James Maccormick Digital Story and the 25th Anniversary of Expo 88

Last year, we received the James Maccormick collection made up of correspondence, plans, drawings and reports regarding World Expo 88 (Acc: 28309, Box 16430).

Plan by James Maccormick & Associates Pty Ltd

A digitised copy of a Plan for a Proposed International Exposition (# 7536) from the James Maccormick Collection (State Library of Queensland, Accession 28309)

Plan by James Maccormick & Associates Pty Ltd

A digitised copy of a Plan for a Proposed International Exposition (# 7633) from the James Maccormick Collection (State Library of Queensland, Accession 28309)

For some wonderful posts about this collection, James Maccormick, and World Expo 88, check out these blog stories:

  • New Acquisition: James Maccormick Correspondence Regarding the Birth of World Expo 88 and
  • More Expo 88 Material from James Maccormick.
The Maccormicks at the filming of the James Maccormick Digital Story

James Maccormick and his wife Marusia Maccormick

For those who don’t know, the first bid to bring the exposition to Brisbane in 1988 began with James Maccormick MBE, the architect who had designed the Australian pavilions at Montreal 1967, Osaka 1970, and Spokane 1974.

A representation of the Australian Pavilion designed by James Maccormick for World Expo 1970 in Osaka, Japan. Image courtesy of James Maccormick

"The Man who Dreamed up Expo"

Cover from the Sun Magazine (Sunday Sun, May 1, 1988)

World Expo 88, which was the first International Exposition held in Australia during the 20th century, had a profound impact on Brisbane. From the greening of our city; to diversifying our cuisine options and introducing outdoor dining;  from cultural progress including public art; to growth in tourism activity; the influence of World Expo 88 was far reaching and continues to today.

The Skyneedle was almost lost to Tokyo Disneyland until hairdresser Stefan Ackerie stepped in. The Skyneedle was relocated to his corporate headquarters in South Brisbane and still beams its light across the city skyline.

Skyneedle at World Expo ’88 in South Bank, 1988 (State Library of Queensland, 10028 Noel Pascoe Photographs)

To help mark the 25th anniversary of Expo 88, we prepared a digital story with James Maccormick MBE, where he reflects on his collection and the stories around how Brisbane won the bid for World Expo 88.

View the James Maccormick Digital Story here:

For those of us who remember Expo 88 fondly, I’m sure we would collectively thank James for his vision and work in bringing the world to Brisbane. And together we showed the world too.

James Maccormick at the filming of the James Maccormick Digital Story

James Maccormick MBE looking over his collection with Tim Mather, from the State Library of Queensland

Zenovia Pappas – Contemporary Collecting Coordinator, State Library of Queensland