Urban Connections in late-Colonial Brisbane

November 2016February 2017
Summer Research Scholarship


Building on existing work in Brisbane’s social and urban history, the student/s will identify and analyse source materials (in archives and in major collections such as the Fryer Library and the State Library of Queensland) that relate to the city’s urban form and social inter-connections in the period 1880-1900.

In contrast to much of the existing research that focuses on the evolution, functions and social structures of city life, the project explores the use of public space, the visual culture, and the personal networks that were also part of the texture of urban experience at this time. A common theme is the relationship of these themes in urban experience to various forms of power (political, economic, cultural).

A group of essential themes will guide the research:

  • How public space was configured, imagined, and used, especially by ordinary citizens and working people;
  • How the city’s elite worked through networks of influence and personal connection, in the spheres of politics, business, the professions, the church, the military; and
  • How public spectacle (parades, displays, public celebrations) featured in the everyday life of the city.

A group of three students could work together, each focussing on one of these aspects; alternatively an individual student could select whichever of these had personal interest. A set of readings and resources will be supplied to orient the research work, and supervision supplied through weekly meetings.

Expected outcomes and deliverables

Development of research materials, bibliography and written contextual summary (c. 4000-5000 words). Blog contributions (to John Oxley Library and Fryer Library) would be encouraged during the project.

Suitable for

Students interested in urban history, colonial Brisbane, visual culture and documentary research.

Project members

Associate Professor Geoff Ginn

Associate Professor of History, Discipline Convenor in History