QUIRKY’S QUIRKS: CHINATOWN MALL
Lord Mayor Graham Quirk casts his eye on a major historical landmark in Brisbane this week, with Chinatown Mall.
• In the 1880s, a sizeable Chinese community arrived in Brisbane.
• Their main business district was in Albert Street and Fortitude Valley, helping form the location of what is now Brisbane’s Chinatown Mall.
• Chinatown was officially opened in 1987 by Lord Mayor Sallyanne Atkinson in time for Chinese New Year celebrations for the Year of the Rabbit.
• Nowadays, the cultural hub is known to be the destination for many events including Chinese New Year and Valley Fiesta.
• International film stars have also been attracted to the Oriental district, with a car chase and explosion scene filmed in the mall in 1995 for ‘Jackie Chan’s First Strike’.
• The Mall's pagoda was destroyed during filming and had to be rebuilt.
• In 2009 Brisbane City Council began an $8 million redevelopment.
• The redesign reflected a different nature of Queensland’s modern Chinese-Australian community.
• While the traditional old pagodas were removed, the reinvigorated design still features the traditional Chinese gates and is guarded by guard-lions, weighing in at 2032 kilograms each!
• Other sculptures in the mall include a giant carp sculpture, representing the power of perseverance, and a Chinese dragon silhouette symbolising the luck and optimism of the Mall.
• Brisbane’s Sister City, Shenzhen, was also a consultant for the redesign, with the red and gold colours of the shade structure inspired by them.
• Historical signposts located throughout Chinatown give a brief history of the Chinese community in Brisbane and a summary of the Chinatown attractions.
• You can learn more about the history of Chinatown Mall by downloading a map from Council’s website, www.brisbane.qld.gov.au, and taking the Vibrant Fortitude Valley Heritage Trail.