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50 Treasures: The Torres Strait Islander Community lecture by Eddie Koiki Mabo

Our twenty-sixth treasure being released on Mabo Day is not a coincidence, for what better way is there to celebrate Mabo Day than with a lecture from Eddie Koiki Mabo himself? From the North Queensland Collection comes the Torres Strait Islander Community lecture by Eddie Koiki Mabo.

Bronwyn McBurnie answers the question "why is this significant?"

Primary sources, often found in the form of letters, diaries, manuscripts and recordings, are the raw material of serious enquiry. They are original records or documents created by someone who lived at the time of the event being studied. These sources enable us to get as close as possible to what actually happened. Many moments of unbridled excitement occur in the Library Special Collections when researchers discover primary sources which reveal the very first record of information pertaining to their subject.

This video, which depicts Eddie Koiki Mabo delivering a guest lecture about the Torres Strait Islander community to educa…
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50 Treasures: Life on a Barrier Reef Island or Island Interlude

Our twenty-fifth treasure is an unpublished manuscript from an important north Queensland literary and political figure. From the Library Archives comes Life on a Barrier Reef Island or Island Interlude by Jean Devanny.

Liz Downes answers the question "why is this significant?"

Jean Devanny’s unpublished manuscript, Life on a Barrier Reef island, was written in the 1950s. Newly arrived in Townsville, which was to become her final home, Jean spent several months in 1950 and 1951 living on Magnetic Island, confessing she was first attracted to the place by the presence of its windmills! It was an odd interest but once she had settled into her free and easy guesthouse at Alma Bay, made a friend of the landlady (and her dog) and become acquainted with her neighbours, she found there was so much more to explore, discover and celebrate—by day and night—than windmills.

What leaps off the neatly-typed pages is her exuberant delight at everything and everybody she encounters. Entrance…

National Reconciliation Week 2020: 27 May – 3 June #InThisTogether2020

This week is National Reconciliation Week and the theme is “In this together”. The National Reconciliation Week website lists 20 ways to be in this together.
On our Indigenous Studies Guide we share some links to some media outlets that focus on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander news and current events, tv, music, film and other items of interest. Some of them are produced, operated or controlled by Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations or staff. Exposing ourselves to new content and ideas can also help us to be “in this together”.
We love the idea of the virtual book club. We have a few of these titles available in our library, including Archie Roach’s book “Tell me why: the story of my life and my music”.
Here is Archie Roach singing “We won’t cry” with Uncle Jack Charles.




50 Treasures; S'labicated Monument 1 & S'labicated Monument 2 by Bob Preston

Our twenty-fourth treasures exemplifies the meeting of art, architecture and the imagination, showcasing the ability to turn the mundane into the fantastical. From the James Cook University Art Collection comes S'labicated Monument 1 and S'labicated Monument 2 by Bob Preston

Jonathan McBurnie answers the question "why is this significant?"

Robert Preston’s 2010 drawings, S’labicated Monument 1 and S’labicated Monument 2, remain confident and lively drawings made partially on site at James Cook University, but it is the complex registers of meaning that the artist applied to the site that make the works compelling. Were they simply rendered in situ from the then-recent additions to the campus, these works would still stand as expertly rendered observational drawings. However, in many ways, these two drawings sum up— deliberately and otherwise— the complex emotions orbiting what was then the new School of Creative Arts for JCU.

The act of making these drawings imbues th…

Library & Information Week: 25-31 May 2020

Library & Information Week is an annual event which recognises the vital contribution which libraries make to research and education, not the least of which is supporting people who may otherwise be disadvantaged by their lack of access to information and services.

The theme this year is ‘Create’ and it is particularly relevant to the situation in which we have all found ourselves.

We have had to create new ways of delivering services to our library users, new ways of connecting with colleagues and new ways of sharing information. We have had to support students, researchers and staff as they create their own ‘new normal’, given the necessary constraints on movement and activities. Read more about how JCU's library services have adapted to the challenges presented by COVID-19.

In Townsville, our Artist in Residence Rob Douma has been busy creating stunning artwork for the forthcoming Mabo Library Art Exhibition. Prior to starting his work, Rob wrote:
I look forward to interact…

50 Treasures: James Birrell Archive University Library Photographs

Our twenty-third treasure shows the creation and early life of an architectural masterpiece that has been listed in the top 10 of Australia's best public concrete buildings. From the Library Archives comes the James Birrell Archive University Library Photographs.

Trisha Fielding answers the question "why is this significant?"

The Eddie Koiki Mabo Library, on James Cook University’s Douglas campus in Townsville, is arguably one of north Queensland’s most architecturally significant buildings. Designed by Melbourne-born architect James Birrell, the first stage of the Library was in use by late 1968.

Birrell designed a three-storey, rectangular, off-form concrete building, with an oversized steel-framed copper roof. Described as having a sculptural form with sloping exterior walls, the Library is an outstanding example of 1960s brutalist architecture. Descended from the modernist architectural movement, brutalism (which was in vogue in Australia from the 1950s to the 1970s) …

50 Treasures: Val Russell's Sketchbooks

Our twenty-second treasure is the sketchbooks of a prolific north Queensland artist. From the Library Archives comes the Val Russell Sketchbooks.

Ann Roebuck answers the question "why is this significant?"

History is replete with the tales of men and women who discovered continents, new societies, vaccines for dangerous disease, and those who conquered new frontiers in space.

What we don’t hear often enough about, however, are those quiet people among our local communities who are making history – the history of our spaces, our regions – in many different fields.

Atherton Tablelands artist Val Russell was one such person.

In her beautifully written telling of her mother’s life, ‘Sketchbooks – an Artist’s Life on the Tablelands’ (2013), daughter Ellen Danaher describes how Val and her new husband Eric arrived in Atherton in January, 1946, intending to stay for 12 months.

Almost 60 years later, not only had they raised a family of three, Val’s love for art and making art led to…