1. Ballot boxes from the Queensland Lands Department


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    This video was produced with Townsville's Museum and Historical Society for the ABC Open project "Object Stories" These are ballot boxes that were donated to the Townsville museum by the Queensland lands dept in 2007. When crown land was released if there was more than one person applying for each lot, a ballot was held to determine who would be offered each land parcel. We rediscovered these ballot boxes in the shed recently and the ascension record really didn’t have any information about them. When we opened one of the boxes we found this extract from the 1916 annual report of the Dept of lands. It describes the procedure to determine priority of lot. It says “the commissioner shall cause to be provided: Marbles upon which are stamped successive numbers clearly underlined and equal in number to the number of applications received. A box with a lock and an opening in the top to permit the insertion of an instrument; hereafter called the extractor.” It says the lid is to be closed, box shaken up and then placed upright on a bench or table. The extractor was used to select a single ball that was transferred to the ballot box or handed to the commissioner. The land was usually released as lease hold, and land ballots were still being conducted in Queensland well into the latter half of the twentieth century.

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