Character roof shapes from corley explorer images

How to use Corley Explorer to research character

From the 1960s to the 1970s, Frank and Eunice Corley drove the suburban streets of Queensland in their pink Cadillac, taking photographs of houses and selling them to homeowners. They are thought to have taken over a quarter of a million photographs of houses, from Bundaberg to Beenleigh. Around two-thirds of the photographs were sold to householders, and the remaining 61,000 images were donated to State Library in 1995.

You can use the ‘Corely Explorer‘ website to tag and describe photos, collect your favorites, and share your stories and images. It is also useful in reviewing the evolution of a house over time to identify what parts of a pre-war house may have been altered between the 1960s and now. For example, in the two top images below we can see that the extensions to the left side of the dwelling have been modified between the 1960s and now and are now a ‘post-war’ feature of the house. And if we combine that with aerial imagery from Q-Imagery/BCC, we can conclude that the extension to the left side of the house was original, but has been significantly altered, all without stepping foot on-site!

Images from Corley Explorer & Q-Imagery:Image from Google Streetview & Brisbane City Council Interactive Mapping:

The Corley Explorer is also a great tool to get familiar with the architectural features of Dwelling houses and to also contribute to the Brisbane housing community by adding stories, tags, and features of dwelling houses. For example, you can tag particular roof forms, materials, locations, features etc. so the next person can find the house quicker.

Some houses are listed as having the wrong address so please ensure that you are reviewing the correct building when ‘Searching’ the Corely Explorer. Sometimes it can be the house next door, across the road, or in an entirely different suburb!

Learn more about character housing in Brisbane by completing our short course:

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