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Like many Lego fans Ross Allen got his

first set as a boy and he’s never really lost

the passion – apart from a bit of a break in

his teens he’s been building, and collecting,

ever since. Today he reckons he’s got about

300,000 Lego bricks in various forms in a

room that’s bursting at the seams, and even

more stored in tubs in the shed and wherever

they will fit.

Allen still has the first set he ever owned

– one that his dad gave him – a Shell petrol

station complete with its own tanker that he

loved because he could pull up his Matchbox

cars outside. Since then Allen has become

a more serious collector and buys from all

over the world, mostly on eBay, adding sets

from the ’60s and ’70s to his more modern

collection of Lego Technic sets.

If it’s been a while since you last looked

at Lego it’s become a whole lot more

sophisticated, with gears and computerised

parts that replicate working models. The

place to see just how far Lego land has come

is the Brisbane Brick Event on 14 and 15

May at the Royal International Convention

Centre, Bowen Hills. Allen will be among

the Lego enthusiasts displaying some of their

best work which includes a Lego machine

that solves a Rubik’s Cube puzzle. Allen will

also display a full city scene and some of his

Technic collection of working vehicles.

Many of the displays are the builder’s

own creation rather than built from sets

and some are feats of engineering that have

the visitors enthralled. “It really does have

the Wow factor,” says Allen, whose teenage

daughter will also be displaying some of her

own collection. “To see the expressions on

their faces is what I get out of it, whether it’s a

5-year-old boy or a man in his 70s they get so

much joy from it.” Tickets $15 adult, children

under 15, $10. See

BNE May/June 2016 |


BRISBANE insider



Thousands of people saw

The Lion King


last year, making it the highest grossing show

in the centre’s history, but few in the audience

probably knew that some major changes were

made to the Lyric Theatre to accommodate the

performance. For example, seats were pulled out

to allow for the two aisles the performers walked

down during the show and new aisle lighting

and carpet were put down, then taken up again

and the seats restored once the show finished its

season 18 weeks later.

When the Bolshoi Ballet was in town 65 crew

were needed on stage to manage scene changes

and during

Phantom of the Opera

, one star had

to change costume behind a bedhead. With the

help of a wardrobe team they did it in a minute

and a half!

These are just a few anecdotes from behind

the scenes of Brisbane’s premier performance

space that you might learn on one of its weekly

tours, operating every Friday from 10.30am

to 11.30am (excluding public holidays). Tours

include information about the centre’s history

and architecture, and stories about some of the

stars who have performed there, from Rudolf

Nureyev to Geoffrey Rush and Julie Andrews.

Tickets $15 adult. Buy at the QPAC café on the

day or to book, call 3840 7444 or send an email


BUILD IT and they will come

Brisbane’s refugee communities have

been working for months to make jumbo

size lanterns in all sorts of shapes – some

taking up to 40 hours each to complete –

to lead this year’s Luminous Parade on 10

June. The event is an annual welcome to

refugees and migrants, hosted by support

agency MDA, and will start from South

Bank’s Cultural Forecourt (5.40pm) for

a ceremonial circuit through the

parklands ahead of a concert at

6.30pm. MDA helped more than

4000 new arrivals from more than

65 countries to settle in Queensland

last year and connects them to

employment, education, training,

housing and volunteering opportunities.

Find out more at



QPAC Concert Hall

Photography by Cherie Patrick