Deadly Threads

State Library of Queensland

Deadly Threads is a fascinating State Library of Queensland showcase examining Indigenous shirts – born from protests in the 1970s and evolving as permanent mainstays in wardrobes across Australia. 

The exhibition features over 170 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander designed singlets, t-shirts, polo shirts, and jerseys.

From colourful sporting jerseys to protest and artists shirts, Deadly Threads looks at how the shirts have helped people freely express views, support community, show allegiances and champion causes. 

Deadly Threads, State Library of Queensland

Visitors can explore the origins and significance of the shirts and how they have become important symbols of identity, celebration and unity. Also, you'll learn more about the regional companies and artists that have emerged as part of the flourishing Indigenous shirt business.

Deadly Threads, State Library of Queensland

Highlights of the showcase include:

•   Rare shirts from the Mabo Family Collection that celebrate Mabo Day and the 1992 Mabo decision

•   Queensland Rugby League legend Johnathan Thurston’s boots

•   Memorial shirts designed for tombstone openings in the Torres Strait

•   T-shirts designed by artists Vernon Ah Kee, Richard Bell, and Libby Harward

•   Ten years of the Deadly Choices health check shirts by the Institute for Urban Indigenous Health (IUIH) 

Good to know - Wear your favourite deadly shirt when you see Deadly Threads. And tell your friends where you got your shirt on Instagram using #slqDeadlyThreads and tagging @StateLibraryQld

Need to know - Throughout the showcase period, you can join free talks, curator’s tours and workshops.

Image credits: Photos by Brian Cassey

State Library of Queensland is a valued partner of Must Do

Deadly Threads

State Library of Queensland

Stanley Place

South Brisbane 

Until Oct 10, 2021



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