The idea of ‘Queensland Literature’ has a history, but a rather discontinuous one. During the present century, it has emerged sporadically at particular historical moments, rather than as a constant preoccupation, which is how the idea of an Australian literature has figured during this period. An explanation of the different profiles of national and state literary histories in the post-Federation era might begin by asking what is at stake in each case? The cultural beneficiaries of one ‘construction’ of Australian literature are different from those of other, competing constructions of Australian literature. Nationally, there are social and political identities at stake. But at the state level, for most of this century, literature seems to have been much less involved in identity politics of that kind, considerably less than one might have expected, given the ferocity of interstate rivalry in sporting and other areas.