Supreme Court Library to celebrate 160 years

Rules of the Library

On 1 May 2022, we will celebrate 160 years serving the administration of justice in Queensland by providing legal information services to the Queensland judiciary, legal profession and broader community.

This auspicious occasion will be marked with a celebration for library staff to recognise their contribution to our long history in assisting our customers to navigate legal content, providing legal research services, and maintaining research and legal heritage collections.

Whether you’re a new library customer or have supported us over many years, we thank you for your patronage.

We are looking forward to the future. No doubt our library service will change a lot over the next 160 years – but whatever the future holds, I hope SCLQ remains committed to being Queensland’s leading legal information service, delivering world’s best practice legal library services to our customers.

Our history

1 May 1862The library was established in the Supreme Court of Queensland (then housed in Brisbane’s convict barracks on Queen Street) with just 61 volumes in our collection. (The first Supreme Court Librarian, Robert Thorrold, was appointed on 30 April.)
12 December 1862The Supreme Court Library’s original rules came into effect.
October 1866The library grew rapidly in its first years, and by October 1866 the collection was valued at £1000.
August 1874Sir Samuel Griffith became chair of the Library Committee, a position he held throughout his tenure as Attorney-General until late 1878.
6 March 1879We moved from our first home in the Queen Street convict barracks to a new home in the Supreme Court building on George Street, which stimulated a major expansion of our collection.
1879The Collection Subcommittee was created to select new titles for the library collection, a role it still plays.
1881Our first catalogue was published, with an alphabetical listing of around 500 volumes.
September 1887The library first subscribed to the Selden Society, making Queensland the first jurisdiction outside of England to be listed in the first published Selden Society volumes.
1 September 1968The historic Queensland Supreme Court building was set alight by arsonist David Brooks, leaving much of the building in ruins and seriously damaging library books and judges’ portraits.
11 December 1968The Supreme Court Library Act 1968 came into force, setting out the constitution and powers of the Supreme Court Library Committee.
2 September 1981We moved into the new Supreme Court building in Brisbane, which was officially opened in the presence of the Governor (Sir James Ramsay), the Chief Justice (Sir Charles Wanstall), the Chief Justice of the High Court (Sir Harry Gibbs), the Queensland judiciary and the legal profession.
3 August 2012The state-of-the-art Queen Elizabeth II Courts of Law building opened at 415 George Street and we made our home on level 12, where we still are today.
9 September 2013David Bratchford took up the position of Supreme Court Librarian, replacing Aladin Rahemtula OAM who had served as Supreme Court Librarian for 27 years.
1 May 2022It’s our 160th birthday!
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