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What's on

Find out more about Queensland State Archives’ exciting events, including workshops, tours and talks.

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Portrait of artist Judy Watson
Image supplied by Milani Gallery and Judy Watson

skeletons – new exhibition by Judy Watson

This exhibition opens the closet doors to Australia’s skeletons. An invitation to explore an alternative national narrative. Discovering buried evidence within the state’s archives, bringing light to undisclosed happenings, validating the mistruth of terra nullius, subsequent colonial conflicts, and the continuation of Aboriginal resistance.

Judy Watson’s video works are presented alongside her raw, unframed and unstretched textile works that directly reference research from the archives. Theseartworks are an exploration of controverted histories that provide moments of recognition for First Nation peoples, acknowledging their hardship, resilience, spirit and continued sovereignty.

Judy Watson is an accomplished First Nations artist with connections to Waanyi Country of northwest Queensland. skeletons is curated by Amanda Hayman (Wakka Wakka / Kalkadoon), of Blaklash Creative, for Queensland State Archives.

Viewing details

  • Dates open: 29 August 2022 to 11 February 2023
  • Days open: Monday to Friday, 9.00am to 4.30pm, and every second Saturday of the month
  • Address:

Booking the Reading Room

You can search the collection and pre-order items to view in the Reading Room via the ArchivesSearch catalogue.

Make sure you also book your visit to the Reading Room via Eventbrite for the day you would like to view the records.

All visitors aged 16 or over must carry proof of their vaccination status and be prepared to show this on request.

Stories from Queensland’s recent past released on Google Arts & Culture

People around the world can view 23 stories exploring more than a century and a half of Queensland's wide and colourful history online at Google Arts and Culture.

In just a few clicks, users will be able to choose from a selection of stories of struggle, hope and achievement carefully preserved with the Queensland State Archives (QSA) Collection.

Just a few of the titles available:

  • The World's Longest Basketball Game, played by 24 schoolboys on Thursday Island in 1971, set a Guinness World Record and raised money for a community swimming pool.
  • Shear Power, the story of the 1891 Shearers Strike which contributed to the formation of the Australian Labor Party.
  • Ten Shots at Rain, how 'vortex' cloud-seeding cannons were installed at Charleville in 1902 to break a terrible drought – the cannon can still be visited today.
  • A Violent Separation, how a shipwreck and salvage operations combined with the forces of nature to separate the northern and southern parts of Minjerribah (Stradbroke Island) at Jumpinpin.

To help tell the stories, Queensland State Archives is sharing more than 250 scanned archival records, ranging from hand-written bulletins, prison records and tourism posts.

Queensland's Minister for Digital Economy Leeanne Enoch said the wonderful collaboration between Google Arts & Culture and Queensland State Archives is putting Queensland’s stories and history on the international stage.

"We are home to the oldest continuous living cultures in the world, and Queensland has a rich and diverse written and oral history spanning tens of thousands of years," Ms Enoch said.

"It is amazing that we can share our stories, history and truths through digital technology such as this, and provide people across the globe with a better understanding of who we are as a state.”

“Some of these stories are inspiring. The story of the basketball challenge on Thursday Island was particularly inspiring – it has been 50 years since the boys played their hearts out in the sun to win this accolade and it is important to remember their achievement.”

"Now their story can be shared with millions around the world with access to Google.”

Check out the QSA page on Google Arts and Culture

Montage of colour pictures from the 1990s.

It’s time to electric slide in the 1990s

We recently digitised over 600 images from the 1990s from across Queensland.

The 90s was a decade of building infrastructure that connected the state, the Internet changed how we worked, and Agro was a prime-time TV star. We selected highlights from thousands of images captured by Transport and Main Roads, documenting the plans, programs, and growth of Queensland throughout the decade.

Click through to discover the album on Flickr.

Head and shoulders shot of Rose Barrowcliffe standing outdoors and smiling.

Introducing Rose Barrowcliffe, First Nations Archives Advisor

In July 2021 proud Butchulla woman, Rose Barrowcliffe, was appointed as Queensland’s inaugural First Nations Archives Advisor to help the State’s archives become more inclusive record of Queensland history. By recognising Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples worldviews and perspectives, the archives can move to a model of respect and acknowledge our difficult, shared history. For Rose, archives are not just an interest, but a way for First Nations voices to be included in the telling of history.

Watch Rose discuss her new role:

Duration 00:02:29 |

My name is Rose Barrowcliffe, I am a Butchulla woman, and I am a PhD student at the University of the Sunshine Coast, and I was recently appointed the First Nations Advisor to the Queensland State Archives.

The role is new and really, it’s supporting the Queensland State Archives in assisting the Queensland Government with their pathway to Treaty.

A large part of that is truth telling and obviously the Archives have a big part in that because they hold the records from the Queensland Government.

So, my PhD is about archival practice, and how that impacts on the representation of Indigenous peoples, which then, how does that impact on what we know is history. And I made a mini documentary series which is what became the exhibition.

My interest and my research in archives has really just come from my own personal experience of visiting an archive and being shocked that there wasn’t more about Butchulla people in the archive and that’s what got me started on my research journey.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have their own records and their own archives and often those records are non-literate as in they’re not written down and they are recorded in stories, and songs and artworks and dance and we need to be mindful of incorporating those stories as well and listening to them and giving them equal weight.

My role is helping them to think about representation and agency of First Nations people in that process of truth telling and how Queensland State Archives going forward can be a place that supports Indigenous people in this state in taking control of their own narratives and knowing their histories.

Rose is also doing her PhD and recently held an exhibition as part of her doctoral research, called ‘Reading between the lines’.

National Redress Scheme record

Supporting the National Redress Scheme

The National Redress Scheme was set up following recommendations from the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

There are several Queensland Government departments taking part in the scheme and Queensland State Archives holds records which you may find useful to support redress claims. Records you may expect to find include school admission and patient registers, as well as records from children’s homes, mental health facilities and youth justice centres.

Many of these records contain sensitive and personal information, so they are closed to the general public for up to 100 years. However, you can search for and apply to access these records via our online catalogue ArchivesSearch, or you can get free assistance from an archivist at QSA.

‘Finding archival records can be tricky,’ said Michelle McNamara, Manager Access Services.

‘However, our archivists are here to help.

‘We can tell you what types of records we have, help you find records, and we can also show you how to apply for access to those records.

‘Just give us a call or send us an email,’ Michelle said

For further information, or to arrange a time to meet with an archivist, call 3037 6777 or email info@archives.qld.gov.au.

Cropped image of a Google map

Discover Queensland through Q-Album

Q-Album is a growing historical collection-sharing platform. Built by QSA and Gaia Resources, Q-Album brings together our archival collection plus smaller historical collections from around Queensland – from Cooktown to Cunnamulla.

Browse through Q-Album to find stunning images from Queensland’s history, compare past and present images of streets and towns using Google Maps, and read the fascinating stories behind the photos.

Historical organisations that would like to share their collections on this free-to-use platform should write to qalbum@archives.qld.gov.au.