Working Country – State Library of Queensland
In a time of upheaval and devastation to land and family life from colonial invasion, working Country was a means of survival. The movement of cattle, sheep and horses became the cornerstone of the colonial economy, and during this time, with their connection, knowledge and understanding of this land, Aboriginal people were highly sought-after stockmen and women, making up more than half the total labourers of the pastoral industry by 1886. Take a wander through kuril dhagun – a welcoming and respectful place designated for First Nations communities to meet, gather and celebrate culture – and explore the State Library of Queensland’s latest collection – Working Country. This collection, running from June 24 2023 until January 28 2024, is shining a light on the stories of Aboriginal stockmen and stockwomen and their experiences of working on cattle stations, as well as the role of Aboriginal trade routes in establishing Queensland’s pastoral industry, Aboriginal-run rodeos and the fight for equal pay and land rights amid corrupt and oppressive practices of indentured servitude, theft and rationing of wages.
The collection also displays historical images of Aboriginal women impersonating stockmen to evade gender laws, a profile of the Aboriginal-run Delta Downs cattle station, as well as profiles of artist, drover and award-winning jockey Charlie Flannigan, and renowned stockmen, author and artist Uncle Herb Wharton AM.
This collection will be open for free perusal during State Library of Queensland’s opening hours.
State Library of Queensland Opening hours:
Monday: 9:00 am to 8:00 pm
Tuesday: 9:00 am to 8:00 pm
Wednesday: 9:00 am to 8:00 pm
Thursday: 9:00 am to 8:00 pm
Friday: 9:00 am to 5:00 pm
Saturday: 10:00 am to 5:00 pm
Sunday: 10:00 am to 5:00 pm