Text Queensland is a new and exciting innovation which provides a “collection of full-text, searchable, digitised sources on Queensland Colonial and state history”[i]. I learnt about this a few days ago when I read an update on the John Oxley Library blog.
This is a wonderful site which will be invaluable to historians of all ilks who are interested in Queensland’s history. It has a great deal to offer family historians in terms of the background information we all need to understand the factors which affected our ancestors lives in Queensland and how certain issues affected them in the broader context. Understanding these wide influences can make us realise that what was happening to our families was not necessarily unique to them or it might show the opposite, that they were different from prevailing trends.
The site has several tabs and I was most excited to see the one labelled Theses as these are sometimes difficult to access unless one is able to visit a particular university’s library or has academic access to their resources. I simply searched for “Irish” and turned up over 20 theses which refer to this topic. Immediately I found one thesis that I’ve wanted to read for quite a while but never have the time to sit and peruse it when in Brisbane. That thesis is by M R Macginley “A study of Irish migration to, and settlement in, Queensland 1885-1912”. Another one I’ll be reading is about Robert Dunne, one of Queensland’s early bishops and previously a parish priest in the Toowoomba area where my ancestors lived. I’ve read Neil Byrne’s excellent book, Robert Dunne, Archbishop of Brisbane and found great quotes in there as well as references to his difficulties with the German Catholics on the Downs. While family historians may be intimidated by the thought of reading an academic thesis, they can take heart from the fact they are mostly clearly written with comparatively little jargon. Any phrases requiring specific expertise can be easily followed up. Given them a go, I promise they will reward the effort you put into them.
Another tab which bears close inspection is called Journals and includes the Journal of the Royal Historical Society of Queensland. Again lots of topics of relevance to my family history.
The Books tab offers an array of books of relevance to Queensland’s history and I found quite a few from my own bookshelves on there.
The Queenslander tab takes you to Trove so you can limit your search to just that newspaper. However I could not find any reference to the 1909 images of early Queensland pioneers: something that will merit further investigation.
I didn’t find the Government Gazette tab as helpful I must admit and will probably stick to the digitised indexes provided by QFHS.
When you find something you would like to read it’s easy to read it on-screen page by page. If you want to download it you can but I did find that rather time-consuming as the files are quite large. I guess it depends on how much you want to keep a copy.
So many thanks to The University of Queensland, UQ Press and State Library of Queensland for this wonderful resource. I anticipate using it a lot.
[i] The description is provided on the website.