Museum reopening following COVID-19

The Commissariat Store Museum and RHSQ offices reopened in June in accordance with government reopening guidelines. Social distancing and hygiene measures are in place throughout the building. We are asking you to please visit another time if, in the past month, you have:

  • Experienced any symptoms of COVID-19 (fever, cough, sore throat, shortness of breath or runny nose)
  • Been in contact with anyone known to have COVID-19
  • Travelled overseas
  • Received a positive COVID-19 test result

You can read the Society’s full coronavirus safety plan here.



Coronavirus (COVID-19) Notice to all staff, visitors and members

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Notice to all staff, visitors and members

The COVID -19 pandemic is having a significant impact on the activities of the Society. The Commissariat Store is continuing to remain open at the moment but the position may be reviewed in due course. The position with regards to this issue is changing daily.

To help protect our staff, and our mature aged guides and volunteers all school visits have been cancelled.

We have also made the decision to either cancel or postpone future events.

  1. The monthly lectures held on the Wednesday for the months of April, May and June 2020 have been cancelled. The planned lectures after June will be reviewed in due course.
  2. The Cook Conference to be held on 23 May 2020 at the State Library has been cancelled.
  3. The Cook Conference to be held on 29 May 2020 at Agnes Water has been cancelled.
  4. The Queensland Day Dinner to be held at the Brisbane Club on 6 June 2020 has been postponed. The postponed date is still to be decided.

Please note:

If you have just arrived from overseas or have come in close contact with a person infected with Covid-19 you should self-isolate for 14 days.

If you experience symptoms of fever, a cough, sore throat, fatigue and shortness of breath, please seek medical advice!

Also practise safe distancing procedures and if you have the above symptoms or have been tested positive for COVID-19 you will be refused entry to the Commissariat Store.

I thank you very much for your support with regards to this issue.

With compliments,

Stephen W Sheaffe


17 March 2020

Springsure, Central Queensland

Springsure, Central Queensland

The Central Queensland town of Springsure is at the terminus of  two major thoroughfares – the Gregory Highway (running south from the Gulf country) and the Dawson Highway, which runs west from Gladstone on the coast.

Ludwig Leichhardt explored the district between 1843 and 1845. His favourable reports encouraged squatters to move in and settle the land. The town’s  name, used from 1861, comes from a pastoral run which had a permanent spring.

The subsequent influx of squatters caused friction with the original Indigenous inhabitants, and in 1861 squatter Horatio Wills and 18 other settlers including women and children were slaughtered in the Cullin-La-Ringo massacre, the largest mass murder of European settlers in Australian history. It has since been suggested that the murders were reprisal for the shooting of local Gayiri tribespeople by Europeans.

Springsure today is the hub for several Bowen Basin coal mines, and the district produces cattle, sunflowers, sorghum, wheat and chickpeas.

As the pastoral settlement grew in wealth, local stock and station agents imported expensive automobile marques (like these American Studebakers) for potential purchasers.

Springsure is a starting point for visits to Carnarvon Gorge National Park, an area of outstanding natural beauty with sandy plains, valleys, and gorges separated by basalt-capped ranges. The gorge walls create an ecosystem for rare flora and fauna. The Gorge also features Indigenous art galleries.

In the 2016 census, Springsure had a population of 1103.

Record-breaking Flight

Record-breaking Flight

In 1919 brothers Ross and Keith Smith, with mechanics James Bennett and Wally Shiers, were the first Australians to fly a British aircraft from Great Britain to Australia. They piloted this converted Vickers Vimy twin-engine bomber G-EAOU (affectionately known as ‘God ‘Elp All Of Us’) from England to Darwin.

They took off from Houndslow Heath at 8am on 12 November 1919 and landed in Darwin at 4.10pm on 10 December 1919.

In all, they had covered an estimated distance of 17,911 km in 135 hours and 55 minutes. They were met by Prime Minister Billy Hughes. The crew were able to claim the prize of 10,000 pounds offered by the Australian Government for the first Australians to fly from Britain to Australia.

The Vickers Vimy aircraft was developed in the latter stages of the First World War to equip the Royal Flying Corps. It was completed too late to be used in active combat, but formed the main heavy bomber force of the Royal Air Force throughout the 1920s.

The G-EAOU is preserved in a museum in the Smiths’ hometown of Adelaide.