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A History by Design

Fryer Library's latest online exhibition takes a look at interwar Brisbane, using architecture as a window into the city's political, economic and social history.

News and Events

Featured Collection:

Papua New Guinea Association of Australia

History of Fryer Library, inCite, 29:8(08)

Friends of Fryer Christmas Party photos

Fryer Bulletin

Brisbane Writer's Festival session sponsored by Fryer Library

Refugee Narratives Seminar

Fryer Library Awards

The next Award will be made in 2009.
Applications are particularly invited in the following areas:

  • Indigenous studies
  • History of architecture
  • Art and design
  • Theatre and literary studies

  More information

Friends of Fryer

Find out how to become a Friend of the Fryer Library. Benefits include:

  • Fryer Folios (newsletter)
  • One year free library membership
  • Behind-the-scenes tours

  More information

 About Us

The Fryer Library is one of the 14 branches of the University of Queensland Library. It contains the Library's special collections. The Fryer Library holds significant collections of Australian Studies resources to support the teaching, learning and research needs of staff and students in the Faculty of Arts and the Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences. Parts of the collection such as theses, rare books, architectural plans and manuscripts support wider cross-disciplinary teaching, research and community use. The Fryer Library is located in the Library, Duhig Building (named after Sir James Duhig). Entry to the Library is through Level Four, Library, Duhig Building.

Established in 1927 to assist the study of Australian literature, the Fryer Library continues to support scholarship and research through its extensive holdings of publications and manuscripts of some of Australia's leading writers.

In addition to the nearly 100,000 volumes of publications, there are manuscripts, photographs, rare books, research theses and other special collections.

Rapid and streamlined access to collections is facilitated by providing guides to collections online and digitising selected material.

 Contact Us


Phone: +61 7 3365 6236
Fax: +61 7 3365 6776

Building Number 2, St Lucia Campus


Postal Address

Fryer Library,
The University of Queensland,
St Lucia, QLD 4072









Location and Layout

The Fryer Library is located in Building number 2. The main entrance to the Library is on Level 4 of the Library, Duhig Building (Building number 2)

Information on parking (including casual parking) is available from the University's Traffic and Parking section. For an overview of transport possibilities, visit UQ Maps.

The Fryer Library Reading Room and Information desk are located on Level 4 of the Duhig Tower. The Fryer Library reading room tables are available only for the consultation of Fryer Library material. The Microform Collection is located in the Reading Room.

Opening Hours

For recorded opening hours - telephone (07) 3365 6703 These hours vary during the July vacation and the Summer semester period, and are available from the Library website

Fryer Reading Room

UQ Post-Graduate Study Centre

Opening Hours

Opening Hours listed with Ezone hours


Exhibitions and Displays


Display cases are located on Level 4. Displays are used to promote the collections of the Fryer Library and may be done in conjunction with other special events hosted by the Fryer Library.

General Collections

The Fryer Library is the Special Collections section of the University of Queensland Library. It has an extensive Australian studies collection of published and unpublished material.

The Fryer Library is a rich store of rare books, manuscripts, theses, pictorial collections and architectural drawings. Its emphasis is on Australian literature, history, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander studies, art and architecture. Within that range, it has a particular focus of material with a connection to Queensland, and to the University of Queensland.

For further information see the Summary of the Fryer Library's Collection Development Policy, or the full Fryer Library's Collection Development Policy.

History of the collection

Jack Fryer

The Students' Dramatic Society commemorated the memory of their late Vice-President, Jack Fryer, by establishing the Fryer Memorial Library of Australian Literature in early 1927 with a modest sum of ten pounds. Jack Fryer, an English honours student, died of the effects of poison gas in February 1923. He had served in the first A.I.F in France when he was injured.

The initial gift of the Dramatic Society was soon supported by other gifts in money and kind. The Library, with a lecturer in Modern Languages, Frederick Robinson as custodian, was initially opened as a reading room "approached through Dr Robinson's own study". It contained not only works of Australian literature but also background books of Australiana. As custodian of the Fryer Memorial Library, Doc Robbie nurtured its development over some 25 years.

In 1949 the first classes were taught on the St Lucia campus. The Faculty of Arts moved to St Lucia in that year. The Fryer Library moved from the cramped accommodation at George Street to a "handsome room 30 feet long, under the cloisters of the main St Lucia building". (Robinson, F.W.) The Library contained a number of bookcases and had a display case in the centre bay. The Fryer collection was maintained in the English Department until the 1950s when it become part of the University of Queensland Library.

From its humble beginnings, the Fryer Library has built up one of the largest collections of manuscripts in Australian academic libraries, virtually all of it in the area of Australian studies. The collecting of Australian literature commenced in 1927, and deliberately set out to build a research collection of Australian literary works and critical studies on Australian literature. The Hayes collection was acquired in 1967, containing a wealth of Australian literary and historical publications. Most Australian writers of fiction, essays, poetry and literary criticism from the earliest days of Australian writing to the 1960s are represented in the Hayes collection.

A more detailed history of the Fryer Library is available at The History of the Fryer Library webpage.


Special Collections

Using the reading room

The Fryer Library is open to everyone and welcomes all researchers to examine its collections.
Because material in the collection is often old, fragile, valuable and irreplaceable, we ask that you follow a few general procedures:

  • Eating and drinking are not permitted in the Fryer Library reading room. This includes bottled water and the consumption of lollies, chewing gum or lozenges. There is a water fountain in the reading room for your convenience.
  • Bags are not permitted in the reading room. Please ask at the desk for a key to a locker where you can safely store your belongings.
  • Photographic identification is required when requesting materials from the Fryer collection. For staff and students of the University of Queensland, this should be your staff or student id. For other users, a staff or student card, driver's license, 18+ card or any other form of identification, as long as it includes a photograph, is acceptable. Please note that desk staff will keep your id while you are using any Fryer material or hold a locker key.
  • Fryer Library items may not be removed from the reading room.

More details regarding Reading Room Rules can be viewed here or can be explained to you by the library staff.

Special Collections

The special collections in Fryer Library include:

Art exhibition catalogues

The art exhibition catalogues have been collected from all over Australia, with the emphasis on Queensland. The bulk of the collection dates from the 1970s onwards. Included are catalogues, invitations, and fliers. Items are identified by an index.

It should be noted that the University of Queensland Library also holds a number of Australian art exhibition catalogues which are located and identified on the library catalogue. In addition, some manuscript collections within Fryer Library also hold art exhibition catalogues.

Further information about Queensland galleries and artists can be found at the State Library of Queensland   and the Queensland Art Gallery

Theatre programs

The theatre program collection includes programs from a variety of types of theatre groups. It also contains some music programs. The programs have been collected from all over Australia, with the emphasis on Queensland, and date from the early part of the century. Items are identified by an index.

Electronic Australian Studies Resources

There is now a vast amount of information available on the Internet. The following sites are a good starting point for locating useful Internet resources on Australian Studies collections:

Register of Australian Archives and Manuscripts

RAAM is a guide to collections of personal papers and non-governmental organisational records held by Australian libraries and archives. This web-accessible database is managed by the National Library of Australia. It provides researchers with a convenient, centralised register of locations for primary research material. RAAM does not provide detailed descriptions of the collections themselves, rather, it alerts researchers to the existence of collections and enables them to pursue further enquiries about the material. There are over 1500 entries on RAAM of manuscript collections and items from the Fryer Library.

National Library of Australia

State Library of Queensland. John Oxley Library
Material is collected in the subject areas of Queensland history and cultural life, Queensland and Australian literature, Australian exploration and discovery, Queensland biography, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander myths and legends, culture and anthropology.

Jessie Street National Women's Library
A specialist library which collects, preserves and promotes the awareness of the cultural heritage of Australian women, facilitating learning, research and communication.

Australian Society of Archivists. Guide to Australian Business Records
Historical information on Australian businesses and business people (business entities).


Australian Literature Gateway is an internet accessed bio-bibliographical resource discovery tool. The Fryer Library is actively involved in this project which is a joint venture between eight Australian universities and the National Library. AustLit will create a national resource of high quality and lasting value. It will be an invaluable adjunct to teaching and research in Australian literature. The AustLit gateway aims for a complete bibliographic record of all Australian creative writing, along with analysis and criticism relating to the literature and the wider Australian literary culture.

Guide to Australian Literary Manuscripts

As a significant repository of Australian literary manuscripts, the Fryer Library is a partner in this project. It aims to establish a database of encoded to collections of Australian literary papers. Project partners are the University of Western Australia (the leading institution), the Australian Defence Force Academy (ADFA), the University of Sydney, the National Library of Australia and the State Library of New South Wales. The project utilises the Encoded Archival Description (EAD) format to describe Australian Literary manuscript collections. The Fryer Library has contributed finding aids for several manuscript collections, including David Malouf and Thomas Keneally.

Picture Australia

Selected images of early Brisbane from the Fryer Library's Alcock Collection are available on Picture Australia. The first service of its kind in the world, Picture Australia features images from the collections of leading cultural institutions throughout Australia. It is hosted by the National Library of Australia and provides a gateway to images from its own collections and from other agencies such as the State Libraries of New South Wales, Tasmania and Victoria, the Australian War Memorial, the National Archives of Australia and the University of Queensland. Picture Australia has been provided for use by all Australians to discover our heritage as documented in pictures through a single access point. More photographs from the Fryer Library's collections will be added in the near future, including images of the Darling Downs from the Hume Collection, and further images of Brisbane.

Hanger Collection of Australian Playscripts

The Hanger Collection of Australian Playscripts was originally assembled by Eunice Hanger, lecturer in Australian drama at the University of Queensland. It was a vital resource for her teaching in the 1960s, as at the time, little Australian drama was published. The collection is still being added to. It includes scripts from well-known Australian playwrights, such as David Williamson. The playscripts can be identified through the Library catalogue, and through the Fryer Memorial Library Occasional Publication No. 6, Australian Playscripts : a checklist of unpublished scripts in the Hanger Collection, Fryer Library, University of Queensland. (This publication lists only those playscripts acquired by the library before 1987.)

Hayes Collection

The Hayes collection is a significant collection within the Fryer Library. It comprises books, periodicals and manuscripts, mainly relating to Australian literature and history, voyages of early explorers, and religion. A full description of the material in the Hayes collection is available through the Library catalogue. A published catalogue, the Catalogue of Manuscripts from the Hayes Collection in the University of Queensland Library, is also available.

Indigenous Collections

The Fryer Library holds a rich and diverse range of material relating to Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander, Papua New Guinean and Pacific Islander peoples, which have been collected from both indigenous and non-indigenous sources.

In some cases, access to secret or sacred material has been restricted. The conditions of these restrictions are listed in the catalogue.

Users of the collections are advised that they may contain culturally sensitive words or descriptions, some of which might not normally be used in certain public or community contexts. Other expressions reflect particular viewpoints or time periods which would be considered inappropriate today. Please also be aware that viewing the names or images of deceased persons may cause sadness or distress to members of some Indigenous communities.

I have read and understood the conditions of access given above Enter here


Fryer Library is a major repository of manuscripts and personal papers, especially Australian literary manuscripts.

How to use manuscripts

Finding aids

Requesting manuscripts | Using the Reading Room | Access restrictions | Copying | Preferred citation for Fryer manuscript material

Microform collection

The Microform collection is an open access collection, shelved in the Fryer Reading Room, where there are six microform readers with printing facilities.

The Microform Collection includes material on microfilm, microfiche and microcard. Many of these items are newspapers or journals, but there are also some books, theses and archival material.

Online exhibitions

Brisbane Between the Wars:
a History by Design

International Womens Day

Image: Hayes Books

One Man's Gift:
The Father Leo Hayes Collection

Radical Politics & The University of Queensland

1967 Referendum

UQ Memory


Denis Murphy Display

Photographs of the World War, 1915-1916

What O, tonight!" : Stiffy and Mo and the Nat Phillips collection

"Worth Fighting For!"

Hume Family Collection


The Fryer Library photographic collections reflect the collection strengths of Australian history and literature. There is also a collection of photographs which document the history of the University of Queensland.

Images from the Fryer Library are also contributed to the Picture Australia service. Hosted by the National Library, this website features images from the collections of the leading cultural institutions in Australia and New Zealand.

Significant photographic collections in Fryer Library include :

Alcock Collection

The Alcock Collection consists of over 2000 glass slides. They were collected by Professor Henry Alcock, who was the first professor of Modern History at the University of Queensland.

Hume Collection

This is an outstanding photographic resource. It documents the life of the Hume family, a family living on the Darling Downs, Queensland, in the nineteenth century.

Graeme Garner Collection

Over 900 images documenting radical protest and street marches in Brisbane, 1960-1980 including the Vietnam Moratorium marches and Anti Apartheid

Florence Elizabeth James-Wallace Collection

Includes photographs of Luxor, Cairo, Australian military hospitals in Egypt, Anzac Beach, personnel on Lemnos Island off Gallipoli, and Queenslanders who served in No. 3, Australian General Hospital.

Mobsby Collection

Subjects include Sydney in the early 1900s, the 1901 Federation celebrations, early aerial photos of Brisbane, the royal visit in 1927, agricultural work and Queensland's exhibits at numerous international exhibitions

Political Ephemera

The collection of political ephemera covers Queensland political groups, and currently the bulk of the collection is from the 1970s. Items can be identified through the Fryer Memorial Library Occasional Publication No. 2, Publications of Political Organisations in Queensland. This publication lists items acquired before 1983.

Queensland Architectural Archive

The Queensland Architectural Archive collects non-government architectural records, mostly dating from after the 1890s, and mostly relating to residential and commercial buildings in Southeast Queensland. Included are plans for many buildings listed by the National Trust, as well as many signifiant buildings which have now been demolished. The plans are grouped into collections according to the architectural firm from which they originated.

For a full list of the Fryer holdings see the Alphabetical list of Queensland Architectural Archive

Inventories for most collections are available at the Fryer Information Desk. A partial overview of the collection can be obtained from Well made plans : catalogue of an Exhibition of Drawings from the Queensland Architectural Archive in the Fryer Memorial Library, University of Queensland.

Also relevant is the Fryer Memorial Library Occasional Publication No.5, A Directory of Queensland Architects to 1940

Rare Books

Decretales cum apparatu domini Bernardi et lucubrationibus Hieronymi Clarii, 1493

Louisa Anne Meredith, 'Bush Friends in Tasmania', 1891

Henry Kendall's 'Songs from the Mountains', 1880, with the author's manuscript of the suppressed poem 'The Song of Ninian Melville'


The Rare Books collection was established as a separate collection in the Fryer Library in 1968. The Hayes collection acquired in 1967 provided the major impetus for the foundation of the Collection.

The Fryer Library is also the repository for most of the University of Queensland Library's rare books holdings. Some of the titles have been in the University of Queensland Library since it opened in 1909.

The Rare Books collection consists of over 4,500 titles. The oldest is the Decretales cum apparatu domini Bernardi et lucubrationibus Hieronymi Clarii, a 1493 codification of canon law by Pope Gregory IX published in Nuremburg. This is the only complete incunable held in the University of Queensland Library, and it is believed to be one of the oldest printed books held in Queensland libraries.

Recent acquisitions include modern limited editions of literary and artistic works. All titles are available through the Library's catalogue.

Publications are added to the collection according to the criteria of age, rarity, commercial value, fragility, physical format or subject matter. These criteria were adapted from those developed by the National Library of Australia.

The Fryer Library's current rare books collecting focus is to build on its existing strengths in Australian and Queensland history and literature and to support the study of book history.

Particular strengths are:

  • Early printed books and manuscripts

  • Early exploration and settlement of Australia, particularly Queensland

  • Nineteenth century and early twentieth century Australian literary and historical works, with an emphasis on Queensland imprints

  • Natural history

  • Science fiction and fantasy

  • Books as artefacts

  • Association copies.

Further information on the Rare Books Collection is available in the Library's Collection Development policy.


Research theses

University of Queensland theses and some other theses are listed in the Library Catalogue. Higher degree theses produced at the University of Queensland for research Masters and PhD degrees are deposited in Fryer Library. The most recent can be requested for consultation in the Fryer Reading room. Theses between the numbers THE1 and THE16999 are currently housed at Warehouse. Theses between these numbers can be requested for retreival either in person or by phone: 07 336 56276 or by email for collection at the following times:

Collection / Availability from Fryer Library
Time Mon Tues Wed Thurs Fri Sat Sun
Request before 11 After 1 Mon After 1 Tues After 1 Wed After 1 Thurs After 1 Fri Mon PM Mon PM
Request after 11 Tues PM Wed PM Thurs PM Fri PM Mon PM Mon PM Mon PM

Access to the full text of a number of University of Queensland theses is now available through the Library Catalogue. These theses are part of the Australian Digital Theses (ADT) Program, which aims to establish a distributed database of digital versions of theses produced by the postgraduate research students at Australian Universities. The full text of UQ theses is available only within the University of Queensland domain. Abstracts of the theses are freely available to the world-wide community.

Copies of University of Queensland research theses can be purchased from the Library.

Further enquiries can be made to the Thesis department by email: Theses @ Research


Suggest a Purchase

University of Queensland staff and students may suggest items to be added to the Library's collection.

You may also contact the Manager, Fryer Library to make a suggestion for purchase.


Donation Guidelines

This Guide is to help you identify and prepare collections of original material for donation to the Fryer Library at The University of Queensland.

To discuss donating your collection please contact The Manager, Fryer Library


What's New

New print material is displayed in the Fryer Library reading room, Level 4, Library, Duhig Building.

A list of new material is available on the Library website. For information on the latest issue of a journal, search the Library Catalogue.


Loan Enquiries and Retrieval times

Most material in the Fryer Library is held in stacks that are not accessible to clients. You may request staff to retrieve items from the stacks for consultation in the reading room. Items may not be removed from the Fryer Library.

Reference material is available on open shelving in the Reading room. The microform collection is also available there for open access. Theses numbered THE17000 onwards are on open access in the reading room. Theses numbered THE1-THE16999 can be requested from Warehouse.

We encourage you to request manuscript material by email Requests can also be made by handing in person at the Fryer Information Desk, or by telephoning (07) 33656276.

Retrieval times

At regular intervals between 8.00am and 7.30pm, Monday to Thursday and between 8.00am and 4.30pm Friday and between 9.00am and 4.30pm, Saturday and Sunday, depending on Fryer Library closing times. Material ordered within these times will be held at the desk upon request for evening or weekend use.


Lost Property

Lost property is held for one week at the Fryer Library Information Desk on Level 4 and then is given to Security.


Printing and Copying

The Fryer Library provides standard printing and copying facilities on Level 4. All computers on Level 4 and Level 5 have network printing to the printer on Level 4. There is an automatic card dispensing machine on Level 2 of the Library, Duhig Building where copy cards can be purchased and value added to existing cards.

If you wish to photocopy any material from Fryer library, you must first check with the staff at the desk. Some categories of material (such as manuscripts, photographs, architectural plans and very old or fragile books) cannot be copied at the public photocopier. In these instances it may be possible for the staff to arrange copying or reproduction of the material. Please see the Schedule of Charges.

All copying is subject to copyright restrictions. Copyright protection varies according to the type of material being protected.

Researchers who require copies must complete an Application for Reproduction of Fryer Library Collections which includes a copyright declaration for the purpose of ensuring that the researcher's copy is used only in a manner consistent with the approval.

Listed below is a selection of material held in the Fryer Library and the general period of their protection by the Copyright Act:

  • Published Works: including books, journal articles, plays, poems and artistic works such as photographs, engravings and drawings (including maps, charts and plans)
    - Life of the author, plus 70 years
  • Unpublished Works: including manuscript material such as letters, diaries, papers and typescripts
    Copyright subsists until 70 years after first publication, although 50 years after the death of the author reproductions may be made for research or study purposes (or with a view to publication). Requests outside these parameters will require the permission of the copyright owner.
  • Unpublished Photographs and Drawings: including maps, charts and plans
    Copyright subsists until 70 years after the death of the author, although 50 years after the death of the author reproductions may be made for research or study purposes (or with a view to publication). Requests outside these parameters will require the permission of the copyright owner.

The information supplied here is provided as guidance only and does not constitute expert legal advice. If in doubt, always assume that a work is in copyright and seek legal advice before reproducing it. The Australian Copyright Council produces useful copyright fact sheets.

Obtaining Copyright Permission to Reproduce Material

The Library seldom holds copyright for the many types of material in its collections. Library staff will be happy to assist you, if they can, in determining the copyright status of material in the collections. However it is your responsibility to obtain permission from the copyright holder before reproducing an item in any way. The Library must receive written proof of copyright permission before we can supply a copy of the item for you.

Reproduction Restrictions

Although rare printed and original materials � particularly photographs � may have fallen out of copyright, permission must still be sought from the Library before reproducing them and a fee may be charged for use. Please see the Schedule of Charges


Payments can be made at the Loan Enquiries Desk, Level One, Social Sciences and Humanities Library, St. Lucia Campus. You can pay by cash, EFTPOS, credit card or cheque (made payable to The University of Queensland). You can also pay by credit card over the telephone by calling 3365 6629.


Preferred citation of Fryer manuscript material

A correct citation of manuscript material should contain, in the following order :

A. For manuscripts from a collection :

  • The full name of the library (Fryer Library, University of Queensland Library)

  • The name of the collection (optional)

  • The number of the collection

  • The box number
  • eg. Fryer Library, University of Queensland Library, Papers of Thomas Keneally, UQFL 12, Box 1.
  • [or]
  • eg. Fryer Library, University of Queensland Library, UQFL 12, Box 1.

B. For manuscript items (that do not belong to collections) :

  • The full name of the library (Fryer Library, University of Queensland Library)

  • The name of the item (author, title.)

  • The number of the item
  • eg. Fryer Library, University of Queensland Library, Thomas Graham, Log book of H.M.S. Warspite, F431.

Fryer Publications


Published twice a year to illustrate the range of special collections in the Fryer Library and to showcase scholarly research based on these sources. This newsletter evolved into Fryer Folios after Issue 2, 2005.

The following publications are available from Fryer Library :

Fine art exhibitions in Brisbane, 1884-1916 / Julie K. Brown, Margaret Maynard. St. Lucia : Fryer Memorial Library, University of Queensland, 1980. (Fryer Library Occasional Publication No.1) $3.75

Publications of political organisations in Queensland : held in University of Queensland Libraries / Joy Guyatt - bibliography ; Greg George - historical notes. St Lucia, Qld. : Fryer Memorial Library, University of Queensland Libraries, 1983. (Fryer Library Occasional Publication No.2) $7.50

Australian drama productions, 1950 -1969 / compiled by members of the Australian Drama Bibliography Project, Department of English, University of Queensland ; editor in chief : Alrene Sykes ; with special assistance from Chris Tiffin and Sue Cullen. St. Lucia, Qld. : University of Queensland Library, 1984. (Fryer Library Occasional Publication No.4) $3.25

A directory of Queensland architects to 1940 / Donald Watson, Judith McKay. St Lucia : University of Queensland Library, 1984. (Fryer Library Occasional Publication No.5) $6.25

Australian playscripts : a checklist of unpublished scripts in the Hanger Collection, Fryer Library, University of Queensland. St.Lucia : University of Queensland Library, 1987. (Fryer Library Occasional Publication No.6) $5.00

Vivant Professores : distinguished members of the University of Queensland, 1910-1940 / Helen Gregory. St. Lucia : University of Queensland Library, 1987. (Fryer Library Occasional Publication No.7) $6.25

Well made plans : catalogue of an exhibition of drawings from the Queensland Architectural Archive in the Fryer Memorial Library, University of Queensland / [researched and written by Don Watson and Fiona Gardiner]. St. Lucia, Qld. : University of Queensland Library with the assistance of the Friends of the Fryer Library,1988. $2.50

Catalogue of manuscripts from the Hayes Collection in the University of Queensland Library / edited by Margaret Brenan, Marianne Ehrhardt and Carol Hetherington. St. Lucia : University of Queensland Library, 1976. $17.00

Prices include postage costs

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  Last Updated: 28 January 2009.