A wooden box containing glass lantern slides

Production date
Circa 1930s
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Object Detail

Wooden box containing 48 glass slides with geological subject matter.
An oblong wooden box with brass hooks to secure lid. The lid of the box is split across the centre line parallel to the front. The box contains forty eight (48) numbered glass plate negatives each wrapped in tissue, each measuring 82mm square. The underside of the lid is partially lined with green felt.
Media/Materials description
History and use
A wooden felt-lined slide box holding a set of 48 glass lantern slides depicting early images of the Barrier Reef region. The box is marked as belonging to the University of Queensland Geology Department. They may have been used as educational tools at UQ and/or for lecture tours about the Barrier Reef.

The collection is circa 1930s, with some images showing field naturalists (unidentified) at work. The slides also show geological specimens, boring and drilling equipment, and reproductions of diagrams and reports. The slides are in good condition and most images are clear. They appear to be a combination of original photos and reproductions.

The slides may capture specimens of significance to geologists; however the set as a whole can also be read from a social history perspective as representative of the early days of documenting the Reef landscape. The analysis of coral reefs, generally, was expanding at this time, with the world’s first detailed scientific study of coral reefs (the ‘Low Isles expedition’) taking place in the region in the late 1920s.

With their connection to the University of Queensland, the slides also demonstrate educational norms and technologies at work in the early 20th century, as well as connecting to the history of the University. The Geology Department was established in 1911, one of the earliest UQ departments. Under Professor Henry Richards the Department was closely involved in the establishment of the Great Barrier Reef Committee (1922) and the early research expeditions.
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