State Library highlights Queensland’s spirit of innovation

Explore Queensland’s unique history and culture of entrepreneurialism and innovation in State Library of Queensland’s upcoming exhibition, Magnificent Makers.

Opening to the public on Saturday 9 December, the exhibition profiles the lives and works of a group of remarkable Queenslanders who thought outside the box to craft pioneering creations from the late 1800s to the present day.

Using the technology available to them at the time, the innovators profiled in Magnificent Makers made significant developments in the areas of education, sport, leisure, clothing, photography, medicine and scientific research.

Their creations range from the weird and wacky to the functional and philanthropic.

State Librarian and CEO Vicki McDonald said that as custodians of Queensland’s collective memory, State Library of Queensland is uniquely placed to share insights into our state’s past.

“SLQ’s extensive collections house more than just published works, photographs and newspapers, with the repositories holding original materials and personally donated items including blueprints, signage, objects, clothing, digital stories, and more,” Ms McDonald said.

“Our collections tell a story unlike any other, and Magnificent Makers tells the story of Queensland’s early inventors and creators, their personal tales, and how they contributed to the advancement of the state through their work.”

“The stories of our early innovators are fascinating and heart-warming in equal measure, and I’m sure this exhibition will serve as inspiration for a new generation of Queensland entrepreneurs.”

One of the most intriguing items on display in the exhibition is an intricate Braille globe for vision-impaired children invented in Queensland in the 1950s by Richard Frank Tunley.

Tunley, known as the ‘Fairy Godfather of Blind Children’, dedicated his life to improving outcomes for vision-impaired children and adults, producing Braille globes and maps, as well as being instrumental in implementing compulsory education for deaf and blind children.

A Queensland Library Foundation funding grant was recently announced which will enable SLQ to use photogrammetry and 3D printing technologies to create an exact replica of the Braille globe able to be touched as the original was intended to be experienced.

Modern day pioneer, Wayne Denning will also be showcased in the exhibition. Wayne, a proud Birri Gubba man from Blackwater, is founder and managing director of Carbon Creative, an award-winning creative agency that gives Indigenous Australians a space and a voice in today’s creative landscape.

Magnificent Makers is free and open to the public in the Philip Bacon Heritage Gallery from Saturday 9 December 2017 until 3 June 2018. For more information, visit

Interviews and images are available upon request.

Media enquiries
SLQ Marketing & Communications | 07 3842 9847

Magnificent Makers
9 December 2017 – 3 June 2018
Open daily 10am–5pm
Philip Bacon Heritage Gallery, level 4
State Library of Queensland, Cultural Precinct
Free entry

Library membership

Become an SLQ member now to access our services, collections and facilities.