Liz Downes came to Australia from the UK in 1970. A few years later, with two young children, she began working part-time at JCU Library, later joining the full-time staff while studying for a BA, specialising in English literature and Australian history. After retiring Liz became a Special Collections volunteer, indulging a growing interest in north Queensland history and writing blog posts about collection items. Liz has an enduring love of the natural world and a strong interest in natural history and wildlife conservation. She spent many years on the executive of Wildlife Queensland’s Townsville Branch with its aims of raising community awareness about the environment and advocating for better conservation management and care. In acknowledgement of her volunteer work in nature conservation and at the Library, Liz was named Queensland’s volunteer of the year in 2020. As well as keeping up with the lives and interests of her teenage grandsons (as much as possible!), Liz enjoys bush and beach walking, bird-watching, and reading – particularly natural history, contemporary Australian fiction and politics. She still occasionally tries to express her life’s passions in poetry.
Trisha Fielding is a professional historian and writer whose published works include the books: Asleep in the Deep: a Love Lost on the SS Yongala (2022); A University for the North: James Cook University 1970-2020 (2021); Neither Mischievous nor Meddlesome: The Remarkable Lives of North Queensland’s Independent Midwives 1890-1940 (2019), Queen City of the North: a history of Townsville (2016), and the blogs, North Queensland History; Women of the North; and Travels in the Sublime. Trisha holds a Master of History degree from the University of New England and a Bachelor of Arts with Distinction (with majors in History and Journalism) from the University of Southern Queensland.
After completing a Bachelor of Applied Science (Biology), and then a Graduate Diploma in Librarianship, Suzie worked as a Librarian at the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS). Her very first project was to catalogue the recently arrived private library of the famous marine scientist, Sir Charles Maurice Yonge. Suzie worked at AIMS for the next eight years, and then moved to the position of Manager, Library & Image Services at the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA). Suzie was invited to be the Australasian representative on the IODE Group of Experts on Marine Information Management, a role she held for over 10 years. This work involved developing, supporting and mentoring marine information managers around the world, in order to build and strengthen capacity of marine information networks, especially in the Pacific region. Since retiring, Suzie continued to support this program, as well as undertaking some indexing and editing work. But her great joy is to be able to volunteer at the JCU Library Special Collections, and again help care for and develop that great treasure that is the Sir Maurice Yonge Collection!