Media releases

View current and recent media releases from the State Library. For more information about any of these stories or about earlier releases, please contact Marketing and Communications on +61 7 3842 9847 or by email to


29 Aug 2016

Australia’s largest collection of Bee Gees memorabilia comes home to Queensland

Australia’s largest collection of Bee Gees memorabilia comes home to Queensland

The immortality of the Bee Gees lives on at State Library of Queensland thanks to a generous donation to the Queensland Library Foundation (the Foundation).

Secured from a private collector in Melbourne, Victoria, the collection comprises more than 370 items and includes all three Bee Gees Australian releases, scrap books, merchandise and every Australian album cover of Barry Gibb’s 1963–67 songs (bar three records), as well as a hand taped song Barry wrote but never recorded from the same period.

This collection is regarded as Australia’s most comprehensive and significant collection of Bee Gees albums and memorabilia.

“State Library of Queensland (SLQ) is thrilled to have received these materials through the efforts of the Foundation,” State Librarian and CEO Sonia Cooper said.

“This collection will prove an invaluable resource for music historians, researchers and fans alike,” Mrs Cooper said.

“State Library’s music collection is one of our fastest growing reference sections and this acquisition will greatly enhance the library’s content of Queensland music which has influenced the local, national and international music scenes.”

Queensland is where it all started for the trio, with the Gibb brothers signing their first music contract on the kitchen table of their Redcliffe home and playing their first gig, in 1958, at the Redcliffe Speedway.

“The Bee Gees have a remarkable connection to Queensland, so it’s very exciting to receive these artefacts — reflective of an extraordinary Queensland story — to preserve for future generations and share with Queenslanders today,” Mrs Cooper said.

The Queensland Library Foundation will host a special free event on 1 September to celebrate the acquisition with presenter Loretta Ryan, SLQ Music Curator Laurel Dingle, and an open discussion with Brisbane radio announcer of the late 1950s and early 1960s, Bill Gates.

1 September 2016 is a noteworthy day for the Gibb family: it’s the anniversary of the day they arrived in Australia from the UK, the 50th anniversary of the release of the Spicks and Specks album and more significantly, Barry Gibb’s 70th birthday.

Stayin’ Alive: the Bee Gees collection presentation
Thursday 1 September, 6pm–7pm
SLQ Auditorium 2, level 2
Free, bookings required
State Library of Queensland, Cultural Precinct, South Bank
For more information about this event, please contact

Media enquiries:
Communications, State Library of Queensland | 07 3842 9847

24 Aug 2016

$2,000 up for grabs for Queensland’s young writers

$2,000 up for grabs for Queensland’s young writers

State Library of Queensland’s (SLQ) annual Young Writers Award is open once again, with $2,000 on offer for the budding author that wins first prize.

For more than 20 years, SLQ’s Young Writers Award has offered young Queenslanders the opportunity to launch their writing career and join the ranks of previous winners and published authors, Benjamin Law and Rebecca Jessen to name a few.

The short story competition also looks to nurture talent in school-aged writers with a category now open for 15 to 17 year olds, in addition to the long standing category for 18 to 25 year olds.

Minister for Innovation, Science and the Digital Economy Leeanne Enoch said the award fostered our state’s home grown talent.

“The Young Writers Award is a great opportunity for Queensland’s most promising budding authors to develop their skills and get their foot in the door of the writing industry,” Ms Enoch said.

“The competition provides professional and personal opportunities that support the next generation of writers.”

State Librarian and CEO Sonia Cooper said the award was part of SLQ’s commitment to share the stories of Queenslanders — whether historical and personal or fictional and imaginative.

“This annual competition helps young writers to find their own voice and contribute to the diverse story of our state,” Mrs Cooper said.

“Through the Young Writers Award, we aim to provide the winners with the confidence in their abilities and industry exposure to successfully pursue their career aspirations.”

The competition is open to Queensland residents aged 15 to 25 years into two categories: 15 to 17 years (1,500 words) and 18 to 25 years (2,500 words).

The winner of the 18 to 25 years category receives $2,000 prize money, and the winner of the 15 to 17 years category receives an Apple iPad Air 2.

Runners up and highly commended entrants receive a variety of prizes including prize money, digital tablets, gift vouchers and book packs.

All prize winners also receive a 12 month youth membership to Queensland Writers Centre.

Visit for the entry form and conditions, and to read past winning stories.

Entries close at 5pm on Friday 30 September.

The 2016 Young Writers Award is presented by State Library of Queensland with support from Queensland Writers Centre.

Media enquiries
Shahedah Sabdia, SLQ Communications
3842 9084 |

19 Aug 2016

SLQ encourages parents to make reading with little ones top priority this Children’s Book Week

SLQ encourages parents to make reading with little ones top priority this Children’s Book Week

In the lead up to Children’s Book Week (20 – 26 August), the State Library of Queensland (SLQ) in partnership with public libraries across the state will highlight the importance of book sharing with babies and young children.

As part of the First 5 Forever initiative, parents and carers are encouraged to read with their children and benefit from free state-wide literacy activities available at their local library.

The four-year $20 million program, now in its second year, supports parents and primary caregivers of children aged 0–5 to be their child’s first and most important educator through simple everyday activities like reading, singing, playing and talking.

Minister for Innovation, Science and the Digital Economy Leeanne Enoch says the First 5 Forever program provides parents, grandparents and caregivers with the information, skills and tools needed to support their child’s early language and literacy development.

“It’s about giving Queensland kids the greatest chance to succeed, something which has flow on benefits for the whole community, Ms Enoch said.

“Research shows that spending time in the early years talking, playing and reading has the most positive impact on literacy and success in school.”

“Families have endless opportunities each day to interact with their children and provide the best opportunities for learning.”

State Librarian, Mrs Sonia Cooper says First 5 Forever breaks down some community misconceptions about what’s important in early childhood.

“Parents want to do what’s best for their kids, but it can be difficult to navigate what’s really needed when there’s a barrage of competing messages,” Mrs Cooper said.

“Many parents think you need to spend a lot of money to give children the best learning experiences, or that learning can wait until children start school, but in fact it’s the simple everyday interactions and exchanges that make a huge difference and are proven to have the biggest impact over time,” she said.

“That’s why we’re really excited to be part of this program – something that gets back to basics and empowers parents and caregivers to be confident as their child’s first and foremost educator.”

“I’d encourage all Queensland parents, grandparents and caregivers to check what free First 5 Forever activities and support is available in their local public library.”

An initiative of SLQ and the Queensland Government, First 5 Forever is delivered in partnership with Queensland Local Governments through their local public libraries and Indigenous Knowledge Centres potentially reaching 98% of the population.

Find out more about First 5 Forever at your local public library or visit

8 Aug 2016

Free public event: Wills and Bequests seminar

Free public event: Wills and Bequests seminar

It’s incredible to think that over half of all adult Australians don’t have a valid Will, yet most of us have firm ideas about what we’d like to happen with our assets when we’re no longer here.

To help start the conversation and take the mystery out of Wills and Bequests the Queensland Library Foundation is partnering with de Groots wills and estate lawyers to host a free public information seminar at State Library of Queensland on Thursday, August 18.

Presented by Special Counsel Dr John de Groot, this seminar will cover the different ways of making a Will, the costs involved, what you need to consider and bring along to meetings and how to leave a legacy. There will also be time at the end of the session for questions.

A Will is a legal document that details how you would like your estate distributed and nominates the person who will be responsible for that distribution when you die. If you die without a Will you risk your estate not being distributed in the way you wish which can lead to family conflict, an extra burden at a time of grief and stress, and additional expense to finalise your estate.

The seminar will also look at Bequests and how your legacy can continue to achieve great things long after you’re gone.

“As a community it’s important we have these conversations and discuss the inevitable,” said Dr de Groot, a long-time supporter of State Library of Queensland and donor to the Queensland Library Foundation. “It’s good to be organised and a Will can be as simple or complex as you like. By being informed and making a conscious decision about your assets, you can not only benefit your loved ones, but the broader community for many years.”

State Librarian and CEO, Mrs Sonia Cooper said, “I’m thrilled we’re able to offer this event through the work of Queensland Library Foundation at no cost to the public. Making these types of events freely available is important so anyone from the community can have their questions answered”.

“The Queensland Library Foundation raises funds to maintain, enhance and expand the Library’s collections, facilities and services on behalf of State Library of Queensland,” said Mrs Cooper.

“Donations to Queensland Library Foundation help connect people to information and the Wills and Bequests seminar is one of these services. Making a Will is a very personal process but can be relatively simple with the right advice.”

For more information about the free public Wills and Bequests seminar, contact

Media contact:
Kate Allen |

Event:  Wills and bequests public information seminar
Date:   Thursday, August 18
Time:   2.30pm to 3.30pm
Venue: Auditorium 2, Level 2 - State Library of Queensland, Stanley Place, South Brisbane
Cost:  Free – bookings required at

29 Jul 2016

Queensland Business History Award recipient announced

Queensland Business History Award recipient announced

Architectural firm Conrad Gargett has been awarded the 2016 Queensland Business History Award, presented by the Minister for Innovation, Science and the Digital Economy Leeanne Enoch at last night’s Queensland Business Leaders Hall of Fame Induction Dinner.

The Queensland Business History Award – offered by the State Library of Queensland (SLQ), Queensland Library Foundation and QUT Business School as part of the Queensland Business Leaders Hall of Fame partnership – recognises leadership in collecting, preserving and sharing business history.

Ms Enoch said preserving business history was important for future generations to understand the significant role business has played in shaping Queensland’s history.

“This annual award celebrates the importance of good record keeping and preservation and acknowledges companies that protect and promote their corporate history and heritage collections as part of Queensland’s memory,” Ms Enoch said.

State Librarian and CEO Sonia Cooper said the active leadership shown by Conrad Gargett to not only preserve their history, but to make it actively accessible was to be commended.

“This year’s recipient, Conrad Gargett, is one of the state’s oldest architectural firms. Founded in Brisbane in 1890, the award-winning company started life as HW Atkinson, and received its first award for the design of the Brisbane Head Fire Station.” Mrs Cooper said.

“Conrad Gargett, through an active publication programme and partnerships with the university and heritage sectors, has promoted an awareness and appreciation of Queensland’s architecture across all periods.”

History is important to Conrad Gargett.  Their historical items include architectural drawings, architectural models, photographs, 120th anniversary book, ephemera, film, correspondence and ledgers.

Conrad Gargett have provided an impressive example for architectural and Queensland businesses on how to record and preserve history through the generations. Their historical items have a very public presence with a number of drawings and models of iconic building projects being displayed in Conrad Gargett’s head office as well as being donated for use in exhibitions at State Library of Queensland and Museum of Brisbane.

For more information on the award and the Queensland Business Leaders Hall of Fame visit

Media enquiries:
Kate Allen, SLQ Communications
07 3840 7897 |

28 Jun 2016

New take on historic Indigenous practice now showing at State Library

New take on historic Indigenous practice now showing at State Library

In a new major exhibition at State Library of Queensland, an age-old cloak-making technique has been revitalised and given a contemporary spin.

Art of the Skins, a large-scale project initiated by Wathaurung woman Carol McGregor and Taungwurrung-Yorta Yorta woman Glennys Briggs, invites visitors to explore the beauty, tradition and artistry of possum skin cloaks through contemporary community works.

Six intricately decorated and meticulously stitched together cloaks made from possum skins form the cornerstone of the exhibition, which reveals rich stories about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, past and present.

Inspired by a practice last known to be active around 150 years ago, the cloaks were created with the help of more than 120 Indigenous artists and community members using a combination of contemporary and traditional techniques.

Minister for Innovation, Science and the Digital Economy Leeanne Enoch said the exhibition showcases the strength of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and continues a rich legacy for future generations.

“There’s been broad community support for this project with internationally renowned Aboriginal artists, Elders, children, families and community leaders involved in the creation of the cloaks,” Ms Enoch said.

“Community members with ties to the Sunshine Coast, Gold Coast and Brisbane have banded together to contribute to this exhibition – making it one of the largest resurgence projects of its kind in this country.”

Researcher Carol McGregor, who coordinated the cloak-making workshops, said the project came about after creating and wearing her family’s possum skin cloak as a way to connect to her great-grandmother.

Ms McGregor said she saw the cloaks as authoritative mediums for healing, cultural renewal and reclamation and began investigating the material culture of possum skin cloaks and rugs in South East Queensland.

“It then became essential to share and empower the whole community with this knowledge along with the skills involved with cloak making,” she said.

“The need to tell our own stories is an important form of resistance and this artform celebrates our stories and survival,” she said.

Exhibition curator, Freja Carmichael, a descendant of the Ngugi people, Quandamooka Country, said the cloaks form an important oral history for Aboriginal communities.

“The cloaks embody an array of cultural stories – each important and unique – reinforcing that our people maintain a strong connection to family and environment,” Ms Carmichael said.

“The collaborative process has also provided Indigenous communities an opportunity to share, learn and create stories of Country together.

Art of the Skins will be an engaging exhibition and events program which supports State Library’s 2016 theme of belonging.”

Visitors to the exhibition will get up close and personal with the stories and cultural identity that are captured and imprinted into this unique form of clothing.

The possum skin cloaks will be gifted to the communities who created them at a ceremony held after the exhibition closes.

Possum skins used in the project are ethically sourced from New Zealand.

Art of the Skins is free and open in SLQ gallery and kuril dhagun at State Library of Queensland until 20 November. Visit for more details.

20 Jun 2016

Mr Chicken comes to State Library

Mr Chicken comes to State Library

State Library of Queensland (SLQ) will be a-buzz with little people from tomorrow, kicking off with workshops by Australian Children’s Laureate, Leigh Hobbs.

As part of Out of the Box children’s festival, Hobbs, a popular children’s author and illustrator, will deliver character development workshops for children eight years and younger bringing his well-known Mr Chicken character as inspiration.

Original artwork featuring Mr Chicken at iconic Queensland landmarks will form a playscape in SLQ’s Knowledge Walk for the duration of the festival.

Through Hobbs’ illustrations, the almost lovable Mr Chicken can be seen on tour around the state – from the Wheel of Brisbane and the Big Pineapple to the Great Barrier Reef and tropical rainforest.

State Librarian, Sonia Cooper said SLQ’s involvement in Out of the Box sees thousands of the smallest members of the community flood through the precinct for fun, free and affordable activities.

“State Library will be bustling with activities and workshops not only for Out of the Box, but right through to until the end of the winter school holidays,” Mrs Cooper said.

“This is a great opportunity to fire up young imaginations and expose children and their families to high quality literary and creative experiences,” she said.

Children’s activities will run over the eight day festival and throughout the winter school holidays.

Parents and children can craft their own puppet characters and learn tips and tricks to make them come to life at the puppet-arium workshop (for all ages, bookings required); or drop by the puppet paper town (for all ages) to craft and play with their own puppet characters.

SLQ’s Asia Pacific Design Library is also getting involved with a Little Designers workshop (for ages 4–8, bookings required), which will introduce young minds to special and interior design through play.

Plus, Story Lab workshops (for ages 8–16, bookings required) are back for another jam-packed program of hands-on, minds-on fun and creativity. Workshops range from filmmaking, LED and origami art to robotics.

Bookings are required for some workshops. For more information and to book, visit

17 Jun 2016

The Philanthropists, the Projects and the Pitch

The Philanthropists, the Projects and the Pitch

It is always rewarding to give to a worthy cause, but it’s even more fun when you can choose how your money is spent. That’s what the one hundred philanthropists attending The Queensland Library Foundation’s (QLF) fundraising event will do, when project teams pitch at State Library of Queensland (SLQ) on Tuesday, July 5.

Called Crowd Giving, the event aims to bring together 100 people who have each donated $100 dollars up to that date, creating a collective $10,000 kitty.

The Queensland Library Foundation is calling on people to dig deep and make a tax deductible donation, then vote on the night for one of our three diverse projects vying for funding.

A vote for Honouring Queenslanders is a vote to celebrate, honour, capture and record for posterity, the lives of everyday Queenslanders. They could be your family member, your neighbour, a returned soldier, recent immigrant, renowned artist or business leader.

A vote for Building a Future is a vote for democracy giving everyone the opportunity to engage in the digital revolution, regardless of gender, age, socio-economic standing or cultural heritage. If you have that next brilliant Queensland design burning a hole in your imagination, we will provide the tools for you to make it, and allow you to take control of your creative process.

Fun Palaces is about creativity in community, particularly in the regions, that can change the world for the better. A vote for this project is a vote for finding the genius, the artist, or the scientist in everyone through access to new technologies, arts and science.

All three SLQ project team leaders will pitch their projects to their philanthropic audience, competing for audience votes to secure funding. The presenters will be quizzed by a philanthropic champion, as well as the audience, to determine the most worthy project.

SLQ is a hub of collaboration and oversees a diversity of work, so projects will showcase historical and cultural preservation, science and technology, and community engagement. The event will also serve to put the power of choice in the donors’ hand and empower them to think about the impact of giving when providing donations.

The Queensland Library Foundation is the fund-raising arm of the State Library of Queensland which works to maintain, enhance and expand its collections, facilities and services.  To donate go to

Media contact:
Julie Fullerton | 0467 55 00 29 |

Gavin Bannerman, Executive Manager Queensland Memory State Library of Queensland is available for interviews.

Event: Queensland Library Foundation Crowd Giving
Date: Tuesday, July 5
Time:   6.30pm – 8.00pm
Venue: Auditorium 1 - State Library of Queensland, Stanley Place, South Brisbane
Donation: $100 - All donations to the Queensland Library Foundation of $2 or more are tax-deductible and if received by June 28, 2016, can be issued with a receipt for this financial year.

10 Jun 2016

New State Librarian for Queensland

New State Librarian for Queensland

Minister for Innovation, Science and the Digital Economy Leeanne Enoch has today announced the appointment of the new State Library of Queensland State Librarian and CEO.

Minister Enoch welcomed Vicki McDonald, an experienced senior executive with extensive experience in the library sector, state and local governments and tertiary education, to the role.

Ms McDonald’s appointment as State Librarian and CEO of the State Library of Queensland (SLQ) renews a relationship that started in 2001, when she was seconded from Brisbane City Council to SLQ as Acting Director Policy Development, progressing to the position of Director Client Services and Collections from 2002 to 2009.

For the past three years, Ms McDonald has been engaged as Executive Director Library and Information Services at State Library of NSW (SLNSW) where she managed the Library’s collections valued at $3.14 billion.

Prior to SLNSW, Ms McDonald was Associate Director Library Services at QUT where she led the Library’s client services and learning support functions.

“Ms McDonald understands the key role that SLQ has in supporting regional libraries and Indigenous Knowledge Centres throughout this state,” Ms Enoch said.

“Her earlier career in local government and libraries in regional areas provides her with a first-hand understanding of this important role.”

Chair of the Library Board of Queensland, Professor Jan Thomas also welcomed the appointment.

“Due to her previous connection with SLQ, Ms McDonald has respect for and feels an affinity with the organisation, so she is excited by this opportunity to lead this dynamic institution,” Professor Thomas said.

“The Library Board of Queensland would like to thank Mrs Sonia Cooper for her leadership over the past eight months as interim State Librarian and CEO, and her commitment to the vital work of the State Library and in particular leading the continuing implementation of the Hunter Review Report Action Plan.”

Minister Enoch also acknowledged Mrs Sonia Cooper for her stewardship of SLQ since late 2015.

“I’d like to thank Mrs Cooper for her dedication and leadership,” she said.

“I look forward to SLQ continuing to deliver innovation in library services throughout the state and making a difference in the lives of all Queenslanders.”

Mrs Cooper will continue in the role until Ms McDonald takes up the appointment in September.

Media enquiries:
Alison Sharp, SLQ Communications

10 Jun 2016

Queensland’s memory continues to grow with 2016 award winners

Queensland’s memory continues to grow with 2016 award winners

The State Library of Queensland last night announced the recipients of the Queensland Memory Awards at a ceremony held on site and hosted by award winning journalist Trent Dalton.

CEO and State Librarian Sonia Cooper said: “The Queensland Memory awards which are proudly supported by the Queensland Library Foundation are celebrated each year to acknowledge excellence in research and the creation of new knowledge about Queensland’s history. The seven awards or fellowships collectively offer a prize pool in access of $100,000.”

The 2016 Award winners are:

  • 2016 John Oxley Library Award ($5,000) – Kim Wilson
    This award recognises excellence and innovation in the recording of Queensland history by individuals and was awarded to Ms Wilson for initiating and leading the Brisbane Art Deco Project.
  • 2016 John Oxley Library Community History Award ($5,000) - Cairns Museum and Historical Society
    Through its museum programs, library and archive, photographic collection, Society publications and newly developed web portal, the Cairns Museum and Historical Society is committed to bringing the stories of Cairns and the region to life. The Society operates the Cairns Museum, the Cairns Historical Society Research Centre and the History on the Move School Trailer program.
  • Letty Katts Award ($5000) – John Willsteed
    Through the resources in the John Oxley Library, Mr Willsteed’s project ‘Street Life: Posters and their role in the Brisbane music scene 1975-1995’ will contribute new knowledge to Queensland’s music heritage.
    Posters lend themselves to being both background to stories and memory triggers for audiences allowing development of bigger stories about the music scene – about bands and audiences, about Brisbane and South-east’s cultural history.
  • John Oxley Library Fellowship ($20,000) – Lorann Downer
    Ms Downer was selected from a strong field of over 40 applicants and will focus her research around political ephemera in Queensland from 1915 to 2015.  She will offer a fresh perspective on politics in Queensland while showcasing some of the rich collections of the John Oxley Library.
  • Q ANZAC 100: Memories for a New Generation Fellowships (4 x $15,000)

    Victoria Carless, a playwright and novelist will research the untold stories of Australian deserters during the First World War.

    Ursula Cleary will bring the iconic story of Annie Margaret Wheeler, known as the ‘Mother of Queenslanders’, to a wider audience.  As a Queenslander abroad ‘Mother Wheeler’ corresponded with thousands of Queensland soldiers and their families during the First World War giving them comfort, hope and reassurance.

    Mark Cryle’s project aims to fill a gap in the historical record of memorialising the First World War as he explores the written artefacts of women experiencing grief and loss during the war years.

    Maria Quirk will focus on one family’s experience of the First World War to tell the broader and more significant story of Queensland’s early feminist movement and our pioneering women.
  • Queensland Business Leaders Hall of Fame Fellowship ($15,000) – Dr Toni Risson
    Dr Risson’s research project spans a 100 year period from 1880 to 1980, when Greek migrant families operated thousands of shops in city streets and country towns right across Australia. These shops evolved from late nineteenth-century oyster saloons to the modern milk bars of the 1960s and 70s.  Although most have long since disappeared they undoubtedly left a legacy of success.

Minister for Innovation, Science and the Digital Economy and Minister for Small Business, Leeanne Enoch said State Library of Queensland through the John Oxley Library offered fantastic opportunities for further research into our history.

“These research initiatives play an important part in shaping our future and revealing new things about our identity as people and communities living in Queensland,” Ms Enoch said.

“The winners of these awards are to be congratulated and indeed celebrated for their contribution to Queensland’s memory."

“Very often historians and researchers’ work go unnoticed by the general public, but through these awards we hope to open more doors into our rich and varied history and invite people to come in and join us.”

Media enquiries:
Cinnamon Watson Publicity
0432 219 643 |

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For more information about any of these stories or about earlier releases, please contact Marketing and Communications on +61 7 3842 9847 or by email to

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