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The Royal Geographical
Society of Queensland Ltd

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The current RGSQ Collection is cataloged in eHive and is publically available.

The society was established back in 1885 and has been conducting activities of geographical interest ever since. The RGSQ Collections form a valuable record of that period of geographical history, and the Collections Committee has been tasked with storing preserving and managing the material that RGSQ holds, and with making the material as available to members as possible.

The collections today are largely physical – that is RGSQ owns and stores the collected items themselves. A key direction for the Collections Committee is to form a parallel digital collection where we store digitised representations of physical objects, and objects that are born digital. Born digital includes digital photos and videos, as well as digital forms of mapping, satellite imagery and apps, software and artificial intelligence that assist researchers, explorers and members to gain insight and knowledge from the other material within our collections and accessible externally.

The collections have been supported by several National Library of Australia Community Heritage grants that have assessed the significance of the collections (National Significance Assessment report), recommended activities to better preserve the material (Preservation Needs Assessment report), and underwritten various preservation projects mainly targetting the library and map collections. These reports can be found on the RGSQ website.

The Collections Committee welcomes volunteers to help with maintaining our existing collections and developing new digital collections. Please contact the committee Chair, Rob Cook on


Today the eHive online catalogue contains all the books held in the RGSQ library. During 2024, the Collections Committee is in the process of adding its maps and journals to the catalogue.

The public can access RGSQ’s catalogue through the National Library of Australia TROVE system as well as through eHive.

People wanting to view the physical items in RGSQ’s collections should make an appointment through RGSQ reception at or 07 3368 2066.


The RGSQ archives contain historical records of the society dating back to its origin including handwritten minute books from the earliest times. The society has been active in promoting, supporting and conducting geographic explorations in Queensland and surrounding territories and records of many of these expeditions are now held in the archive collection.


RGSQ has gathered an eclectic collection of historical items and pictures and items of geographical interest, such as tools of the trade. These include a number of objects claimed to have been owned by the explorer Thomas Mitchell. The society curates occasional exhibitions using artefacts and materials from the other collections.

One of the more interesting artefacts is a lantern slide projector, and a large collection of geographical lantern slides. The slides have been donated to the State Library of Queensland to better preserve them for future generations. Digitised copies of the more interesting slides will become available through the RGSQ collections.


The camera has been a key tool for explorers ever since it was invented. The RGSQ Images collection holds a multitude of historical images (still and video) from the period before 1955, when digital cameras overtook film. There are proposals for RGSQ to structure and organise its image collection and digitise the most interesting parts and make these valuable images more accessible to members.

RGSQ is considering how best to collect and record the most significant digital images from RGSQ expeditions activities and events into its collections. This is a daunting task in an era where every member present makes their own record on their phones and cameras.

LIBRARY (Honorary Librarian: Jim Graham, assisted by Neville McManimm)

The RGSQ has a library holding 3582 books, all catalogued onto RGSQ’s eHive online catalogue system. In addition the library holds approximately 105 journal titles comprising 3000 volumes which are slowly being added to the online catalogue. Members can-borrow books using a simple manual system available at the office. There is a 3-item limit.

The Library's core strengths are the Geography of Queensland with an emphasis on Queensland government publications.

MAPS (Curator Ralph Carlisle, assisted by Peter Nunan)

The RGSQ map collection consists of thousands of maps of a wide variety of geographic regions and themes, scales, sizes and dates. A major focus is Queensland, especially Brisbane and South-East Queensland, but maps also relate to other areas of the state, Australia as a whole or in part, various areas of the world, and the world as a whole. Publishers include Queensland Government agencies (such as Sunmap), Australian Government agencies (such as Natmap) and commercial bodies (such as Australian Geographic).

Many maps are individual or in a small set. Most (e.g. national topographic maps) are in a series for which a Key Map is often available.

Maps are being progressively added to the RGSQ eHive catalogue, either individually or as a set or series.

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The Royal Geographical Society of Queensland Ltd.
Level 1/28 Fortescue St, Spring Hill QLD 4000  |  +61 7 3368 2066
ABN 87 014 673 068  |  ACN 636 005 068

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