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Montreal expo display captures 1960s Australia

THURSDAY 13 SEPTEMBER 2007

The National Museum of Australia will mark forty years since Expo 67 Montreal, Canada, which is regarded as one of Australia's most successful overseas promotions.

The Expo 67 display in the Hall of the National Museum will be opened by Rosemary Sinclair who was Hostess Supervisor at the Australian pavilion in 1967.

"Australia was one of the last countries to commit to Expo 67," said Mrs Sinclair, "The soon-to-retire Prime Minister, Sir Robert Menzies, was persuaded by the Prime Minister of Canada to take part".

"Although a latecomer, Australia mounted a magnificent display which saw 20 million visitors over a six month period."

The display at the National Museum will feature a "talking chair"; a hi-tech chair which featured well known Australians talking about Australia played though speakers built into the chair which were activated by a switch under the seat. The Australian pavilion featured 240 of the chairs, designed by Grant and Mary Featherston. The chair on display is the 'Expo Mark II sound chair,' a version for the Australian market.

The hostesses wore distinctive burnt orange uniforms designed by a committee which included Dame Zara Holt and Rosemary Sinclair, who admits that orange was a particular favourite of hers at the time.

Six marriages resulted from Expo 67, some between Australian staff members and others with Canadian nationals.

"Perhaps the most notable achievement of Expo 67 is the enduring close relationships forged among the staff, not only the number of marriages which followed Expo 67 but the number of friendships which make up the remarkable "Expo family', said Mrs Sinclair.

Expo 67 Montreal; is on display in the Hall of the National Museum of Australia from Thursday 13 September to Wednesday 31 October. Entry is free


For interviews, images and more information please contact Dennis Grant on 02 6208 5351, 0409 916 481; Caroline Vero on 02 6208 5338, 0438 620 710 or media@nma.gov.au