Ludwig Leichhardt’s final expedition

German explorer Ludwig Leichhardt and his companions headed west from the Darling Downs in 1848. They were never seen again and the disappearance of their expedition remains one of the great unsolved mysteries of Australian exploration. Friedrich Wilhelm Ludwig Leichhardt was born in Prussia in October 1813 and became fascinated with exploration at an early […]

Black Friday: Australia’s first ever general strike

Before the 1912 strike, labourers worked a 12-hour day with only 20 per cent of workers earning the minimum wage and women earning as little as nine to fifteen shillings a week (approximately $55–$100 per week now). Despite union membership trebling from 1907 to 1911, there were few concessions for workers. This changed when workers […]

Shear power: Shearer’s strike of 1891

The 1891 shearers’ strike is one of Australia’s earliest and most important industrial disputes. The quarrel was primarily between unionised and non-unionised wool workers, and sabotage and violence issued from both sides. The strike is seen as one of the factors that led to the formation of the Australian Labor Party. Throughout the 1870s and […]

Collections, carnivals and caskets: Fundraising for the First World War

When the First World War broke out in August 1914, Queenslanders quickly rallied to support the troops overseas and their families at home. Support for the war effort came from all quarters: community associations, private organisations, government, businesses and concerned citizens. Events such as benefit nights and theatrical fundraisers not only lifted the spirits of […]

A plague on all your houses – The bubonic plague in Queensland

When people hear the words ‘bubonic plague’, thoughts turn to the deadly pandemic that swept through Asia and Europe killing tens of millions of people during the Middle Ages. However, the infectious disease, spread to humans by rat fleas, came closer to home with multiple epidemics occurring in Queensland in the early part of the […]

Frog’s Hollow

The area between George, Albert and Elizabeth streets in Brisbane is now a bustling part of the CBD, neighboured by the quiet sanctuary of the Botanic Gardens, but in the latter half of the 1800s it was both the red-light district of colonial Brisbane and its Chinatown. Frog’s Hollow, possibly named after its noisy amphibian […]

Graveyard Games – Lang Park Cemetery

Paddington Cemetery was one of the first to be established in Queensland. In its place there now stands a monument of a different kind. The cemetery operated from 1844 as the primary burial ground for Brisbane’s settler residents. Like other early cemeteries, it was divided by religious denomination and included separate sections for non-believers and […]

Birth of Qantas – The flying kangaroo

Hudson Fysh and Paul McGinness met during the First World War while serving with the No. 1 Squadron of the Australian Flying Corps. Returning to Australia after the war, the pair began planning an airline service that would connect Australia to the world. On 16 November 1920, the two pilots, along with wealthy grazier Fergus […]

Rise of the Phoenix Trams

Brisbane awoke on 29 September 1962 to news of a terrible fire that would cause transport chaos in the days ahead and would be the beginning of the demise of the tram in Brisbane. On the night before, one of Brisbane’s fiercest-ever fires blazed inside the Paddington Tram Depot, destroying the building and 67 trams. […]

Knight of the Sky – Sir Charles Kingsford Smith

Remembered as one of the world’s greatest aviators, Charles Kingsford Smith had exceptional accomplishments to his name by the time he turned 25: decorated First World War pilot, military flight instructor, airline owner, barnstormer and one of Australia’s first commercial pilots. Greater achievements were yet to come; the first, a daring and ambitious flight across […]