Quirky's Quirk: Cloudland Ballroom
The Cloudland Ballroom is an iconic site for so many of us, and Lord Mayor Graham Quirk reminisces.
- The Cloudland Ballroom in Bowen Hills is fondly remembered as the location of many of Brisbane’s post-war social highlights.
- Originally named “Luna Park”, the site opened in 1940 with the intention to be used as an amusement park.
- However the site was subject to a number of issues when its rollercoaster and alpine railway both collapsed in the early stages of its development.
- Not long after the ballroom’s glamourous opening, the park faced further controversy when its proprietor disappeared and the site was subsequently shut down.
- After a period of two years, the building was once again occupied when the American military authorities took over the site for war purposes.
- Once the military had no use for the site following the war, they rebuilt the dance floor as a gift to the people of Brisbane.
- Two sisters, Mya Winters and Francis Roach, soon purchased the site and reopened it in 1947 as Cloudland.
- The ballroom was quickly rejuvenated as a social Mecca for Brisbane’s bright young things and is also remembered by some as the site for university examinations.
- On its commanding hilltop site, residents could see Cloudland’s illuminated arched roof for kilometres.
- It became a significant landmark on Brisbane’s skyline and was the entertainment destination for Brisbane residents at the time.
- However, after operating for over 30 years the glamour of Cloudland dwindled, with the building in need of extensive repair.
- Once again, the building was at the centre of controversy in 1982 when then owner arranged for the building to be demolished early one morning at 4am.
- The demolition caused outrage in the community as it was carried out overnight without a permit, and in spite of the building’s National Trust listing.
- The site has since been developed into an apartment complex, named after the iconic venue.
- Visit the former ballroom site on Cowlishaw Street, Bowen Hills to find a ‘shrine’ to the once grand ballroom.
- It features panels of Cloudland images and a ceramic paved ‘dance floor’ with stories reminiscent of its glamour days.