Land is a source of wealth, livelihood and sense of identity for people everywhere. In Queensland, land has shaped our history, our relationships with Indigenous peoples and migrants and our economies.

The Shape of Queensland

The physical shape of Queensland is instantly recognisable in maps, drawings and advertising. It is part of how Queensland promotes and presents itself. But the same physical space holds different meanings for the many different people who live in and visit our state.

The land that is now known as Queensland, was formerly a complex set of Aboriginal landscapes, territories and regions. Since European invasion, exploration and settlement, boundaries have been negotiated, altered and redrawn to become the distinctive shape we know today. Many things have “shaped” Queensland externally and internally, including successive environmental and political processes. The state first gained some of its current shape when Queensland was created as a separate colony in 1859 and its internal boundaries continue to shift as Torres Strait Islands are recognised and Local Government Boundaries redrawn in the early 21st century.

Land as a Resource

The vast size of the state and the variety of climatic regions is used to promote the region as bountiful and resource rich. The vast expanse of land offered the first settlers an opportunity to amass personal wealth and change their fortunes. For others it was less successful. Nevertheless these forms of propaganda remained critical in attracting much needed migrant workforces that enable the State to develop and prosper.

The rich resources of Queensland further attracted fortune seekers. Mining in particular, has a long history and transformed both physical landscapes and the social and cultural makeup of Queensland.

The diversity of Queensland landscapes continues to grow as a critical element in a major tourism industry. Building on established notions of the ‘sunshine state’, Queensland appeals to Australian and international visitors as a place of warm weather, fine beaches and relaxed lifestyle.

Daintree photograph of Glasshouse Mountains
Daintree photograph of Glasshouse Mountains

Queensland Museum's Find out about... is proudly supported by the Thyne Reid Foundation and the Tim Fairfax Family Foundation.