Dogtober - historic Queensland pooches from the John Oxley Library

October 2020 is Dogtober. The entire month is dedicated to celebrating all things canine across Queensland. Dogtober is a fund-raising initiative by Assistance Dogs Australia, a national charity that trains Labradors and Golden Retrievers to help people living with physical disabilities, autism, post traumatic stress and dementia.

Being Dogtober this month I decided to delve into the John Oxley Library photographic collection to find some of my favourite historic dog photos and build upon an already existing Flickr album “Dogs of Queensland” on the State Library of Queensland's Flickr Commons account.

While researching, two photographs piqued my interest:

  1. Sir John and Lady Lavarck walking their dogs in the grounds of Government House, Brisbane. 7571 Lavarck Family Album, image number 7571-0001-0173.
  2. Joan Thesiper, daughter of Governor Chelmsford, pictured with her dogs in the grounds of Government House Brisbane, 1907. APO-28 Chelmsford Photograph Album, image number APO-028-01-0007.

Sir John and Lady Lavarck walking their dogs in the grounds of Government House, Brisbane, 7571 Lavarack Family Album, image number 7571-0001-0173, John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland.

1. Sir John and Lady Lavarck walking their dogs.

Sir John Dudley Lavarck (1885-1957), army officer and Queensland Governor was born in Kangaroo Point, Brisbane thus making him the first Australian-born to hold the role as Governor of Queensland.

The photograph above is of Sir Lavarck and his wife Sybil Nevett nee Ochiltree, they are out for a stroll around the grounds of Government House, Brisbane with their three dogs.

Sir Lavarck was sworn in as the Governor of Queensland on the 1 October 1946. In 1951 his term was extended for another five years with a further extension of one year from 1 October 1956. In January 1957 due to ill health he was relieved of his duties and died on 4 December 1957 at his home at Buderim, Queensland. This photograph is from the collection, 7571 Lavarck Family Album. The photograph album was compiled by Sybil Nevett Lavarck, the wife of Sir John Dudley Lavarck and contains a remarkable mix of photographs and text documenting the Lavarck's public and private life. 

For more information on Sir Lavarck, see:

Joan Thesiper, daughter of Governor Chelmsford, pictured with her dogs in the grounds of Government House, Brisbane, 1907, APO-28 Chelmsford Photograph Album, Image number APO-028-01-0007, John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. 

2. Joan Thesiper Chelmsford with her dogs

This photograph of Joan Thesiper, daughter of Lord Chelmsford, Governor of Queensland from 1905 -1909 is from collection, APO-28 Chelmsford Photograph Album 1905-1908 held by the John Oxley LibraryThe album contains photographs of places called at on the way to Queensland by Lord Chelmsford when he and his family migrated to Australia to take the position of Governor. The album also contains photographs taken during Lord's Chelmsford's time as Governor, places in Queensland include Government House, Gabbinbar in Toowoomba, Birkdale, a tour through the north and west of the state and on board the ship Lucinda.

I could not locate further information on Joan Thesiper Chelmsford other than identifying her dogs were an Australian Cattle dog and possibly a German Short haired pointer.

This photograph was linked to the current Government House pooch Vice Regal Dog 'Gravel', a working dog and police officer patrolling Government House, Brisbane. Gavel's photos are posted by the Governor of Queensland's instagram account, @qldgovernor and can be found by using the hashtag #ViceRegalDog.

For more information on life at Government House for the Chelmsford's see the John Oxley Library blog, Lady Chelmsford’s piano to relive glory days.

Vice-Regal Dog, Gavel. Posts by the Governor of Queensland Instagram account, @qldgovernor. 

I hope you enjoy viewing the Dogtober Flickr Commons Album

Tania Schafer, Librarian Collection Engagement, Queensland Memory. 


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