Recently I officially reopened a new-look, revitalised Brunswick Street Mall to the public, following a six-month, $4 million make-over.

The refurbishment was designed to strengthen the Valley’s daytime economy, help to attract new investment and reinvigorate established businesses.

It involved creating a brighter and more open streetscape, a new concrete surface, installing two artistic wire shade structures, and enhancing accessibility and way-finding features.

As a result, the Mall is now better equipped to host a wider range of events throughout the year with the upgrade successfully developing the event capacity of the space.

The Valley is already known as a hub for music and entertainment, however this refurbishment will support its reputation and growth as a vibrant mixed-use precinct.

Council will also be installing free Wi-Fi in Brunswick Street Mall and Chinatown Mall ahead of the G20 Summit, which will be the icing on the cake of this upgrade and will remain as a lasting legacy.

Visitors will be able to jump online in the Valley Malls at a speed of 4MB per second, which will help the Malls realise their potential as vibrant day-time spaces for people to enjoy.

I also recently rededicated City Hall’s Father Willis Organ back to the public, after it was removed for refurbishment in 2010.

The original organ was built in 1891-92 by Henry Willis & Sons, Camden Town, London for placement in the Brisbane Exhibition Concert Hall by the Queensland National Agricultural and Industrial Association (now RNA). It was then enlarged and modernised for relocation to Brisbane’s new City Hall; which opened in 1930.

We have taken great pains to deliver a modern City Hall without compromising its heritage value, and this organ restoration has really been a labour of love, involving various specialist works and exhaustive tuning.

In fact, the sound of each of the 4,391 individual pipes was recorded before removing it, to make sure it would sound exactly the same.

I am honoured to rededicate these pieces of Brisbane’s history in top condition back to the people, to enjoy at various community events into the future.



P.s. Even if you only have eyes for the famous strawberry ice creams or show bags, I encourage you to get along to the Ekka if you can and make 2014 the best one yet!