Saturday, 18 December 2010

Happy Birthday Brisbane Powerhouse!

Brisbane Powerhouse, a producer of contemporary performing arts and a multi-arts venue where we have had the privilege of viewing some excellent photography exhibitions turned 10 in 2010!

We had a play at the Powerhouse recently and we must say it was fun. This iconic Brisbane structure has an interesting history and thankfully many parts from its varied past ‘lives’ has been kept.

Roy Rusden Ogg, a Brisbane City Council Tramway architect designed the New Farm Powerhouse and between 1928 and 1940 the structure slowly rose on the banks of a beautiful bend in the Brisbane River which also provided the water for cooling.

The Powerhouse reached its peak in post-war years supplying electricity for the largest tram network in the southern hemisphere as well as servicing many of Brisbane’s suburbs. Sadly, (in my opinion) trams were replaced by buses and the Brisbane City Council sold the building to the state. It was officially decommissioned in 1971.

It became the home for many of Brisbane’s homeless providing shelter and friendship. It was also a site for target practice for the army and a location for filmmakers and, as a precursor of its future, a canvas for graffiti artists and a stage for underground art happenings.

Somehow it survived two decades of neglect and a partially completed demolition project, and the building was reacquired by Brisbane City Council in 1989. Due to it being a fine example of industrial design of the art deco period, the power station was identified as culturally significant and the concept of a new incarnation as a centre for the arts was born.

Architect Peter Roy designed the redeveloped Brisbane Powerhouse which was opened on 10 May, 2000 by Lord Mayor Jim Soorley. Seven years later the building underwent a further stage of development and was re-opened on 6 June 2007 by Lord Mayor Campbell Newman with increased audience capacities, restaurant and bar facilities as well as functions and conference spaces. Gotta love the Brisbane Lord Mayor’s and their openings.

It’s an awesome venue, still evolving and bringing to Brisbane some wonderful events and a fabulous supporter of the art of photography.

How lucky are the people of Brisbane and those visiting to have such a venue? Thank you Brisbane City Council.

And who's that with Anita? Catriona Rowntree and the crew from Getaway joined Bluedog for a photo tour around Brisbane recently - keep an eye out for our new range of workshops commencing at inspiring and visually exciting venues in Brisbane!

 Images (c) Danielle Lancaster

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