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John Oxley Library

Launch of the Brisbane Markets History Collection Room

By JOL Admin | 4 October 2012

On 3rd October 2012, librarians Patricia Parr and Lynn Meyers of the Original Content team of Queensland Memory, attended the official launch of the Brisbane Markets History Room at Rocklea.  During the establishment of the collection staff from State Library  provided archival and conservation advice.

The display, housed in a purpose built room,  includes photographs, memorabilia, film and stories and vividly depicts the history of the  markets and the story of almost 150 years of wholesaling fresh fruit and vegetables in Brisbane.

Memorabilia on display in the History Room.

Photographic display in the History Room.

About 50 former workers, industry characters and donors  attended the morning event which was held in the recently refurbished Fresh Centre building at the Rocklea site.  Introductory speeches were made by Tony Joseph, Chairman of Brisbane Markets Limited, and Andrew Young, Chief Executive Officer of Brisbane Markets Limited.  History Task Force Chairman, Arch Martin, and Communications Executive, Vanessa Kennedy, spoke about the history of the markets and the work involved in setting up the display.  Artifacts and photographs were obtained from donors who, according to Mr Martin, checked their back sheds and brought forward items and stories that "we never imagined we would uncover".

Arch Martin, Chairman Brisbane Markets History Task Force.

Vanessa Kennedy, Communications Executive Brisbane Markets Ltd., speaking at the launch of the Brisbane Markets History Room.

The display is designed so that the photographs can be easily rotated and the memorabilia will be rearranged and changed regularly to keep the exhibition fresh and inspiring.

Display at the Brisbane Markets History Room.

The History Room is located on Level 2 of the Fresh Centre, Brisbane Markets, 385 Sherwood Road, Rocklea.  Entrance is free and the opening hours are 8am to 3pm, Monday to Friday.

Fruit and vegetable markets in Brisbane have had a rich and diverse history beginning with the first purpose-built facility in Market Street in 1866.  This closed in 1881 after years of changing ownership. Four years later the Brisbane Municipal Council opened the Roma Street Markets in 1885 to service a growing Brisbane.  By 1906, a group of wholesalers, dissatisfied with increasing government regulation and congestion, opened a rival market in Turbot Street to create a Brisbane market precinct.  For years the two markets operated side by side. As congestion grew in the city plans were developed to move the market precinct further afield and in 1964 the Queensland Government created the Brisbane market site at Rocklea where it stands today.

Items held in the John Oxley Library about the Brisbane Markets include photographs, reports, annual reports and newsletters.

Fruit Market on Turbot Street, Brisbane, 1907. Image No: APO-033-0001-0038.

Internal view of the Roma Street Markets, Brisbane, ca. 1925. Image No: 93057.

Rocklea Markets during the 1974 flood. Image No: 177194.

In 2009 Arch Martin was interviewed for the State Library of Queensland's Storylines Q150 project. In this digital story Arch discusses the history of the Brisbane Markets, including when the markets were moved from Brisbane city to Rocklea.

Lynn Meyers, Original Materials Librarian, Queensland Memory


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