Fraser Coast Chronicle
THE BROLGA GETS ITS NAME
“The money had been raised, the site found, the building designed. The choice of a name for the district’s long-awaited entertainment and cultural centre was given over to the public who had so strongly got behind the project. A submission by Jocelyn Watts of Maryborough, Queensland, soared to the top of the list and the theatre had its name – Brolga.” — Fraser Coast Chronicle
Since opening in July 2000, the Brolga Theatre in Maryborough, Qld, has established itself as one of Australia’s leading regional theatres, bringing world-class international and national acts to regional audiences. It has also provided the venue and inspiration for thousands of local theatre, dance and music productions equal to those found on the stages of capital cities.
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Theatre dream stirs community spirit
Extract from the Fraser Coast Chronicle
Close community spirit was the key in the successful campaign to raise $1 million from the people of Maryborough.
Campaign manager Patrick Steer of Brisbane-based professional fundraising organisation Compton International, said this community spirit was evident from the time he arrived in the city to head the campaign.
A shop-front campaign office was set up in Kent Street from where the 13-week campaign was directed and the newly formed fundraising committee got to work. Led by Grahame Jones, more than 70 people were involved in the overall project.
In the first three weeks, more than $100,000 had been raised and by the end of the campaign, the dream of raising $1 million had turned into reality with pledges from all walks of life flowing in.
The Maryborough and District Entertainment and Cultural Association were also successful in the lobbying submissions and received a State Government arts grant of $3 million. Maryborough City Council gave $4 million and the Federal Government’s Centenary of Federation Fund contributed a further $2 million.
Industrial heritage inspires design
Simple, yet bold, the external form of the Brolga Theatre building was conceived in the tradition of the large sheds that characterise Maryborough’s industrial heritage.
Bligh Voller Nield, in association with Marian Graham Architects of Maryborough, aimed to deliver a venue that met the present and future needs of the community, was accessible to all citizens, enjoyable and memorable to visit and use and which enhanced the unique character and lifestyle of the city.
The design drew on Bligh Voller Nield’s experience in the design of the Queensland Conservatorium of Music, the University of Western Sydney’s Centre for Contemporary Performance and the proposed Walsh Bay Theatre in Sydney.
Jocelyn’s award-winning Brolga entry
Australia’s dancing bird, the brolga, is symbolic of what I believe the new Maryborough and District Entertainment Centre means to the Wide Bay Burnett and Fraser Coast regions.
Famous for its stately dancing displays and known as the “Native Companion”, the brolga is well known in Aboriginal Dreamtime Legend and is found mostly in eastern and northern Australia.
Maryborough naturalist Hugh Peddie said brolgas could be seen locally; in fact, a flock of brolgas has inhabited the Saltwater Creek area for about 40 years.
Just as Brolga was transformed into a bird that dances on Queensland’s wetlands, the site of the once prosperous Wilson Hart Sawmill is now being transformed in a whirlwind of progress, to bear an exciting and lasting entertainment venue that will draw audiences from near and far boosting the local economy.
Being gregarious, brolgas move in flocks sometimes numbering 1000 in the tropics. These charming water birds are also known to forage in the swamps and waterways of the Wide Bay Burnett.
The entertainment centre standing majestically beside the Mary River, which was once the lifeblood of the region, represents the birds standing by the waterside.
Brolgas are most active at dawn when they can be seen “dancing” in pairs. They face each other, spread their wings, bow and shake as they advance and retreat, pausing now and again to give loud trumpeting calls.
As Maryborough enters the new millennium – the dawn of a new era – the city is spreading its wings with several new projects underway including the entertainment centre, the beautification of the city’s entrances and the Maryborough City Whistlestop rail museum in Lennox Street.
Brolgas are endowed with grey plumage signifying the sophistication and dignity associated with the Heritage City. The red markings on the brolga’s head symbolise the courage and drive it took to get the entertainment centre underway, the exuberance of youth and the excitement that each stage production will evoke throughout the years to come.
The image of a brolga is ideal for marketing purposes and would quickly become synonymous with the Wide Bay Burnett region – as the kingfisher is for Fraser Island.
International visitors will recognise the Brolga Theatre as being located in Queensland as the brolga is the state’s official bird emblem and is featured on the Queensland Coat of Arms.
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Acknowledgement of Country
Jocelyn Magazine acknowledges the Traditional Owners of the land throughout Australia. We also pay our respects to Elders past, present and emerging. *Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander readers are warned that some articles on this site may contain images of deceased persons.*