Since 1934 the John Oxley Library has collected, preserved and shared Queensland's collective memory. State Library is committed to collaboration across communities and collects materials that reflect and document the state's diversity and cultural heritage.
Through these unique collections State Library encourages public engagement to develop a deeper understanding of the state's history and influences.
John Oxley Library Blog
Read popular articles published about Queensland people, places and events.
Wish you were here....Queensland Postcards
To promote Queensland tourism and history, State Library of Queensland has released a curated set of historical 19th and early 20th century Queensland Postcards on our new engagement platform Explorer. We want to learn more about Queensland Postcards from you the Queensland public. Do you recognise these locations or have any more information? Please comment or upload photos of what these scenes look like today. If you have your own Queensland Postcards consider scanning and uploading them to this set or even donating them to the John Oxley Library.
Mystery Townsville filmmaker identified
Among State Library of Queensland's extensive collections of old photographs, slides, diaries, letters and films, there are many items where the original creator of the work is unknown. However, occasionally these items provide subtle clues, which through investigation, leads to the discovery of its creator and provides context.This was the case with a small collection of 16mm home movies recently digitised by State Library, where the creator of the films was unknown. The majority of the footage was shot in North Queensland during the 1950s or 1960s and included views of Townsville, Charters Towers, Mackay, Atherton Tablelands, Hayman Island, Orpheus Island, Mt Isa and Herberton. One highlight is Queen Elizabeth II's visit to Townsville in 1954 with building adorned with flags and banners. Townsville Customs House decorated for the Queen's visit in 1954. Still from 29500/1 North family films of North Queensland and Papua New Guinea, John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Queen in Townsville, 1954. Still from 29500/1 North family films of North Queensland and Papua New Guinea, John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Castle Hill, Townsville, 1954. Still from 29500/1 North family films of North Queensland and Papua New Guinea, John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. View of Townsville, 1954. Still from 29500/1 North family films of North Queensland and Papua New Guinea, John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Hayman Island, 1950s. Still from 29500/2 North family films of North Queensland and Papua New Guinea, John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Anzac Day at Charters Towers, 1957. Still from 29500/14 North family films of North Queensland and Papua New Guinea, John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland.A clue to the provenence of the collection was a title card at the beginning of one of the films. This card listed an address "9 Cleveland Trce, Townsville. Nth. Q'land" and what appeared to be a name, which though it had been cropped looked like 'Mrs M. North'.After searching the Queensland electoral rolls, a possible match was discovered with a Margaret Eleanor North who lived at the Cleveland Terrace address between 1954 and 1968. Further research soon uncovered that Margaret's husband was Francis Roger North, a solicitor and career soldier. This information would prove vital in identifying the collection. Colonel Francis Roger North, 1938. Still from 29500/12 North family films of North Queensland and Papua New Guinea, John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland.One of the films in the collection was taken in Townsville in 1938 and shows the 31st Battalion marching through Townsville streets and participating in military activities. According to newspaper reports the commanding officer of the 31st Battalion (Kennedy Regiment) at that time was Colonel F.R. North. This particular film may have been screened to an audience of over 300 people on 13 December 1939 as part of an event hosted by the Townsville Amateur Camera and Movie Club. According to the Townsville Bulletin (16/12/1939), among the members' films screened that evening was "The 31st Battalion (photography by Lieutenant-Colonel F.R.North)". 31st Battalion parade through a Townsville street, 1938. Still from 29500/12 North family films of North Queensland and Papua New Guinea, John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland.You can read about Francis Roger North's extensive and distinguished military career on the Australian Dictionary of Biography.A selection of North family films have been digitised and can be viewed online.Myles Sinnamon - Engagement Officer, State Library of Queensland
My Big Flash Greek Wedding
Blogger: Toni Risson - co-curator of Meet me at the Paragon.Greek migrants came to Australia with little money and no English, but possessed of a great determination to succeed. Many were as young as twelve. They dreamed of Australia as a land of golden opportunity and the studio photograph was a marker of their success. Young men posed in suits and polished shoes before cameras at the Regent or Poulsen Studios in Brisbane, documenting their success for mothers and grandparents who waited in Greek villages for news of children they might never see again. Others enlisted photographers like Alfred and George Reuben Kirkham or Thomas Mathewson to document their shops. These photographs often depicted staff arrayed behind glass confectionery counters. Wedding of Mick Londy in Toowoomba in 1932. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Image 41532It was the wedding photograph, however, which offered real evidence that a young migrant’s dream had been realised. A wedding meant a new family had put down roots. Having secured a shop and become established in an Australian community, many then embarked upon the quest for a bride. Some returned to family villages to find a wife. At other times the match was made across the sea between suitable partners who may not know one another. Other meetings were not unlike a blind date. A decade or more may have elapsed since the potential groom had migrated, so it was not unusual for the bride to be considerably younger. Women had the option of refusing a match but with so many eligible bachelors living in America or Australia, girls on Greek islands considered their options carefully, especially those in Kythera, the birthplace of many in the cafe industry.Mick Kourtelarides, Mark Nearhos and Chris Mylonas in Mareeba in the 1920s. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Image 101797. Mark went on to own the Cafe Majestic in Dalby.The wedding photograph was the ultimate studio portrait and typically included other migrants from the same island. Guests at the wedding of Mick J. Londy and his wife Angela in Toowoomba in 1932 included Harry and Jim Londy (Leondarakis) of Ipswich and Harry Andronicos of Toowoomba, all of whom were from Kythera. Mr Andronicos had been present when Harry Londy married in 1926. This was a double wedding. Harry and his sister Kaliope married Theodora Marendis and Mick Levonis at St Paul’s Anglican Church in Ipswich. The wedding photograph includes 22 family members and friends, among them Harry Andronicos, Paul Patty from Brisbane and Mick Londy from Townsville. Kaliope and Theodora appear to be wearing matching gowns. Double wedding of Harry and Theodora Londy and Mick and Kaliope Levonis in Ipswich in 1926 (The Greeks in Queensland by Denis Conomos page 233) Toni Risson - co-curator of the Meet me at the Paragon exhibition, State Library of QueenslandExhibition – Meet me at the ParagonState Library’s latest exhibition, Meet me at the Paragon explores how the creation of American-style cafes enabled Greek migrants of the early to mid-1900s to carve out a new life in a foreign land. The exhibition runs from 27 September 2019 until 15 March 2020.https://vimeo.com/362238520Meet me at the Paragon digital story