18 November 2010

Boggo Road Talk Draws a Crowd

A talk on Boggo Road Gaol at the State Library of Queensland draws a big crowd.
Yesterday I attended a talk at the State Library of Queensland on the subject of Boggo Road. This was part of the 'Out of the Port' series of talks at the library, and was given by Robert Riddel, an architect with a background in conservation and adaptive reuse. Robert also worked on a Conservation Management Plan for Boggo Road Gaol that is currently being updated.

It was great to see the auditorium full to capacity with around 70-80 people, which made the event a great promotion for the Boggo Road site. Robert covered much of the architectural and social history of Boggo Road, using an interesting set of slides, and hopefully the talk should be available on the SLQ website soon as a podcast (watch here). I was hoping for more discussion on the future of the site, as I have already done much reading on the history of the gaol, but state government planning is now a few weeks away from coming up with something more concrete and as someone involved in that process Robert had to be somewhat circumspect on the subject.

It was nevertheless a very enjoyable talk, and no doubt the assembled librarians, historians, public servants and members of the public came away with a renewed appreciation of the importance of the Boggo Road prison site.

Just as a side note, the mentioning of the fact that most female prisoners of the 1900s were in prison for drunkenness seemed to amuse some sections of the audience. Having written a book on this subject, I have to say that this amusement was misplaced. Hopefully the site interpretation at the Boggo Road site in future will help further explain the incredible hardships that working-class women of the time suffered.

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