Burnt sugar, a disaster averted

The Townsville Bulk Sugar Terminal was built in 1958 and could hold 10% of Australia’s annual sugar production. On 9 May 1963, the sugar in shed caught fire. Black smoke blanketed the city and a thick, black molasses-like ooze of melted sugar poured into creeks and the harbour. Fire services were brought in from Cairns, […]

Fashion fatality: accidental death by misfortune

Mrs Eliza Baxter – who lived in a house on the premises of the Victoria Steam Saw Mill in the Drayton district with her husband, her stepmother and her son – became another victim of the deadly crinoline fashion on 24 March 1865. At about 7 am, Eliza – in her dress and a crinoline […]

Another 3Rs! Railway Refreshment Rooms

To most of us the 3Rs connote literacy and numeracy, but did you know the initials also used to apply to the Queensland Railway Refreshment Rooms? Originally run by enterprising locals, the Railway Department, Refreshment Rooms Branch was created in June 1916. The official public announcement that the Queensland Government would run the railway refreshment […]

Policing the Beatles

Copenhagan [has been rendered] … a city of turmoil … and the same exciting scenes recurred in Amsterdam. Beatlemania is coming … So watch out Australia. The Courier-Mail, 8 June 1964 Beatlemania was in full swing in 1964 and the spectacle was coming to Queensland. While the thought of the Fab Four visiting Brisbane was […]

Salvage and recycling – the Queensland way

You may have seen in the news recently that Sweden – one of those countries that recycles almost all of their household waste and even imports waste from other countries to recycle – has opened a shopping centre that only sells recycled, upcycled and repurposed goods! This news story got me thinking about the methods […]

Flood, Fire and Famine

Core of my heart, my country! Land of the Rainbow Gold, For flood and fire and famine, She pays us back threefold My Country, Dorothea Mackellar In this famous ode to her adopted country written in 1908, Dorothea Mackellar successfully captures the spirit of Australians battling a hostile environment in which flood, fire and famine […]

The Sinking of the S.S. Quetta

Freeman’s Journal Sat 8 March 1890 Wreck of the S.S. Quetta Fearful Loss of Life 123 Souls Perished The R.M.S. Quetta, of the British India Steam Navigation Co.’s Anglo-Australia service, was on Friday night wrecked on the Queensland coast, after striking on a sunken rock not marked on the chart. The Quetta was well known […]