Applications open: State Library of Qld Rainbow Fellowship

Rainbow Fellowship state library of qld

Applications opened today for the State Library of Queensland’s inaugural Rainbow Research Fellowship. Among other benefits, the Rainbow Fellowship includes a $15,000 stipend.

The State Library of Queensland holds a wealth of material of interest to LGBTIQA+ researchers. Here at QNews we particularly appreciate the microfiche copies of old Queensland newspapers. But we also access resources as obscure as old pub registers to discover material for our articles on Queensland’s queer history.

Here are a few items of interest from among the State Library of Qld’s holdings.

Sunshine and Rainbows

History-wise, everything starts with Professor Clive Moore’s Sunshine and Rainbows. The Associate Professor of History at the University of Queensland began documenting the state’s queer history in a series of articles in Queensland Pride during the 1990s.

Before Clive Moore, Queensland officially had no queer history. Indeed, former premier Joh Bjelke-Petersen proclaimed loudly that the state was home to only seven homosexuals. And they were, he alleged, imports from the sinful southern states. In truth, there were few imports. Most queer Queenslanders couldn’t wait to self-export.

Professor Moore opened our eyes to a rich and hitherto hidden history. His book Sunshine and Rainbows, published in 2001, remains as relevant today as ever. Within its pages are numerous stories documenting the lives of LGBTIQA+ Queenslanders of years gone by and the networks established by our communities despite repression, discrimination and the threat of criminal prosecution.

The Rainbow Serpent

Oodgeroo Noonuccal and Kabul Oodgeroo Noonuccal wrote The Rainbow Serpent as a companion booklet to their feature show at Brisbane’s World Expo 88. Their acclaimed multi-media presentation explained the significance of land to First Nations peoples through the legend of the rainbow serpent.

Oodgeroo Noonuccal was an acclaimed Queensland poet, and her son Kabul, the unacknowledged gay Aboriginal grandson of Lady Phyllis Cilento. Kabul died of complications from AIDS in the early 90s, supported to the end by his proud and loving mother.

The Mayne Inheritance

Rosamond Siemon’s The Mayne Inheritance delves into the theory that the fortune of Brisbane business tycoon Patrick Mayne was founded on a murder. While some of the book’s assertions invite further scrutiny, there is no question that Patrick’s gay doctor son became one of Queensland’s greatest philanthropists. Among his many gifts to the state, Dr James Mayne donated the land for the University of Queensland at St Lucia.

North of the Border

Heather Faulkner’s North of the Border tells the stories of eight lesbians who found themselves existing outside of ‘the norm’. Using documentary photography and first-person narratives, the book explores the effect of their experience on how those women now identify as Queenslanders.

Duck News

Playfully named in reference to the Queensland AIDS Council acronym QuAC, Duck News was like nothing we’d ever seen. Our own Queensland print publication — unheard of in Joh Bjelke-Petersen’s Queensland. Informative, irreverent and — as intended — attention-getting, Duck News shone a needed light on the AIDS crisis. The State Library of Queensland holds an extensive collection of the journal. Minus, I think, an issue pulped due to the backlash to a comedic contribution by this writer.

Sorry. I was ever a problem child.

No easy path

Bizarrely, the author of this biography of Dr Lilian Cooper responded in horror when Katie Forde, author of A Girl’s Guide to World War, suggested Dr Cooper and Josephine Bedford were a lesbian couple. Despite her book providing voluminous evidence that such was the case. Oh well. Different times.

Apply for the State Library of Qld Rainbow Fellowship

All this and so much more available at the State Library of Queensland. To find out more about the Rainbow Fellowship or to apply, CLICK HERE RIGHT NOW — OUR HISTORY NEEDS YOU!

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Destiny Rogers

Destiny Rogers embarked on her career in the media industry immediately after high school, initially joining Mirror News, which later evolved into News Ltd. She fondly recalls editing Ian Byford's 'Passing Glances: A History of Gay Cairns' as one of her most fulfilling projects. Additionally, Destiny co-researched and co-wrote 'The Queen's Ball', chronicling the history of the world's longest-running continuous queer event. Her investigative work on the history of Australia's COON Cheese and Edward Coon culminated in the publication 'COON: More Holes than Swiss Cheese', a collaborative effort with Dr. Stephen Hagan. Destiny's journey at QNews began as a feature writer, and she was subsequently elevated to the role of Managing Editor of QNews Magazine in 2018. However, in July 2022, she decided to resign from this role to refocus on research and feature writing. For contact, please reach out at

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