Every city has its hidden charms – and they’re not always geographical. Through literature, poetry and songs, Brisbane reveals itself piece by piece. To get the full picture, you could immerse yourself in a pile of books or you could join actors Therese Collie and Tim Mullooly for a morning of quick-witted banter and history at The Story of Brisbane.
The Story of Brisbane is a weekly tour of Brisbane, but not as you have come to know city tours. Together Therese and Tim transform themselves into a variety of characters as they share the views of Brisbane expressed through culture.
Drawing upon references from author David Malouf's work through to the defining poetry of Oodgeroo Noonuccal and the songs of The Go-Betweens, they canvass the city’s history from indigenous settlement to the present day. Lyrical and laughter-riddled stories include accounts of a time when water lilies and a rainforest canopy fringed the Brisbane River and the passionate protests of the ‘70s.
Though the two are Brisbane natives, their idea for the tour came about halfway across the world in Ireland.
“We were inspired by the Dublin Literary Pub Crawl, featuring the grand Irish canon,” they explain. “Researching our own authors – novelists, poets, songwriters and playwrights – we compiled a repertoire of over 100 (and growing) passages that reflect the deep, sometimes neglected, historical culture of Brisbane.”
Proud to be locals, the pair have evocative memories of Brisbane that include the scent of eucalyptus, Saturday afternoon paper runs and cracker nights.
“I remember the jar of water in the letterbox to stop the local louts blowing it up,” says Therese of cracker night. “And I remember trying to blow up letterboxes with double bungers,” adds Tim.
Almost a year since launching the tour at Brisbane Powerhouse, the pair are still amazed at how much locals and visitors take from their narrative.
“We are surprised by how actively engaged people are with their sense of place, history, culture and community," they explain. "The stories and characters embodied in our literature and recounted in the tranquil environment of the Brisbane Powerhouse delight that sense and inspire a deeper connection.”
Having delved deep into the cultural fabric of Brisbane, the two have a well-honed act and an extensive reading list. To learn more about Brisbane, Tim and Therese recommend the following reads:
Alternatively, see them bring these tales to life every Wednesday morning.
The Story of Brisbane
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