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 […]

First Police in Dresses

The Queensland police force employed its first female policewomen on 16 March 1931. The two women, chosen from 60 applicants, were initially appointed for a 12-month probationary period and were stationed at Roma Street, Brisbane. They came from very different backgrounds. Miss Ellen O’Donnell was 35 years old when she was appointed. She lived in […]

When the world comes to town: Expo 88

Australia was approaching its bicentennial celebrations, and after Brisbane’s success hosting the 1982 Commonwealth Games, Brisbane City Council and the Queensland State Government were confident they could win the bid to hold the next World Exhibition. Brisbane won the right to hold the event and Expo 88 was officially opened by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II […]

SS Walrus: Rum on the river

The planting and cultivation of sugar cane in Queensland was paramount to a booming industry: the production of rum. In 1869 there was even a floating mill that produced and delivered rum to eager Queenslanders. The Walrus had been an unassuming sailing ship purchased by James Stewart in 1869 with plans to convert it into […]

Lightning and the mutiny

The Colonial Treasurer announced that the Queensland government would buy two gunboats in November 1882, at a cost of £60,000 (around $7.7 million today), to boost its sea-power and protect its vulnerable coastline. Armed with experience, firepower and integrity, the age of Queensland’s powerful maritime defence was about to begin. Or would have begun, if […]

Persons from New South Wales must not cross the border

In 2021, just like 102 years ago, the border was closed to protect Queenslanders from a spreading virus. Research into the archival documents reveal the decisions and actions Queensland Government took when closing the border in 1919. In an edition of the Queensland Government Gazette, from Thursday 6 February 1919, it was announced that: No […]

The separation of North and South Stradbroke Island

North Stradbroke Island, Minjerribah is Quandamooka land. The Government of Australia proclaimed Native Title to the area on 4 July 2011. Until the late 19th century, Stradbroke was a single island but both an unforeseen shipwreck and Mother Nature would change Stradbroke Island, forming twin barriers between Moreton Bay and the mighty Pacific Ocean. For […]

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 […]