My old museum story is from the 1960s, the time of my childhood, when my family—my parents, bother and sister—lived in northwestern Queensland. My father’s family had moved from north Queensland to Brisbane in the 1930s and most years of my growing up we made the long drive down the coast—turn right at Townsville—in the Christmas holidays. We visited members of my mother’s family along the way. From Caloundra we made short trips to Brisbane to my grandparents in New Farm.

I remember visits of the museum, and seeing the diorama about Aboriginal people on the ground floor, and the wide flight of stairs to the next level. The impressiveness of the staircase stayed with me—I had never been in such a large and beautiful building before. I can recall the magnificent display cabinets on this next level, in long rows, just like in the photo. I don’t remember Bert Hinkler’s plane, though it must have been there!

The mezzanine level of the Queensland Museum, with Bert Hinkler's Avro Avian aeroplane hanging from the roof.

The mezzanine level of the Queensland Museum, with Bert Hinkler’s Avro Avian aeroplane hanging from the roof. John Oxley Library photo

I do remember the lung fish in its tank on the verandah, and the garden beyond.  Once, in my memory, my mother and we children walked home from the museum to my grandparents’ house—I recall feeling very tired, and it being a long way. But, in hindsight, I realise that we probably walked to Fortitude Valley and caught the tram from behind McWhirters.

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