Queensland, twice the size of New South Wales and eight times the size of Victoria. That’s how the recently established Government Tourist Bureau promoted the state on postcards in 1912. In 2008 Prime Minister Kevin Rudd couldn’t resist pointing out to American President George Bush that Queensland was bigger than Texas. Few in Queensland ever mention that Western Australia is bigger still.
When Captain Arthur Phillip claimed the entire continent for the British Crown in 1788, the rights to country of the Indigenous occupants were not recognised. The individual colonies of Australia became embroiled in a fierce competition to attract migrants, and later investment and tourists.
Over time this question of how to market Queensland has been asked by emigration agents, tourist bureaux, governments, premiers, airlines, breweries, publishers, authors, artists, mining companies, advertising agencies and real estate agents. The response has in turn shaped the very nature of Queensland and what it means to be called a Queenslander – sometimes unflatteringly.