A husband and wife who cruised the streets in a pink Cadillac in the 1960s and 70s taking hundreds of thousands of photos of Queensland homes will feature in a new exhibition at State Library of Queensland opening 7 December.

Home: a suburban obsession explores the social, historical and cultural foundations of Queensland homes through the incredible legacy of Frank and Eunice Corley. Brisbane residents Frank and Eunice are thought to have taken more than a quarter of a million photographs of houses throughout South East Queensland and as far north as Bundaberg. Most of the photos were sold to home owners as individual prints or calendars at the time.

In 1995, 67 boxes of their photographs featuring 61,490 prints were donated to State Library. It is one of the largest single photographic collections of Australian housing in existence. In 2001, volunteers began the lengthy and complex process of sorting the prints; this involved translating Frank’s handwritten spool identifiers to crack the photographer’s organisational code. As well as rare original photographs of Queensland homes the exhibition also includes an interactive map allowing visitors to search for images of their homes from the 1960s or 70s. It also features artwork by multidisciplinary artist Ian Strange and launch commentary from comedian and design nerd Tim Ross.

Minister for the Arts Leeanne Enoch praised the exhibition and commented on the Queensland Government’s contribution. “Home: a suburban obsession tells a unique Queensland story and helps to reveal new layers of Queensland’s cultural history,” said Leeanne. “The Queensland Government provided funding of $80,000 through the Queensland Arts Showcase Program for the Home: a suburban obsession exhibition.”

State Librarian and CEO Vicki McDonald hopes that Queenslanders will share their memories and stories of home through the interactive elements of the exhibition. “The exhibition is so much more than a story of bricks and mortar; it is about the everyday hopes and dreams of Queenslanders and how it has changed over the decades,” said Vicki. “State Library is a custodian of Queensland’s collective memory and we are uniquely positioned to share the incredible stories of our state’s past and present.”

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