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Research at John Oxley

September 13, 2009

Another great week at UAP! At the moment, I’m based in their studio on Thursdays and had a very productive day last week working on pre-concept development.

I’m gearing up for some serious research and spent two days at the State Library of Queensland (SLQ) in the John Oxley Library, which supports the study of the cultural and social aspects of local communities.

The library is named after John Oxley (1785-1828), who was born in England and sailed to Australia as a surveyor with the Royal Navy in 1801. He led three important expeditions including one to Morten Bay in 1823 in search of a new place to house convicts. He explored the river for about 20 kilometres and named it the Brisbane River after the governor. Returning to Sydney, Oxley recommended Moreton Bay as the place for a convict settlement, which was established on the bay at Redcliffe in 1824. Later the colony was moved south to a site on the Brisbane River at North Quay, where there was a more reliable water supply, which became the city of Brisbane.

Designed by Donovan Hill/Peddle Thorpe (1997), SLQ is such a vast yet intimate space, conducive to study and exploration. Even with crowds in the hundreds attending the Brisbane Writer’s Festival last week, there was enough buzz in the spaces where you want it and peace in the spaces you didn’t! I thoroughly enjoyed looking through eight boxes of various views of Brisbane from the 1860s to the 1970s, and yes, it took a while! We must remain grateful to all the benefactors of these image and book collections collections. They help shape our collective knowledge of who we are and where we’ve come from.

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