The Birdsville Hotel, recipient of the Queensland Business History Award for 2014.

The Queensland Business History Award recognises leadership in collecting, preserving and sharing business history. The annual award encourages businesses and business leaders to elevate the importance of safeguarding their irreplaceable historical material.

This year’s recipient, the Birdsville Hotel, is an iconic Queensland business that has a long and colourful history dating back to its establishment in 1884. The hotel’s diverse and voluminous collection is a living archive of the many people that have passed through its doors, and their experience of remote Queensland.

The hotel owners, Jo and Kym Fort and Nell and David Brook, along with their staff, demonstrate an intimate knowledge of the collection and use it to connect with their patrons, as the historical material is on display on the hotel’s interior walls.

The Birdsville Hotel engages with the community and visitors on a daily basis to promote their collection, encourage others to enjoy it, and even add to it where they can. A visitor’s book in the hotel reception encourages patrons to write about their own experience of the bush and make a contribution to the local shared history.

Photographs, leaflets, brochures, flyers, film, correspondence, donated ledgers, minute books, annual reports and oral histories all play a part in telling Queensland’s narrative.

Preserving business records helps co-create Queensland’s memory for future generations and State Library of Queensland encourages all businesses to get on board.