SERIES 5: HISTORICAL STUDIES
Studies 13 2023. Fettered Frontier: Founding the Moreton Bay Settlement (185 pages) by Jennifer Harrison
Historian Jennifer Harrison’s latest book Fettered Frontier, Founding the Moreton Bay Settlement 1822-1826, investigates the struggle to locate and establish an outpost in remote Moreton Bay. Using original government correspondence, diaries, journals and maps Jennifer examined the many mangled foundation stories, from the time of the original site at Redcliffe, to its removal to a location on the Brisbane River.
The search for the river involved several exploratory voyages, the discovery of convict timber getters who had totally lost their bearings, and the helpful local Aboriginal people. The river mouth, shrouded by mangroves, was finally discovered. A significantly sized waterway, it was appropriately named for Governor Sir Thomas Brisbane, as was the campsite on its bank.
Much research has concentrated on accurately re-creating economic, climatic and legal back stories together with defining the characters who made the decisions in London, Port Jackson (Sydney) and locally as well as the convicts who undertook the heavy manual work.
Studies 12 2022. Utopian Dreams and Dystopian Nightmares (196 pages) by Bill Metcalf.
There are many forms of ‘radicalism’ including radical action, belief and thought. While some Brisbane Radicals may have been politically radical, others were radical in their dreams, aspirations, foreboding nightmares and (attempted) cultural leadership.
This book explores eleven Brisbane writers from the 19th and 20th centuries who presented dystopian models of how bad Brisbane could become if people followed certain paths – and utopian models of how wonderful Brisbane and surrounds could be if they followed other paths. Some of these works were well written, widely read and very popular at the time – as well as still available and well worth reading today. Other works were published in newspaper or pamphlet form and are no longer easily available.
Author Bill Metcalf is a historian who has written widely about Brisbane’s history, as well as about utopian communalism, and this book weds the two. Enjoy these literary expeditions into a Brisbane that never was, nor will it ever become — except in the minds of dreamers
Studies 11 2021, It all happened at the Albert Hall (365 pages) by Peter Roennfeldt.
For almost seven decades, Albert Hall flourished as Brisbane’s busiest medium-sized venue. Built by the Albert Street Methodist Church as a resource for the entire community and officially opened in 1901 by Sir Samuel Griffith, it hosted a wide range of cultural activities and numerous civic, religious, political, wartime, social and educational events. As the city’s main recital and drama auditorium until it was demolished in 1969, Albert Hall provided a platform for Brisbane’s many fine performing artists. In addition, numerous visiting luminaries such as Percy Grainger, Dame Sybil Thorndike, Sir Douglas Mawson, Lord Louis Mountbatten and Dame Enid Lyons appeared on its stage.
Painstakingly researched and written by noted cultural historian Peter Roennfeldt, the book tells the story of this significant venue within its wider community context and helps to further dispel the notion that in the early 20th century Brisbane was a cultural backwater. Albert Hall was indeed a special inner-city venue, shared by all and remembered fondly by many.
This book is a valuable record of Albert Hall’s enormous contribution to the cultural life of Brisbane and is lavishly illustrated with more than 90 images.
Studies 10 2016, Queenslanders: Their historic timbered houses (287 pages) by Rod Fisher.
In this book the author uses two Brisbane examples as case studies to illustrate the evolution of traditional housing and the impact of change, the response to road improvements, retail and public infrastructure developments, renovation, gentrification and relocation.
The first part of the book covers several main themes, the evolution of a vernacular class of housing in the north of Australia, the historical context of traditional housing, the human dimension, and whether Brisbane was in any way different from the rest of the state. It also serves as a guide and reference to research any house in Queensland using a dwelling in Annerley/Tarragindi to step through the process of historical investigation and exposition. The book includes a glossary and bibliography of sources to aid researchers, owners and restorers. The main chapters:
The vernacular class, by era, style and attitude; The historical context, to accommodation and aspiration; The human dimension, of habitat and environment; The Brisbane difference, from Queensland at large; The dormitory suburb under duress, around Petrie Terrace; The Queenslander in transition, at Bowen Hills; A guide to investigation, with an Annerley case study
Studies 9 2015, Bygone Brisbane: Its history, your heritage (387 pages) by Rod Fisher.
This collection of seven papers is the second of the volumes in which Rod Fisher reflects on, updates and draws together his earlier work. Part of larger or more specific studies only a couple of the papers have seen the light of day. There are chapters on:
Protecting the buildings of Queensland; Tracking the Turrbal around Brisbane; Tracing the evolution of Yeronga Memorial Park; Plotting the rise of sporting Lang park; Showcasing the relics of Brisbane’s river; Reconstituting the region of Southeast Queensland; Replacing the heritage concept with character
No 8, 2012, Best of Colonial Brisbane, (396 pages), Rod Fisher.
Packed inside this unique collection on colonial Brisbane are no fewer than 22 essays by historian Rod Fisher. Most were published as scattered articles in various formats over 25 years, three have never seen the light of day and all are brought up to date. While stepping through the years from 1842-1901 and sometimes further as a continuum, they are grouped under 5 main themes. Occupation: The Brisbane scene: A convict legacy; The Old Windmill: A haunting heritage; Early industrial enterprise: Against all odds; Photographers at Moreton Bay: Through a glass darkly; Cultivating culture: Pearls before swine? Alienation: The Aboriginal experience: Depredation to degradation; The ethnic presence: Odd ones out? Planting the New Church of Jerusalem: A struggle for existence. Separation: How Brisbane became the capital: An ugly colonial duckling; The proclamation, administration and Moriarty: Kick-starting Queensland; Flying the first Queensland flag: More than a token gesture? Boosting Brisbane’s image: The artful Richard Watt. Personation: John Stuart Beach: A brewer who went broke; Silvester Diggles: A man for all seasons? Colin Munro: A clever man who tried anything; John Arthur Manus O’Keeffe: A boom-time builder. Location: Frogs Hollow: Devoid of interest or den of iniquity? Bulimba: David McConnel’s bump of hope; South Brisbane: Early days oh-ver there; North Brisbane: That controversial cemetery; Brisbane River: Past perceptions Moreton Bay: A saga of lost dreams.
No 7, 2011, The Hume Family in Colonial Queensland, (256 pages), Hilary Davies.
Colonial Queensland was the stage on which the Hume family achieved success between 1863 and 1901. The scenes were set on the Darling Downs and in Brisbane. After serving in the merchant marine with the P&O Line, Walter Hume migrated to Queensland from England in 1862 to train as a surveyor. Soon he was joined by his widowed mother and four siblings; then in 1866 by his fiancée Katie Fowler. The varying fortunes of each family member reveals how the social, economic and political conditions in the colony and each individual’s personal attributes and social background determined success in the colonial context. Walter and Katie Hume coped with isolation from family and the deaths of five infants while working to establish their financial future, secure promotions for Walter and create a place for themselves among the colonial elite. They attained the ideal middle-class family life with Walter’s career success providing sufficient income to educate their children overseas, reside in elite homes, and engage in genteel and philanthropic pastimes. In 1901, following almost four decades of service in the Department of Public Lands, Walter retired to England with his family and commenced travelling widely. They visited family and friends from India to Argentina, returning once more to Queensland in 1907 where they noted many changes since federation. Since completing masters and doctoral theses in Queensland colonial history, Hilary Davies has worked as a heritage officer involved in local and state heritage.
This is an exceptional exposé of the social aspiration and elitism of an upwardly mobile family in colonial Queensland. Dr Rod Fisher
No 6, 2009, The Making of a Metropolis, Brisbane 1823-25, (256 pages), John Laverty.
This is a history of Brisbane within its regional and national setting from the time of the exploration of the area by John Oxley in 1923 until the greater City of Brisbane was established in 1925. The first section deals with the convict establishment and the economic, social, cultural and political aspects of the development of the town of Brisbane within its regional context until it was incorporated as a municipality in 1859. The second section covers the development of the town as part of the urbanisation process which was occurring across Australia during the years 1859-1925. During this period it slowly grew until it reached metropolitan status during the 1920s. The first part outlines the economic context of Brisbane’s development; the second the social aspects of that development and the third the cultural aspects of Brisbane’s social development. The third extensive section of the book deals with the organisation of municipal government in Brisbane during the years 1859-1879. It covers the operation of municipal government in Brisbane under local government legislation which was enacted during this period; the development of the council’s structures, operating procedures, staffing arrangements, the council’s relations with the government and the chequered nature of its activities. The final section offers an account of the works and services undertaken or provided during the years 1859-1879.
No 5, 2005, The Scottish Presence at Moreton Bay 1837-59, Collected Insights, (206 pages), John Mackenzie-Smith.
Twelve papers, ten of which have previously been published in the Royal Queensland Historical Society Journal, Brisbane History Group Papers and the Genealogical Society of Queensland’s journal, Generation. The papers deal with Andrew Petrie, Rev John Gregor, Rev John Dunmore Lang, Evan Mackenzie, William Augustine Duncan, Scottish immigrants before separation, the foundation of Kilcoy, the Kilcoy poisonings and Mackenzie’s labour force from Scotland’s Black Isle.
No 4, 2004, The Dutch Houses of Coopers Plains, a Post-war Housing Debacle at Brisbane, (120 pages), Alfons Vernooy.
Research on the history of public housing in Brisbane after the Second World War has been severely hampered, as records of the Queensland Housing Commission were severely pruned before being handed to the first State Archivist in 1959. Little hope was left that detailed information on mass house-building projects could be recovered. This study on the Dutch Houses of Coopers Plains is a surprising exception. It is based on the recently recovered personal archive in The Netherlands of Alfons Vernooy Snr who was the Dutch assistant general manager of Concrete Developments Pty Ltd. This Australian-Dutch company built the 300 concrete houses in Coopers Plains in 1951-55. The project ended as a near debacle in those unstable economic years that brought hardship to many building companies, Australian and foreign. The study is primarily based on the Dutch archive, but placed in Australian context by additional research in Brisbane. It is a valuable contribution to the history of Brisbane, and especially of Coopers Plains, at a time when the Dutch Houses are under threat.
No 3, 2003, Diggles Down Under, Brisbane via Sydney from Merseyside 1855-80, Rod Fisher.
This publication features the man himself, his family and their movements on either side of the globe, the associated British, European and Indigenous persons and transplanted cultural institutions. These include schools of arts, musical and scientific bodies, schools, churches, lodges and exhibitions – as well as art, photography, science, music, education and religion in context of the Victorian age. While focusing on the exploits of a single versatile man, this is a tale of three cities and a long migration from Merseyside to Sydney and then Brisbane. Their imperial culture was planted on the colonial frontier by the time of his unfortunate death. The Manual introduces the subject, the man and the parameters plus timeline, maps, family trees, glossary and bibliography for both the Book and the CD (106 pages). The Principal CD covers Diggles’ life and times in a History of 13 areas, Library of related texts and Gallery of images of people, places and products plus resources (about 750 pages and 400 images). The Supplementary CD contains full transcripts of Diggles’ journal, letters and bird descriptions plus the complete sketchbook, insect drawings, bird plates and bird drawings (over 550 pages and images). The History Book of the CD reproduces the History section with selected black-and-white images, especially for readers needing a hardcopy or not accessing modern PCs (330 pages and 250 images). The Library Book of the CD presents all the texts from the Library section of the CD in 28 categories, for those wanting a hardcopy or not necessarily using the CD (254 pages). The CDs are not available in a Mac version.
No 2, 1998, Brisbane House Styles 1880 to 1940, A Guide to the Affordable House, (76 pages), Judy Gale Rechner.
A lavishly illustrated comprehensive guide to identify and dating house styles which were popular in the Brisbane region from 1880 to 1940. Based on detailed research of state housing records, street survey of suburban dwellings and using the year houses were actually built to establish time frames for changes in styles and features. Includes over 150 photographs of houses when first built and some original plans, illustrated glossary of technical terms and a bibliography for further reading and research.
No 1, 1992, Brisbane’s Forgotten Founder, Sir Evan Mackenzie of Kilcoy 1816-1883, (260 pages), John Mackenzie-Smith. [Out of Print – Available in PDF]
An excellently researched analysis of one of the first Scottish settlers, his pioneering role at Brisbane, Kangaroo Point and Kilcoy during the 1840s and personal difficulties, commercial enterprises and Aboriginal poisonings.