2014 Brisbane Open House Launch
I was delighted to accept the invitation from Brisbane Open House to conduct this official opening of Brisbane’s fifth annual celebration of our city’s architectural heritage – and especially to be able to do so in this very familiar setting of the Banco Court, here under Sally Gabori’s magnificent mural. This work by one of Australia’s most celebrated Indigenous artists, is itself a reminder that the cultural heritage of the land on which Brisbane is built is both significant and very much older than the bricks and stone of our city’s historical buildings, or the concrete, glass and steel of more contemporary structures.
As demonstrated by last year’s attendance of over fifty-two thousand people, Brisbane Open House has become one of the most anticipated free public events on the calendar, giving Queenslanders privileged access to what the celebrated American urban historian, Professor M. Christine Boyer, refers to as the ‘collective memory’ of our city, the memory stored in its buildings.
The urban environment today reflects the rapid pace of twenty-first century life and the concomitant thirst for the new, presenting an ever-changing impression of contrasting, even occasionally conflicting textures and styles. But cheek by jowl with modernity, equal and still very much alive, sits our history, and it is only through projects such as Brisbane Open House that we can learn to read and value that history and come to appreciate Brisbane’s best.
I thank the sponsors for their ongoing support of this visionary initiative and congratulate the Office of the Queensland Government Architect, the Brisbane Development Association and the Queensland branch of the National Trust on the project’s continued success and expansion. I am particularly pleased to see that this splendid building has been included for the very first time this year, and that both Toowoomba and one of the cities of my childhood – Maryborough, have embraced the concept with such enthusiasm. And a scoop for you all: I am delighted to say, discussions are well underway to include the ‘people’s house’, Kaye’s and my residence for the time being, Fernberg, in next year’s program.
I am pleased to note Mr Darren Lockyer’s presence here today as Ambassador. I recall last year he and Mr Des Houghton for The Courier Mail graced the bench of a criminal court in which I was then the presiding judge: Darren was there, needless to say, as observer not participant!
That said, it now gives me great pleasure to officially launch Brisbane Open House twenty-fourteen and to wish all concerned fair weather and another record-breaking weekend in October – Kaye and I are certainly looking forward very much to exploring our city and seeing it with new eyes. Thank you