Queensland's German Connection

27 Jul , 2016  

170 years Germans in QLD BookWanting a unique and interesting gift idea? Look no further than the coffee-table book ‘Queensland’s German Connections’! Published to celebrate 170 years of German settlement in Queensland, it’s a MUST for anyone interested in history or Germans’  contribution to this state from its earliest days.

A vision becomes reality

When the then Honorary German Consul in Brisbane, Detlef Sulzer, realised there was no definitive book explaining the many and varied contributions by Germans to Queensland, from its earliest days until the present, he decided something must be done.

His idea and vision became reality with the launch of ‘Queensland’s German Connections: Past, present and future – 170 years strong’  in 2012 through GACCQ (German Australian Community Centre Qld).

Almost two years went into research, interviews, and the compilation of stories and anecdotes, carefully collated and written by Robin Kleinschmidt, Peter Ludlow and Matt Tesch. It is the most definitive book of its kind ever published and starts with the very earliest of settlers – in fact, the first free settlement of Queensland by German missionaries.

A personal journey & a book with a difference

Matt-TeschMatt Tesch’s German forebears were some of the earliest settlers in the early 1860s so, as co-ordinating editor, principal designer, and one of the writers of this book, it was also a very personal journey for this passionate and successful publications specialist.

“Detlef Sulzer had a very clear vision for the kind of book he wanted to leave as a treasured legacy of his 10 years as Honorary Consul,” remembers Matt, “and that project was one of those rare, lucky ‘briefs’ where the designer and client were immediately on the same page – so to speak!

“Together, we envisaged a wide-ranging horizon of themes, topics, people and events – in fact, anything at all which had both a ‘German’ and ‘Queensland’ connection.  That opened up a colossal vista of subject matter – from the fantastic boring machines used to dig Brisbane’s road tunnels in the 21st Century all the way back to Colonial Queensland’s first successful export industry: honey created by German bee-keepers! – and it became an increasingly exciting research proposition for Robin, Peter and I.

“One thing I determined early,” said Matt, “and with which Detlef fully agreed, was that we had to utilise a ‘magazine-style’ approach to all this interesting research.  So, rather than the book being chapter-after-chapter of historical stories (detailed with meticulous German thoroughness!), I designed it as an interlocking series of self-contained double-page ‘modules’.  Each topic, interview or story, was built as an ‘at a glance’ spread of two pages (sometimes, four; occasionally six pages).

“The illustrations – photos, maps, background images, etc – were lavishly created and richly decorated throughout the book, styled according to each module’s content.  The design philosophy was that a reader could pick up this book, open it to any page at random, land upon any part of the content and, before even turning the page, find themselves thinking ‘gee, I never knew that’ … and I think we definitely succeeded in that.  The book continues to be a strong, steady seller after almost four years, because so much of its content is timeless, and describes many personal and enduring legacies which still have a bearing on the lives of Queenslanders today.”

Where can I buy it?

A perfect gift and valuable extension to any library, secure your copy of this limited-edition book:

  • via the GACCQ website here
  • New Farm Editions book shop (Methyr Village Shopping Centre, New Farm)
  • contact the German Consulate in Brisbane by email here

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