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Experience colonial Brisbane's criminal underbelly

Digital Colonial Brisbane

the project

The project consolidates historical information regarding the key aspects of urban life in Brisbane from 1859 to 1901. Utilising police courts records the project recreates the daily interactions of Brisbanites as told by actions and words of the participants themselves, captured in sworn and expert witness statements. By recreating Brisbane's historical crime map, it will take visitors along on a beat and let them experience the bustling, and not always salubrious, street life through the eyes of an ordinary city patrol Constable and an average city dweller.

Historical Crime Map of Colonial Brisbane, 1859-1901

interactive map

The key digital feature of the project is a nineteenth century interactive searchable map of Brisbane with a focus on 20 central streets, today’s Brisbane CBD. The map is populated with an average of five occurrences per street. By clicking on the street of interest, a visitor can zoom in on the street to reveal details of events such as assaults, assaults on police/ resisting arrest, use of abusive language, larceny and miscellaneous offences, etc. — misdemeanours that are most representative of everyday life and interactions. 

Queensland Police Museum


Digital Colonial Brisbane display is now open for viewing Monday to Thursday 9:00-16:00 until 1 July 2017, QPS Headquarters, 200 Roma Street, Brisbane.