Moreton Bay convict settlement

This article, by Dr Jennifer Harrison, was originally published on the Queensland State Archives website, June 2012. Queensland State Archives’ collection includes significant records from the Moreton Bay convict settlement. These convict records have been officially listed on the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organisations (UNESCO) Memory of the World register.  Between 1824 and 1842, a place […]

World Heritage Wet Tropics

In 2021 the Eastern Kuku Yalanji people were handed back the Daintree, Ngalba-bulal, Kalkajaka and the Hope Islands National Parks. One of the world’s greatest living museums, housing the oldest continuously surviving tropical rainforests on Earth, collectively known as the Wet Tropics, can be found between Townsville and Cooktown. Reaching across rivers, sheltering gorges and […]

Ernest Austin – the last man hanged in Queensland

Ernest Austin went to the gallows with a quiet resignation at 8am on 22 September 1913. His criminal record tells the story of a tragic life with heartbreaking consequences. Born in Victoria in 1890, Austin had been charged with stealing by the age of 11 and entrusted to the Care of Neglected Children Department. In […]

Gold at Gympie

Early in 1866, not even a decade after its formation, the State of Queensland was experiencing a recession, exacerbated by a prolonged drought. As the agricultural industry suffered, the Bank of Queensland shut its doors, the government suspended work on major infrastructure and masses of unemployed men protested in the streets of Brisbane. In desperation, […]

Mail Order Brides

Early colonised Australia began with the arrival of both convicts and free settlers, the majority of whom were men. Very few women made the long and arduous journey. By the late 19th century, this imbalance among European settlers had decreased in most regions but persisted in rural and frontier areas where men found financial success […]

Mr Fillis’ Circus

The circus was coming to Australia. On 5 July 1892 a letter of application was penned requesting that a troupe of 40 performers, as well as various exotic animals, be allowed to visit Queensland. Frank E. Fillis was born in Lambeth, London, in 1857 and arrived in Cape Town, South Africa, sometime between 1879 and […]

Mabo vs QLD

The doctrine of terra nullius – ‘land belonging to no-one’ – was challenged and overturned in the High Court of Australia on 3 June 1992, largely due to the dedication of one man: Eddie Koiki Mabo. Eddie Mabo was born among the Meriam people on Mer in the Murray Group of islands of Torres Strait […]

The UnFriendly Games

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples charged into the 1970s with political vigour. Land rights, equality and self-determination were set firmly in their sights. In 1976, it was announced that Brisbane would host the 1982 Commonwealth Games, publicised as ‘The Friendly Games’. Indigenous rights groups saw this as an opportunity to use the international media […]

James McPherson – The Wild Scotchman

James Alpin McPherson, otherwise known as ‘The Wild Scotchman’, was one of Queensland’s most infamous bushrangers. Born in Inverness-shire, Scotland, in 1842, McPherson came to Australia aboard the William Miles, arriving in January 1855 with his family. As a boy, he was a diligent student, learning French and German, and was an engaging public speaker. […]

Experiments in the windmill

Thomas Elliott was a man of many interests. A local engineer and licensed HAM radio operator, in 1934 Elliott and a group of amateur radio operators conducted a series of experimental television transmissions. The group performed demonstrations for politicians and journalists and successfully aired Queensland’s first broadcast, 25 years before television sets were available for […]