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Brisbane: Utopian Dreams and Dystopian Nightmares | Dr Bill Metcalf | Avid Reader

Monday, 17 October 2022




Avid Reader Bookshop West End

Former Lord Mayor of Brisbane Tim Quinn is in-conversation with Dr Bill Metcalf discussing Brisbane: Utopian Dreams and Dystopian Nightmares.

Brisbane: Utopian Dreams and Dystopian Nightmares tells the stories of little-known, and rather peculiar aspects of Brisbane’s colourful history.

Eleven Brisbane authors from the 19th and 20th centuries wrote about how wonderful, ‘utopian’, Brisbane could become – or how dreadful, ‘dystopian’, it could also become.

Some writers imagined Brisbane where inequality has been eliminated, where everyone is happy and prosperous, enjoying full equality while living in the most beautiful city with wide, tree-lined boulevards, wonderful opera-houses and museums, bubbling fountains and grand squares. They saw Brisbane becoming the centre of the civilised world, a model for humanity.

Other writers depicted Brisbane as having been annihilated, violently wiped off the face of the earth except for a few stone ruins overgrown with lantana. These dystopian images saw Brisbane residents enslaved in a racial nightmare, beset with poverty and violence, their lives being precarious at best.

What led to these utopian and dystopian visions? Who were the visionaries? What do they tell us about this little-known part of Brisbane’s quirky history?

These are images of a wonderful or dreadful Brisbane that never eventuated – but could have.

This well-illustrated book reveals all in a witty, but sometimes disturbing way.

Tim Quinn has lived in West End since 1968. He was Councillor for The Gabba and Dutton Park wards from 1985 to 2003. He joined Civic Cabinet in 1991 with Jim Soorley as Lord Mayor.

Tim was responsible for Planning. He promoted inner suburban renewal, protection of timber and tin character and local heritage, and revitalisation of local shopping centres.

He was Deputy Mayor 1997- 2003 and Lord Mayor 2003- 2004.

Tim continues to be actively involved in our local community through South Bank Board, Kurilpa Futures, and local history.

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