Trivia from the haven of tranquility
Australian bushland setting
A garden of eucalypts, wattles and grevillea had been coaxed through a Canadian winter and planted around the Australian pavilion especially for Expo 67 Montreal. A large sunken pen at the rear of the pavilion contained a display of coral from the Great Barrier Reef and nearby, a mob of kangaroos and wallabies.
The animals were acclimatised to their new environment with loudspeakers playing music and crowd noises in the three months before Expo opened. The kangaroos proved a great success with the public, although it was reported that one bit a cameraman on the ear.
Image: Fiona Spence and Lesley Lillyman in the kangaroo enclosure behind the Australian pavilion. Photo: Rosemary Sinclair collection.
Expo 67 passport a world first
Expo 67 Montreal was the first international exhibition to issue passports to visitors, in lieu of conventional ticket stubs. The passports could be stamped at each pavilion, encouraging visitors to prolong their stay and visit as many pavilions as possible to obtain a souvenir stamp.
Luxurious salon atmosphere
The Australian pavilion was designed to have the atmosphere of a luxurious salon away from the bustle of the main exhibition.
Pavilion architect Robin Boyd explained his vision: 'Visitors should advise their friends, "When tired, go to the Australian pavilion". Yet while they rest we will tell them of the Australian adventure.'
Some visitors rested so well that they actually fell asleep.
Image: A weary Expo 67 Montreal visitor takes a break in one of the sound chairs, watched by Meg Fraser, Ros Roberts and Renate Werner. Photo: Meg McNeil.
VIP dining at the Australian pavilion
Les Blakebrough studied pottery at East Sydney Technical College before starting work at the Sturt Pottery in Mittagong, New South Wales in 1957. He is known for his functional domestic pieces, especially his stoneware bowls, dishes and vases, as well as his later porcelain works.
Australian pavilion architect Robin Boyd commissioned Blakebrough to produce a 500-piece dinner set for the VIP dining room in the Australian pavilion.
Unfortunately, Sturt pottery was not set up at that time to produce full dinner sets so Blakebrough provided a number of bowls and ashtrays instead. This was just one of a number of commissions he received in the 1960s, including requests for utilitarian stoneware for Australian embassies overseas.
Image: Les Blakebrough stoneware bowl. Photo: National Museum of Australia.
To see the passport and other images visit the Australia at Expo 67 Montreal slideshow.