Friday, January 21, 2011

Open letter to the Minister for Foreign Affairs re: Australia at Yeosu Expo 2012

Just today I received via Urso Chappell's Facebook feed, news that the USA is now actively scouting for assistance for it's Pavilion at Expo 2012 Yeosu Korea.

This is good. And it reminds us that Australia is yet to make any announcement on it's representation at Yeosu.

I spoke to the Yeosu delegation at the 4th Assembly of Expo Cities and Regions at the Shanghai Expo last October, and I made a representation to the Minister for Foreign Affairs, the Honourable Mr Kevin Rudd's office soon after on the 6 November, but I have yet to receive a reply from Mr Rudd.

Correspondingly, I followed up the latest news re: the USA's announcement with another email to my local Federal member of Parliament today, and here it is. I believe the contents are self-explanatory.


The Honourable Mr Graham Perrett MP
Federal Member for Moreton
Commonwealth Government of Australia

Sunnybank Qld 4109

21 January 2011

Dear Graham:

I write to you on this occasion with regards to correspondence I forwarded to your office on 6 November 2010 (attached) for the Minister for Foreign Affairs, the Honourable Mr Kevin Rudd MP.

The correspondence was with regards to Yeosu Expo 2012 Korea and Australia's representation there. 

I wish to advise I have yet to receive any reply from your office - or Mr Rudd's office - with regards to this matter and that time is marching on.

Just yesterday the USA State Department has announced it's plans for it's representation at Yeosu, as indicated by this link

Australia, apparently, has yet to make any announcement concerning Yeosu, and this is alarming. 

Korea is one of our most important trading partners in the Asia-Pacific rim, with significant economic, education, and other ties. Australia was also represented at the last Expo held in Korea - Taejon Expo 93, with great success. That Australia may not be represented at Yeosu, may signify to the Koreans - and the Korean nation - therefore, a downgrading of the Australia-Korea relationship, something we do not want to do.

Can I ask your office to impress upon the Minister the importance of our commitment to Korea and to the Korean Expo, so that we can see a successful Australian representation at Yeosu Expo 2012.

Yours sincerely

John McGregor

John R McGregor
Executive Director Foundation Expo '88

Tel +61417 434105

"It is a great and glorious end to bless the sons of man,
And meet for peace and doing good, in kindness, while we can;
It is a greater, and more blest, the human heart to raise
Up to the God who giveth all, with gratitude and praise."

Excerpt from prose by Martin Tupper Farquhar, on the 1851 London Crystal Palace Exhibition

Thursday, January 20, 2011

From the Vault! Response to John's letter re: working at the Australia Pavilion Seville Expo 92

Whilst doing some house cleaning I came across this letter which I had kept from 1991!

It dates from when I was studying Spanish in Seville and I wrote to the Australian Government taskforce responsible for the Australia Pavilion at Expo 92 with regards to employment there.

Here is the beautifully written response from Mr Geoff Brown. It goes into detail the nature of the engagement with Seville, how many would be employed in the Pavilion, both Australian-based staff and locally-engaged staff, and also features the wonderful Australia at Seville Expo 92 logo, which later became the logo for the Australian Government Department of Tourism (the body then responsible for Australia's engagement with World Expositions).

Although I eventually ended up working for the Seville Expo Authority, this letter was a nice part of my journey towards eventually working at the Expo.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

United Nations at Expo 88 Commemorative Spoon

I always keep an eye on the latest World Expo '88 offerings on eBay and have my eBay search page fixed on items from Expo '88 so that whenever I open the page I get to see what is on offer...

This is one of my latest purchases, a United Nations Pavilion at World Expo '88 commemorative spoon.

Double click image to enlarge. Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Nearmap aerial shot of the Expo 88 site and Brisbane City at the height of the Jan 2011 Brisbane Flood

Quite a lot of photo retrospectives on the January 2011 Brisbane flood are now on Facebook and other social media. And one of them had an image from the Nearmap - high resolution aerial images - site.

So I visited the site and found the data for 13 January 2011 (the peak of the flood) for the former Expo 88 site - which I have outlined in red. This more or less matches the size of South Bank Parklands today.

Here is the image, which shows considerable parts of South Bank Parklands - and South Brisbane under water - including South Bank's famous artificial sand beach, which is in the centre of the image.

It may take a while for the popular beach to be restored as the filters will no doubt be working overtime.

Click on image twice to enlarge.

Image courtesy of Nearmap

More 2011 Brisbane Flood photos and the Expo 88 site

This plaque is at the northern entrance to South Bank Parklands, the former Expo site, and shows Brisbane in 1830 and 1988. 

This is the northern entrance to South Bank Parklands - the Energex Arbour Boulevard

This is also at the northern entrance to South Bank Parklands - the former Expo 88 site - the Wheel of Brisbane can be seen on the right, and the Expo 88 Nepal Peace Pagoda can be seen at front left. This photo was probably taken at the height of the flood. The Queensland Conservatorium of Music is behind the Wheel.

From "Incredible Flood Photos"

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Endeavour and Exploration: The Royal Society and the Southern Seas and a World Expo for Australia in 2020

Now that the flood in Brisbane has subsided, I thought I'd pen a few words about my recent trip to our nation's capital in Canberra to see the Captain Cook exhibition at the National Museum of Australia, a special exhibit held in conjunction with the Royal Society of London to mark the 350th Anniversary of the Royal Society's charter. Foundation Expo '88 is behind a nation-wide push to host a World Exposition in Australia to mark the 250th Anniversary of Captain Cook's 1770 voyage to Australia in 2020.

Sending Captain Cook to the Southern Seas to observe the transit of Venus from the Pacific was commissioned by the Society, after it was determined that this would be a once in a century opportunity to do so, after several viewing points had been observed from other parts of the World. Hence the 1769 to 1770 window of opportunity came into being, and a voyage to Tahiti was planned, which co-incided with a trip up the eastern coast of the Australian continent. On August 21 1770, at Possession Island, the purposely named island on Cape York, off the present coast of Queensland, Captain Cook claimed the eastern sea board of the continent for the British Crown, which would lead to, ultimately, after the US declaration of Independence, to Britain deciding to send her convicts to the new Australian continent, and not to America anymore, which led directly to the European settlement of Australia.

The renowned botanist Sir Joseph Banks accompanied Cook on this expedition and made numerous notes and sketches on the flora of the new continent, naming many new species of plant life, leaving us also a lasting legacy categorizing for future generations.

The chief purpose of observing the transit of Venus across the sun however, was to assist in working out the distance between the Sun and the Earth, which had not been known, hence setting the major benchmark in interstellar distances, one astronomical unit.

Cook's initial voyage of course led to further subsequent voyages and later the 1788 British settlement of the Australian continent, which was celebrated with Brisbane's World Expo '88 in 1988.

Here I am pictured with Captain James Cook at the entrance to the exhibition in Canberra, which returns to London in February 2011. Many original artifacts that were used in the original expedition, including maps and instruments, diaries, and letters, as well as the one of the original cannons from the ship Endeavour were on display.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Expo 88 Nepal Peace Pagoda and the Brisbane 2011 Flood

Here's a photo, courtesy of Queensland Police, of the Expo '88 Nepal Peace Pagoda and the Wheel of Brisbane at South Bank, the former World Expo '88 site, with the waters lapping up to the entrance of the Pagoda.

Brisbane Expo 88 site - after the deluge

Hi there, well it's now Saturday 15th January - three days after the peak - and the River is now officially subsiding. Today has been designated 'official clean-up' day and all over Brisbane people are donning their rubber boots and gloves and sunscreen to help in the effort. Public transport has returned to a Saturday time table today, after a few days of disruption, and some of the inner city bridges remain blocked from traffic. Access to South Bank Parklands - the former World Expo '88 site - and South Brisbane Railway station is limited, as most of South Bank, South Brisbane, and West End is flood affected.

As I've been trawling the net, I've found some more World Expo '88 heritage images taken during the flood.

First one here is of riverside sculpture "Man and Matter" by Peter D Cole, which was commissioned for the Expo's riverside boardwalk. It was re-located to the riverside boardwalk at Kangaroo Point, just nearby South Bank Parklands, at the conclusion of the Expo. Here the several figures can be seen 'walking on water'....

Photo courtesy of Griffith University friend Douglas Pacheco's Facebook stream.

Second photo is of the famous Wheel of Brisbane, at the former Expo site itself, whose base has been flooded with water. Water from the River inundated most of the riverside walk of South Bank, and also Street's Beach (the artificial sand beach at South Bank) was also affected.

The Queensland Cultural Centre nearby was also affected, but it's lucky that the Nepal Peace Pagoda from Expo, just next to the Wheel, just didn't 'float away'. I have yet to visit the Pagoda as most of South Bank is closed off, but I'm hoping that the inside of the Pagoda - where we host a special World Expo '88 commemorative display - has not been affected.

I'll post more photos of the South Bank site and Expo '88 heritage items during the flood as they become available.

Photo courtesy of icestorm77's Twitter feed.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

World Expo 88 site and icons inundated by the Brisbane floods

At last, a report from flood-inundated Brisbane City.

My mother and I returned to Brisbane from our holiday to Sydney yesterday to find that the City was in 'shut-down' mode, preparing for the worst flood in over 30 - if not 100 years.

We were very lucky to get home, as essential services were being suspended in anticipation for the 4am peak in the river this morning at 5.5 metres, which comes after weeks of flooding in northern Queensland, to nearly an area more than the State of Texas, or France and Germany combined.

75% of the State of Queensland has been declared a disaster zone, and in the Brisbane central business district 10 city blocks are underwater, with the former World Expo 88 site, the now South Bank Parklands, on the southern bank of the Brisbane River, also underwater.

The neighbouring suburb of West End, where the Expo 88 symbol tower is located (here pictured, courtesy of Jackie Ryan, Facebook) is also affected. It may be many days or even weeks before access to South Bank Parklands or West End is restored.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Sir Joseph Banks

I have just come back from the 'Exploration and Endeavour' exhibition at the National Museum in Canberra and I feel as if I have just met Sir Joseph Banks!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Chicago Columbian Exhibition Pop-art T-shirt

Well, here it is, with yours truly wearing it.

The description of the shirt is as I described in previous posting - a pop art fantasy with the Chicago Columbian Exhibition Ferris Wheel in the background.

And here's the photo!

T-shirt pop culture and World Expositions

I was doing some shopping the other day for a pop-art t-shirt to wear to my nephew's 16th Birthday Party - and of course I have to wear something 'cool'.

And in the midst of several more popular (these day) offerings such as American baseball teams, and Hawaiian beach t-shirts, I found one of a several-hundred foot high bikini-clad sunglass wearing blonde bombshell straddled next to a high way and picking up a car in her hands, saying "Wow!", with an image of the 1893 Chicago Columbian Exposition Ferris Wheel in the background.

For a pop-art image with a World Expo icon, this shirt is a real find!

Expect to see a photo of me wearing it at this space soon!

For a tease, I did a search on Google for Chicago 1893 Exposition, and got this image, which, as you'll soon find out, appears to be the image (or close to it) which was used for the T-shirt!

Image from

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Cesar Corona's Public Diplomacy Blog

Here we continue a few more notes on World Expositions Public Diplomacy researcher Cesar Corona, and we've just found his blog, which carries a few notes in English on his undergraduate thesis on Public Diplomacy and World Expositions.

The blog "Public Diplomacy from a Mexican Perspective" is at and we hope Cesar will add some more in English from his (excellent and in Spanish) thesis!

Australia Pavilion Seville Expo 92 Tie

As I was going through my things for the Sandlewood Op Shop I came across a tie which was gifted to me ages ago by an Australia Pavilion Seville Expo 92 staffer, a Maroochydore boy, Pavilion Attendant Francois Levy - the official Australia Pavilion tie.

This is one of my favourite Expo souvenirs, and highly prized, as staff uniform items are very hard to get to!

The tie is in deep navy, and features the Pavilion logo, which later became the Australian Government Department of Tourism logo, with Australia Expo 92 Seville written in navy letters under the logo.

Also featured woven into the tie is the famous northern Queensland Ulysses butterfly, which featured in the Pavilion's sky-lit internal atrium, replete with rainbow lorikeets and several metre high palm trees.

Click twice to enlarge.

Brisbane Expo 88 Penny Medals

I was visiting my favourite local op shop this morning and the owner Desley kindly gifted me these three World Expo '88 penny medals.

I told her I would promptly upload them to the blog and let her know!

These medals were available at manual machines across the Expo site, whereupon after entering $1 or so, an old Australian 'Kangaroo' penny coin would drop into the machine, and upon turning the handle, would be pressed and embossed with a special World Expo '88 marking, which in this case features the Expo 88 sunsails and the monorail.

Here they are!

Notice how "Down Under" is written upside down!

With special thanks to Desley, of Sandlewood Op Shop, Moorooka!

Seville Expo 92 Stamps and the Expo 92 logo

When I was working at Expo 92 Seville, one of the things I really enjoyed was the Expo 92 stamps that I could use for sending snail mail to various destinations around the world and Australia.

The Spanish Post Office put out an innovative series of stamps featuring the globe logo of the Expo, the mascot Curro, as well as Seville's place in the history of World Expositions.

This particular set, which I purchased on eBay last year, is one of my favourites.

Seville's place in the great world expositions - London 1851, Paris 1889, Brussels 1958, and Osaka 1970

If you look closely at the globe logo, you will see that it goes through four stages - the first one (depicting the Crystal Palace), shows one boat traversing across the Atlantic - representing the voyage taken by Columbus in 1492 across to America, the reason for the Seville 1992 Expo; the yellow lines on subsequent globes represent the progress in human exploration around the globe, with the final globe - representing the Expo 92 logo - (depicted here with the Osaka 70 Tower of the Sun) representing the completely mapped out earth in terms of 'discovery' - the theme of the Seville Expo.

One can also look at the globe logo for Seville as being a visual pun - the orange coloured globe logo of the Expo rather looks like an orange - and Seville - from it's early origins - was famous world wide for it's oranges.

Expo 2020 - Let the Bidding Begin!

Well, it's 4th January 2011, and from today member states of the BIE are able to lodge their application to bid for the 2020 Universal Exposition.

At this moment, we thought we'd do a review of the main leading contenders, compiled from Urso Chappell's new website....


There has been a lot of Thai publicity (mainly from the Thai Government) about it's proposals for 2020, centred on several main Thai cities. The publicity looks flash and impressive, but it's difficult to know at this stage which city will be pre-selected for a possible Thai bid.

Thailand's bid comes after the 2006 Royal Flora Ratchapruek - an International Garden Exposition which was held in Chiang Mai in 2006.

View this video on the Thai 2020 bid!


Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's high profile visit to the Shanghai Expo in August 2010 included a launch for the bid for a Silicon Valley/San Francisco Bay area bid for 2020, at the now unused Moffet Field airport.

With water access, close proximity to San Francisco by rail and road, including possibly, by 2020, link by high speed rail to Los Angeles, and a large hi-tech suburbia site, this proposal has got a lot going for it.

But is it the Governator's attempt at a last swan song?

We wish Urso and his compatriots in California good luck!!!

Read this article.


We had the opportunity to meet with the BIE delegation head to Turkey at Shanghai Expo 2010, and he was talking upbeat about a possible 2020 bid for Izmir, after losing to Milano for the Expo 2015 bid place.

Izmir has a lot of things going for it - Turkey has never hosted an Expo before, and has already put in a lot of work for 2015 which can be used for 2020.

But now it looks like Izmir could have a rival - Ankara. Ankara is now apparently doing a lot of leg work to launch a counter-proposal to the Izmir bid for 2020.


Foundation Expo '88 has been pushing for a 2020 Exposition for Australia - to celebrate the 250th Anniversary of Captain Cook claiming Australia for the Great British crown (1770-2020) - which would be the most significant Australian anniversary since the 1788-1988 Bicentennial of British settlement to Australia.

Foundation Expo '88 has written to local, state and federal Government representatives about the opportunities to be gained by Australia hosting an Expo in that year - whether it be Universal Exposition or International Garden Exposition - and has heard back from State Tourism representatives saying they will 'look into the matter'.

Meanwhile, a letter forwarded to Foundation Expo '88's local Federal member of Parliament has been forwarded to the Honourable Ms Julia Gillard MP, Prime Minister of Australia, for her comment.

Keep tuned!

The original Foundation Expo '88 proposal called for an 'exp0lympiad' - a joint Universal Exposition and Summer Games Olympiad.

Read the Foundation Expo '88 proposal here:


A Dubai proposal for 2020 has also seen a lot of press, also in the form of a joint Universal Exposition and Summer Games Olympiad, with support from the highest levels of their Royal Family, however, it is difficult to know if the Dubai bid will proceed with the effects of the Global Financial Crisis there.

Read this article.


There has been also lesser press with regards to bids from Brazil, Canada, Denmark, Russia and South Africa, and we won't go into detail about each one here.

Read the full details at -


With thanks to Urso Chappell's

Monday, January 3, 2011

Pins from Expo 88, Expo 92, Expo 93, Expo 2005, and Expo 2010

This is the new generation Bureau of International Expositions pin, which was given to BIE delegates at Shanghai Expo 2010, and which features the stylised BIE logo in the centre, a 'pyramid-ladder' which represents mankind's progress (which has now been 'pushed' into a bubble to give it a '3D' look).

I just found an Expo '92 mascot "Curro" pin on my desk and that prompted me to scan it for the blog..... and then I remembered my 'pins' box, with a selection of Expo 92 and Expo 93 pins, as well as a pin from Expo 88 and Expo 2005 respectively. I then also remembered my three Shanghai Expo 2010 pins, the BIE pin, China Pavilion pin, and Australia Pavilion pin.

Whilst this is not a comprehensive collection, it does give a brief 'snapshot' of some of the pins that were available at these World Fairs!

Features the popular Australia Brisbane World Expo '88 logo featuring different themes of the Expo emblazoned on one of the Expo's sunsails. The blue wavy line refers to the Expo's location on the banks of the Brisbane River.

The official mascot of Spain Seville's Expo 92 "Curro" features here, with some of the sponsors of the Fair, as well as Pavilion badge for Monaco, and one of the pins for Japan

The Korea Taejon Expo 93 mascot space elf "Kumdori" features here, as well as the Pavilion pins for the USA and Australia. The central left pin features the globe-like Expo 93 logo, which incorporates a 'yin-yang' circle.

Kikkoro and Morizo, the friendly Japan Aichi 2005 mascots, feature on this Expo 2005 pin
Two major finds - one of the last Australia Pavilion pins, which I purchased from China's Shanghai Expo 2010 Australia Pavilion on the last day of the Expo, and a rare China Pavilion pin, which I exchanged, also on the last day, with a China Pavilion staffer, for a Canada Edmonton Expo 2017 pin!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Australia Pavilion at World Expo '88 - Pamphlet

I've just received a Skype call from a friend of mine that worked with me in the VIP Visitors Department of the Universal Exposition of Seville and he asked me for an address of a colleague, and whilst I was looking for that, a pamphlet I got on eBay of the Australia Pavilion at World Expo '88 came out!

I promptly scanned the inside and outside of the pamphlet, which includes a note from the owner of when they visited the Pavilion during the Expo.

Here it is! Enjoy!

Thanks Miguel! (Click to enlarge)

DFAT's page on World Expositions

I've just been reading the Australian Government's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) page on World Expositions and am overall pleased with it's content.

It is a succinct summary of Australia's representation at and hosting of World Expositions, however lists Australia as only ever hosting two World Expositions, Melbourne 1880 and Brisbane 1988.

This is quite common in many of the Australian Government publications on World Expositions, and even the Queen, when giving her Opening Ceremony speech at World Expo '88, also said that Brisbane's was Australia's second World Exposition.

The correct figure however is probably 4 - counting the very first Australian International Exposition - Sydney 1879, Melbourne 1880, Melbourne 1888, and Brisbane 1988.

In the interim periods there were also numerous Australasian or Inter-Colonial Expositions, which which had international aspects to them, but were limited in scope.

To read the DFAT page on World Expositions, (DFAT by the way is the Australian Government Department responsible for Australia's representation at World Expositions), read further here:

The DFAT page includes a summary of Australia's representation at Shanghai Expo 2010, and was updated in December 2010.

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Saturday, January 1, 2011

Cesar Corona and International Expositions

From the Cesar Corona website

I've just come across Cesar Corona's website on International Expositions, at and am impressed with this scholar's achievements and credentials.

A World Expositions buff with considerable work experience at World Expositions - Lisbon 98, Hannover 2000, and Shanghai (for the University of Southern California's Centre for Public Diplomacy), Cesar is at present a Master of Public Diplomacy candidate at the USC, ostensibly doing research on the link between World Expositions and Public Diplomacy.

This is an area of research that is extremely important, yet is undervalued not extensively covered.

His work into this field, coupled with his practical experience of working at World Expositions is greatly welcomed.

His undergraduate thesis - "Public Diplomacy in International Expositions: Mexico and Canada in Expo 2005 Aichi" is actually quite close to an Honours thesis I proposed to do at the University of Queensland in 2008 - on "Australia and Japan at Expo 70 and Expo 88", and is available online as a PDF at  and I'll look forward to reading this thesis, if not from a view point that it may give me further ideas as to what is possible in this relatively new field.

I hope to make contact with Cesar and learn more about his research.