Built heritage

The John Oxley Library holds a vast collection of drawings, manuscripts, design plans, house plans, building designs and related materials with links to built heritage and architecture in Queensland. View a selection of them with digitised drawings, images and digital stories with architects as they talk about their work. 

160 years, 160 Queensland buildings

2022 marked the 160th anniversary of Public Works in Queensland. In collaboration with the Department of Energy and Public Works, State Library of Queensland launched a platform to showcase 160 buildings marking 160 years of public works service to the state. Engage with the contents online. Regional and metropolitan areas of Queensland are represented. Contribute and share your personal stories and memories of the buildings featured.     

Karl Langer Architectural Plans

The collection consists of more than 40 series of architectural plans and drawings designed and created by Karl Langer of various buildings and residences in Queensland. They include regional parts of Queensland and Clontarf and Southport in the greater Brisbane area. The collection also comprises designs for stained glass windows and a coat of arms. [R 83] 

Hall and Dods Architectural Drawings, 1898-1984

Predominantly the work of Francis Richard Hall and Robert (Robin) Smith Dods and the architectural firms that came into possession of the practice.

The collection is a mix of contract drawings for confirmed building projects, competition designs and tenders. Although some were never realised, the drawings represent commercial premises, hospitals, churches, public buildings and private residences. [Acc 27671]

99 everyday homes for Queenslanders, 1939

Coloured illustrations featuring 99 domestic architecture designs and internal floor plans for Queensland homes and conditions. The compendium published by the Home Building Publishing Company includes joinery, arches, panel ceilings, gables, fences and step railing designs and advice. [Q728.09943 nin]

Royal Australian Institute of Architects Photographs and Plan 1950-1980

Working photographs commissioned by the Royal Australian Institute of Architects for the Architecture Awards in Queensland. A selection of the black and white images created by Douglas and Lionel Keen are digitised. View them on the catalogue One Search. [Acc 6523] 

Andrea Stombuco Architectural Plans

Nineteenth century Italian architect Andrea Stombuco (1821 – 1907) made a significant contribution to Brisbane's built environment. Ten original Stombuco architectural plans are held in the State Library of Queensland collections. Included are drawings for Her Majesty's Theatre, St Andrew's Anglican Church, South Brisbane and the private residence ‘Palma Rosa’ in the suburb of Hamilton, Brisbane. [Acc 6523] 

James Peter Birrell Papers

James Peter Birrell (1928-2019) was one of Queensland's eminent architects, responsible for many of the state’s best-known buildings from the 1950s onwards. The collection made up of architectural plans, business records and personal papers cover his lifetime of extensive work. Four photograph albums dating from 1957 – 1961 record projects he completed for Brisbane City Council. [Acc 28481] [Acc 31504] [Acc 28199]    

House History

If your walls could talk, ever wondered what tales they’d tell?  Find out how to research the history of your house.  Access video guides and online resources.

Digital stories

State Library of Queensland collects digital stories that help to preserve and capture the experience of Queensland. Explore the stories behind our state’s diverse built-heritage retold in this selection.

John Oxley Library Research Fellow

Don Watson was awarded the John Oxley Library Fellowship in 2012. His project added valuable architectural history to his previously published research, Queensland Architects of the 19th Century: a biographical dictionary into the 20th century. In this story he talks about how architects adapted their skills to design buildings appropriate to climate and new technologies during times of economic hardship. 

Hot Modernism, 2013-2014

Digital stories exploring the influences impacting Queensland's built environment and post war architecture 1945 -1975. Filmed by Dean Saffron they bring a “human” element to the built environment, covering aspects such as planning and the intent behind the buildings/spaces; influences on design and construction; and how the buildings and spaces were meant to be used. [Acc 29380]

James Birrell oral history

Architect James Birrell designed many significant buildings in Queensland during his career lifetime. In this oral history James discusses aspects of this life including his architectural training and his role as staff architect with Brisbane City Council and the University of Queensland. James died in 2019 aged 90. [Acc 28588]

Unlocking the Corley Explorer

Geoff Hinchliffe and Mitchell Whitelaw of ANU Data Design Lab talk about the task of making 60,000 house images in the Frank and Eunice Corley collection accessible. [Acc 6169]  Developed for the exhibition Home: a surburban obsession, the Corley Explorer enables Queensland residents to add their unique stories and memories of that time.  

UQ International Architecture Lecture Series

State Library of Queensland, in partnership with The University of Queensland's School of Architecture hosts the annual UQ International Architecture Lecture series. Forward-thinking global architects, designers and intellectuals.  discuss new knowledge, ideas and strategies impacting the international architecture industry.

Timber and tin: a documentary about elements of the traditional Queensland house, 1976

Written and directed by Max Bannah and Kent Chadwick for National Trust Queensland this film tells the story of domestic architecture in Queensland buildings, mainly domestic and the materials they were built of, emphasising the use of timber and corrugated iron. [HDVD 728.09943]