Christina Ealing-Godbold: 30 years of sleuthing

I commenced at State Library of Queensland as Senior Reference Librarian in the John Oxley Library  in 1992. I had just completed a Masters’ on Australian History at University of Sydney. My thesis explored Conditions for the working class at the turn of the century in Brisbane 1900 to 1910. It was a perfect career opportunity – combining my extensive skills as a Reference Librarian and my passion for Queensland history.

Christina Ealing-Godbold, Research Librarian, State Library of Queensland.

Early career highlights

  • In 1993 and with the Hon Tom Burns and the Queensland State Archivist at the time, I represented State Library of Queensland in developing the first historical display for the Worker’s Heritage Centre in Barcaldine. This fascinating project involved hours at Parliament House in the Deputy Premier’s Office, working closely with State Library’s Image Development Photographers to produce suitable displays and text for the Heritage Centre as well as ensuring the display was accurate, culturally sensitive, and appropriate.
     
  • In 1994 I travelled to London with Historian Dr Jennifer Harrison to acquire materials relating to Queensland and to retrieve materials for the Queensland Heritage Retrieval Project. After designing suitable fliers and brochures with State Library's Graphic Designer, David Ashe, Jennifer and I arrived (landed) at Queensland House on The Strand and went in different directions to maximise our endeavours. Jennifer went to Ireland, and I travelled to Scotland and Northern England.Collectively we amassed more than 200 collections for the John Oxley Library. Once the collections arrived in Australia, I began preparing an exhibition for display at Australia House in London, featuring the history of the project, key items retrieved and research about Queensland.
  • In the early 2000s, John Oxley Library staff established the Queensland Local Studies Group, a forum that still operates today.  For our first visit to the regions, fellow Librarian Niles Elvery and I travelled to Gympie with our Director, Janet Prowse to meet with Local Studies Librarians and Officers.  I am proud to be a member of this forum and regularly attend meetings as a presenter and advocate.

Christina Ealing-Godbold with Deputy Premier Tom, Burns and Chairman of State Library Board, Manfred Cross at the opening of the Workers Heritage Centre exhibition 1993.

Changes to service delivery, a Library remodelled 

From 2004, State Library’s Reference Services were transferred into one team. I joined Reference Services and it was wonderful to return to State Library’s refurbished reading rooms in 2006, wearing my first uniform … black with a red poinciana embellishment in the role of Reading Room Coordinator.

Building on my 1st degree in Journalism and experience as a community radio announcer, I relished the opportunity to showcase the library’s collections with audiences on radio, television and in print media. These included: -

  • ABC Sunshine Coast breakfast radio (2020 – 2022) – ongoing;
  • History segments for 612 Brisbane;
  • Recording of oral histories with Dr Spencer Routh OAM and Nasuven Enares, activist and advocate for the South Sea Islander peoples of Australia for the John Oxley Library collection;
  • Blog writing to accompany radio interviews, research, and oral histories.

More recent projects

Growing up in Brisbane with grandparents and great grandparents has helped me to develop a knowledge of Brisbane suburbs, architecture, and social history.

Queensland’s ‘House History’ has become my new passion. Whilst I enjoy the architectural elements and the social history of housing, one of the most satisfying elements is discovering more about the inhabitants and their personal journey.  

Questions such as “how much has the Queenslander contributed to the history of Brisbane?  Do houses of differing styles in regional areas across Queensland contribute to the stories and history in these locations?”. 

State Library’s House Histories web page and step – by – step videos are the culmination of many hours of research, designed to help people start their own research and access various resources that will help.   

Professional Accreditation

My role as Research Librarian at State Library and my dedication to Queensland history, local and family history has led to my accreditation with Professional Historians Australia.

I experience immense pride when I see collections I have acquired or showcased being used in our reading rooms or requested as part of our ASK US enquiry service.  I also love being a sleuth and finding the missing pieces of history to satisfy client requests.

No task is ever too difficult and every "find" delivers great rewards and personal satisfaction. The life of a Reference and Research Librarian is never dull!

Christina Ealing-Godbold

Research Librarian, State Library of Queensland.

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Congratulations Christina! What an impressive journey.