Stories worth telling. Stories worth hearing. Stories worth collecting.
These extraordinary stories draw upon State Library's collection to tell us more about Queensland and the lives lived here.
Currently on display
Paul Ruckert (1913–2006) was a Brisbane based film producer and cinematographer. From a young age he had a fascination with film and photography, purchasing his first cameras when he was a teenager. In 1942, Paul married Iris and they built their home in Norman Park featuring a 32–seat theatrette downstairs and various studio areas for film production. Across five decades, Paul produced films and documentaries under the business name ‘Invincible Pictures’.
Because of she, we can: Aunty Pamela Mam 2021
This digital story explores the inspirational role of Aunty Pamela Mam (1938–2020) as a co-founder of the Brisbane Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community Health Service (ATSICHS) in 1973. As one of the first Aboriginal nurses in Queensland Aunty Pam was vital in encouraging Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to access health care. To honour Aunty Pam, the Institute for Urban Indigenous Health created the pink Pam Mam shirt.
Arthur McLeod Photographs
Arthur McLeod worked as an optometrist and lived in Camp Hill in the first half of the 20th century. He was a keen amateur photographer, documenting domestic scenes, recreational outings and visits to popular tourist spots such as Currumbin and Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary.
This selection of photographs, covering a period of time between 1935 and 1955 come from a broader collection of 800 acetate negatives that Arthur’s family donated to State Library.
George Arthur White was a South Australia–born poster artist, sign painter, cartoonist, showman, buckjumper, roughrider, musician, ventriloquist, and inventor. He was every bit the wanderer, travelling Australia and New Zealand with his ‘Broncho George’ show and taking on whatever other work he could.
Queensland Country Women’s Association
For 100 years the Queensland Country Women’s Association (QCWA) has enhanced the lives of women and made a significant contribution to rural and regional communities throughout the state.
Formed in 1922, the organisation was supported by then Governor Sir Matthew Nathan who likened the ‘pleasures of country women’ to a chapter on ‘Snakes in Ireland’ – meaning none existed. Isolation, unsuitable housing, and lack of transport, communication, and medical services were just some of the difficulties faced. The formation of local branches enabled women to come together and connect through social and advocacy activities.
Dilys Mary Birbeck
In 1948, travelling by flying boat, Dilys Mary Birbeck, her husband, Wilfred, and their two small daughters, Joyce and Susan emigrated from England to Sydney. The trip took 10 days, instead of 40 days by sea, and involved 9 overnight stops in hotels and specially built accommodation. The route, as outlined by Dilys in her hand–written itinerary, started at Southhampton and then proceeded to Port Augusta in Sicily, Egypt, Iran, Saudi Arabia, India, Burma, Singapore, Sourabaya in Indonesia, Darwin, and Bowen in Queensland to refuel.
Dr Wilhelm Rechnitz
From 1949 to 1973 Dr Wilhelm Rechnitz spent most of his time living and working in the Torres Strait on various islands, including Thursday Island, Erub, Badu, and Saibai as a language expert. During this time, he recorded Torres Strait languages, including Meriam Mir and Kala Lagaw Ya and translated church texts into these languages.
These songs, manuscripts and records have significant meaning for Torres Strait Islander communities, providing a valuable resource to understand and connect with culture. Thousands of photographs from the Rechnitz collection can be explored online.
William Baden Unwin
William (Billy) Baden Unwin (1901–1969) emigrated to Brisbane from America in 1914. Bill’s family was from a circus background, his mother performing as a ‘tattooed lady’ across the US. Travelling between circuses and Native American reservations, Billy and his younger brother Earnie learnt to box.
Billy, Earnie and their father enlisted with the Australian Army during WWI in 1917. Billy was discharged from the army as he was deemed ‘medically unfit for further service.’ It was thought he was too scrawny for war; too small and too light. A month later in August 1917 he won the Queensland Amateur Boxing and Wrestling Association’s ‘Champion of Champions’ trophy.