New exhibit brings Expo 88 to the country
YOU would be hard pressed to find a bigger World Expo 88 fan than Jason Ford.
The Kingaroy resident has, by his own admission, a "crazy" collection of memorabilia from the event that helped put Brisbane and Queensland on the map, filling several cabinets.
He helps moderate a Facebook group, World Expo 88, in which other die hard fans share their memories of the 1988 World's Fair, held in Brisbane's South Bank.
Now, Mr Ford is bringing that passion to all of the South Burnett, organising a World Expo 88 exhibit at the Kingaroy Museum.
Mr Ford said the exhibit would help visitors relive the magic of one of Queensland's most famous events.
"I think most people can be quite nostalgic about big events that happened in their lives," he said.
"It's a bit of a cliché, but it's often said that Expo was a bit of a coming of age for Brisbane and Queensland."
Mr Ford said Expo's legacy could be seen all through the city of Brisbane, especially at South Bank, which was developed after the event ended.
He said it also had a personal impact.
"That was a time in my life when I'd left school, I was starting out in my career as a chef and Brisbane was an exciting place," he said.
"You have all these nations coming to the one place, South Bank, and having their own restaurants and exposing millions of people to food they'd never had before.
"So really, the industry just flourished after that in the late '80s."
The museum exhibit will feature items from Mr Ford's personal collection, as well as pieces he has gathered from other Expo afficianados.
Councillor Danita Potter, whose portfolio includes major projects for community and health services and the arts, helped get the exhibit locked in.
"I think it's going to be wonderful for Kingaroy because it's the only one I know of in Australia," she said.
Mr Ford has arranged for Sallyanne Atkinson, Lord Mayor of Brisbane during Expo, to attend the exhibition opening.
"Having Sallyanne Atkinson here is a bit of a coup, because she was one of the driving forces behind Expo 88," Cr Potter said.
Mr Ford said while Expo brought the world to Brisbane, the exhibit would bring Expo to Kingaroy.
"The event was in Brisbane, but it was for the whole of Queensland," he said.
"You had people in country towns back then who would very rarely travel to Brisbane. The idea was, why don't we bring Expo to them?"