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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'Where has it gone to now?'

Being a Class II, or International Exposition, the 1988 World Expo '88 site largely consisted of Pavilions, structures and art works of only a temporary nature - to last for the six months of the Exposition.

There are, however, numerous structures and works from the Expo that remained in Brisbane City and others that were moved interstate.

This page is a initial attempt to create a catalog of World Expo '88 structures still with us, providing their current location and visiting hours (where applicable).

The Japanese Pond and Garden

The Japanese Pond and Garden that formed the exterior of the Japanese Government Pavilion was one of the most tranquil and refreshing parts of the Exposition, where tired feet could take a rest, enjoying the gentle play of light on the semi-crescent pond, centred at the back by a traditional Japanese garden pavilion. Here one could view traditional Japanese dance, listen to Japanese music on the koto (harp), view exhibitions of ikebana (flower arrangements) in the side display pavilion, in this unique part of the Expo site where Japanese garden design met with Australian native trees and shrubs.  

At the conclusion of the Exposition, Japanese and Australian staff and gardeners carefully guided the garden and side pavilion structures, as well as entrance gate, and trees, shrubs, and rocks to a new location at Brisbane's Mt Coot-tha Botanic Gardens, 10 kilometres north from the City's centre.

Here the garden has been faithfully re-located, and features a commemorative brass plaque at it's entrance as a permanent reminder of the bonds formed between Australia and Japan at World Expo '88. The trees, shrubs and rocks of the garden have now settled into their new home, which now also feature the occasional Australian 'water dragon' lizard, that like to bask in the Australian sun on the rocks that jut out from the pond itself.

Entrance to the Japanese Garden at Mt Cooth-ha Botanic Gardens is free, and is open every day of the calendar year. Catching a 471 Mt Coot-tha Brisbane City Council Bus from the city will land you at the Gardens in just 15 minutes, as well as to the spectacular Mt Cooth-ha Summit Lookout at the next stop. Do both! For bus timetables to the Gardens, and specific Japanese culture-event oriented information, ring the Brisbane City Council Transinfo, on 131 230. And don't forget - the Annual Japan Culture Week at the Japanese Garden is every August.

The Nepal Peace Pagoda
Pavilion Portico

The Nepal Peace Pagoda was one of the two Nepalese representations for World Expo '88, and was located near the southern gate of the Exposition. A masterful three-tiered wooden temple, the Pagoda took over 160 Nepalese village families two years to build, and not a single nail featured in it's construction. The Temple, with it's two side huts, was a wonderful centre for live viewing of Nepalese arts and crafts, as well as purchasing traditional Nepalese snacks and hot food.

The Second Level of the Pagoda also featured a very popular traditional Nepalese Tea House, which also housed a unique statue of the Lokewesaar Goddess - also known as - Avalokiteshvara - a sacred icon in Asian, an in particular, Tibetan Buddhism, where the Dalai Lama is believed to be her present incarnation. The 42-arm and 9-head goddess represents her amity for all mankind and creation - where in her desperation to save and intercede for all - she was re-born into her many-arm and many-head manifestation.

At the conclusion of the Exposition, a dedicated committee was formed to save the Pagoda from being sold overseas, with the result that the Expo Authority, Australian and Brisbane City Council Governments, and private donors, helping to keep the Pagoda for Brisbane, where it was later moved to a new Brisbane River-side location at the northern end of the South Bank Parklands that now occupy the former Expo '88 site. The Goddess now resides in its new custom-built enclosure at the Pagoda's First Level, where she is a popular recipient of dollars and cents from visitors from all over the world, who throw money for good luck. A display cabinet on the ground-floor of the Pagoda also explains some of the Expo '88-related history of the Pagoda, and about Pagodas in Nepal. 

The Pagoda is open for public and private functions, where it is a popular venue for weddings, as well as corporate cocktails on the banks of the Brisbane River. The Pagoda is open for free viewing 365 days a year, generally between 9.00 a.m. and 5.30 p.m. every day, with the exception of special functions hire. We hope to host a World Expo '88 Museum at the Pagoda's Second Level, similarly, every day from 10.00a.m. to 5.00p.m. as a long-term Celebrate 88 project.

For further information on the Pagoda, contact Celebrate 88 at celebrate@celebrate88.com. For information on South Bank Parklands, the new post-Expo home of the Pagoda, or to book private functions, visit https://www.southbankcorporation.com.au/

Pavilion Portico

The intricately carved wooden Portico from the Nepalese Pavilion now features as part of the side entrance to the Griffith University Nathan Campus Northern Theatres, adjoining the University's Division of Asian and International Studies Building.

To visit the Griffith University Nathan Campus, one of Australia's leading research centres for Science, the Enivronment, and Asian Studies, contact Brisbane City Council Transinfo on 131 230.

World Expo '88 'Sky Needle'

The 88-metre symbol tower of the Expo, 'Night Companion', was one of the Expo's most prominent structures, located in front of the Australia, Queensland, and New South Wales Pavilions, with its distinctive corrugated copper collar roof dais providing a much-used shelter and viewing platform for the daily Day Parade 'Food!' and the QANTAS Night Fantastic Light Parade, its slender platinum colour tower, powerful xenon-beam laser eye, that made a graceful swoop of the Brisbane horizons each Expo evening (allowing a slight gap for non-interference with the Brisbane Airport Tower), and its gold and copper dome and spire, also glowingly lit up brilliantly at night, as is features in the Brisbane nightskies today.

This tower was marked for sale to Tokyo Disneyland at the end of the Exposition, however was saved by local Brisbane businessman and 'Stefan' Hairdressing empire head, Mr Steve (Stefan) Ackerie, who purchased the tower and moved it several hundred metres down the road to his South Brisbane empire H.Q. - at a cost of nearly a million Australian dollars.

The tower is the only prominent landmark in the West End and South Brisbane area, and is easily viewable from the central city business district. One can gain a closer look at the foot of the tower from its Manning Street address, adjacent to the intersection with Melbourne Street, at West End - where it occupies a slim strip of green space adjacent to the Stefan Hairdressing H.Q. car park. At the base of the tower is a French-cafe "Claude's Crepes" which serves great coffee and even better crepes, adjoining the apartment complex to the side of the tower - "Skyneedle Apartments", which have apartments for sale and rent.

The Monorail

The $AUD 12million monorail was one of the most popular features of the Exposition, free to ride with admission, and was the one of the first monorails in operation in Australia. 

Rumours as to the remnants of the track, as well as the monorail trains themselves, are many. Some say that Seaworld, one of Australia's premier water-themed fun parks, located just an hour south of Brisbane on the Gold Coast, purchased one of the monorail trains for their own system. Others say they were moved to Broadbeach, also on the Gold Coast for the Star Casino to Oasis Broadbeach Shopping Centre circuit - although this monorail system has been decommissioned, with the track permanently removed.

Sculptures from the World Expo '88 Streetscape Collection

World Expo '88 was host to one of the most prestigious international open-air sculpture collections in the world, with a total collection cost of some $25 million Australian dollars, carefully chosen by Australian double Academy-Award winner John Truscott (Art Direction / Costume Design - 'Camelot' - 1967).

Many of the works loaned or commissioned for the Exposition were purchased by the Brisbane City Council and other private firms, and remain in display in their new locations in many of Brisbane's popular parks and footpaths.

A full list of the works participating at World Expo '88 that stay with us here in Brisbane can be found in the listing and Map for the 'World Expo '88 Heritage Trail' under 'About World Expo '88', in the Table of Contents.

The 'Human Factor' plaster-of-paris human sculptures

These humourous and memorable life-size plaster-of-paris models of human beings in various pursuits - photographer/newspaper reader/fisherman/tourist/clown/acrobat/lifeguard/shopper and so on were created by artist John Underwood, and formed a familiar part of nearly every nook and cranny of the expo site.

At the conclusion of the Exposition many of these works were purchased by private collectors, as well as by the Brisbane City Council and private enterprise.

Several of these works today are located in the Brisbane Central Business District, where they still provide a humourous and nostalgic snap-shot of human activity.

Works identified by Celebrate 88 so far include:

*** "TIMBER CUTTERS", National Australia Bank Arcade, Queen Street
*** "AROUND THE CAMP FIRE" (Bushmen around a camp fire), Department of Primary Industries, Ann Street
*** "THE SCULPTOR", The Executive Building Annex Foyer Entrance, George Street
*** [TITLE UNKOWN], Mackay Airport, Mackay

Do you know of a Human Factor sculpture not listed here? Write to Celebrate 88 at celebrate@celebrate88.com

Letters from the Entrance and Exit points of the Australia Pavilion, by Ken Done

The Entrance and Exit points of the Australia Pavilion featured huge 2-metre high and 6-metre high alphabet letters of the word 'AUSTRALIA', done in bright colourful 'naive' style design by renowned Australian designer and artist, Ken Done.

This cheerful rendition of 'AUSTRALIA' was perhaps one of the most photographed items from World Expo '88, and captured the new found spirit of Australia at the Bicentennial, confident of our indigenous past, proud of our modern achievements, and boldly moving forward into the future.

At the conclusion of Expo, the letters were purchased (almost for nothing!) by a student campus in Burpengary on Brisbane's north before they were finally restored and moved to the Caboolture Heritage Village, also on Brisbane's north where they can be viewed today. 

Pavilion Façade Mural - 'Children of the World', by Ken Done

The United Nations Pavilion was one of the more colourful Pavilions with its bright and breezy Ken Done-inspired and painted several metre mural entitled 'Children of the World', and was one of the first Pavilions viewable at the Expo, being on the right hand-side of the Expo site from the Melbourne Street Gate, preceding the popular New South Wales and Victoria Pavilions, adjacent nearby to the flagship Australia and Queensland Pavilions, and the popular eatery 'Alice's Rock Cafe'.

The present day location of the mural is in the regional Queensland coastal capital of the Shire of Bowen, approximately 1,000 km north of Brisbane, where the mural features as part of the Centrepoint Shopping Centre and local Woolworths Supermarket.


Melbourne Street Entrance Arches

The Melbourne Street Entrance (Northern Gate) of the Exposition featured large prominent international art sculptures, as well as a series of canvas-coloured rectangular arches, soaring several metres above the entrance, which were lit from the inside at night.

These impressive structures were later sold and now feature as part of the entrance of a supermarket and restaurant complex on the Pacific Highway near Tallebudgera (2 hours south of Brisbane).

Expo Sun-sails Vulture Street Entrance

The familiar and popular sun-sails that arched over the whole expo site were especially made for the Exposition and protected visitors from the Brisbane winter sun, as well as from the occasional shower.

They also formed an iconic landmark trademark for the Exposition, being able to be viewed from near and afar.

Griffith University at Nathan, on Brisbane's South, purchased one of the sun-sails, notably from the Vulture Street (South) Entrance of the Exposition, for protective covering for it's natural open-air 'Arena' amphitheatre space, sitting well within the bushland campus of the University.

You can visit the Nathan Campus of Griffith University today, where the canopy is located next to the University 'Community Centre', where you can also get a bite to eat, have a haircut, and post a letter

For bus timetables to the University Nathan Campus, contact Brisbane Transinfo on 131 230.  

Batik Map of Australia and Indonesia

A batik map of Australia and Indonesia that featured at the Exposition was donated to Griffith University, Nathan, on Brisbane's south-side, and can be viewed adorning one of the walls of the Environment 2 building.

For bus timetables to Griffith University Nathan Campus, contact Brisbane Transinfo on 131 230.

Models based on work by Leonardo Da Vinci

A large part of the works displayed at the Italian Pavilion formed the backbone of the 'New Italy Museum', located near Casino, in North-East New South Wales.

For more information on the 'New Italy Museum' and how to get there, visit the web-site at https://www.newitaly.org.au

Some other works were donated to Australian provincial Museums, and a sculpture model of a helicopter, based on drawings by Da Vinci, was gifted to Griffith University, on Brisbane's south-side.

For bus timetables to Griffith University Nathan Campus, contact Brisbane Transinfo on 131 230.

Do you know of an item of World Expo '88 heritage not listed here? Do you wish to donate an item of World Expo '88 heritage to the Celebrate 88 Collection?
Write to celebrate@celebrate88.com

Information regarding Griffith University collections sourced from 'Griffith Gazette'
 'Expo canopy for Arena area', page 1, Volume 4, No. 1, February 8, 1989