History on Level 2 of Duhig Tower

One of the bookshelves from the earliest Fryer Library at St Lucia has been installed on level 2 of the Duhig Tower, just inside the entrance from the Great Court, and will host rotating displays of material from our special collections.

The bookcase

The Doc Robbie bookcase

The bookcase now on level 2 of the Duhig Tower is known as the Doc Robbie bookcase. The Fryer Library started life in 1927 in one bookcase in the office of Frederick Walter Robinson, an English lecturer who was known by students at UQ as Doc Robbie. His personal papers are held in the manuscript collections at Fryer.

Over time, that one bookcase expanded into three, and the library took up another room as Doc Robbie purchased more books for the Fryer collection. In 1949 the library moved from George Street to St Lucia to 'a handsome room, 30 feet long...divided into sections by projecting bookcases' (Galmahra November 1952). The Doc Robbie bookcase was one of those projecting bookcases, which makes it at least 70 years old. 

Why is it here?

Level 2 of the Duhig Tower as it looked in the 1950s. You can still see some of the marble columns today.

Fryer now holds over 75,000 books and more than 600 manuscript collections, which means we've outgrown the original bookcases, but the Doc Robbie bookcase has stayed with us. 

With the opening of the new Central Library taking place in September, we wanted to acknowledge our history by moving the bookcase to a more prominent position and using it to display items from the Fryer collections that you might not see otherwise.

In the coming months, you'll see a rotating display of books, papers and objects from Fryer that tell different stories about UQ, Brisbane and Australia. 

What do you think?

We'd love to hear your thoughts about the bookcase. What would you like to see on display? Let us know on Facebook or Twitter, or you can always email Fryer: fryer@library.uq.edu.au

Can't make it to St Lucia? 

Items from the Fryer Library's collections are available to view in eSpace, and we also prepare digital exhibitions in consultation with our Fryer Fellows and the Library's digitisation team.

Our latest digital exhibition Kathleen McArthur - Wild/Flower Woman was created with Fryer Fellow Sue Davis.

Last updated:
12 December 2019