FLASHBACK: Expo 88 visitor Joan McGuigan points to her name on the Girl Guides Wall
(Photo: Supplied)

June 12, 2020

An historic piece of memorabilia from World Expo 88 could find a new home in Blackbutt if a plan backed by the South Burnett Regional Council becomes a reality.

During World Expo in Brisbane, visitors were encouraged to buy a wall tile for $2 to support the Girl Guides of Queensland.

Thousands of tiles, all bearing the names of their purchasers, were added to a large wall mural designed by well-known artist Ken Kato.

The mural had been expected to find a permanent home in Brisbane after the Expo finished.

Sadly this didn’t happen, and the mural panels went into storage.

During the next 32 years, some of the panels were damaged in a flood but there is still a significant section of the colourful mural which has the potential to become a unique tourist attraction.

Backers of the project include local councillor Deputy Mayor Gavin Jones, who believes the Girl Guides mural could form the start of a possible “Expo art trail” that would run in parallel with the South Burnett Rail Trail.

Visitors would be encouraged to see if they could spot their names on the wall.

Local Expo 88 collector Jason Ford is also a keen supporter of the project and has been working with fellow Expo enthusiast Peter Rasey to promote the idea of an Expo 88 tourist trail.

There is already a trail in Brisbane and the fully restored Ken Done “Brisbane” sign at Caboolture could form the start of an “inland” trail which would include some of the Artbusters statues which were originally placed around Southbank and inner city Brisbane during the Expo.

Eight are already in the South Burnett, thanks to the efforts of Mr Rasey.

Memorabilia from Expo 88 can also be found in Biloela and Longreach.

Cr Jones said a tentative plan was to erect 10 panels from the Girl Guides mural in Les Muller Park, against the wall of Blackbutt Hardware – a length of about 20 metres.

He said South Burnett Regional Council would be submitting the mural project and art trail to the State Government under the Works For Queensland COVID round.

Mr Ford said if the funding was approved, he hoped the mural could be in place by February 2021.

Related articles:

Each tile in the mural bears a name … purchasers received a ticket stub after handing over their $2

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Two Artbusters’ statues which could be seen soon in the South Burnett (Photos: Shirley McDougall)
There are two Artbusters statues already in the foyer of the Blackbutt Memorial Hall

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