Text Queensland - Queensland's past online

Text Queensland is a free website that presents a unique and dynamic collection of full-text, searchable, digitised sources on Queensland’s colonial and state history.

Text Queensland is a collaboration between the University of Queensland Library and the Centre for the Government of Queensland at the University of Queensland.

It features books, journals, theses and newspapers as well as government sources. It will be invaluable for anyone interested in Queensland, from school and university students to researchers, family and local historians.

Text Queensland is published by the University of Queensland, with support from the Queensland Government, in collaboration with a wide range of partners. It adds to the suite of websites already published by the Centre for the Government of Queensland including the Queensland Historical Atlas (http://www.qhatlas.com.au) and Queensland Places (http://www.queenslandplaces.com.au).


Text Queensland features the following book collections:

University of Queensland Press (since 1948)

Founded in 1948, University of Queensland Press (UQP) has been the dominant publisher of scholarly books on the politics and history of Queensland. Titles cover regional studies, accounts of governance, political biography, race and labour relations and social history. Authors include historians, journalists, economists, scientists and other specialists.

Queensland heritage texts (since 1841)

Most of these texts, sourced from libraries in Queensland and elsewhere, are long out of print. The authors came from many areas of life and include significant literary figures, politicians, administrators, journalists, pastoralists and itinerant rural workers. From the 1840s the region that became known as Queensland (from 1859) attracted European explorers, travellers and settlers, many of whom left accounts of their stay. Potential investors and migrants could read tales of the colony's untapped riches. From the early 1880s versions of Queensland's history appeared in print. Some acknowledged the prior occupation of Indigenous people and some even documented frontier violence.

Lectures on North Queensland History (1972-74)

This publication had its origins in a series of lectures delivered to students of Australian History in the James Cook University’s then Department of History (later Department of History and Politics) between 1972 and 1974.  Many themes were explored, including race and labour relations, gender studies, mining, pastoral and sugar industries. Acknowledgement is made to the cooperation of the Department of Humanities, James Cook University for making this material available.  


Text Queensland features long runs of journals and serials as well as selected journal articles.

Journal of the Royal Historical Society of Queensland  (1914-94)

First published in 1914, this journal is the longest running serial publication devoted to the study of Queensland’s history. The Historical Society of Queensland (later the Royal Historical Society of Queensland) was established in 1913. Its first members perceived an urgent need to preserve documents and artefacts relating to Queensland history and to promote interest in and advance the study of the state’s history.

While the publication’s frequency varied in its formative years, from 1948 an issue appeared annually and from 1986 it has been produced quarterly with occasional special issues. In November 2008 it became known as the Queensland History Journal. The journal’s focus has altered from an early concentration on pioneers, politicians and development to a wider appreciation of the factors shaping Queensland’s history. Acknowledgement is made to the cooperation of the Society for making all back issues of the journal to 1994 available in full text.

Political Chronicles - Queensland. Extracts from Australian journal of politics and history (since 1955)

Annual and bi-annual (from 1997) summary of political events in Queensland written for the Australian journal of politics and history. The best starting point for Queensland politics in this period.

The shearers’ record  (1888-93)

A monthly journal published by the Amalgamated Shearers’ Union of Australasia and based in Victoria. Title changed in 1891 to The shearers’ and general laborers’ record when General Laborers’ Union included. According to the first issue in 1888, each month 15,000 copies were distributed to principal towns in Victoria, New South Wales, South Australia and Queensland. Later issues reflect some Queensland events.

Queensland heritage (1964-79)

A bi-annual journal produced by the State Library of Queensland from 1964-79, when it was renamed the John Oxley journal, and ran for two more years. It promoted the use of original source material for literary and historical studies of Queensland.

John Oxley journal: a bulletin for historical research in Queensland (1980-81)

Re-named for the specialist Queensland studies library established within the State Library of Queensland, it ran for only two years. It was preceded by Queensland heritage 1964-79.

Research Higher Degree Theses (since 1937)

For the first time selected research higher degree theses (Honours, Masters and PhD) of the University of Queensland on Queensland history and related topics are made available to a wider audience through this website. Relevant theses from other regional and state universities augment the collection.

They are drawn from a wide range of study areas including history, political science, tourism, geography, social science, economics, law, business, architecture, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander studies, literature, music, architecture, health, medicine, psychology and international studies.

The University of Queensland has made best endeavours to obtain author permissions to include theses in this collection. If you are the author of a thesis and we have been unable to contact you, please email espace@library.uq.edu.au

Pugh’s Almanac (1859-1927)

Pugh’s Moreton Bay Almanac first appeared in book form in 1858. An annual publication, Pugh’s or ‘Pugh’ as it was typically referred to in its heyday, grew from a one page sheet to a handsome publication of over 1400 pages supplemented by maps and, from 1897, photographs. Its role as an almanac, listing calendars of events, tides, weather, astronomical and historical data was supplemented and indeed superseded by its role as a government and non-government directory of professions and businesses as well as a gazetteer of Queensland places. It encompassed a vast range of data from the Acts of Queensland to zodiac signs and provided everything the traveller or person wishing to do business with Queenslanders might need to know. Pugh’s promoted Queensland to the outside world, as well as providing essential information for those with transactions within the colony/state.

Pugh’s, a commercial publication which took advertisements, appeared early in the year, summarising significant events from the previous year and including data from surveys collected from government departments and business organisations. In 1927, the publication ceased, not least because of competition from the telephone book which drastically reduced advertising revenues. 

Queensland Government Gazette (1859-1900)

The new colonial government in Queensland, on extracting itself from New South Wales, published its first gazette on 10 December 1859. Gazettes were common to all Australian colonial governments and are still used to communicate information to government officials and the general public. These communications covered a range of issues including proclamations, official appointments (from teachers to railway employees), tenders, licences, legal notices, statistics, bankruptcy and land transactions among others. In Queensland, gazettes were issued weekly, on a Saturday, though special issues were also produced mid-week as necessary.

Government gazettes provide a wealth of information for researchers, though navigating through them can be a daunting task. The first gazette was 4 pages long. By 1870s they averaged over 30 pages and by the 1880s more than 40 pages weekly. The disparate categories of information and the seemingly random arrangement of notices still provide challenges for their user. There is an annual cumulated index, located at the beginning of each volume. While it is of limited use in thematic searching it is very useful for tracking personal and place names. 

Hansard (Queensland Parliamentary Debates) (since 1980)

Hansard is the official record of the debates and proceedings of the Queensland Parliament’s Legislative Assembly. Queensland’s upper house, the Legislative Council, was abolished in 1922. This website link gives access to Hansard, a written record of speeches and statements to parliament, from 1980. It is keyword searchable by name and topic, and can be read sequentially or accessed by date. The website is maintained by the Queensland Parliament.

The Centre for the Government of Queensland at the University of Queensland financed the digitisation of ten years of Hansard, 1980-89.

The Queenslander (newspaper) (1866-1939)

The Queenslander, a weekly summary of news and features geared to rural readers, first appeared on Saturday 3 February 1866, published from the offices of the Brisbane Courier. From 1875, The Queenslander expanded from twelve broadsheet pages to a folded and sewn tabloid of thirty-two pages bearing an engraved masthead representing an allegorical scene, ‘a well-grouped and compact symbol of what goes to make up the prosperity of farmer, squatter and planter’ as the paper described it on 21 August 1875.

The Queenslander continued to expand and undergo changes in format throughout its history. Illustrations began to be used increasingly from the 1890s. In April 1927 the advertisements which had previously appeared on the front page were replaced by a glossy illustrated cover. Although these changes involved extra production costs there was no increase in price with the paper still selling for sixpence, the same price as it had done in 1866.

Its outlook was typically moderate and inclusive, promoting itself as ‘a family newspaper’. But in 1880 the paper published, under the heading ‘The Way We Civilise’, a series of significant articles and letters critical of the activities of the Native Police. This proved an aberration.

The Queenslander’s focus was not exclusively rural. Parliamentary and legal affairs, cable and correspondents news were well represented. Sporting matters were reported on and the paper developed an extensive literary and theatrical coverage. Regular columns such as ‘Selected Poetry’; ‘The Reviewer’; The Essayist’ and ‘The Sketcher’ gave voice to a local literary culture through the publication of local writing and were thus an effective marketing tool.  The publication ceased in 1939: sales had fallen and The Queenslander proved too old-fashioned to compete with new, pictorial magazines, from the Australian Women’s Weekly to Pix.

The Centre for the Government of Queensland at the University of Queensland and the State Library of Queensland financed the digitisation of The Queenslander as part of the National Library of Australia’s online digitised Historic Australian Newspapers Collection.