One of the beauties for me of writing this blog, is it forces me to research information I probably wouldn’t normally look into. As a result of this, I learn more about this new country in which I live and I think this gives me a better understanding of Australia.
Today I have been “forced” to look into the history of Queensland and I now feel I know the place much better for doing so. If you decide to come and live in Australia, wherever you go, I would thoroughly recommend doing the same. Erm, not write a blog necessarily, just look into stuff. On with the post.
It’s been a long while since I last spoke about the top 150 icons, but the last time I did I looked at Queensland’s top iconic structures. Today I am going to look at the seventh category, which is “Defining Moments”.
By way of a change, this time I’m going to start at the top. I must admit that in my ignorance, when I read what the winning moment was, I thought it sounded a bit boring. It sounded like the sort of event that would be put on at the National Exhibition Centre, Birmingham.
But then I looked into it a little further:
- 18.5 million people visited this event. (The target was just 7.8 million).
- The opening ceremony was screened to an estimated 800 million people worldwide.
- It was a $600 million event.
- The event ran for six months.
- It was opened by Queen Elizabeth II.
- Visitors included; Margaret Thatcher, King Juan of Spain, Oz PM Bob Hawke and the Duke and Duchess of Kent.
- The theme was “Leisure in the Age of Technology”.
What was it?
The number one “defining moment” in Queensland’s history was World Expo ’88.
Certainly an invent that Queensland can be proud of.
And the other defining moments for Queensland?
At number 15, Queensland’s first railway was opened in 1865 and ran from Ipswich to a town called Grandchester. Then at 14, a couple of women’s rights protesters, Merle Thornton and Rosalie Bogner chained themselves to the bar at Brisbane’s Regatta Hotel in 1965 as a protest against men only bars.
You will be pleased to know that as I write this, women are in fact now allowed in pubs here in Australia.
Counting down further, 1971 saw Australia’s first Aboriginal Parliamentarian; in 1860 Queensland was the first Australian colony with free education and in 1982 the iconic Cloudland Ballroom at Bowen Hills was demolished overnight.
So what, what’s the big deal? A building is demolished and……?
It’s a defining moment because the Cloudland Ballroom was unquestionably one of the best concert venues in the country. Buddy Holly played there. It was an iconic building. So when plans were put in for its redevelopment for housing, the public called for its preservation.
Enter the Deen Brothers, a no questions asked demolition firm. Their preferred hours of business, midnight! When locals woke up, (at about five past midnight for those who lived close by) the building was gone. Demolished! The continued protests were fruitless and the ugly housing development was built.
Midnight demolitions were common in the 80s and the defining moment was that it changed the way Queenslanders valued their heritage.
At number 10, Queensland’s Bulls won their first Sheffield Shield victory at the Gabba. I have no idea what that means, so it must be cricket. In 1988 the Wet Tropics got on to the World Heritage List and in 1857 gold was discovered for the first time in Queensland.
In 1859 Queensland got its independence from New South Wales, hence the birthday of 150 years. In 1987 to 1989 the Fitzgerald enquiry banged up a few politicians and policeman as corruption in Queensland was exposed. Now the top five…..
5. Mabo High Court of Australia Decision
This is a big one. In the landmark High Court case, Mabo v. Queensland, Eddie Koiki Mabo took his case to the High Court. He won! As a result, under Australian law, indigenous people have rights to land called native title. This overthrew the previous notion that Australia was terra nullius, or an empty and uncivilised land when Captain Cook discovered it in 1788.
So not only did Mabo get to keep his land, but the Justice Brennan said “….there may be other areas of Australia where an Aboriginal people, maintaining their identity and their customs, are entitled to enjoy their native title”.
Translation: finder’s keepers.
The fourth most defining moment was Brisbane hosting the Commonwealth games in 1982; the third was QANTAS taking to the air in 1922.
At number two are the devastating floods in Queensland of 1974. The heavy rains which went on for five days were the hangover of one cyclone Wanda. It left 16 people dead and 300 injured, with 56 homes destroyed and a further 1600 submerged, making 8000 people homeless.
This tragedy led to major flood mitigation works and an expansion of the Wivenhoe Dam.
Who says Australia hasn’t got history?