FAWQ – Beginnings

It was cloudy and cool in Brisbane on 13th July 1921, the day eighteen men and women gathered at the Town Hall in Queen Street to form the Queensland Authors and Artists Association. The meeting had been called after a deputation of writers and artists had received advice to form an Association to publicise their work from the Queensland Treasurer and Secretary for Public Works the Hon. John Fihelly. Local artists were struggling at the time to get their work noticed with Britain the focus of the public’s attention. That meeting on a cloudy night in Queen Street Brisbane, in the same location that Dymocks Bookstore occupies today, was the beginning of a supportive network for Australian creative artists that has expanded into so many areas today.

The aims and objects of the Association in 1921 were written as follows:

  • To further and assist to cultivate an Australian atmosphere in Literature and Art.
  • To encourage and help the development of young Queensland authors and artists.
  • To cultivate a keener public appreciation of artistic and literary talent in our own State.
  • To give practical guidance and advice to those engaged in Literary and Artistic work.
  • To bring together under one organisation all sympathisers with and active participants in Literary and Artistic work.

Some in this first meeting called for protection of Australian artists by stopping the dumping of foreign work into the country, but the person chosen by the meeting as the Foundation President, Jeremiah Joseph Stable, successfully argued that “Art knew no barriers, it would always find its own level.” Inclusiveness and openness have been the hallmark of the QAAA ever since.

One of the Foundation members that day was Arthur Hoey Davis, known to generations of Australians as “Steele Rudd”. Seven years after this meeting in Brisbane, Arthur Davis joined with Dame Mary Gilmore and John Le Gay Brereton in Sydney to form the Fellowship of Australian Writers, an organisation committed to changing the neglectful way the Australian arts community, including writers, were treated at the time. One of the first decisions at the first meeting in Sydney in 1928 was a fair payment for written work. The QAAA became the Queensland branch of the FAW and in 1958, officially changed their name to the Fellowship of Australian Writers, Queensland Section.

The FAWQ today continues the work of supporting writers in Queensland with the stated aims being:

  • To encourage creative writing and the study of literature
  • To foster the love of books and writing
  • To bring writers and aspiring writers together

We welcome everyone to join us and still share the sentiment expressed by our Foundation President that “art knows no barriers.” Writing is an art that connects, connection builds community and our community is the Fellowship of Australian Writers Queensland.

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