Forgotten lottery uncovered by State Library fellowship winner

A lottery system that saw millions of hectares of prime agricultural land given away to would-be farmers will be uncovered by the winner of a prestigious State Library of Queensland fellowship announced last night.

It was one of nine fellowships and awards, collectively worth more than $100,000, announced at last night’s Queensland Memory Awards ceremony in Brisbane.

Dr Jennifer Moffatt, the winner of the $20,000 John Oxley Library Fellowship, will explore a little-known ballot that helped shape the development of Queensland for more than a century.

In the 1950s more than half the land distributed in Queensland involved this lottery-style system, and Dr Moffatt’s research will bring new understanding to the state’s early pioneers and squatters.

The Queensland Memory Awards are celebrated annually and acknowledge excellence in research and the creation of new knowledge about Queensland’s history.

A major outcome of the fellowship program is to bring State Library’s vast collections to life and make their content and stories accessible to all.


  • John Oxley Library Fellowship ($20,000) — Dr Jennifer Moffatt
    (The story of Queensland’s selectors: how those who won land in a ballot contributed to Queensland’s social, economic and political development)

  • John Oxley Library Award (posthumous) — Ian Poole
    The professional photographer donated, arranged and described around 100,000 negatives, colour transparencies, photographic prints and scrapbooks for State Library
  • John Oxley Library Community History Award — Yugambeh Museum, Language and Heritage Research Centre
    Yugambeh Museum has developed its own language app to encourage young people and the wider public to engage with Aboriginal languages and heritage

  • Queensland Business Leaders Hall of Fame Fellowship ($15,000) — Hilary Davies
    (History of the Canada Cycle and Motor Agency Ltd - one of Queensland’s major motor businesses)
  • Letty Katts Award ($5,000) — Professor Peter Roennfeldt
    (Brisbane’s Albert Hall 1901–1968: celebrating memory and heritage of a major performance venue)

  • Q ANZAC 100: Memories for a New Generation Fellowships (4 x $15,000)

  • Dr Martin Kerby (A war imagined: Queensland and the Great War)
  • Dr Anastasia Dukova (Queensland Police and the Great War Effort)
  • Deborah Lee Terranova (Queensland women and war: a multicultural perspective of the experiences of female civilians during World War II)
  • Elaine Acworth (Put out into the deep — digital fellowship)

Quotes from Minister for the Arts Leeanne Enoch:

“The Queensland Memory Awards go far in revealing the fascinating stories of our past.”

“I congratulate the award winners who are each presenting our state’s heritage from their own unique perspective, collectively covering a great range of subjects.”

“I know their dedication in exploring our history will give real insight to today’s Queensland identity.”

Quotes from State Librarian and CEO Vicki McDonald:

“The fellowship program helps to highlight and activate State Library’s rich collections, as well as contribute new knowledge about Queensland.”

“By working closely with State Library, our Fellows bring our collections to life.”

“They contribute new research about our state’s vast history across a range of mediums including blog posts, oral histories, digital stories, and more.”

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