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AGM and Clem Lack Oration (A Continuous Thread: The Lebanese Presence in South Brisbane, Woolloongabba and West End)

November 18, 2021 @ 5:30 pm - 7:30 pm

Free – $10

Book here


The Society’s annual general meeting and Clem Lack Oration will be held on Thursday 18 November at 5.30pm on the ground floor of the Commissariat Store Museum. To reach the quorum, we need at least 20 financial members to be present. Booking is essential.

1. Opening, Attendance and Apologies
2. Confirmation of the Minutes of the 2020 Annual General Meeting
3. Consideration of the Annual Report of the President
4. Consideration of Audited Annual Financial Statement
5. Election of the President, one Vice President, Hon Secretary, Hon Treasurer and 10 Councillors
6. Appointment of Patron of the Society
7. Appointment of an Honorary Auditor
8. Consideration of the recommendation by the Society’s Council that Mr Stephen Sheaffe be elected as a Fellow of the Society and that Dr Rebecca Ling be awarded a MacGregor Medal
9. Presentation of Award of Centenary Medals to Dr Anne Monsour, Vince Little and Ian Bonaccorso
10. Close
11. The Clem Lack Oration will follow the AGM. It will be presented by Dr Anne Monsour on ‘A Continuous Thread: The Lebanese Presence in South Brisbane, Woolloongabba and West End’

Clem Lack Oration

A Continuous Thread: The Lebanese Presence in South Brisbane, Woolloongabba and West End
Anne Monsour

The earliest record of Syrian/Lebanese in Queensland is of two people in Brisbane in 1884. By 1889, there were 31. In the next decade, 193, more than six times as many, arrived including women and children. Although the immigrants dispersed widely throughout Queensland, Brisbane was consistently the most significant location and most lived in South Brisbane, Woolloongabba and West End.

Indeed, in February 1897, the Brisbane Worker (p. 2) described Stanley Street, South Brisbane as ‘Syrian town’. These Syrians, who were mostly from the area now known as Lebanon, were described disparagingly by the Worker as ‘coloured, towel-capped merchants’ who were threatening the livelihood of white retailers and furthermore, had ‘evidently made up their minds to stay’. Despite being unwelcome and encountering many obstacles, particularly as a result of the White Australia Policy, these Syrians did indeed stay.

Yet, despite the continuous Syrian/Lebanese presence in the South Brisbane area, theirs is a largely untold story. This lecture seeks to redress this absence by tracing the Lebanese presence from the undesirable Syrian hawkers and shopkeepers of the nineteenth century through the twentieth century to the present.

This lecture is based on a project funded through the Brisbane City Council Lord Mayor’s Helen Taylor Research Award for local history and also supported by the Australian Lebanese Historical Society and Oral History Queensland.


Anne Monsour has a PhD in history from the University of Queensland (2004). After teaching at CQUniversity Bundaberg campus, 1993-2008, she has worked as a professional historian. Anne has conducted oral history interviews for the National Library of Australia (Forgotten Australians and Former Child Migrants Oral History project) and the Medical Board of Queensland. For over two decades, she has been researching, writing and speaking, in academic and community forums in Australia and overseas, about the history of Lebanese in Australia. She is the author of Not Quite White: Lebanese and the White Australia Policy 1880 to 1947 (Post Pressed, 2010), several journal articles and book chapters, and editor of two books: Raw Kibbeh: Generations of Lebanese Enterprise (2009) and Here to Stay: Lebanese in Toowoomba and South West Queensland (2012). Anne is currently the national president of the Australian Lebanese Historical Society (ALHS) and the editor of the ALHS newsletter. In 2019, she was awarded the Brisbane City Council’s Lord Mayor’s Helen Taylor Research Award for Local History to undertake the project A Continuous Thread: the Lebanese Presence in South Brisbane, Woolloongabba and West End.


November 18, 2021
5:30 pm - 7:30 pm
Free – $10


The Royal Historical Society of Queensland


Commissariat Store Museum
115 William St
Brisbane, 4000 Australia
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