SWEET SUCCESS FOR LOLLY SHOP
IT HAS been a sweet 25 years since Brisbane’s favourite backyard South Bank officially opened its doors, and lolly shop owner Donna Smith has been there since the beginning.
Constructed on the site that housed World Expo ’88, South Bank was created in response to a public outcry that the state capital needed more open public space.
Then just 17ha, South Bank has grown into a Queensland icon that put Brisbane on the map and attracts an estimated 11 million visitors a year. Donna Smith’s Great Aussie Sweet Co, the longest operating retail shop in the precinct, has watched the space transform.
Ms Smith inherited the business from her father and has worked in the store since she was 16.
She said there was a large dirt carpark where restaurants and bars now stand, and a green lawn where the information centre has been built.
“The transformation over that timeframe has been a really lovely way for Brisbane to come out of the big country town mentality and move up alongside Melbourne and Sydney,” Ms Smith, 42, said. “Opening day (in 1992) was full on. There were people everywhere. It was the biggest thing since Expo ’88 really.”
To mark today’s milestone, a free “Picnic in the Parklands” event of performances and activities is being held from 10am to 4pm.
A draft Vision South Bank report released last month, as revealed by The Sunday Mail, would see Brisbane’s most popular park grow by two-thirds.
Ms Smith said the impact of Queen’s Wharf across the Brisbane River would be “unbelievable” and “astronomical” for the area.
TASTY TREAT: Twins Sophie and Sonny Smith, 4, are set to celebrate 25 years of South Bank today. Picture: Nigel Hallett