The Story of Charles O’Brien

Records from Queensland State Archives’ collection Photo of Kerry O’Brien courtesy of Artemis Films and Serendipity Production The fourth series of Who Do You Think You Are? (WDYTYA) is screening on SBS ONE in 2012. Episode two, air date 3 April 2012 at 7.30 pm, follows the story of Kerry O’Brien, one of Australia’s most revered television journalists. WDYTYA is a co-production by Artemis International […]

deeper and discover even more about Mostyn’s career. Various newspaper clippings from The Australian, Courier Mail and Telegraph located in the Premier’s Batch Files provide a narrative on his career and highlight his promotion to Chief Justice of the Supreme Court in 1971.  Several articles in the batch file cover the “competition” as several other candidates were considered for the role, including candidates from other states. However, it is clear from an article in the Telegraph dated 11 February 1970 that the newspaper favoured Queenslander Mr Justice Hanger for the role. A description in the article about his career is quite emotive as it surmised that Mostyn quite simply had a “brilliant legal career.” Other arguments in favour for his case include a cablegram dated April 1970 to Yarrawonga, London advises of the approval for The Honourable Mostyn Hanger to be appointed as Senior Puisine Judge and to also as Acting Chief Justice of Queensland. Another cablegram dated 13th May 1971 announced Mostyn’s appointment. Mostyn remained in this role for a further six years until he retired in 1977. 
But that’s not all…Mostyn married Greta Robertson in 1936, and they had a son, John Mostyn Hanger  who followed in his father’s footsteps to become a well-known District Court judge from 1976 to 2001.  Another son, Ian Hanger became a QC. His sister Eunice became a well-known playwright and a highly regarded academic at the University of Queensland, where researchers can find the Eunice Hanger Collection containing letters to her famous older brother Mostyn.
QSA Digital Image ID 5638, Photograph of an oil painting of Chief Justice Sir Mostyn Hanger of the Supreme Court, April 1986

What’s in a name? Mostyn Hanger

Our recent What’s in a Name blog covered some of the many unusual and intriguing names we find in the Archives, and looked at how a name can lead us on a merry trail to discover the stories hiding in the records. Stories that shed light not only on the individual but also Queensland’s past. […]

Portrait of Narcisse Pelletier

Abandoned: The incredible tale of a French castaway

Sit back now and let us tell you a tale. An amazing tale of French cabin boy Narcisse Pelletier who was shipwrecked, left to die, rescued and adopted by an Aboriginal clan and then ‘rescued’ again 17 years later. “His name is Narcisse Peltier [sic] […] one of the survivors of the French vessel St […]

Richmond Hill State School, Burdekin Street, Charters Towers, c 1890
 Queensland State Archives, Digital Image ID 2698

Referendum Blues

Four days before Australians voted in the 1916 referendum about compulsory military service, a teacher at Richmond Hill State School decided to explore this process of voting when teaching the combined  Fourth and Fifth classes. On Tuesday 24 October Mr William John Williams discussed the concept of a referendum -“what it is, when it is […]


Tragedy at Wickham Terrace

On 1 December 1955 Karl Kast, equipped with ‘a revolver, more than 100 rounds of .38 calibre ammunition, a box of detonators and a satchel of home-made piping bombs’ murdered two prominent doctors at their practices on Wickham Terrace, Brisbane. Another doctor was injured and a local horse trainer had two fingers blown off as […]


Biography of an archive

Many of the sites and buildings that have housed Queensland government records have an important connection to the history of Brisbane.  Many buildings are heritage listed and  we have records about them in our collection. The Queensland State Archives building, along with some related sites it has been associated with in the past are open […]