Celebrating our city’s “phoenixes” at Brisbane Open House

Celebrating our city’s “phoenixes” at Brisbane Open House

By Kate Lockyer

Rescued from “squatters, graffitists and rave parties”, the Governor of Queensland has described the Brisbane Powerhouse as a “phoenix” that has risen from dereliction.

As one of the official hubs for Brisbane Open House which will be held July 13 – 14, the 2024 program was launched at the Powerhouse in June.

Event patron Her Excellency the Honourable Dr Jeannette Young was among the speakers.

Dr Young acknowledged the “superb example” set by the Powerhouse in adaptive reuse and urban regeneration.

“In the 200 years since Europeans first settled here, Brisbane’s history has been played out in this place,” she said.

“We’ve seen the lagoons and tortoises disappear. We’ve watched the park and an elite suburb rise where convict farmers once grew corn. We’ve been in awe of the industrial giant that once powered our vast tram network.

“And we’ve collectively embraced the powerhouse since it rose like a phoenix from dereliction to become today’s thriving centre for the arts.

“Rescued by the Brisbane City Council from a life of squatters, graffitists and rave parties, the Powerhouse was declared a place of local heritage significance and today is a superb example of some of the major objects and themes of Open House.”

Dr Young said the space celebrates the work of not just the original 1920s architect Roy Rusden Ogg, but the collaborative team who reimagined the Powerhouse.

“In less than a month, hundreds of curious visitors will be disembarking at New Farm Park ferry terminal, New Farm Park will be packed with picnickers, and this building will come alive with the stories hidden in its corners and walls,” she said.

“At the same time in Paddington, Graham and I, and our team of staff and volunteers once again will be welcoming visitors to Government House – this year marks the 10th anniversary of the first time that it became part of this marvellous annual celebration.”

With New Farm being this year’s ‘Village of Brisbane’, the event will be supporting the New Farm & District Historical Society in celebrating their 30th year milestone and there will be many open buildings throughout New Farm and beyond.

Guided walk highlights will include The Heart of New Farm with Gerard Benjamin, Fish Lane walk with Malcolm Middleton OAM LFRAIA, and New Farm Art Deco with Santina Musumeci.

Tours of Miss Midgley’s and St Augustine’s Anglican Church in Hamilton will also delight.

A full-day Speaker Series at the Powerhouse on July 14 will feature talks from Indigenous Elder Gaja Kerry Charlton, Powerhouse architect Peter Roy, House Detective Marianne Taylor, and a panel led by historian Robert Allen with David Hinchliffe, Norma King Koi and Edward Haysom, and many more.

Workshops, activities and more will be held at the Thomas Dixon Centre and other locations.

Find the full program at brisbaneopenhouse.com.au.

1978 Volvo B59 ex-Brisbane City Council bus 827 in service until 2002, on display outside Brisbane Powerhouse. Photography: Kate Lockyer

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