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Category: Interviews »

Subject: Immigration »

Multiculturalism comes to Queensland

Max Brandle.

Maximilian Brandle speaks about migration in the 1960s and the volunteers who welcomed new arrivals.



Date Added:

15 February 2006


Maximilian Brandle interviewed by Andrew Jakubowicz for MMA


mov (Quicktime);

File size:

4.1 MB


2 min 24 s


Migration patterns were very different in the 60s…

So, a large number of people came here representing a small number of European countries. So we had relatively few ethnic communities here…

Brisbane was a large country town. You could shoot a cannonball from one end of Queen Street to the other on a Sunday without hitting anybody. It was a pleasant, rustic environment but it was far from cosmopolitan. But it was interesting that the communities, like the Italians and the Greeks, had very close rapport with each other. And I used to go to some of their functions and enjoyed myself, and I met some people who were involved with the good Neighbour Council and so from the middle of the 60s I was involved there as a volunteer…

When the Good Neighbour Council was abolished nationally, the Queensland Government agreed to continue the Good Neighbour Council on a state basis. And by 1983 that was also changed over to the Queensland Migrant Welcome Association, which was operational for eight years, and I was its president. It was fully serviced by the State of Queensland, with 250 volunteers from the ex-Good Neighbour Council network. Because Queensland is the most decentralised state, and we were able to offer services on a free volunteer basis from the very top of Queensland, from Cape York right down to the border of New South Wales and to Roma, at very little cost to the government…

From the Good Neighbour Council point of view, Joh supported the Good Neighbour Council as long as the members don't vote against him. He made that quite clear to us. He said – look, as long as you don't cause troubles, as long as you don't strike, or have demonstrations against me, I'll give you some funds to have full-time staff members supporting you, but you've got to behave….

The network was no longer needed because professionals then took over migrant services, whereas before, almost all the volunteer work was undertaken by idealists…

We have now about 180 nationalities represented in the greater Brisbane area.