Brisbane Sunday School Union march, 1880.

This photo shows the Brisbane Sunday School Union march on the Queen’s Birthday — Monday the 24th of May 1880. The photographer was Robert L’Estrange and the photo is held in the collection of the Queensland Institute of Technology. This photo depicts a scene that would have been similar to the description of the 1871 Sunday schools march on page 173 of my book “Pawky John : The Life and Times of a Colonial Publican”. The photo was not included in the book because the march in 1880 did not proceed past John Menzies’ boarding-house in Edward Street. The 1880 march went along George Street from the corner of George and Tank Streets, turned into Queen Street and then along Albert Street to the Botanic Gardens.

Readers of “Pawky John” are advised to refer to this picture when reading the story on page 173.

The children and teachers marched behind their respective banners. They wore their distinguishing rosettes. They sang hymns as they marched. The South Brisbane Presbyterian School Fife and Drum Band performed some lively Sunday school melodies. Many of the children also banged on tin pannikins.

Eighty-five of the inmates from the orphanage marched behind their banner, “Diamantina Orphanage; defend the poor and fatherless”.

QUT is in possession of the original glass negatives, so the image has been scanned at a high resolution. I have been able to zoom in to reveal some of the details in the picture.

Paddington Primitive Methodist Sabbath School

Creek Street Presbyterian Sabbath School

The cabman trying to drive through the procession.

The teachers were very energetic when marshaling the children, but their task was rendered more difficult when a cabman attempted to drive his Melbourne car through the procession.

Readers of “Pawky John” are advised to refer to this image when reading about the death of James Anderson on page 128 and when reading about the new Council regulations for cabs on page 153.

The size of the march had grown from 11 schools, 163 teachers and 1,672 pupils in 1871 to 37 schools, 495 teachers and 4,594 pupils in 1880.

Sources of information — The Telegraph,  Brisbane Courier and The Week.

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Pawky John : The Life and Times of a Colonial Publican by Brian J Menzies. 240 page softcover book.


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