SERIES 3: HISTORICAL SOURCES 1987-2011
No 14, 2011, Fern Vale or the Queensland Squatter, (352 pages), Colin Munro, edited by Rod Fisher.
Has anyone ever heard of Colin Munro let alone Fern Vale? Yet this was the first Queensland novel published at London in 1862. The author, of Scottish origin, was merely a young mercantile clerk who, after five years in Brisbane, had gone back to London in 1860 to seek a wife and write a book. This townsman returned successfully in 1863 to become a storekeeper, merchant and Pacific trader in Brisbane as well as a sugar planter on the Albert River until 1880. He then moved north near Ayr to continue sugar farming with Island labour, but diversified into cattle and especially milk-condensing. In 1897 he went south to found the Cressbrook Dairy Co. and later a similar condensory at Wyreema, while retiring to Brisbane where he died of cancer in 1918.Though Munro was an ingenious pioneer in all of those endeavours, he failed to make his fame and fortune. Yet he kept bobbing up like a cork against the tide of adversity – Fern Vale being his forgotten monument. While pursuing his agrarian dream in Queensland, this extraordinary man played out the purpose of his novel. Though written as a pastoral romance on the Darling Downs, its real aim was to attract migrants to the new colony during the optimistic 1860s. Taking its cue from the visionary Rev. Dr John D. Lang of Sydney, the novel set in 1856-57 expounds the controversial issues of labour, industry and capital as well as the tropical economy, land regulation, aboriginal policy, convict origin and separation from NSW. While offering intriguing insights into the society and topography of town and country, it climaxes with poisoning and massacring on the colonial frontier. Being a serious work dressed as fiction, the three-volumes are now amply extracted, edited with a biographical introduction, contextualised as history and literature, linked narratively with a running commentary, indexed to the original text and illustrated for the first time. Historian, Dr Rod Fisher, formerly director of the Applied History Centre at The University of Queensland, is known for his work on the history and heritage of the Brisbane region.
I found the novel much more readable and interesting than expected … a terrific job of sustaining narrative interest and continuity while reducing it to manageable length … yet retaining Munro’s remarkable descriptive style. Pat Buckridge, Professor of Literary Studies, Griffith University
No 13, 2010, Tom Hurstbourne or a Squatter’s Life, (336 pages), John Clavering Wood, edited by Gloria Grant and Gerard Benjamin.
Five years after arriving in the infant colony of Queensland from Shropshire, 27 year old John Clavering Wood wrote a novel about the new frontier. The notebook in which he wrote his story comprised 600 handwritten pages and, on the title page, bore the date 30 January 1865. Although another novel had been written in Queensland some three years previously, it had been published in London. Tom Hurstbourne, Queensland’s second novel, has never previously been published. It is well written, descriptive of Queensland life in the 1860s and an adventure story to boot. Gloria Grant and Gerard Benjamin transcribed the manuscript and wrote its introduction and contextual notes.
No 12, 2009, Boosting Brisbane, Imprinting the Colonial Capital of Queensland, (300 pages), compiled by Rod Fisher.
When Queensland was separated from New South Wales on 10 December 1859, Brisbane was treated as a capital-port only for the time being. Maryborough, Rockhampton and even Ipswich were the main contenders for the title of capital. In favouring Brisbane, a spate of line-drawings depicted its landscapes, buildings, amenities, notables and activities in the 1860s – particularly in illustrated periodicals of other colonies and overseas, pictorial letter-papers sent to family and friends plus occasional prints. To keep pace with new governmental, commercial, societal and individual demands, more images appeared on seals, bills, ads, maps, stamps, coins, medals etc including a flag, a sword and even a necklace. In addition to local newspapers, almanacs, directories and narratives, the first atlas, gardening manual and ornithology appeared. This book uses those line-drawings and allied sources to make a graphic journey from England to Moreton Bay, Ipswich and the Darling Downs before 1870, while dwelling upon Brisbane in particular. Through examples and artefacts it also shows how the process of publication, from art, photography, writing and engraving on metal, stone and wood to printing, affected their output. Next come those crafty persons involved in growing the local print culture visually, whether artists, engravers, lithographers, printers or stationers, and then the users themselves. Finally, the historical data on some 400 line-drawings and related artefacts in Australia is cross-referenced to the prior images in a detailed inventory.
No 11, 2006, Index to Publications 1981 to 2006, (110 pages), compiled by Rod Fisher.
Silver Anniversary Index. The Brisbane History Group has published many volumes in several series during its first 25 years. These publications deal with a vast range of people, places and subjects from the aboriginal dreamtime to modern-day metropolis. Yet many items of historical interest are tricky to find, even major topics let alone stray references to a particular person, place, subject, event or thing. This comprehensive index is the key to unlocking such treasures in BHG publications.
No 10, 2002, Our Federation 1901, Brisbane through the News, (248 pages), edited by Katherine McConnel.
This volume presents through newspaper extracts a portrait of life in Brisbane during the first year of federation and the new century. Chapters cover the celebrations for the Commonwealth of Australia, Imperial and Indian troops, the Royal Visit, opening the first Commonwealth Parliament, the Boer War, plague, deaths, census, the change of Queensland Governors, the built and natural environments, meteorology, crime, accidents and incidents, shopping, in the home, Sunday nuisances, sport, clubs and societies, entertainment, water supply, public health, transport, progress, education, communications, the fire brigade. This volume has been edited and produced with commentary and illustrations by an historical expert.
No 9, 2000, Bay in the News 1841-1860 – A select Subject Index, (180 pages), compiled by Rod Fisher and John Schiavo.
Localities, properties and features throughout the Moreton Bay district; Agriculture; Leisure; People, electors, subscribers, committees. Compiled from the Moreton Bay courier, the Sydney morning herald and other regional newspapers.
No 8, Brisbane Timeline, From Captain Cook to Citycat, 2000 (workbook 396 pages, manual 68 pages), Rod Fisher and others [Workbook available in PDF]
A chronology of the Brisbane region from 1770 to 1996 that covers the politics, economic happenings, dramas such as fire and floods, and social, cultural and environmental history of the growth of Brisbane and surrounds. This indispensable guide to the historical highways and byways of Brisbane and environs.
No 7, 1999, Queensland Architects if the 19th Century, Index to the Biographical Dictionary, (78 pages), compiled by Judith Nissen.
A comprehensive index that provides access for genealogists, historians and other researchers using Donald Watson and Judith McKay’s Queensland architects of the 19th century: A biographical dictionary published by the Queensland Museum in 1994.
No 6, 1993, Brisbane Hotels and Publicans Index 1842-1900, (69 pages), compiled by Merle Norris. [Out of print – Available in PDF]
An invaluable index to nineteenth century pubs and publicans in North Brisbane, South Brisbane and suburbs.
No 5, 1991, Brisbane River Valley 1841-50, Pioneer Observations and Reminiscences, (96 pages), compiled by John Mackenzie-Smith.
Indexed. Forming the stations, pastoral and economic problems, John Gregor’s missionary tour, Europeans and Aborigines, natural history, Mary McConnel’s memoirs.
No 4, 1989, Brisbane, Butterflies & Beetles, the Work of Amalie Dietrich, Millais Culpin and Alfred Jefferis Turner, (157 pages), compiled by Ray Sumner.
Dietrich’s 1863-72 Queensland zoological collection, problems and challenges for natural history collectors, Culpin’s 1890s letters and life in Taringa, Turner the entomologist and his papers.
No 3, 1989, Brisbane Town News – From the Sydney Morning Herald 1842-46, (178 pages), compiled by John Mackenzie-Smith [Out of Print]
Indexed. Thomas Dowse’s reports on the Moreton Bay District, the struggle for survival, the squatters’ dominance, the Kangaroo Point trading coup, resistance to southern monopoly, Aboriginal resistance, shipping movements, shipwrecks, racing and weather reports, land sales, public meetings and much, much more.
No 2, 1987, The Brisbane Courier in 1888 – A Select Subject Index, (40 pages), compiled by John Mackenzie-Smith.
Accidents, buildings, ethnic minorities, crime, education, fire, leisure, government, health, organisations, transport, religion, shipping, trade unions, water, women, people and places; a subject index to the microfilmed newspapers.
No 1, 1987, Brisbane by 1888 – The Public Image, (330 pages), compiled by Rod Fisher. [Out of Print – Available in PDF]
Facsimile sections on Brisbane’s history, topography, industries, institutions and inhabitants in Queensland contexts, published 1886-89 in Garran’s Australasia Illustrated, Cassell’s picturesque Australasia, Midgley’s Queensland illustrated guide, Morrison’s Aldine history of Queensland, Pugh’s Almanac and Queensland directory, Willoughby’s Australian pictures, and the Brisbane Courier.