House Conspiracy Residency

For my House Conspiracy Residency at 42 Mollison Street,  (5-31 December 2017) I’m attempting to research and write a house history and produce an interpretive panel for the house at 42 Mollison Street, West End (see pic below).

So far, I haven’t been able to contact the previous owner,  Mrs Richards, despite asking for assistance from the real estate agent who sold the house and her son-in-law at the Brisbane Times.

It will be mighty hard without input from the Richards family to create a rounded picture of the house’s history. However, I’m hoping that I will still be able to contact a member of the family before I have to draw a line under the research in the next couple of weeks to create the interpretation.

If you can help with contacting the Richards family, let me know via Facebook:

Hilary Davies

Upcoming Event – 13 May 2015

To celebrate the re-digitisation of the Hume Photographic Collection, there will be seminar about the Hume Family and their photographs for the Friends of Fryer Library at The University of Queensland on 13 May. Bill Kitson will talk about Walter Hume’s maritime photographs, while I’ll talk about the Hume family. If you’re a Fryer Library Friend, I look forward to seeing you there.

Hume Family Photographic Collection redigitised

Hume Family Photographic Collection redigitised.

Hume Family Photographic Collection redigitised

The University of Queensland Library has re-digitised the Hume Family images at a higher resolution and added them to espace.


Pile Light, Moreton Bay. Hume Photographic Collection, University of Queensland Library, image: hume097

Go to: then search using ‘Hume family’

These amazing images are part of the wonderful Hume Family Collection held by the Fryer Library. The Humes were great travellers and Walter Hume was a keen photographer from the 1870s until at least 1909. The collection contains more than 600 images of Queensland and British places, as well as photographs from India, North Africa and Argentina.  As a member of the Queensland Marine Defence Force Volunteers, Walter took part in naval exercises and photographed the ships and crew of Queensland’s navy in the 1890s.

If you want to know more about the Hume family and their life in Queensland between 1863 and 1901, see my book Surveying Success: The Hume Family in Colonial Queensland, which is available from the Brisbane History Group:

Upcoming publication in Circa No.4

Circa No 4, the journal of the Professional Historians Association, will be launched at Old Government House on 9 July. My paper about the now-closed Green Island Underwater Observatory will be included. The Green Island Underwater Observatory was the first underwater observatory in the open sea in the world when it opened in 1954.

It’s designer and initiator was Vince Vlasoff who was involved in many tourist ventures post-World War II. From crocodile hunting to game fishing, finding and raising the Endeavour cannons, designing underwater observatories in Japan and Guam, to having a reef and an island named after him – Vlasoff was a well known north Queensland identity.

Although no longer in use, the Green Island Underwater Observatory is still firmly embedded on the reef off the jetty at Green Island. You can still experience it on YouTube:

Its history is a fascinating story of early Great Barrier Reef tourism.

More information after the journal is launched. I hope you enjoy reading it.

Oral History Association of Australia Journal article

Leo Marienthal presented with the bugle he lost in the Egyptian desert in 1915.

Leo Marienthal presented with the bugle he lost in Egypt in 1915.

The Oral History Association of Australia Journal available from 21 September 2013 will include my article ‘Boyhood Memories of Person and Place’ concerning the life of Brisbane businessman Leo Charles Marienthal (1891-1969). Using an interview with one of the few people still alive who knew him, it provides a nostalgic recollection of the man and his home.

Link to the Oral History Association Journal:

Gympie Heritage paper

Gympie Heritage paper.

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