Paris with love

Written by Senior Curator of Cultural Environments,  Mark Clayton.

Can you ever imagine sending an email, knowing that there was every reasonable chance it might never reach its destination? After a day or so frustration would morph into annoyance, but after four months of this we’d probably be gripped with anxiety, if not fear. Scaling this scenario up, to a population of 600,000, perhaps affords us some insight to how metropolitan Parisians must have felt 145 years ago when their city was surrounded and put to siege by Prussian armies. For four months, beginning mid-September 1870, all usual communications were severed leaving the city’s entire population isolated from the rest of the world.
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Quinn’s Post: Gallipoli

Written by Mark Clayton, Senior Curator, Social History, Queensland Museum.

This hand-drawn map of Quinn’s Post, Gallipoli, documents – in great detail – the disposition of Australian forces including the location of mines, trenches, tunnels, and winzes. The right-hand table also chronicles the forty-seven mine explosions that occurred there during the eight month campaign.
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Women in Science, Queensland Museum

Happy International Women’s Day! In the lead up to 8 March 2015,  Queensland Science have been busy celebrating International Women’s Day by shining the spotlight on women in science on their Facebook & Twitter pages and via the #womeninscience & #makeithappen hashtags. During the week a number of Queensland Museum scientists put their hand up to provide an insight into what inspired them to pursue a career in science and offer a few words of encouragement for all the young women and girls out there enthusiastic about science.
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A day in the sun

By Queensland Museum Curator of Queensland stories, Tracy Ryan.

Queensland Museum’s social history collection receives a lot of donation offers each year, and sadly many of them are refused for various reasons, one of which is a lack of provenance. But when we were approached last year with the offer of a bicycle called the Solar Tandem, we got pretty excited. Here was an object that ticked all our boxes.
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Meet the Curator – David Parkhill

Photography by Michelle Legg

Queensland Museum Assistant Collection Manager David Parkhill writes about his personal journey, from being captivated by Museums as a young boy growing up in England to arriving in Australia to peruse a livelihood as a jackaroo to finally finding his calling… a journey he describes as “a long strange trip”.
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