Happy Queensland Day – We’ve Come A Long Way Baby!

Queenslanders like to party so there is a week long celebration, which started on Saturday 31 May and will continue until Saturday 8 June 2014, to celebrate Queensland Day. Our official birthday is on Friday 6 June.

Queensland officially came into being on 6 June 1859 when Queen Victoria signed the proclamation separating the State from New South Wales. And, one presumes she had some say in the naming of the State after herself – Queensland. Some might say we’re a little late in getting the party started because ‘Queensland Day’ has only been officially celebrated and promoted by the State Government since 1981.

Queenslanders, both born and bred, and those who have migrated to these sunny climes, all agree it’s a pretty great place to live. I have put together some quirky facts and found some  images of our great State from the past to give you a sense of perspective, and to appreciate our great State even more.

In respect to the traditional owners of the land and in honour of National Reconciliation Week­ (28 May to 3 June 2014), I thought it fitting to acknowledge the Indigenous communities first, and their many and varied traditional ways of life, which respect the natural environment.

National Reconciliation Week

National Reconciliation Week – image courtesy of inspiritoo.com

Quirky facts – did you know?

  • Queensland has its own State animal – the koala
The koala is Queensland's State animal

The koala is Queensland’s State animal. Photo in the public domain.

  • Queensland has its own State flower – the Cooktown Orchid
The Cooktown Orchid is Queensland's State flower

The Cooktown Orchid is Queensland’s State flower.

  • Queensland has its own State bird – the brolga

Early illustration of a brolga – Queensland’s State bird. Image in public domain.

  • Queensland has its own State fish – Barrier Reef anemonefish
Queensland's State fish - the Barrier Reef anemonefish

Queensland’s State fish – the Barrier Reef anemonefish. Photo in public domain.

    Queensland has its own State gem – the sapphire
The sapphire is Queensland's State gem.

The sapphire is Queensland’s State gem. Photo in public domain.

And, as we all know, our colour is maroon – my last post – Go the Maroons was literally awash with the hue!

Our sporting life…

We love our sport, but did you know that Rugby Union was the first football code played in Queensland? Rugby Union was still a new sport in the 1890s, and the dominant code until the advent of Rugby League in 1908. But recreational pursuits like football were limited to Saturday afternoon. Sunday was for church and ‘rest’. Sports only became popular as the working week was shortened from six days to five and a half days in the late 1900s.

A game of Rugby Union in Queensland circa 1909

A game of Rugby Union in Queensland circa 1909. Photo in public domain.

Rugby League became popular after 1908 and teams were formed in small towns all around Queensland. This team is from Kandanga, a small town in the Mary Valley, near Gympie, an area which industries included timber felling and saw-milling.

This formidable team was formed in circa 1919 and these men may well have worked in the local timber industry

This formidable team was formed in circa 1919 and these men may well have worked in the local timber industry. Photo in public domain.

Cricket is another favourite Queensland pastime and you can see the proud members of the Atherton team posing for their photograph outside their clubhouse in 1908.

Local cricket team in Atherton, North Queensland in 1908

Local cricket team in Atherton, North Queensland in 1908. Photo in public domain.

Many of us pass lycra clad cyclists on our commute to and from work on weekdays. The outfits may have changed but cycling has long been a popular Queensland pastime.

Cycling enthusiasts - Ipswich Cycling Club circa 1916

Cycling enthusiasts – Ipswich Cycling Club circa 1916. Photo in public domain.

Brisbane, the capital of Queensland, is known as the ‘River City’ because the Brisbane River serpentines through the city, and continues to be a popular spot for sport and recreation.

Coxed Four rowing past the South Brisbane Wharves circa 1928

Coxed Four rowing past the South Brisbane Wharves circa 1928. Photo in public domain.

Queensland is famous for its spectacular beaches and swimming continues to be a popular pastime. Segregated swimming was in vogue until around 1910. Women in bathing costumes were a much rarer site in this era.

These boys are enjoying posing for the camera

These boys are enjoying posing for the camera – circa 1910. Photo in public domain.

By the 1950s, Surfers Paradise had become known as a mecca for holiday-makers – segregated swimming was definitely a thing of the past!

Cherry Walker (nee Leach) modelling swimsuits at Surfers Paradise, 1951

Cherry Walker (nee Leach) modelling swimsuits at Surfers Paradise, 1951. The swimsuit was used for an advertisement for the department store T.C. Beirne. Photo in public domain.

Mixing work and play…

Who doesn’t love a BBQ?  Perhaps these Commonwealth Bank employees were early adapters of Queensland Day celebrations! The employees are having chops and bread rolls.

Commonwealth Bank employees enjoying a barbecue, 1950-1960 Keith Hannaford (wearing glasses) is the chief cook

Commonwealth Bank employees enjoying a barbecue, 1950-1960 Keith Hannaford (wearing glasses) is the chief cook. Photo in public domain.

Dining out…

We like eating out now and we liked eating out then… Queensland café society in the 1950s.

Diners at the Palms Cafe in Queen Street, Brisbane, in the 1950s

Diners at the Palms Cafe in Queen Street, Brisbane, in the 1950s. Photo in public domain.

A cultural and fashionable life…

Contrary to popular opinion, we Queenslanders are a cultured lot. Are these ladies dressed up in homage to Gilbert and Sullivan perhaps, or just enjoying a Japanese tea party?

Women enjoying tea, dressing up and good company

Women enjoying tea, dressing up and good company. These young ladies enjoy broad cultural horizons on the verandah of a Queenslander. Photo in public domain.

Large hats and long dresses were all the fashion for women in the 1900s. Ankles were rarely seen.

Fashionable ladies of the day circa 1908

Fashionable ladies of the day circa 1908. Photo in public domain.

Clothes maketh the man and this stellar gent is wearing a double-breasted suit and felt hat, in Brisbane.

A man wearing a double-breasted suit is standing outside a house in Brisbane, circa 1940-1950

A man wearing a double-breasted suit is standing outside a house in Brisbane, circa 1940-1950. Photo in public domain.

City life…

Who doesn’t find peak hour traffic in Brisbane stressful? Apparently not too much has changed since 1952, except we no longer have trams. Popular cars in the early 1950s included Ford, Holden, Austin, Morris and Vauxhall.

Cars and trams travelling along Victoria Bridge, Brisbane, 1952

Cars and trams travelling along Victoria Bridge, Brisbane, 1952. The trams were destined for New Farm Wharf and the Valley. Photo in public domain.

The inland city of Toowoomba, which hosts the Carnival of Flowers each Spring, has long been regarded as one of the ‘prettiest’ Queensland cities.

An early street scene of Toowoomba

An early street scene of Toowoomba. Photo in public domain.

Ipswich once, and may again, rival Brisbane in terms of its size. In 1904, it went through a period of growth with coal mines, railway workshops, foundries, the woollen mill, sawmills and light industries such as Roberts’ Carriage Works all contributing to the growth of Ipswich.

The quiet street belies the importance of Ipswich. The photo may have been taken on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon with the children in the street. Photo in public domain.

The beginnings of the northern city of Townsville can be seen in this early photograph.

Townsville circa 1910

Townsville circa 1910. Photo in public domain.

A retail empire…

The A. J. Smith & Co. stores have been in business since the early days at Cloncurry, Julia Creek and Normanton. The original business started in Port Douglas. The building shown here was the second shop in Cloncurry. The first store, built in 1898, was dismantled in the 1930s and cut in two – half the store went to Richmond to become the Richmond Store, and the other half was sent to another location in Cloncurry and became J. C. Butts’ store.

 A. J. Smith store in Cloncurry 1952

A. J. Smith store in Cloncurry 1952. Photo in public domain.

Moving the store to Richmond involved a barge from Normanton to Townsville, then to Richmond by train, then Richmond to Cloncurry by camel train. The cost of the relocation was estimated to have cost £28,000. It was re-erected at a cost of £1,000 . A. J. Smith had businesses from 1898 in Burketown, Normanton, Richmond, Julia Creek and Cloncurry.

Enterprising women…

This photographic studio appears to be the same premises as that occupied by Harriett Brims’ ‘Britannia Studio’ in Ingham between 1902 and 1903. At the time this photograph was taken, the studio does not seem to be operational – the plaque on the wall to the right of the door reads: ‘Agency Liverpool & London & Globe Insurance Co.’ It is possible that Harriett Brims, an early female Queensland photographer, returned to Ingham in later years to photograph her old studio. The words ‘Britannia Studio’ can be seen faintly coming through the paint on the sign above the bull-nose awning.

Two women in front of a photographic studio in Ingham, North Queensland

Two women in front of a photographic studio in Ingham, North Queensland. Photo in public domain.

Wherever you are in this great State – I hope you enjoyed this glimpse of our past. Happy Queensland Day!

 

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