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Talbot Family Treasures Wall

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.

On display

Brown and white etching depicting Aboriginals being rounded up by soldiers with various transport.

The Removal 2015
Roy McIvor (1934–2018)
Acc. 32143
John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland

Roy McIvor was a Guugu Yimithirr artist born in 1934 on the Cape Bedford Lutheran mission at Hope Vale, Cape York Peninsula. “The Removal” is his last major etching and depicts the forced removal by the army of his entire community from the mission during World War II. Community members were forcibly transported south to the Woorabinda Aboriginal reserve west of Rockhampton. It was a traumatic upheaval and nearly one-quarter of the people died as a result, including McIvor’s sister Emily.


Map with black border showing New Guinea, Solomon Islands, and eastern north coast of Australia with various illustrations.

Novae Guineae forma, & situs 1593
Gerard de Jode (1509–1591)
Call no. RBM 801 1593 00000 E
John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland

This early partially hand-coloured map created by Dutch cartographer, engraver, and publisher, Gerard de Jode, is considered by some authorities to represent the first printed map of Australia. First published in 1578 in de Jode’s two-volume atlas “Speculum Orbis Terrae”, this copy of the map was published in the second 1593 edition of the atlas by de Jode’s son, Cornelis de Jode, after the death of his father two years earlier. The map provides a general depiction of the Queensland coast, East New Guinea, and the Solomon Islands. It is decorated with sea monsters and mermaids, with the Australian portion illustrated with a spear carrying warrior hunting a griffin and a lion.

Coloured artwork of village scene in Torres Strait with huts, people, and large canoe.

Hand-coloured lithograph of Erub (Darnley Island) in the Torres Strait ca.1849
Harden S. Melville (1824–1894)
Call no. RBQ 994.02 MEL, Sketches in Australia and the adjacent islands: selected from a number taken during the surveying voyage of H.M.S. “Fly” and “Bramble” under the command of Capt. F.P. Blackwood…1842–46
John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland

Talented artist, Harden Sidney Melville, was 17 years old when he accepted the position as official draughtsman onboard HMS Fly. This was the British Admiralty’s official hydrographic survey and mapping expedition of the northeast coast of Australia, focusing on the Torres Strait, between 1842 and 1846. Two years after his return, Melville published a small volume of twenty-five hand-coloured lithographs, documenting his observations throughout the voyage.


John Oxley letter 1824

John Oxley letter 1824
John Oxley (1784–1828)
Acc No. 33036 John Oxley papers
John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland 

Letter dated 15 March 1824, from New South Wales Surveyor General, John Oxley, in Sydney, to his wife Emma at their property “Kirkham” near Camden N.S.W. Oxley describes hurried preparations for a journey to accompany the Governor, Sir Thomas Brisbane, to Moreton Bay. The proposed trip at this time never eventuated. Oxley did not return to Moreton Bay until September 1824, and it was not until November 1824 that he travelled with Governor Brisbane to inspect the new convict settlement located at Redcliffe.

In 1825, due to a scarcity of food and water, the settlement was relocated to a more suitable site on the north bank of Maiwar (Brisbane River), the point in the river known as Meanjin/Brisbane.


Work of art depicting the landing of Oxley, 1851

A.G. Stark Landing of Oxley
Arthur George Stark (1860–1926)
Acc No. 30480
John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland

The watercolour painting depicts the landing of New South Wales Surveyor General, John Oxley, on the bank of Maiwar (Brisbane River) on 2nd December 1823. The artwork shows Oxley and his companions in a rowboat being met by a group of Aboriginal men on the riverbank. Oxley’s ship the “Mermaid” is visible on the horizon of Moreton Bay. Oxley’s brief was to find a location for the establishment of a penal settlement for re-offending convicts. The painting is signed A.G. Stark and dated 1851, however, there is doubt over the authenticity of this date as the artist, Arthur George Stark, was born in 1860.


Black and white photos of boxer Elley Bennett training, fighting, with family, and in promotional images.

Elley Bennett photographs 1949–1953
Creator unknown
Acc. 33773
John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland

Elliott (Elley) Bennett was an Aboriginal Australian boxer and double title holder. Elley was born in south-east Queensland in 1924 and was raised at Barambah (later Cherbourg) Aboriginal Settlement and Maryborough. He had an eight-year career as a professional boxer and was Australian champion in the bantamweight and featherweight divisions. During his career he fought more than 50 professional bouts and won more than half of them by knockout. Revered by his Aboriginal peers, Bennett was a founding member of the National Aboriginal Sports Foundation in 1969. He passed away at his home in Bundaberg in 1981.


Black and white photos of nurses, hospital exteriors, and wards.

Florence Chatfield photograph album 1900–1949
Florence Chatfield (1867–1949)
Acc. 31231 Florence Chatfield Collection
John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland

Photograph album compiled by Queensland nurse, Florence Chatfield, who was the matron at the Diamantina Hospital, Brisbane, from 1900 to 1934. The album contains many photographs of the buildings, nursing staff and patients of the Diamantina Hospital for Chronic Diseases, and the Jubilee Sanatorium in Dalby which was established in 1900 to treat consumptive patients.

Ink letter with clear cursive script by Nellie Melba on five pages, accompanied by a smaller note by Thea Phillips.

Dame Nellie Melba (1861–1931)
Thea Phillips (1892–1960)
TR 1797 Dame Nellie Melba correspondence
John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland

This letter was written by Nellie Armstrong, later known as Dame Nellie Melba, from Port Mackay, Queensland, to her singing master, Signor Pietro Cecchi, in Melbourne. In the letter, she asks him to form a musical company so she can return to Melbourne to earn some money, which the family desperately needed. Alongside the letter is a handwritten note stating that Signor Cecchi sent a telegram asking Nellie to come to Melbourne immediately. This note is believed to have been written by Thea Phillips who had a distinguished singing career in Europe. Melba moved from Melbourne to Mackay with her father in 1881. In 1882, she married Charles Armstrong in Brisbane, and the following year gave birth to a son, George.


Silver golfer figure on wooden base with attached silver plaque.

Ashgrove Golf Club trophy 1945
Ashgrove Golf Club, commissioning body
Acc. 31989
John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland

Silver figure trophy depicting a woman golfer swinging a club. The trophy is mounted on a wooden base which contains the inscription “Ashgrove Golf Club Associates Championship Mrs. F.E. Power 1945”. Mrs. F.E. Power was Irene Myrtle Power, nee Hannon, of Ashgrove. Her husband, Frank Edward Power, was a manager at the Commonwealth Bank in Brisbane. The Ashgrove Golf Club, located on Waterworks Road at The Gap, was established in 1939. Frank and Irene Power were active members of the club.


Pale yellow globe in teal blue case with base featuring man in red soldier's coat.

Miniature Terrestrial Globe ca.1840
Carl Johann Sigmund Bauer (1780–1857)
Call no. RBM 100 1840 00000
John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland

The miniature terrestrial globe, also referred to as a pocket globe, features original handcolouring, metal pins, and is housed in its original cylindrical box. The globe is in English, indicating that it may have been produced for export to English speaking markets. The globe also shows Australia as New Holland, with the east coast labelled ‘New South Wales’, and Tasmania named ‘Van Diemen’s Land’. The creator, Carl Bauer, was the son of instrument and mapmaker, Johann Bernhard Bauer, based in Nuremberg, Germany.


Black and white illustration of woman emerging from ocean, movie stars' photos, and red 'Age of Consent' text.

Age of Consent 1969
Robert Burton (Firm), Printer; Columbia Pictures Corporation, production company
Call no. HPT FIL 120
John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland

Movie poster promoting the 1969 film ‘Age of Consent’ starring Helen Mirren, James Mason, and Jack MacGowran, directed by Michael Powell. Filming began in March 1968 at Albion Park racecourse and elsewhere in Brisbane, with location filming on Dunk Island and Purtaboi Island on the Great Barrier Reef. The film was based on the 1938 novel by Norman Lindsay. The plot of the film involves a jaded Australian painter who moves to a remote island where he takes on an alluring, uninhibited young woman as his muse. This was one of Helen Mirren’s first film credits.


Neatly written ink letter on wove paper with intact red wax seal.

Stephen Owen letter 1834
Stephen Owen (1801–1880)
Acc. 32143
John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland

The letter was written on 11 July 1834 by Stephen Owen, officer in charge of the Commissariat Store at the Moreton Bay Penal settlement, to his friend Charles Hudson in England. The letter is possibly the earliest example of private outward correspondence from Moreton Bay. Owen discusses the challenges he and his family have faced in “this distant colony” as he advises his friend against emigrating to Moreton Bay.


An album of black and white photos of Brisbane Jubilee exhibition scenes, including crowds and exhibits.

Royal National Agricultural & Industrial Association of Queensland photograph album 1925
William Frederick Thiel
Acc. 33831
John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland

The photograph album commemorates the Jubilee (50th anniversary) exhibition of the Royal National Agricultural & Industrial Association of Queensland. It was presented to Queensland Governor, Sir Matthew Nathan, by the President of the R.N.A., Ernest Baynes.

Mannequin in all-white costume with lampshade-like headpiece and blue alien eyes.

Luke Roberts Pope Alice formal robe costume ca.2007–2011
Luke Roberts Acc. 29366
Luke Roberts costumes
Australian Library of Art, State Library of Queensland

Born in Alpha, Central Queensland, Luke Roberts is an acclaimed Queensland visual and performance artist. This costume was created by Roberts for Pope Alice, his most enduring alter ego since the late 1970s. Pope Alice has addressed issues of Catholicism and sexuality in performances around the world, including at the Sydney Mardi Gras.


Two photos of a mannequin in all-white costume with lampshade-like headpiece and blue alien eyes.

Photograph of Pope Alice at AAAN2 Book Launch Performance, Queensland University of Technology 2000
Acc. 31153 Luke Roberts Archive
John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland


Colour poster of Maryborough's businesses, schools, factories, and streets.

Views of Maryborough ca.1800s
Creator unknown
Call no. HPT HIS 057
John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland

Poster illustrating a series of scenes and commercial buildings in and around the Queensland town of Maryborough in the late 1800s. The poster was printed by Muir & Morcom, Chromo Lithographers of Brisbane.


Gold embossed address with inset photos of Mr. Black and St. Paul's Church.

Illuminated address presented to W.R. Black from the congregation of St. Paul’s Presbyterian Church 1912
St. Paul’s Presbyterian Church, commissioning body
Acc. 32856 Presbyterian Church of Queensland collection
John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland

The illuminated address was presented to philanthropist William Robert Black by the congregation of St. Paul’s Presbyterian Church in Spring Hill, Brisbane, in December 1912. This presentation was in appreciation of a large donation which enabled them to pay back a crippling debt owing for the erection of the church twenty years prior.