Open daily 10 am – 5 pm
Philip Bacon Heritage Gallery, level 4
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
Deaf Indigenous Dance Group (DIDG)
The Deaf Indigenous Dance Group (DIDG) celebrated its 25th anniversary last year. Formed in 1997 by Patricia Morris-Banjo and her good friend Priscilla Seden, the group was established to celebrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who are deaf or hard of hearing, and to provide a safe space to overcome isolation and celebrate culture.
The group usually practises on a wooden stage, feeling the rhythm of the drums through the floor. During performances, an experienced dancer takes the lead and provides visual cues for the others.
2021 was a big year for the group; they performed at the Laura Quinkan Dance Festival for the first time and were one of the main acts during NAIDOC Week celebrations in Cairns. They continue performing in far north Queensland and will return to Laura Quinkan Dance Festival in 2023.
Architect James Maccormick designed the Australian pavilions for three World Expos (Montreal, Osaka and Spokane, U.S.A) and was based in Brisbane when he hatched a bold plan to host an expo in the Queensland capital, preferring Kangaroo Point as the location. After years of lobbying, he gained support from Queensland Premier Joh Bjelke-Petersen who saw it as an opportunity to reposition Brisbane as a ‘new world city’.
Maccormick went into partnership with fellow architect Graham Bligh to oversee the development of Expo 88’s masterplan. The built form of the 40-hectare South Brisbane site would incorporate eight giant ‘sun sails’, a monorail and an enormous Sky Needle, acting as both beacon and landmark.
World Expo 88 was a phenomenal success, loved by locals and tourists alike. It exceeded all expectations and changed the built and cultural landscape of Brisbane forever.
The Lois Schultz Collection documents the life and art of a creative, sensitive and intelligent person.
She died at the age of 41 before her full potential could be realised, this potential is clearly displayed in the artworks and sketchbooks preserved in the John Oxley Library.
They include large drawings, mostly in chalk and watercolour, along with a multitude of sketchbooks and notebooks. Schultz’s sketchbooks document the breadth of her art practice. Life drawing is a constant theme, and her large drawings have great energy and beauty of line.
In the notebooks her life is laid out, from the mundane details of the day-to-day to her philosophy of life and art. They tell the story of Schultz’s struggle with mental illness, the anguish of schizophrenia and the dreadful fears it brought with it, but also the centrality of art to her sense of self.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Douglas Isaac & The Expo City Marching Band
Californian percussionist Douglas Isaac was selected to lead the percussion section of the All Australian Expo City Marching Band following a casual conversation with an old college friend, who also happened to be World Expo ‘88’s Music Director. By the time he left Brisbane, Douglas had almost single–handedly introduced American–style marching bands to Australia.
Arriving in 1987, Douglas travelled all over Australia to audition percussionists for the 65-member marching band that performed twice–daily in the South Bank Piazza and in parades through the Southbank site. He introduced four new bass drum types never previously used in Australia, composed and arranged music scores and designed the marching drills for the band’s performances.
Douglas was a dedicated son and brother, as seen in the personal memorabilia and postcards in this collection. His family travelled to Brisbane to visit Douglas, his mother and father’s only trip outside the United States.