The story of how five brothers started a business from their Queensland family home that became one of this nation’s greatest success stories is the subject of a new exhibition at the National Library of Australia – Thiess 75 Years: Shaping a Nation.

To celebrate Thiess’s 75th anniversary, the company has donated a collection of more than 700 photographs documenting its history to the National Library. Reproductions of more than 40 of these images will go on display in the exhibition and about double that number are already available on the National Library’s website. The exhibition also includes images from the National Library’s collection by Frank Hurley and Wolfgang Sievers.

Curator of Pictures at the National Library, Linda Groom, said the Thiess images not only complemented the Library’s documentary collection, but also illustrated a diverse range of topics from construction techniques of the day and working conditions to the 1949 miners’ strike and women’s fashion.

“We are delighted to acquire the Thiess collection as many of the images feature useful subject areas, including the history of the company, the Snowy Mountains Scheme and the pastoral industry in Western Australia,” she said.

Ms Groom said the 117 photographs of Mount Hart station in the Kimberley were a particularly welcome addition to the Library’s collection.

“Although we have a strong coverage of the Australian pastoral industry, the emphasis up to now has been more on the eastern states. The Mount Hart photographs were clearly taken by a professional photographer and show family life, the role of Aboriginal stockmen, the school of the air – and also contain a shot of the photographer himself – wearing some memorable checked shorts. ’’

What: Thiess 75 Years: Shaping a Nation
17 November 2009 – 28 February 2010
Fourth Floor, National Library of Australia

Media Contact:
Sally Hopman, Media Liaison Manager, National Library of Australia
02 6262 1704 or 0401 226 697