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Thursday, February 5, 2009

2009- A special year... in more ways than one.

2009 is a important year. It is our state's 150th birthday, QTQ-9, BTQ-7 and ABQ-2 celebrate their 50th birthdays, and some other events may or may not get a mention in the media... But I will mention them here...

30th anniversary of the beginning of electrified suburban rail services in Brisbane:

In November 1979, Queensland Rail, introduced the first suburban electric trains to Brisbane, running from Ferny Grove to Darra, using the first fully airconditioned electric suburban fleet in the country (Melbourne introduced their airconditioned Comeng's in 1981, while Sydney will retire their unairconditioned double decker suburban trains in 2013, when the new A set (currently in production) comes into revenue operation, while their interurban fleet (that runs from Sydney to the Blue Mountains, Newcastle and Wollongong) is fully airconditioned.) By the time the first QR EMU's turned 10, the entire Brisbane network was electrified. In the late 1990's the Citytrain network reached Nambour, Gympie and the Gold Coast. But as we go into the thirtieth year of electric services, the Queensland Government is looking forward, with the extensions to Springfield, Coolangatta Airport, the Sunshine Coast as well as a future-proofed inner-city rail network on the drawing board, we have QR's vision in the 1970's, to thank.

20th anniversary of the completion of Main Line Electrification (Brisbane-Rockhampton)

2009, is also the twentieth birthday of electric TravelTrain services between Rockhampton and Brisbane, which could not have been achieved without the electrification of the North Coast Line for coal, and for passengers as well as freight. There have been two different services, first, the "Spirit of Capricorn" which ran from 1989 until 2003 using the EMU-based InterCity Express (which was transferred to Citytrain's interurban fleet in 2003), and the Rockhampton Tilt Train which gradually replaced the "Spirit" from 1998.

30th birthday of Legal Aid Queensland:

In December 2009, Legal Aid Queensland (a service that allows disadvantaged people to get subsidised legal advice) turns thirty. Originally known as the Legal Aid Commission of Queensland, then later the Legal Aid Office (Queensland) and finally in 1997, under a act of Parliament the organization became Legal Aid Queensland, and is a statutory authority of the Queensland Government.

20th anniversary of the NSWRL's first use of Tina Turner in advertising:

Rugby league has had it's troubles with advertising the game in the mainstream. Rugby league was in a small lull, in 1989, after the hyped introduction of the Brisbane Broncos the previous year. So the game was turned up, a lot. The Sydney-based league brought in Tina Turner, to do a campaign, based on her song "What You Get Is What You See" to promote the game. It succeeded, and added to the best season in many years for the league which culminated in what many say is the greatest Grand Final of all time. As for the league's association with Tina Turner, it continued until 1995, using Turner's 1989 hit, "The Best", which got re-released in Australia during 1992 as "Simply The Best" (using a duet between Turner and Jimmy Barnes), being used in advertising, even screening at one stage in AFL heartland, Melbourne, where State of Origin games were held at the MCG, to gauge reaction for a future Melbourne team. The "Simply The Best" slogan was retired in 1995, just before the fight for the now ARL's survival began, with the Super League war.

20th anniversary of the founding of the South Bank Corporation:

Another big event that happened in 1989 was the cancelling of the Rivercity 2000 proposal for South Bank. Rivercity 2000, was the original plan for South Bank post Expo 88, which would have seen a mini CBD across from the regular CBD. But Brisbane people wanted river access, which was severely limited in the Rivercity 2000 proposal. So the Queensland Government created the South Bank Corporation, and put the South Bank redevelopment to a global design competition. While this was happening, the World Expo Park theme park which was slated to be a permanant legacy of Expo 88, closed in September 1989. Accordingly it was added to the South Bank Corporation's juristiction, and was earmarked (and eventually became) for a Brisbane convention and exhibition centre (during different phases of the planning for South Bank, it was planned for a separate convention and exhibition centres, similar to Sydney's at Darling Harbour, another successful urban revitalisation, Brisbane took a combined facility.)

By 1991, South Bank was a hive of construction again, and by June 1992, the original South Bank Parklands was opened, Numerous changes have happened since, including the 1995 opening of the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre, the late 1990's replacement of the canals with the Energex Arbour, and the return of the traditional South Brisbane traffic grid pattern with the addition of Little Stanley St. Development has since taken off with a unique backdrop of tall and midsize buildings behind the parklands.

The centenary of the founding of Surf Life Saving Queensland.
2009, is also a very special year for Surf Life Saving Queensland. This year the organisation turns 100. 100 years of protecting Queenslanders from the dangers of the surf, saving lives, and training volunteer lifeguards for our surf beaches, that attract 30 million people every year. While the national centenary was in 2007, The Queensland centenary is also a important occasion.
The celebrations for the centenary are on the 21st of February at the Coolangatta SLSC, with a parade of surf lifesaving technology as well as a re-enactment of the first surf rescue in Queensland.

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