Queensland Places includes over 1100 entries on settlements in Queensland that now have or once had populations of 500 or more. The entries include cities, towns, villages and suburbs. Some of the entries are on gold rush or other mining towns where the population proved quite short-lived, from Ravenshoe to the Palmer River. Others are on settlements where the population has varied remarkably over time, and in some cases gone up rapidly, gone down rapidly, and then increased again, as in the case of Port Douglas and Cooktown.
We include entries on the suburbs of our major cities and regional towns. Such entries will need regular updating as the population grows or declines, reflecting demographic changes in both well established and recently established suburbs. Most place databases only include suburbs which have become notable for some reason, but in Queensland Places we have tried to include all suburbs with populations of over 500. Today well over two thirds of Queensland's population lives in the suburbs of Brisbane, the Gold Coast and the Sunshine Coast.
These entries reflect the European occupation of Queensland from the nineteenth century. The cities, towns, villages and suburbs in this database are largely the creation of European settlers, but of course many of the settlements appropriated Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander lands. We also include entries on all of the major mission stations, many of which are now municipal councils in their own right. We do not attempt to outline the Indigenous history of the landscape before European occupation, but we point to a number of sources that readers can consult about this, including the Atlas of Indigenous Australia (2005) and the Encyclopaedia of Aboriginal Australia (1994). We do attempt, where current sources allow, to comment on Indigenous/European relations, especially in those towns that were near missions, from Murgon and the nearby Cherbourg Mission to Cooktown and the Hopevale Mission.
The primary criterion for inclusion in Queensland Places is that the local government area of city, town, village or suburb once had or now has a population of 500 or more, as measured at colonial censuses in the nineteenth century and Commonwealth Government censuses since 1911. We rely on these census figures as the most authoritative source, but because censuses in the nineteenth century were only held every ten years, and in recent times held every five years, they do not always pick up settlements that had a brief but short-lived population burst. Nonetheless, we have entries on most of the gold mining settlements, including the Palmer River, where the population was very short lived.
In the database we currently have over 1000 cities, towns, villages and suburbs. We also have entries on present and former municipalities and shires, and on the Regional Council Areas created by State Government legislation in 2008, including 12 Aboriginal Shire Councils and the Torres Strait Island Regional Council. Total headwords exceed 1100.
We also have entries on the broad regions of Queensland, from the Channel Country to the Darling Downs. These regional entries are not always readily defined, geographically, not least because the regional nomenclature has changed over time, and we are gradually moving from regional names based on exploration and then administration, to the notion of bio-regions, where the boundaries can be quite indistinct. The major regions of Queensland over time can be viewed in a series of maps in the companion website Queensland Historical Atlas.
Sources for all the longer entries are listed at the end of each entry. Most of the entries draw on published sources, especially local histories. These are of variable quality and variable reliability, and until recently have usually contained very little information or analysis about prior Indigenous occupation, or the Indigenous history of the settlement after its formal naming as part of the European occupation of Queensland. These local histories themselves may contain errors, and we welcome corrections, preferably with evidence, such as a newspaper reference.
For many of the shorter entries, especially for the postwar suburbs in Brisbane and in the other major cities, no published sources exist because no one has yet written books about these places. For these entries we have been reliant on websites, newscuttings and similar sources, but these have not been listed unless we have deemed them to be of sufficient depth to provide further reading about the place.
Readers of Queensland Places can use the entries themselves to discover further detail. Entries on regional councils list the former constituent shires or cities as sources for further reading, and each shire or city entry lists the towns, villages or suburbs in its area on which an entry has been written. (The exception is Brisbane, but a street directory can instead be consulted.)
The slides featured on this website come from private collections and have been digitised especially for this database. Due to licencing arrangements the University of Queensland cannot provide copies of any images on this website for other purposes. Some slides have deteriorated depending on the type of slide, and how and where it has been stored. We consider that a certain amount of mould and blemish adds to the history of the slide and we have deliberately included some that are in poor condition. We have relied on slide contributors to provide the caption material for each slide and cannot verify that all dates, places and events have been remembered correctly.
Copyright in the entries is held by the Centre for the Government of Queensland at the University of Queensland. Individual entries may be quoted with this attribution, but the database itself cannot be replicated without permission.
All images in the database are copyright, some by the University of Queensland, some held by private individuals.