John Oxley Library
The John Oxley Library is part of the Queensland State Library and focuses on material relating to the history of Queensland.
Being part of the Queensland State Library it is located at Southbank at South Brisbane, so see the main library entry for most information. But note that the John Oxley has more limited opening hours than the main library, so you may wish to phone and check before making a visit.
The information it holds can be best described as "eclectic". There are photos, rare books, maps, personal papers (e.g. letters, diaries), minute books for organisations, and "ephemera" (best described as anything printed that might be of interest, e.g. advertising, programmes, tickets, greeting cards).
While the library does include information about individuals and families, the chances of finding information about your family are pretty slim. Much of the collection is not effectively catalogued and many of the items (even if catalogued) have no indexes, so finding anything is pretty hit and miss. If you do find something, it's probably going to be a real treasure (a diary or a photo) so it's worth a try. But realistically you should see John Oxley Library as being more about local history than family history, background to help you get a feeling for what life was like for your ancestors.
Given the issues with the catalogue and the indexing, talking to the staff is very important. They are the best resource for helping you find anything. However, there are a couple of online indexes that you can consult:
- Picture Queensland which contains some of the photo collection
- Manuscript Queensland which contains details of manuscripts
As most of the holdings of this library are original and rare resources, there are a lot of restrictions of what you can take into the library and how you can physically handle the materials (you will often be asked to wear white gloves, which the library provide).
Finally a lot of their material is not immediately available, but may require a day's notice to bring out of storage. If you are not from Brisbane, it's probably worth some phone calls to them before arriving in Brisbane to determine if there are any items you need to request in advance.