Talbot Family Treasures Wall Highlights From The Collection

The John Oxley Library has collected, preserved and shared Queensland’s collective memory since 1934.

The Talbot Family Treasures Wall features a changing selection of items from State Library of Queensland’s heritage collections. Each item reveals a remarkable story, and together deepen our understanding of Queensland’s diverse lifestyle, landscape, culture and community.

Currently on display

1. Walek, 1971

John Baud

This 1971 watercolour painting by John Baud references the legend of Walek, the frill necked lizard, who brought fire to the Torres Strait.  The painting is part of the Margaret Lawrie Collection of Torres Strait Islands Material.


2. On the beach, Sandgate, 1873

Louisa Lillias Forbes

Louisa Lillias Forbes, nee Trotter, was a talented painter who was born in Scotland.  After her marriage in 1868 to Australian squatter, George Edward Forbes, she came to live in Queensland.  State Library holds four of her paintings which include "On the beach, Sandgate, 1873", one of the earliest depictions of beach life in the state; "On the Brisbane River"; View from Chinaman's Flat near Colinton, 1873"; and "Warwick 1871".


3. The Mapoon people demand their land back, 1975

International Development Action

This poster documents an important early move in the battle for recognition of Australian Aboriginal land rights.  On 15 November 1963 the people of Mapoon were forcibly removed from their land on Cape York Peninsula by the Queensland government to make way for mining interests.  In 1974, Jerry and Ina Hudson and several other families returned to "Old Mapoon" and, in 1984, established the Marpuna Aboriginal Corporation which began restoring community facilities.


4. Coles Smith family papers, 1942-19450

Clifford Coles Smith, 1918-1995

These artworks were created by Clifford Coles Smith while he was a Japanese prisoner of war during World War II.  His watercolour paintings included designs, floorplans and scenes relating to bandstands and cabarets, and were often painted on the back of letters which he sent home to his mother and family in Newmarket, Brisbane.  Smith served with the 2/10th Field Regiment as a signaller and was captured by the Japanese forces during the fall of Singapore and worked on the infamous Burma-Thailand Railway.


5. Mission Bay – Yarrabah, North Queensland, 1960s

Charles Callins, 1887-1982

This oil painting by Hughenden-born artist, Charles Callins (1887-1982), depicts the Yarrabah settlement at Mission Bay, North Queensland, in the 1960s.  Callins, who began painting in retirement in 1947, was a naïve painter whose works most often illustrate his experiences as a journalist, sportsman and yachtsman in North Queensland.


6. Ray Crooke Diary, 1949

Ray Crooke, 1922-2015

The diary was written by Australian artist, Ray Crooke during a stay in the Torres Strait Islands in 1949.  The diary contains text, sketches and some watercolours and was believed to have inspired many of his paintings.  Crooke was born in Auburn, Victoria in 1922.  At the outbreak of World War II, he enlisted in the army and was stationed both on Thursday Island and Cape York where he was captivated by the people and landscapes of the northern tropics.  This experience inspired his art and in 1959 he returned to North Queensland to live at Yorkeys Knob, north of Cairns, to paint full time.


7.  Thomas Griffiths timber book box, ca. 1910

Thomas Griffiths

This timber book box was created by Queensland woodwork artist, Thomas Griffiths, of Mt Tamborine, in 1910. It features Queensland specimen timbers and is fitted with a velvet lined lidded drawer containing a set of playing cards. Griffiths emigrated to Ipswich, Queensland, in 1884 and developed sawmilling businesses in Charleville and Cairns. In retirement he moved to Mt Tamborine where he set up a workshop and created intricate inlaid timber pieces which included boxes, jewel cases, occasional tables, and trays. Griffiths works were displayed at the 1924-25 British Empire Exhibition in London and his creations were sold in Australia and overseas.


8. Brisbane July 1881, 1881

Illustrated Sydney News

This pictorial map of early Brisbane, showing streets and buildings, was published as a supplement to the Illustrated Sydney News in July 1881.  The map shows Kangaroo Point and New Farm at the bottom, extending to Brisbane City and South Brisbane, with inland mountains in the distance.


9. Hustling Hinkler [foxtrot song], 1927

L. Wolfe Gilbert; Abel Baer

This music score celebrates the achievements of renowned Bundaberg aviator, Bert Hinkler, who was the first person to fly solo from England to Australia in 1928.


10. Super service at your command! QANTAS Australia’s international airline, 1954

John Maudson, 1918-1996; Qantas Empire Airways

This colour lithograph 1954 Qantas poster, designed by Sydney commercial artist John Maudson, harks back to the golden age of flight when air travel was glamorous and exciting.  It was designed to promote Qantas as a premier international airline and depicts affluent passengers disembarking from a Lockheed L1049 Super Constellation VH-EAB aeroplane. Maudson was born in Queensland in 1918 and studied under J.S. Watkins.  He was a traditional style painter and illustrator with his works represented in institutional collections around the world. 


11. The Hollow Log Book, 1877

Charles Collison Rawson, 1840-1928

This diary titled "The Hollow Log Book 1877" is believed to have been created by Charles Rawson, who, with his brothers Edmund and Lancelot, established the cattle station "The Hollow" on the Pioneer River at Mackay in 1866.  The diary is humorously and elaborately illustrated throughout with sketches in pen and ink which detail the daily occurrences of domesticity, their reactions to the 'wildlife', and the workings of a cattle property.  The diary is part of the Rawson family archive, Acc no. 2967.


12. Women’s Farewell to Lady Goodwin, 1932

Meta Maclean; Estelle Thomson; Mabel Forrest; National Council of Women of Australia; Queensland Country Women's Association

The programme was created for the farewell to Lady Goodwin, the wife of Sir Thomas Herbert John Chapman Goodwin, the governor of Queensland from 1927 to 1932.  The programme's cover features a colour painting of Queensland wildflowers by Estelle Thomson, a poem to Lady Goodwin by M. Forrest and the lyrics to a Farewell Song by Meta Maclean. The farewell was organized by the National Council of Women and the Queensland Country Women's Association and was held at the Town Hall, Brisbane, on 21 March 1932, at 8pm.  Sir Thomas and Lady Goodwin returned to England in 1932 after the conclusion of his term as Governor.


13. Deviney family photograph album, 1886-1990

Fae Deviney Collins

This photograph album was compiled by Fae Deviney Collins, nee King, and includes photographs of Fae, her parents, youngest brother Powell and her older brother, Don, who served in the Royal Australian Navy during World War II.  The family lived in Toowoomba, Queensland.


14. Paula Stafford clippings and photographs, ca. 1960s

Paula Stafford, 1920-2022

This selection of photographs relates to iconic Gold Coast fashion designer, Paula Stafford, who brought the bikini to Australia.  In 1952 Sydney model, Ann Ferguson, wearing a Paula Stafford bikini was ordered to leave Surfers Paradise beach for being immodest.  In a wonderful publicity stunt Stafford sent five more models to the beach in bikinis and created a national sensation.  Stafford's fashion empire included swimwear, day and evening wear and men's wear.  By 1964 it was the largest industry on the Gold Coast behind sand mining.


15. Millard Estate, Toowong, A.M. McNish Fraser, Auctioneer; J.J. Jeays, Surveyor, 1888

A. McNish Fraser; Joseph Joshua Jeays

This real estate map was designed to advertise allotments for sale in the Millard Estate "situated in the fashionable and aristocratic neighbourhood of Toowong".  The allotments were auctioned on 25th August 1881 and were advertised as being a few minutes’ walk from the Regatta Hotel, fronting Sylvan Road, and situated in one of the best suburbs around Brisbane.


16. Northern Rugby Union Junior Challenge Cup, 1890

Creator Unknown

This ornate silver-plated trophy was presented to the Pirates, one of thirteen clubs in the 3rd grade of the Rugby Union Juniors.  They were runners-up to the Sandgate Football Club for the 1890 Northern Rugby Union Cup and received the trophy in recognition of their efforts.


17. 99 everyday homes for Queenslanders, 1939

Home Building Publishing Company

The aim of this small compendium of house plans, published in 1939, was to place before the public the designs of a series of houses erected in Queensland in recent years.  The houses range from a small two room dwelling with a verandah designed for the 'individual of little cash' to the more elaborate Queenslander home which we know today, as well as a futuristic dwelling with a series of six-sided rooms which 'for cyclonic strength would be hard to beat'.


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Discover collection items previously featured on the Talbot Family Treasures Wall.

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