Official Launch of the Brisbane Open House Program
Councillor Toomey representing the Lord Mayor; our Chair, Mr Middleton and Board Members; distinguished guests; ladies and gentlemen. As Patron of Brisbane Open House, I am delighted that Kaye and I are able to be with you today to launch the 2019 program.
I at once acknowledge the traditional owners of the lands around Brisbane and extend respectful greetings to Elders and emerging leaders.
Today we rightly embrace our State’s significant built heritage, we must also acknowledge its loss elsewhere this week, due to these devasting fires – the historic Binna Burra Lodge precinct, homes near Stanthorpe, the Gold Coast Hinterland and the Sunshine Coast overnight, along with fencing, farm and commercial equipment. Our buildings can only ever tell us so much about our communities; our resilient sprit centrally emanates from our people, and I am sure your thoughts, as are Kaye’s and mine, are firmly with everyone afflicted and the extraordinary response contingent underway.
Now today is the sixth occasion on which I have had the pleasure of opening these programs, and the launch venues represent an Open House tour of their own — from the Tivoli Theatre to a rooftop garden in the city; from Platform Three at Central Station to the Banco Court; and from the spectacular skyscraper at One William Street, to the Concert Hall today.
In this tenth anniversary year of the program, it is particularly pleasing to be able to congratulate the three founding partners – the Queensland Government, the Committee for Brisbane, and the National Trust (Queensland).
I thank them, and the entire Open House team, for their decade of commitment to the visionary idea of unlocking our city in this uplifting way.
The success of Brisbane Open House has meant that an impressive list of new partners, supporters, and friends has joined those original three. I thank them, too, for embracing this wonderful community event.
In 2010, Open House was, as it still is, inspired by the idea of sustainable buildings and cities, and aimed to connect us, the people of Brisbane, with the places and spaces that define our communities.
Ten years ago, there were just twenty buildings involved; by last year, more than five times that number opened their doors to a curious public; this year, there’ll be a hundred and nineteen participating buildings, including thirty new ones.
The very first group of twenty buildings included this – the Queensland Performing Arts Centre. Like everyone else in that first group, QPAC really didn’t know what to expect but they understood the value of the idea and willingly adopted it.
As it happened, twelve and a half thousand people took the opportunity to visit the participating sites that year, despite heavy rain.
After such an onslaught, it might have been expected that some doors would be re-locked, but a significant number of those original twenty, including QPAC, have remained staunch supporters of the program, happily dealing with larger crowds every year.
I was personally very pleased to add Fernberg, heritage-listed Government House which belongs to all Queenslanders, to the list of participating buildings in 2015 and to have continued that commitment.
In my five years as Governor, I have watched with pleasure, with Kaye, as Brisbane Open House has evolved to meet the interests – and curiosity – of Brisbane residents.
It now embraces supplementary lectures, seminars, walking tours, concerts, exhibitions, children’s activities, and competitions, all of it supported by more than three hundred volunteers.
The Brisbane Open House team has also encouraged adoption of the concept by regional cities from the Gold Coast to Cairns, with Bundaberg, Maryborough, Rockhampton, the Sunshine Coast and Toowoomba in between.
But critically, despite its greater scope and size, Brisbane Open House remains a free, independent, and family friendly event that not only unlocks doors, but also opens eyes and minds to the built environment and teaches the value and importance of good architecture and design.
It has been ten inspiring years and it now gives me great pleasure to launch the Brisbane Open House 2019 programme.