Corley Explorer

  • 2020

  • Digital

Commissioned By:

State Library of Queensland

Designed In:


The Frank and Eunice Corley collection is a unique photographic record of Queensland suburbs in the 1960s and 1970s, comprising over 61,000 photographs. The Corley Explorer is an explorable interface that invites the community to enrich the collection by tagging and locating houses, sharing stories, images and their recollections.

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  • Frank and Eunice Corley are estimated to have taken over a quarter of a million photographs of houses throughout South East Queensland and as far north as Bundaberg. Around two-thirds of the photographs were sold to householders, and those remaining ended up in boxes beneath the Corleys’ house, eventually donated to the State Library of Queensland in 1995. At the time of acquisition, with only physical copies of the photos and very general details of where they were taken, State Library faced a momentous challenge: how might we make this collection accessible, useful and meaningful for a Queensland audience?

  • The Corley Explorer is a rich, explorable interface that invites the community to describe and enrich the collection. The generous design of the Corley Explorer provides our community with an easy to use, intuitive and browsable interface that cleverly reveals the scale and complexity of the Frank and Eunice Corley collection. The Corley Explorer API allows the State Library of Queensland to merge community contributed content with our catalogue to enrich the data in our collection records and preserve a comprehensive collection of Queensland’s cultural and documentary heritage.

  • The Corley Explorer improved the accessibility of State Library’s collection and increased documentation of Queensland’s lived history. Our community has described, located and shared stories resulting in: · 162,546 tags (37.72% of the collection described) · 35,142 addresses (57.67% of the collection geolocated) · 2254 stories contributed, with 1231 stories also containing user contributed images · more than 1.5 million views of the Corley Explorer The Corley Explorer has improved State Library services by enabling us to continue to improve search-ability of our collections. In 2019, more than 32,000 records were updated to include addresses, geotags and geographic subject headings.

  • The Corley Explorer, as a part of the Home: a suburban obsession exhibition was recognised by the National Trust of Australia (Queensland) with a Gold Award in the Heritage Interpretation and Promotion category and the John Herbert Memorial Award as the most outstanding nomination across all categories in the 2019 Award Program. The Corley Explorer was also recognised by the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences in the 24th Annual Webby Awards as a Webby Honoree in the Cultural Blog/Website category.