Museum & Gallery Services Queensland

2010 Standards Program Participant Profiles and Media Releases

The Brisbane Tramway Museum Society
Commissariat Store Museum
Diamantina Health Care Museum
Gympie Regional Gallery
Mercy Heritage Centre
Museum of Nursing History
Queensland Police Museum
Queensland Women's Historical Association - 'Miegunyah'
Wondai Regional Art Gallery

All participating organisations from the 2010 Standards Program have a Media Profile and Media Release available below.

The Brisbane Tramway Museum Society

Tramcar 65 heading up the hill to the depot Terminus. Credit: BTMS
What the Standards Program has meant for our Museum
The Standards Program has helped our organization to identify the significant items within our vast collection and to assist our organization to focus on the preservation needs of these items. The program has helped the museum to re-evaluate our recruiting of volunteers and to look at new ways of recruitment and reinforces this recruitment with job statements.

'Did You Know' - Intriguing Facts about the Museum and its collection

The Brisbane Tramway Museum has the largest collection of Brisbane electric street transport vehicles in Australia. This includes trams that ran on Brisbane streets from 1901 through to 1969. These demonstrate to the public how people were transported around Brisbane from the shops to schools to the picture theatres. In the collection are several four-motor (FM) trams and the prototype FM which came out in 1937 which was considered to be an advanced design tramcar for that period of time in Australia.

The museum holds a large collection of tramway uniforms which shows the style of uniform through the first half of the 1900s from the more formal uniform to the casual style at the closing of the tramway system. A large collection of reports and plans and other information from the tramway era is available to assist those researching Brisbane’s early history. They also tell a story of life within Brisbane in the first half of the 20th century.

The museum is situated in parklands and has well-maintained large grounds in which trams are operated. Also situated in these grounds are buildings from the past including part of the old Ipswich Road tram depot and a signal box from the Valley. This signal box was a very important part of the tramway infrastructure.

Museum Profile - Brisbane Tramway Museum
Media Release - Brisbane Tramway Museum

Commissariat Store MuseumBack to top

The Commissariat Store Museum from William Street. Credit: Sue Finnigan
What the Standards Program has meant for our Museum
Participating in the Standards Program was a productive exercise for our museum volunteers to recognise our significant achievements with the museum so far, despite limited resources. This can give all involved a confidence boost and the assurance that we are heading in the right direction.
The Program has made us aware of the opportunities presented by other organisations and individuals, such as M&GSQ, Museums Australia, our reviewers and university students, to assist us with the operation of the museum and specific projects

'Did You Know' - Intriguing Facts about the Museum and its collection

The Commissariat Store is one of only two convict-built buildings still standing in Brisbane today. Both of these building were constructed during Captain Patrick Logan’s term as commandant of the penal colony and are a testament to the extremely harsh punishment suffered by the convicts of Moreton Bay. On display at the Commissariat Store Museum are many convict-era objects.

Prisoners desperate to avoid heavy labour would deliberately injure themselves. The artifacts from St Helena Island, which functioned as a high-security colonial prison from 1867, includes a small glass jar of the remains of their human fingertips.

The museum also contains the hanging beam from Boggo Road Jail- used between 1883 to 1913 to carry out capital punishment in Queensland. In 1913, it was used in the hanging of Ernest Austin, the last man hung in the state.

Its collection also features 10 breastplates. One is inscribed 'Toompani/Amity Point/Awarded by the Governor for the assistance he afforded with five of his countrymen to the survivors of the wreck of the steamer 'Sovereign' by rescuing them from the surf of Moreton Island 11/03/1847 upon which melancholy occasion 46 persons were drowned and by the aid of the natives 10 were saved.'

The museum houses a considerable art collection. One highlight is a 1940’s painting by prominent Brisbane artist Vida Lahey, entitled View of Brisbane.

Museum Profile - Commissariat Store Museum
Media Release - Commissariat Store Museum

Diamantina Health Care MuseumBack to top

Countess Diamantina Roma / Lady Bowen Corner. Credit: Claire Lees
What the Standards Program has meant for our Museum
We knew we needed to catalogue, but not how to start! Acting on the advice given we are now in the process of selecting the right program for our museum. We have designed a donation form for collection acquisition procedures and put it into use.

'Did You Know' - Intriguing Facts about the Museum and its collection

Did you know our oldest item is a Skidmore Magneto-Electric Machine, circa 1885, that was used to give people shock treatment? It was apparently used to treat Neuralgia, Tic doloreux, and Toothache.

Did you know we have the marquette of the Philip Piperides’s 7 foot (2.1 metres) bronze of the Countess Diamantina Roma / Lady Bowen that now stands in the garden at Old Government House? Contessa Diamantina Roma, Lady Bowen (1833-93), wife of Queensland's first Governor (1859-67) Sir George Bowen, initiated several charitable organisations. She is commemorated in the name of many Queensland institutions, places and facilities, including the Diamantina Hospital for chronic diseases (1901) and the Diamantina Health Care Museum (2001).

The museum has John Kemp’s Bark realism of “The Lords Last Supper” which was the largest bark art work in Australia, and made with bark collected from Wynnum Creek? It was donated to the Hospital in 1973 for the newly built chapel.

The museum displays the first dialysis machine used for renal failure patients. The Kolf Twin-Coil Artificial Kidney (Dialysis) Machine was donated to the Princess Alexandra Hospital by the Ladies Auxiliary in 1963.

The museum houses a bell dating back to early 1930 when it was hung on the water tower of the Diamantina Hospital for Chronic Disease (now the Princess Alexandra Hospital) to call patients to meals, or bed, when they were out in the hospital grounds. It was transferred to the Brisbane Chest Clinic in 1954, where staff dedicated it to their Doctors & Nurses, the legend and the bell were returned to the PAH in 2004.

Media Profile - Diamantina Health Care Museum
Media Release - Diamantina Health Care Museum

Gympie Regional GalleryBack to top

Gympie Regional Gallery. Credit: Gympie Regional Gallery
What the Standards Program has meant for our Gallery
The Standards Program reinforced our direction for the future as a a non collecting institution focused on dynamic public engagement. An Action Plan will guide our development of a new Strategic Business Plan defining the core business of the gallery and providing a framework into the future that builds resources and capacity.
Signage is needed from the highway to the Gallery. Strong branding will help lift the profile of the Gallery. Staff have identified the need to look at tapping into different areas of the community to extend and develop new audiences. One strategy that is already in place is to extend the length of the exhibitions to offer quality over quantity and reduce strain on resources.

'Did You Know' - Intriguing Facts about the Gallery

The Gympie Regional Gallery is housed in the heritage listed School of Arts Building designed by architect Hugo Du Rietz.and built in 1905.

For the building’s 100th birthday the gallery collected over 90 community recollections of the building’s place in their lives. These stories of the building are told through the twelve “Windows of Memories” display boxes produced by artist Nyria King and displayed in the gallery on rotation.

The two public art pieces beside the building connect to the history of Gympie and the place of the gallery: ‘Pinnacles’ by Stephen Newton and ‘Crate’ by Richard Newport.

Media Release - Gympie Regional Gallery
Gallery Profile - Gympie Regional Gallery

Mercy Heritage CentreBack to top

Mercy Heritage Centre, All Hallows’ Convent. Acknowledgement: Mercy Heritage Centre
What the Standards Program has meant for our Museum
The Reviewers have been invaluable in guiding us through the process of the development of an education kit brief, finding appropriate contacts, and setting a timeline, with the aim of implementing education kits for our new exhibitions.
The Reviewers enabled us to refocus on the amazing museum we work in – this has allowed us to take a step back, rethink, and develop different marketing and communications strategies.

'Did You Know' - Intriguing Facts about the Museum and its collection

MHC has an extraordinary collection of religious relics- the remains of saints kept in ‘reliquary’. These may be 1st class (skin and bones); 2nd class (clothing; instruments of torture); 3rd class (touched to one of the above classes). For example a locket reliquary and certificate of authenticity (1844) associated with Mother Vincent Whitty, Foundress of Brisbane, contains relics of some of the Apostles. The reliquary of the martyred St Fausta, c300AD, includes the wax figure and lower jaw of the saint.

MHC has in its collection a small table belonging to Mother Catherine McAuley, Foundress of the Sisters of Mercy, Dublin, c1831, and used during her novitiate; as well as her tea cup and saucer and her marble bust. The first Reverend Mother of the Brisbane Congregation was Mother Vincent Whitty who trained under Catherine McAuley and was with her when she died.

Some original All Hallows' Convent furniture, such as desks used by novices, are preserved in their original location.

The art and music collection includes a marble bust of Bishop Quinn by Achille Simonetti, 1873, believed to be first portrait bust in Queensland and instruments such as Alexandre Pere et Fils Harmonium (1859), Erard Gothic Harp (1871) and a Symphonium (pre-1900, with 55 playable discs).

Museum Profile - Mercy Heritage Centre
Media Release - Mercy Heritage Centre

Museum of Nursing HistoryBack to top

External view of the Museum of Nursing History, Lady Lamington Building. Credit: Museum of Nursing History, Herston.
What the Standards Program has meant for our Museum
The Standards Program highlighted the need to formalise the role of the volunteers, listing the different activities carried out in the museum and instituting a recruiting and training program.
More participation from volunteers in the management of the Museum.

'Did You Know' - Intriguing Facts about the Museum and its collection

In the museum is the only surviving physical evidence of the first Brisbane Hospital building at Bowen Bridge Road, Herston, 1866. This piece of wood is inscribed in pencil: 2nd October 1866 Walter Wilson and Adam Walker lining these Beams hereby record that this Hospital was built in the year of Our Lord 1866 Sir George Bowen first Governor of Queensland John Petrie Contractor a man respected by all D McNaught foreman also a worthy man Signed Adam Walker.

The collection includes a gold pocket watch that The Duke of Edinburgh gave to Sister Annie Miller in appreciation of her nursing services when he was seriously wounded in an attempted assassination in Sydney in 1868.

There is a volume of handwritten instructions to nurses 1890-1903. The label reads as follows: Brisbane [Hospital Nursing] Staff [General] Orders [A new] member of the Nursing Staff is requested to acquaint herself with the contents of this book, and with the additions which may be inserted from time to time. This book is not to be removed from the Nurses’ General Sitting Room. It is in the handwriting of Head Nurses Weedon, Crosse, Marks and Hunter and Medical Superintendents Jackson and McLean.

Also collected is Ethel Annie Leney documentation of her time as a trainee nurse at the Brisbane Hospital from May 1896 to June 1898. As well as providing evidence of the experience of an individual nurse, Leney provides insight into the Brisbane Hospital at the time. She lists the wards by number and name and specifies the type of patient nursed in each and the separation of men’s wards and women’s wards and she nominates the fever wards and the canvas tents.

Museum Profile - Museum of Nursing History
Media Release - Museum of Nursing History

Queensland Police MuseumBack to top

Play detective and solve this murder! Credit: Lisa Jones
What the Standards Program has meant for our Museum
The Standards Program reinforced the direction the Museum was taking. It gave us the tools to better communicate the worth of the Museum to the Queensland Police Service as a whole.
The Standards Program gave us access to skills and knowledge which helped us focus our thoughts toward a more articulate future plan for the Museum.

'Did You Know' - Intriguing Facts about the Museum and its collection

The Queensland Police Museum houses a fake gold nugget dating back to 1884. Collections have been in existence since 27 November 1893 but very little of those first collection items remain. We have documentation of this nugget which places it in the collection in 1894.

The collection includes a land ballot box with 200 numbered balls. It was used as an equitable way to parcel out land to those who wanted to purchase it. The process was overseen by a police officer.

That welded coins can tell such a tragic tale. On 30 March 1902 Station Manager Albert Dahlke & Constable George Doyle were shot and killed by the horse stealing Kenniff brothers. These two coins were welded together by the heat of the fire used to burn the bodies of Doyle and Dahlke. The coins are believed to have been in Dahlke’s pocket when he was killed.

The Museum has a collection of Police station badges (1911 – 1958). Prior to 1907 police stations were not identified by a sign. In 1907, Police Commissioner Cahill and the Deputy Government Architect designed the Queensland Police Station Badge. The design was similar to the uniform Cap Badge. In 1911, 300 cast iron badges, each weighing 17 pounds (7 kgs) and costing 4 shillings and 10 pence were manufactured by Harvey & Son, Globe Iron Works, Brisbane and distributed as identification badges to every Police Station in the state. Cast Iron station badges were replaced with illuminated signs in 1958.

The collection includes awards given to Ivan Adams, an off duty police diver. On the evening of September 18, 1964, the 3000 tonne Danish dredge Kaptajn Nielsen capsized without warning in Moreton Bay. Ivan Adams was one of the first on the scene and helped to save 12 of 21 sailors from drowning.

Museum Profile - Queensland Police Museum
Media Release - Queensland Police Museum

Queensland Women's Historical Association - 'Miegunyah'Back to top

The dining room where QWHA lectures are held and featuring an 1837 convict made sideboard. Credit: QWHA
What the Standards Program has meant for our Museum
The Standards Program has given us valuable insights into our organization and its management. It has shown us what we do well and where we need improvements. It allows for review of policies and procedures in a positive way.
The Program led us to examine our purpose and our mission statement. We have developed subcommittees to improve communication pathways between volunteers and the management committee.
An audit of our collection is planned and a training day for volunteers has been scheduled. We also have implemented a de-accessioning policy and procedure and have reduced our insurance running costs.

'Did You Know' - Intriguing Facts about the Museum and its collection

The house is on its original block and has been restored mostly to its original appearance. Iron lacework is unique. It has original windows and pelmets. The pelmets are expanding. It has cedar joinery and original floorboards. The stable is original. It has honeycomb brickwork underneath the house.

The house is furnished as a house of the 1880’s would have been furnished. These artifacts include furniture, art works, ornaments, soft furnishings, silverware and kitchen and laundry equipment. Other artifacts including costume, textiles, toys, memorabilia and handicrafts are in storage but are shown in special exhibitions.

The QWHA’s own archives, dating from its foundation in the 1950’s form an important part of the collection and include lectures delivered to the association over the years and the monthly newsletter Historical Happenings.

Other holdings include books on Queensland History: records relating to early governors, notably the Bowen Family: records relating to women and women’s organizations; subject and family files; ephemera and photographs.

Miegunyah is the only urban wooden “Queenslander” style house of the 1880’s that is open to the public. 3 generations of the Perry family lived there or were born there.
We are unique in that our collection focus’s on Womens history.

Museum Profile - Miegunyah
Media Release - Miegunyah

Wondai Regional Art GalleryBack to top

Workshop Activities. Credit: Robyn Dower
What the Standards Program has meant for our Gallery
The Standards Program has highlighted the direction that we have to take for the preservation of our collection in the future. It has made us more aware of the art gallery’s role within the community and how we can improve.

Did You Know' - Intriguing Facts about the Gallery and its collection

An annual acquisitive art award is sponsored entirely by local businesses and benefactors. Acquisitions are acquired for the Wondai Art Collection that is part of the South Burnett Regional Council Collection.

Wondai’s Blue Poles is a public art project that extends the physical reach of the Gallery by providing local artists with a series of outdoor ‘canvases’ on which to produce work. This project also has sites in communities outside Wondai.

Wondai Regional Art Gallery is a community focused organisation that continues to evolve from a small community run gallery to being a cultural hub for the whole community.

A range of activities is offered by the gallery with the aim of building community appreciation for the visual arts and providing support for artists.

Wondai Regional Art Gallery has been awarded three Fraser Coast South Burnett Awards for Heritage and Culture.

Gallery Profile - Wondai Regional Gallery
Media Release - Wondai Regional Art Gallery