Mapping Darling Downs history online

Darling Downs residents are invited to ‘pin’ their photos to a virtual map that shows the history of the region.

State Library of Queensland has uploaded several historical photographs of the Darling Downs to Historypin and is asking people to add their own photos and memories.

State Librarian Janette Wright said the Historypin collection enables Queenslanders to share their experiences of the Darling Downs and is part of the Grass Dukes and Shepherd Kings exhibition now open at State Library.

“The exhibition looks at 19th century pastoral life on the Darling Downs, particularly focusing on the interesting personalities of the time, such as Sir Arthur Hodgson, a prominent colonial politician whose personal photographs and records were recently brought back to Queensland from a private collection in England,” Ms Wright said.

“Grass Dukes and Shepherd Kings also looks at the various properties in the Darling Downs, including Glengallan House, which is now open to the public as a heritage centre.

We have enjoyed hearing from many Darling Downs residents who have found a personal connection with some part of the exhibition, whether it be a story or photograph of a family member, or an artwork of a particular place.

The exhibition is a wonderful opportunity for people to learn more about the lives of these early ‘squatters’ who were known in the press of the day as ‘grass dukes’ and ‘shepherd kings’.

These European settlers erected fine homesteads, grand stables and woolsheds and transformed the landscape with exotic gardens.”

Upcoming related events at State Library include talks with author Bill Gammage who has explored the ways Aboriginal people lived with the landscape prior to European settlement, historian James McCourt who will discuss squatters on the Downs, and author Helen Coughlan, academic Dr Ross Johnston and journalist Dr Kate Evans who will highlight the history of horse racing as a popular pastime in early colonial Queensland.

Visit for more information on the exhibition and upcoming events or go to Historypin to pin photographs of the Darling Downs.

Grass Dukes and Shepherd Kings
Open daily 10am–5pm, until 21 Apr
State Library of Queensland | Free

Deepen the conversation: A burning landscape
Wed 27 Feb, 6pm | State Library of Queensland
Free, bookings 3840 7768

A night in the JOL: The thoroughbred heritage of the Darling Downs
Wed 6 Mar, 6pm (special curator’s tour at 5.30pm) | State Library of Queensland
Free, bookings 3840 7768

A history of squatters with James McCourt
Wed 13 Mar, 12.30pm | State Library of Queensland
Free, bookings 3840 7768

Curator’s tour
Sun 24 Mar, 1pm | State Library of Queensland
Free, bookings 3840 7768

Media enquiries:
Amanda Edwards, SLQ Communications
07 3842 9803 |

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