O U N D A T I O N   E X P O  ' 8 8
Progressing the World Expo '88 Vision
- A non-government not-for-profit entity celebrating Brisbane's World Expo '88 -

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About World Expo '88


Situated on a 40-hectare site on the southern bank of the Brisbane River, a former collection of disused railyards, light industry, residential and parkland directly across from the Brisbane central business district, World Expo '88 was the largest single event commemorating the Bicentenary of European settlement to Australia (1788-1988), and after intensive Australian competition was sanctioned as an international 'specialised' exposition to the City of Brisbane - Australia's third largest city - by the BIE (Bureau of International Exhibitions, Paris, http://www.bie-paris.org) on December 5, 1983.

The six month $AUD 625 million exposition lasted 184 days - from 30 April to 30 October 1988 - and, under the theme of 'Leisure in the Age of Technology'
attracted 52 government participants, including 36 nations, 14 state and regional level governments, and 2 multi-lateral organisations (the United Nations and European Community); and 48 corporate participants including IBM, QANTAS, Australia Post, Fujitsu, and the Japan External Trade Organisation (JETRO), amongst others.

After assent of the Expo '88 Act in the Queensland State Parliament, a statutory body was created to run the Exposition, as well as be concerned with the post-expo development - titled 'B.E.S.B.R.A.' - the 'Brisbane Exposition and South Bank Redevelopment Authority' - commonly known as the Expo Authority. The Chair and Chief Executive Officer was then appointed - 
Sir Llewellyn Edwards. Sir Llew, as he is popularly known, was a well-known minister in the State Government of Queensland and was a popular and well-liked driving force behind the Exposition. On any given day during the Expo he could be seen wandering the Expo site - greeting people cheerfully as he passed them by.

Following rules established by the B.I.E. another office was also created - representing the host nation - in this case the Commonwealth Government of Australia - the Office of the Commissioner-General of Expo '88 -
led ably by Commissioner-General the Honourable Sir Edward Williams, KCMG, KBE. Whilst B.E.S.B.R.A.'s role was to ensure the smooth day-to-day operation of the Exposition, the role of the Commissioner-General's office was to ensure that the Australian Commonwealth Government was represented at the Exposition, for all matters regarding the Expo, as well as for matters of Protocol for the Commonwealth at the Expo.

The third tier Office was the Office of the Steering Committee of Commissioners-General of Section - i.e. section referring to participant exhibitors at the Expo. This office, initially run by Commissioner-General of the United Kingdom Pavilion, Sir Hugh Tunnell, was later directed by Dr Damaso de Lario, Commissioner-General of the Pavilion of Spain - whose interest in the running of World Expo '88 had a very strong imperative - the upcoming Universal Exposition of Seville - in Spain in 1992. The role of the Steering Committee of Commissioners-General at the Exposition was to enable Commissioner-Generals of each participant to have a forum to discuss business regarding issues impacting upon their participation in a confidential manner - which was then later attended by a representative from the Commissioner-General of Expo '88 and/or B.E.S.B.R.A. Concluding Reports from the Commissioner-General of Expo '88, as well as from the Steering Committee have been digitised and re-published with permission on the Foundation Expo '88 web-site in the Academic Forum.

In the lead-up to the opening of the Expo the Expo site gradually took form - former roads and infrastructure were removed, the famous sun-sail canopies were raised, the monorail installed. Then the Pavilion building structures - for the most part pre-fabricated - in legoland style were quickly and efficiently put together - and the Expo Tower 'Night Companion' erected.

The public could see their wonderful Expo take shape - and as the friendly official Expo Mascot, Platypus 'Expo Oz' did his world tour, Brisbane town came alive with the anthem theme song of the Expo 'Together, We'll Show the World!', which seemed to fill the Expo site with hope, expectation, and amazement.

Soon, the Expo's international and other participants arrived - putting their own touches to their Pavilions - and, after much fanfare, some critique, and some pre-opening storms and rain, World Expo '88 officially opened it's doors on Saturday 30 April 1988 - at 10.00 a.m. - at the Melbourne Street Gate, where, after a Welcoming and Hand-over Ceremony of the official Bureau of International Exhibitions flag to the City of Brisbane at Brisbane's City Hall, a parade of nations walked over the Victoria Bridge to the awaiting delegation of Sir Llew Edwards, the ever-popular World Expo '88 mascot, Platypus 'Expo Oz', key representatives at the Expo, as well as a crowd of several thousands. World Expo '88 was open at last! 

Entry to the fair cost $AUD 160.00 for a season pass ($95 concession), $55 for a three-day pass ($35 concession), $25 for a day pass ($15 concession) and $14 for an evening pass (5.oo pm to 10.oo pm - $10 concession). This included access to all the pavilions, entertainment - as well as access to the Monorail which weaved it's way through the Expo site with stops at the Northern and Southern ends, passing by the popular River Stage and passing through the flag-ship Queensland Pavilion

To cut down on car parking space and congestion, a 'no car park' zone was created and
visitors were strongly encouraged to use public transport - either by bus, by two of the train stations that serviced the site, by ferry, hovercraft, helicopter, or perhaps, just by walking across the Victoria Bridge from the City to the Expo site.

The Expo was open every day from 10.00 a.m. to 10.00 p.m, and was a striking vista from afar and close-up, covered with huge high-tensile membrane 'sun-sails' soaring high above the Expo site; the 88-metre high "Night Companion" 'light-house'; the ever-popular River Stage, jutting out into the Brisbane River, and the unique futuristic illuminated white inflatable cubes, triangles and spheres that floated in groups by the Expo foreshore, known as the 'cubistic flotilla'.