21 December 2010

Queensland’s history is firmly on the map with The University of Queensland (UQ) and the Queensland Museum today launching the Queensland Historical Atlas - an unconventional online atlas that takes a fresh look at the state’s history.

The Queensland Historical Atlas is an Australian first, with Queensland becoming the only state to explore its diverse history on such a grand scale online, featuring more than 1,000 maps, photographs, rarely-seen museum objects and expertly crafted stories to explore Queensland’s histories, cultures and landscapes.

The University of Queensland Vice Chancellor, Professor Paul Greenfield, said the atlas brought together experts from history, geography, environmental science and ecology, with contributors from every Queensland University, other Australian states and North America.

UQ students were among the key researchers and editorial board members he said.

At the launch of the Atlas at the Brisbane Customs House, one of the city’s great heritage structures, Professor Greenfield recalled, “the modest timber gates at Coolangatta and the railway station at Wallangarra” as two memorable border crossings with New South Wales.

Queensland Museum CEO, Dr Ian Galloway, said the Queensland Historical Atlas cleverly spans borders, historical eras, cultural perspectives and diverse activities to bring the state’s history to life.

“By using broad themes such as movement, imagination and transformation, the Atlas brings together more than 170 engaging stories of Queensland’s past and illustrates them with maps, photos and some incredible objects from the Museum’s collections,” Dr Galloway said.

“People can see the first QANTAS mail bag used to transport mail between Australia and England in 1931, an amazing 70 year old headdress made from 1200 rabbit tails from south west Queensland, and the 1972 election card when Neville Bonner stood for a place in the Senate.”

The Queensland Historical Atlas is an Australian Research Council funded Linkage project between the Queensland Museum and the University of Queensland.

UQ's Professor Peter Spearritt, who is one of the general editors, said the atlas is, “a freely available website, accessible to all, from school and university students to members of the general public who want to understand more about why Queensland is the way it is."

The Queensland Historical Atlas is available online at www.qhatlas.com.au.
Media: Professor Peter Spearritt, from UQ, 0421 055 292 or Louise Sturgess or Sarah Perrott, from the Queensland Museum, 07 3842 9388 or 0417 741 710.