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Showing posts from May, 2020

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Our twenty-fifth treasure is an unpublished manuscript from an important north Queensland literary and political figure.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 Jean Devanny’s unpublished manuscript, Life on a Barrier Reef island , was written in the 1950s.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. Life on a Barrier Reef Island or Island Interlude , an unpublished manuscript by Jean Devanny. Photograph

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. Robert Preston, S'labicated

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 forw

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

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. Val Russell sketchbooks. Photograph by Michael Marzik. Almost 60 years later, not only had

50 Treasures: Townsville Custom House Plans

Our twenty-first treasure is a set of beautifully detailed plans for one of Townsville's iconic buildings. From the Library Archives comes the Townsville Custom House Plans . Trisha Fielding answers the question "why is this significant?" In the late 1890s the Queensland Government commenced a program to build new or upgrade existing customs houses, prior to Federation in 1901. The program saw new customs houses built at Bundaberg, Rockhampton, Mackay and Townsville. Townsville Custom House Sheet No. 7, Elevation to Wickham Street (including cross-section details), 30 December, 1899 . Photograph by Michael Marzik. Townsville’s former Customs House is located on the corner of Wickham Street and The Strand. Completed in 1902, the building was designed by George David Payne of the Government Architect’s Office in the Queensland Department of Public Works. Payne was a London-trained architect who had emigrated to Australia around 1887. Townsville Custom House Shee