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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.

Currently on display

Painting of Walek carrying a fire-stick and woman running towards it.

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.


The painting depicts the small seaside resort of Sandgate.

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".


Joint Effort concert poster

3. Joint Effort no.2  ca.1984

Jenny Mortimer, 4ZZZ-FM

In the early days of 4ZZZ a group of volunteers at the Brisbane radio station started curating concerts around Brisbane called the Joint Effort.  This poster is for a performance held Friday 23 March at the University of Queensland Refectory and featuring the bands Strange Tennants , Furious Turtles, and Sinister Ministers.  The poster was designed by Jenny Mortimer, nee Bluefields.

Water colour sketch in a frame.

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.


Oil painting of Yarrabah settlement at Mission Bay.

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.


Page of an old diary.

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.


Timber book with inner draw and cards on display.

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.


map of Brisbane created in 1858

8. The town & environs of Brisbane, County of Stanley, N.S.W., 1858

New South Wales Surveyor-General

This cadastral map of Brisbane was created in 1858 by the N.S.W. Surveyor-General, one year before the separation of Queensland from New South Wales.  The map captures a transition time between a pre- and post- European landscape with a grid network of streets and blocks overlaid over the topographical detail.  The names of landholders are included as well as familiar landmarks such as the Windmill on Wickham Terrace, the city Botanic Gardens and the Commissariat Store on William Street.

Illustrated music cover.

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.


North Queensland tourism poster

10. For your winter holiday: North Queensland: sunshine in a tropic fairyland, 1934

William Bustard (1894–1973)

This beautiful 1930s tourism poster, depicting the rainforests and waterfalls of North Queensland, is illustrative of the development of the tourism industry in Queensland during this formative period.  In the 1930s the Queensland Intelligence and Tourist Bureau commissioned a range of posters by well- known commercial artists to entice holiday makers from the southern states to holiday in Queensland's warmer climes during the winter months.  The artist, William Bustard, was a painter, illustrator and stained-glass window designer, who contributed much to the development of art in Queensland. 

Open diary on a stand.

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.


Maryvale Gazette circulated in the 1890's

12. Maryvale Gazette, 1892–93


The Maryvale Gazettes were privately compiled monthly magazines which circulated in the 1890s between properties and families in the Warwick area, including Glengallen, Maryvale, Talgai, Fassifern and Coton Grange.  The magazines were hand-written, illustrated and beautifully bound, containing drawings, articles, verse, and local news.  After each family had received, read, and added their contribution, the gazette was dispatched to the next property.  The seven gazettes were acquired by the State Library during a white gloves tour in Warwick where they were mysteriously left by an anonymous donor.


Photograph album containing old images.

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.


Photographs in a frame of Paula Stafford.

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.


Northcliffe real estate poster

15. Northcliffe Estate, ca. 1952

Thornton & Pearce

Real estate map advertising allotments for sale in the Northcliffe Estate at Southport East on Queensland's Gold Coast, in the mid-1920s.  The land is perfectly positioned between the Nerang River and the ‘glorious surfing beach’ of the Pacific Ocean and is described as ‘the cream of the seaside resorts’.


A silver plated cup.

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.


Open book showing house designs.

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'.


Talbot Family Treasures Wall showcasing Ashleigh Barty's outfit

Previously displayed

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

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