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Both the Brisbane City Council and Queensland State Government have been put on notice this week, after local residents begin mobilising a campaign to make their River Capital even vibrant.
As it stands, only half of the major bridges that connect both North and South Brisbane are decorated in neon lighting, locals say this isn’t good enough.
The history of neon lighting in Brisbane dates back to the 1980s, when the redlight district of Fortitude Valley emerged as the home of late-night illegal casinos and discotheques.
Southerners would flock to the Brown Snake to take in the glitz and bling that was offered by the uniquely rowdy city, culiminating the World Expo of 1988.
The city’s unofficial championing of harmless vices like gambling dens and rock music began to infiltrate the general psyche of Brisbane residents.early 40 years since the heyday of ‘Bris-Vegas’ – and this neon heritage has become a mainstream aesthetic.
On the northern banks of the Brisbane River – colloquially known as the ‘Brown Snake’ – The iconic Treasury Casino was the first to install year-round neon lighting on the front facade. This was followed by the brutalist Queensland Performing Arts Centre (QPAC) on the southern side.
Inch by inch, the city’s landmarks and major infrastructural accomplishments followed suit. New bridges were also decorated in neon, as well as the historical 243 foot landmark ‘Story Bridge’ – which was covered in neon lighting that changes in accordance with whatever footy team is winning.
While this Synthwave style works perfectly in a city dominated by the reflective brown water of the tidal estuary that bends through it, there is still a lack of motivation from various layers of government who have been asked directly by their constitutients to dramatically increase the amount of neon lighting throughout the city.
“It’s not good enough” says Brisbane local, Billy Chinchilla (29), who is outraged by the fact that the Goodwill Bridge, Green Bridge, Victoria Bridge, Riverside Expressway and Coronation Drive remains un-neon after nightfall.
“We’ve got a chance here to be the most neon’d city in the world, and they are still dragging the chain”
Norman Park stay-at-home mum, Diedre Esk (52) agrees with this sentiment.
“Make the ferries neon too” she says.
“We don’t ask for much. But if our elected officials can’t meet these demands, then they ought to be looking for new jobs”