Brisbane History Group:
NEW and FORTHCOMING PUBLICATIONS
BHG STUDIES NO. 8: THE BEST OF COLONIAL BRISBANE
2012 (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, 3 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.
‘This book is brimming with the people, pursuits, places and passions of a formative era in higgledy-piggledy Brisbane’. The author
BHG STUDIES NO. 7: SURVEYING SUCCESS: THE HUME FAMILY IN COLONIAL QUEENSLAND
2011 (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, Brisbane historian
BHG SOURCES NO. 14: FERN VALE OR THE QUEENSLAND SQUATTER
2011 (352 pages), Colin Munro (ed. 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
BHG PAPERS NO. 22: BRISBANE: HOUSES, GARDENS, SUBURBS AND CONGREGATIONS
2010 (324 pages), ed. Rod Fisher
For anyone hooked on the history of houses, gardens, suburbs or congregations, what other collection of papers can provide such value for money? Written by experts in each of these areas of community history, it offers 16 papers of insights into these particular pursuits.
The first section on houses, looks at interwar ‘Whangerei’ in Annerley as well as colonial ‘Moorings’ in Spring Hill. It then turns to the domestic interiors and way of life, particularly changes between the wars, which is a neglected era of Brisbane history.
The second section on gardens considers the influence of particular manuals and one early superintendent of Brisbane parks. It focuses more on specific sites, especially the Botanic and Acclimatisation Society Gardens and Victoria and New Farm Parks.
The third section on suburbs takes at least four of them into its stride, namely The Grange, New Farm, Stafford and Wilston. This supplements other BHG papers and tours on many localities of Brisbane, the latest being Ashgrove and the earliest Petrie Terrace.
Not to be outdone, the fourth section examines Anglican, Baptist, Jewish and Catholic congregations. In so doing, this augments earlier papers and tours on these and other religious denominations, institutions and sites. More casestudies are provided in the reference list.
As well as offering insights into their history, this omnibus volume breaks new ground by including one introductory or instructive paper on each subject. This shows not only how to do it in terms of sources, methods and examples but also how the author actually did it – for you to do likewise perhaps.
BHG PAPERS NO. 21: BRISBANE: PEOPLE AND PLACES OF ASHGROVE
2010 (349 pages), ed. Barry Shaw
This 21st volume of Brisbane History Group papers focuses primarily on the suburb of Ashgrove. The collection of fifteen papers is divided into four sections. The first provides an overview. The second deals with the history and development of Ashgrove. The third section provides a series of biographical vignettes of four of the suburb’s illustrious residents and the final section should evoke memories for Ashgrovians as it provides a brief autobiographical account of growing up in Ashgrove during World War II.
BHG SOURCES NO. 13: TOM HURSTBOURNE OR A SQUATTER’S LIFE
2010 (336 pages), John Clavering Wood, eds. 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.
BHG STUDIES NO. 6: THE MAKING OF A METROPOLIS: BRISBANE 1823-1925
2009 (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.
BHG SOURCES NO. 12: BOOSTING BRISBANE: IMPRINTING THE COLONIAL CAPITAL OF QUEENSLAND
2009 (300 pages), comp. 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.
That was until the economic slump took the wind out of the sails of immigration and investment – also the optimism and expansion engendered by Separation itself.
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.
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