Fryer Library: special collections for family historians

Warning to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people: This blog post and links to resources may contain images, voices or references to deceased persons.

The University of Queensland’s Fryer Library holds books, manuscripts, photographs, architectural drawings and oral histories that can help you research your Queensland family history. 


Our manuscript collections can give you a first-hand account of what life was like during a particular event or the period in which your ancestors lived.

The manuscript collections range from the literary to the historic, and from the political to the artistic. They contain materials, such as diaries, correspondence, photographs, literary manuscripts, minute books, press releases and advertising material, along with a range of other formats.

Image: Private William Fryer writes from Egypt to his brother Walter Fryer
in Springsure, Queensland, circa 1916. John Denis Fryer Collection, UQFL23.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander collections

Our collection contains various papers, letters, records and ephemera about indigenous culture in Australia. Some key collections include the papers of Oodgeroo NoonuccalDaisy Marchisotti, and Elwyn Flint. Browse the Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander collections.


The Fryer Library’s holdings include photographic collections that document people, places and events in Queensland history. Collections chart daily life, family memories, historical images of towns and landscapes and the growth of Queensland.



Browse UQ eSpace for digitised photographs, albums, negatives, and slides from our photographic collections. Discover more images on the Library’s HistoryPin page, where you can explore Queensland historical locations through 360-degree street-level imagery.

Queensland publications

The Fryer Library also holds nineteenth century and early twentieth century Australian literary and historical works, with an emphasis on Queensland imprints. These books can be consulted in the reading room.

Over 2,000 books, book chapters, journals, articles and thesis from the Library’s collection have been digitised and made available online in UQ eSpace for Text Queensland, a collaboration between UQ Library and the School of Historical and Philosophical Inquiry at UQ. Text Queensland is a free website that presents a unique and dynamic collection of full-text, searchable, digitised sources on Queensland’s colonial and state history.

Architectural plans and drawings

Fryer Library holds over 22,000 architectural plans and drawings that includes the work of major Queensland architects and architectural firms and reflects the variety of styles found in both public and domestic architecture over some five or six decades.

These can be used to locate and trace the history of a house or commercial property. Browse a list of our Architectural collections

Image: Plans for Cliffside Flats, Lower River Terrace, South Brisbane
(now part of Kangaroo Point)
by architect-engineer Ronald Martin Wilson.
Wilson Architects Collection, UQFL112.

The Fryer Library welcomes researchers members of the community at large to view these collections in the Fryer Library's FW Robinson Reading Room.

Last updated:
16 December 2019