The early works stage of the $12 million redevelopment of Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park has been completed with the opening of the revitalised Cultural Village. Young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander dancers will join Tjapukai’s veteran performers on the new dance theatre stage as part of the tourism icon’s plan to be Australia’s leading venue to experience Indigenous culture. Among the new faces on stage is Nancy Cook, 29, who grew up in the Cairns region learning the culture of her Torres Strait Islander father and studied contemporary dance for five years before joining Tjapukai. Damien Ralphs, 27, whose family ties are with the Gunnai/Kurnai and Wotjaboluk people of Victoria’s Gippsland and Wimmera is a seasoned performer who studied contemporary dance for 14 years and has worked with numerous professional dance companies throughout Australia. Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park CEO Geoff Olson said Tjapukai’s experienced performers had trained the new recruits in their traditional dances so they could perform together.

“As part of the transformation of the Cultural Village, visitors will gain a greater insight into traditions like weaving, didgeridoo making and painting,” he said.


The Sydney International Boat Show recently celebrated its 25th exhibition at Darling Harbour, reaching a joint milestone with the Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre in its silver anniversary year. Australia’s largest annual exhibition attracted tens of thousands of visitors from August 1 to 5, and this year paid tribute to the combined histories of the event and its venue. The general manager of the Boating Industry Association of NSW, Roy Privett, addressed an industry breakfast at the centre, saying the show had developed over 25 years into one of the world’s leading boating exhibitions. He used the occasion to present commemorative photographs to centre chief executive Ton van Amerongen and ‎its director of sales – exhibitions, Helen Mantellato. “This venue and its people have been true friends to our industry,” Mr Privett said. “They have embraced our show and our vision and have been instrumental in our success.” The Sydney International Boat Show has attracted almost 1.9 million visitors since it was first held at the centre in 1989, soon after its 1988 opening.


Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre general manager Bob O’Keeffe was presented with the Lifetime Achiever Award at the 2013 Restaurant & Catering Queensland Awards for Excellence in September. In front of 500 of the state’s top restaurateurs, producers and suppliers, the business events industry leader received the ultimate accolade for championing the cause of quality and excellence in the catering industry and will now attend the National Lifetime Achiever Award Dinner at Parliament House in Canberra in December. The Lifetime Achievers Award Program recognises individuals for outstanding achievements and dedication to the industry throughout their careers. This is the second major industry award for Mr O’Keeffe who was presented with the Trevor Riddell President’s Award by the Exhibition and Events Association of Australasia for his contribution to the industry and advocacy for the sector. Queensland Premier Campbell Newman congratulated Mr O’Keeffe on his most recent accolade.


The Northern Territory has established its own ambassador program designed to secure more business for the Top End and Central Australia. NT chief minister, Adam Giles, made the announcement in September with 16 ambassadors kick-starting the program, including mining magnate Gina Rinehart and founder of Orion Expedition Cruises, Sarina Bratton. Mr Giles said the Northern Territory Business Events Ambassador program brings together 16 of Australia’s leading business and community leaders. Ambassadors are:

  • Luke Bowen, executive director, NT Cattlemens Association
  • Sarina Bratton, entrepreneur
  • Michael Bridge, CEO, AirNorth
  • Professor Alan Cass, director, Menzies School of Health
  • Lyndon Frearson, general manager, CAT projects
  • Daryl Guppy, founder, Guppytraders
  • The Hon. Paul Henderson, BeSpoke Territory
  • Simon McKeon – executive chairman of Macquarie Group
  • Dr Doug McTaggart (member of NTG Economic Development Panel)
  • Chen Min, chief representative, China Council for Promotion of International Trade
  • Dr Len Notaras AM, executive director of the National Critical Care and Trauma Response Centre
  • Vicki O’Halloran, chief executive officer, Somerville Community Services
  • James Paspaley, executive director Investments, Paspaley Group
  • Gina Rinehart, executive chairman, Hancock Prospecting
  • Katherine Sarneckis, chief executive officer, Northern Territory Seafood Council
  • Ian Smith, founder, BeSpoke Approach


NSW Deputy Premier Andrew Stoner has welcomed planning approval for the development of new convention, exhibition and entertainment facilities and a major upgrade to the public realm at Darling Harbour. The facilities, which will cost around $1 billion to build, will ensure Sydney continues to successfully compete on the national and global stage for major events. The facilities will open in December 2016. The 20-hectare precinct also includes improving the public areas and providing an extra hectare of open public space and creating better connections with Pyrmont and Ultimo. Lend Lease is developing the hotel and a residential/commercial development under two seperate commercial agreements.


The conference and events sales team at Novotel Wollongong Northbeach has gone through a recent restructure, resulting in creation of a new team. Sharon Wingate joined the team as sales manager with Sharon Pannewitz joining as conference and sales executive. Nina Hughes joins the team as a conference and event coordinator.


Moreton Hire launched its never-before-seen black marquee at the Brisbane Festival. Hosting the Santos GLNG Lounge for the duration of the festival, the new marquee had the best seats in the house to watch Brisbane Festival’s iconic, nightly light, laser and special effects show. Sitting directly under the Wheel of Brisbane and on the shores of South Bank, the new tent is the first of its kind for Queensland and something new and unique for special events. Brisbane Festival artistic director Noel Staunton said the new black marquee adds a level of sophistication to the Santos GLNG Lounge which was the perfect place to enjoy some drinks while taking in the spectacle of the Brisbane Festival. m