Learning from the Archives: Architecture and research on Indigenous housing


10 Jun 2023

11 am – 12 pm (AEST)

Queensland State Archives
435 Compton Road, Runcorn, Qld 4113
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This talk will draw on two things: architectural work in Cherbourg, and research for a recent exhibition at the UQ Anthropology Museum about the history of Indigenous housing in Queensland. 

For this type of exhibition, Queensland State Archives is a treasure trove for curators and communities. Contrasting historical themes and narratives emerge from photographs, drawings and correspondence that chronicle the use of settlement planning and architecture as blunt instruments of state policies until the 1980s.

Exhibiting and sharing the archival documents elicited personal narratives from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who had constructed and lived in different housing types across the state. In addition to a richer understanding of our past, I will argue that archival data are useful to housing design in the present and can inform our current crisis in housing for Indigenous and other Australians.


Tim O’Rourke
The University of Queensland



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