It’s 25 years today since Brisbane’s World Expo opened.

Which was a perfect opportunity to re-celebrate the festival which put our city on the world map.

Tom Hartley reports.


Southbank before the expo, dominated by industrial sites.

But then an idea, to bring the world expo to Queensland.

Joh Bjelke-Petersen, Queensland Premier (archive) “I think it’s going to be one of the most exciting things that’s ever happened.”

After five years of dedicated planning and preparation, the expo was ready to rock n roll.

Sir Llewellyn Edwards, CEO Expo ’88: “The weather was perfect on that day and Her Majesty walked through the gate and we led her to the area that was set aside for the ceremony.”

Expo 88 changed Brisbane’s social lifestyle.

Sir Llewellyn Edwards, CEO Expo ’88: “There were regulations that weren’t applicable to outdoor eating and drinking.”

On the 25th anniversary of opening day, there were plenty of fond memories to share, for some more than others.

Hey mate, heard you were at the expo? What did you think of it? What about you sir?

Vox 1: “Well the exhibits from all the different countries from all around the world it was just fantastic.”

Vox 2: “And also collecting stamps and collecting badges and just watching all the street theatre and it was the first time we’d really seen street theatre in Brisbane.”

Vox 3: “Yeah the singing and the cultures that were on display during the parades was just great.”

Peter Rasey says the Pagoda remains the best symbol of expo spirit.

Peter Rasey, Foundation Expo ’88: “It’s just a wonderful legacy asset for Brisbane.”

The 625 million dollar expo attracted nearly 16 million visitors, boosting Queensland’s economy as well as putting Brisbane on the map for tourism.

Sir Llewellyn Edwards, CEO Expo ’88: “Together we showed the world and we at the expo could show the world that Brisbane, Queensland, Australia could do anything and we did.”

Tom Hartley, QUT News.