Thematic Study – River Heritage

Our River, Our Stories – Tales from the Brisbane River
Did you know that the city of Brisbane originally started as a penal colony? Visit the Queensland Maritime Museum from 31st August until the 28th of November, to see an exhibition that captures some of the stories of the Brisbane River from its convict days to more recent maritime history.

The Brisbane River had long been central to the identity and heritage of the Indigenous clans of South East Queensland and remained uncharted until 1823, when Lieutenant John Oxley took the northern passage into Moreton Bay in HM cutter Mermaid and sailed into history up the Brisbane River.

The ensuing convict establishment was sited temporarily at Redcliffe in 1824, until being relocated to Brisbane on the river. Free settlement followed in 1842, and then separation from New South Wales in 1859. Each subsequent boom until now was interrupted by a period of bust, war, drought or flood. Yet these historic eras brought waves of people and products, as well as concepts, from over the seas and up the river to Brisbane, which has developed into the populous Queensland capital city we see today.

This exhibition takes you on a journey through the eyes of the people that explored and settled on the Brisbane River and the subsequent growth of the City, its infrastructure, governance and culture. It highlights the river’s role in the past, focusing on ‘treasures’ from six heritage collections– Diamantina Healthcare Museum, Mercy Heritage Centre, Queensland Maritime Museum, Redcliffe Museum, St John’s Cathedral and the Brisbane Tramway Museum. All are members of the Brisbane’s Living Heritage Network.

Don’t miss this opportunity to explore our past.

Our River, Our Stories is presented as part of Riverfestival.

Our River, Our Stories Exhibition Education and Activity Sheets.

Information for Teachers and Student.

Brisbane’s Living Heritage Network Thematic Study Project.

BLHN ran a member forum in February 2006 to assess the interest of members in being involved in a new, long-term pilot project, a thematic study. The Network applied for funding to Brisbane City Council to run the study and was a successful recipient of the Council’s Local History Groups funding in March 2007. The Network operated the thematic study as a pilot project, one of the first of its kind for community museums in the Brisbane area. The aim of the study was to:

• identify the most significant items and collections related to a particular theme (Brisbane’s River Heritage)
• understand and expand upon the historical context of a subject or theme essential to Brisbane’s cultural identity
• fully record the stories and associations of the significant objects and collections in community collections, as related to this theme
• identify conservation needs and priorities, and improve preventive conservation practices and planning
• improve interpretation of the objects and their wider context
• co-ordinate the promotion of museums and collections around the themes, and create linked publication and promotion projects
• identify omissions in the community museums collection records, and improve future collecting practices and policies
• argue for improved funding and grants for significant objects and collections
• and build networks between Brisbane’s museums and heritage places

The network engaged local Historian Rod Fisher, to write the contextual history of the chosen theme “River Heritage”.

Thematic Study Guide.

As a part of the project BLHN has created “A Guide to Conducting a Thematic Study” as a free resource to museums, galleries, heritage sites or anyone interested in conducting their own Thematic Study.

The guide contains information on conducting a Thematic Study, methodologies, outcomes, candid feedback from participants and other valuable resources and references.