Explore the State Library's unique treasures and collections representing different aspects of Queensland's social history and contemporary stories.

Margaret Lawrie collection of the Torres Strait Islands 1964-1998

Margaret Lawrie (1917 – 2003) travelled to the Torres Strait Islands during the 1950s, 60s and 70s. During her visits to seventeen Torres Strait Islander communities she recorded and documented the history, languages, lifestyle, and culture of the people living in the Torres Strait. This significant collection informed two publications: Myths and Legends of Torres Strait (1970) and Tales from Torres Strait (1972). The Margaret Lawrie collection was added to the UNESCO Memory of the World Australian Register in 2008. Acc TR 1791

(I’m) Stranded / No Time, The Saints, 1976

Brisbane band The Saints were catapulted to instant notoriety after releasing their debut single (I’m) Stranded in 1976.

Mary Watson Diaries, January - October 1881

Mary records life on Lizard Island including the moments she had to flee with her small son and house boy Ah Sam.

John Watts Necklace ca. 1866 - 1869

Unique 18-carat gold swag necklace decorated with emblems and hand-coloured portraits commissioned by John Watts.

Real Estate map collection of the John Oxley Library

State Library of Queensland holds a unique and sometimes colourful collection of original estate maps and plans created by various real estate firms between the 1850s to the mid-1900s. The maps often showcase the various subdivisions by estate title, the number of blocks for sale and their proposed size, auctioneering details, and other interesting features in graphic detail.  The maps are especially useful for investigating the history of urban settlement and development in South-East Queensland.

Predominantly Brisbane based, several feature estate sales on the Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast regions of Queensland.

Portrait of an Australian, an artists’ book / Jonathan Tse, 1998

When Jonathan’s mother gave him a box of old photographs, he created an artwork honouring the family’s migration experience.

Archibald Meston Papers, 1867-1960

Archibald Meston, a recognized journalist, politician, explorer, amateur ethnologist, linguist and Chief Protector of Aborigines.

Central Queensland Separation League Petition 1892-1893

Separation is a recurring theme in Queensland. 4000 determined women of Rockhampton petitioned Queen Victoria.