While most of QUT’s library collection consists of the expected textbooks, online databases and other learning materials, we also have our special collections – unique collections of historically and culturally significant materials. Currently on display in the Kelvin Grove Library are items from the Robert Augustus Henry L’Estrange collection, generously donated by his family.
Image: L’Estrange Family, circa 1910
Robert L’Estrange (b.1858- d.1941) had a varied and wide-ranging life but he eventually settled with his family in Victoria Street, Red Hill – less than 500m from the KG campus. He was a keen and prolific amateur photographer and his photographic materials from the turn of the century form the basis of the collection.
Image: Unknown lady with rifle and a saltwater crocodile
Hundreds of his photos, taken between 1880 and 1919, have been digitised from the glass plate negatives by QUT Library. They depict life in Brisbane, North Queensland, and other parts of the world at the turn of the century, just when photography was becoming accessible to the at-home enthusiast. His subjects include early Brisbane cityscapes, local shopkeepers at their work, portraits of his family, and even a young girl’s backyard birthday party.
Image: Children’s party in the grounds of the Herston residence, Coralyn, ca. 1907
Image: Petrie Bight showing National Hotel and Customs House, Brisbane, 1900
Artefacts on display include glass-plate negatives, L’Estrange’s wooden Harrington & Co camera, lab equipment for preparing photographic chemicals, and lantern slides that would have been used with a gas-lit early form of projector.
Come in to Kelvin Grove library and check out the displays on Level 2 (underneath the central staircase) and Level 4 (between the fire stairs and the printers).
Is there anything in the Robert Augustus Henry L’Estrange collection relating to early X-ray technology in Brisbane? I am conducting a research project for UQ Faculty of Medicine (just down the road from you) and we have some inconclusive evidence that might link Mr L’Estrange to having been involved with X-rays probably in the late 1800’s to early 1900’s.
Thanks for the query, we can indeed help you with this! I will send you an email about x-rays and the collection.