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We’ll Show the World:
Expo 88 – Brisbane’s almighty struggle for a little bit of cred


How did one long and expensive party change a city forever?

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World Expo 88 was the largest, longest, and loudest of Australia’s bicentennial events. A shiny 1980s amalgam of cultural precinct, shopping mall, theme park, travelogue, and rock concert, Expo 88 is commonly credited as the catalyst for Brisbane’s ‘coming of age’. So how did an elaborate and expensive party change a city forever?

We’ll Show the World explores the shifting social and political environment of Expo 88, shaped as much by Queensland’s controversial premier Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen as it was by those who reacted against him. It shows how something initially greeted with outrage, scepticism, and indifference came to mean so much to so many, how a state better known for eliciting insults enchanted much of the nation, and how, to Brisbane, Expo was personal.

Jackie Ryan

Jackie Ryan

Jackie Ryan is the author of We’ll Show the World: Expo 88 (UQP, 2018), which won two 2018 Queensland Literary Awards: the Queensland Premier’s Award for a Work of State Significance and the University of Southern Queensland History Book Award. She was also awarded a 2018 Queensland Writers Fellowship. Jackie produces the Aurealis Award-winning Burger Force comic book series (also twice shortlisted for a Ledger Award for Excellence in Australian Comics) and is the founding editor of comedy writing collective the Fanciful Fiction Auxiliary. The websites for these projects have been archived by the National Library of Australia as sites of cultural significance. She holds a PhD in history and political science from The University of Queensland, where she was an Honorary Research Fellow.