Friendship Wall seeks 50,000 family names to complete Expo 88 puzzle

If you went to Expo 88 there is a good chance your name appeared as part of a huge mosaic that collectors are now trying to restore to capture a unique piece of Queensland history.Key points:Expo enthusiasts are piecing the Expo ’88 Friendship Wall back togetherMore than 50,000 people had their names printed on the tiles as part of the muralThe wall is proposed to be re-erected at the town of BlackbuttThe Friendship Wall was a major part of the event, measuring 40 metres long at the Vulture Street end of the South Bank site.Erected by Guides Queensland, formerly Girl Guides, the wall was a mural of the Great Barrier Reef designed by artist Ken Cato made up of small tiles which held names of people and families who donated $2 to the organisation.One of the volunteers at the original Friendship Wall at Expo 88 in Brisbane.(Supplied: Guides Queensland)Foundation Expo 88 member Peter Rasey said plans were in place to save the remaining panels of the mural.”It’s an amazing piece of history with more than 50,000 families donated to empower Girl Guides Queensland during Expo,” he told ABC Radio Brisbane’s Katherine Feeney.”It’s a snapshot of history including the full Queensland state parliament and cabinet at that time.”Mr Rasey said the drive to rescue the wall came after Scouts Queensland recently unveiled a statue of Saluting Scout at their headquarters at Kangaroo Point.”I thought after seeing that piece of Expo’s history we needed to do the same for the Guides,” he said.”I’m gobsmacked at how lucky Queensland is that the wall has been shaken out more than 32 years after the event.”Fighting floods and time to restore remaining piecesSections of the Friendship Wall are currently housed in storage at Redland Bay.”Sadly, panels of the wall were lost during the 2011 Brisbane Floods so we don’t have the full 50,000 tiles, but we hope to have at least 10,000 names from here and around the world including Paris and Vanuatu,” Mr Rasey said.Loading…”We’re looking for people who had their names on the wall and we’ve used the archive section of Guides Queensland, but it’s hard to get all the names. We are trying to ferret out more information.”Mr Rasey has met with South Burnett Regional Council to secure a $100,000 budget to erect the wall at the Roy Emerson Museum in Blackbutt, west of Brisbane, where other significant pieces of Expo 88’s history are on display.He said the project would also aim to include an online search portal where people could search to see if their family’s name is on the wall.The remaining panels of the mural have been kept in storage in Brisbane.(Supplied: Foundation Expo 88)”We want people to see the history and see the original wall in its new home so people can see their family names,” Mr Rasey said.”We’ve already saved the Drover and his Mate [statue] which is now at the RNA Showgrounds.”Once we pull the thread of the Expo history then you come up with these fantastic gems like the Australia sign that is now in Caboolture.”This project has been five-years in the making and I’m persistent.”Big, bright letters spelling out Australia marked the entrance and exit to the Australia pavilion at Brisbane’s World Expo 88.(Supplied: South Bank Corporation, file photo)
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