10 things you never knew you could find in a library (#fabulousfinds)

To celebrate Library and Information Week (23 - 29 May), the Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA) has produced a list of 10 things you never knew you could find in a library (#fabulousfinds). 

When ALIA put out the call to libraries three months ago to submit items for consideration for the list we responded enthusiastically. We knew of many treasures and other items people might be surprised to find in our library collections.

And today we learned that one of our items made the top ten!  

Toilet Roll story

Koji Suziki’s Doroppu is a truncated version of a Japanese nine-chapter horror novella printed on toilet paper.  The story is set in a public restroom where a nasty spirit lives in a toilet. Each rendition of the story takes up 86cms of toilet paper.  Koji Suziki is Japanese author mostly known for his trilogy Ring.

Doroppu written by Koji Suziki – a novella printed on toilet paper

Here are some of the other #fabulousfinds from the UQ Library.


Learning spaces for our students are constantly changing and they are no longer just filled with books. Our Libraries are the place to meet, relax or "put your feet up" in between classes, charge your laptop or catch up on today's news. We provide a range of facilities for study and collaboration for the thousands of people who come through our doors each day.

Located in Biological Sciences Library, these EnergyPods are designed for power napping. Popular with students, the pods are ideal for 20 minute rests, to help you to refresh and re-energize.

EnergyPods located in the Biological Sciences Library

Architectural Model of the Torbreck Home Units

Queensland heritage listed Torbreck Home Units on Dornoch Terrace in Highgate Hill, were designed by architects Aubrey Job and Robert Froud. Construction began in 1958 and the units were amongst the first multi-storied home developments erected in Queensland. Based on 1950s North American models, the construction of Torbreck pioneered the market for this type of home unit development in Queensland1.

Measuring 66 x 34 x 42 cm, the 3D model of the Torbreck unit from the Torbreck Home Units Collection, UQFL426, was created to give a physical representation and to communicate the design of the proposed building.

Cowbells and a horse bell

Father Edward Leo Hayes (1889-1969) was a prolific collector and over the course of 70 years he amassed a great collection of Australiana. Among the wide variety of material from the Father Edward Leo Hayes Collection, UQFL2 are these cowbells.

Cowbells from Father Edward Leo Hayes Collection, UQFL2. Back: Large Condamine cowbell. Front from left: W. Blews & Sons (Birmingham) cowbell with motto “Advance Australia”; Horse bells made from cast metal with motto “Success to Horse Teams”; and Government issued cowbell.

In the early part of European settlement in Australia, bullock teams were the only means of moving heavy transport along droving routes, which were not fenced. Cowbells were therefore a necessity to enable the Teamster to find his teams if they strayed from camp or homestead.

Condamine cowbells were originally made from old cross-cut and pit saws by Samuel William Jones, a blacksmith in Condamine, Queensland, from around the late 1860s. The bells were first known as “Bullfrog” or “Jones” bells but became better known as “Condamine” bells. They were known as Bullfrog bells because they sound like a bullfrog, a sound that carried for a long distance compared to bells made from casting metal2.

The “Advance Australia” cowbell and possibly the horse bell were made by Blews & Sons of Birmingham, and date from around 1862. Blews & Sons had exhibited an “Advance Australia” and “Success to Horse Teams” bells at the Birmingham Court in the 1862 International Exhibition in London3. 

The Government issued cowbell is stamped with a broad arrow. The broad arrow marking was used on government property from early settlement until after federation4.

Medicine Chest

Also from the Father Edward Leo Hayes Collection, UQFL2, is this an S. Maw’s medicine chest, dating from 1850 to 1860. S. Maw was a London based medical instrument manufacturer5 . The portable medicine chests were traditionally used by travelling doctors who served in the military, worked on ships, railways and factories. The chests became popular in families, for treating illness at home.

Maw’s portable domestic medical cabinet, Father Edward Leo Hayes Collection, UQFL2.

Read the ALIA announcement here https://www.alia.org.au/media-releases/top-10-list-fabulousfinds


[1] "Torbreck (entry 601256)". Queensland Heritage Register. Queensland Heritage Council. https://environment.ehp.qld.gov.au/heritage-register/detail/?id=601256

[2] Miles Historical Village Museum. (n.d.). Condamine bells. Retrieved from http://mhv.org.au/history/stories/condamine-bells/; Ford, B. H. (1967). The condamine bell. Journal of the Royal Historical Society of Queensland, 8(2), 402-404. Retrieved from https://espace.library.uq.edu.au/view/UQ:213040

[3]International Exhibition (1862 : London, England) & Allen, Walter James, Fl. 1858-1891 & Crystal Palace (London, England) (1863). Illustrated catalogue of the International Exhibition, 1862. J.S. Virtue, London http://viewer.soton.ac.uk/library/image/52089732/1/

[4] Convicts to Australia: a guide to researching your convict ancestors. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://members.iinet.net.au/~perthdps/convicts/serendip.html

[5] Science Museum Group. (n.d.) S Maw. Retrieved from http://collectionsonline.nmsi.ac.uk/detail.php?t=people&type=exact&f=&s=S+MAW&record=3



Last updated:
26 April 2018