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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.

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  • 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.

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