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 […]

The Making of the Story Bridge

The Story Bridge – built as part of the State Government’s response to the Great Depression – remains one of Queensland’s most iconic landmarks. Ground was broken for the project in 1935, and the cantilever bridge was officially opened on 6 July 1940 by Governor Sir Leslie Orme Wilson. Public meetings calling for a bridge […]

Bustard Head Lighthouse

Three people drown. A mother slits her own throat. A woman is abducted. A young boy is shot. What do these tragedies have in common? The Bustard Head lighthouse. It all started on 5 May 1887. Kate Gibson, wife of Assistant Lighthouse Keeper Nils Gibson, went missing from Bustard Head. After a two-day search, Kate’s […]

Longest Basketball Game

Twenty-four high school students from Thursday Island set a world record on Saturday 6 May 1972 for the longest non-stop game of basketball played on an outdoor court. This herculean effort of 110 hours and five minutes broke the previous record by three hours, five minutes. Played at the Wongai Courts, the marathon, as it […]

Brisbane’s Air Raid Shelters

Brisbane City Architect Frank Gibson Costello designed the City Council’s air-raid shelters to provide a post-war utility as well as short-term safety. After the bombing of Darwin on 19 February 1942 and the presence of Japanese submarines off the Queensland coast, Brisbane prepared for the possibility of attack, building more than 200 air-raid shelters throughout […]