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On the 23rd of November 1988, Questacon, the National Centre for Science and Technology was officially opened in its current location, in the heart of Canberra’s Parliamentary Triangle.   

We’re celebrating our origins as a joint Japanese-Australian Bicentennial project and reflecting on 35 years of inspiring science.

Scroll down to explore stories about Questacon and the extraordinary people and partnerships that comprise our rich history. We will be updating this page over the next few weeks with more stories, so keep an eye out!

Questacon’s Director, Jo White shares a special anniversary message that honours the past and looks to the future.

“We want everyone, no matter what your age or where you’re from, to enjoy a taste of science, experience Questacon and help us celebrate 35 years of achievements.” – Jo White.

Transcript

[Music plays and an animation of a microscope appears, and then the image changes to show an animation of a robotic machine]

[Image changes to show the number 35 made from coloured shapes, and text appears: Years of Science Inspiration 1988 to 2023]

[Image changes to show Jo White talking to the camera, and text appears: Jo White, Director Questacon]

Jo White: Hello and welcome, I’m Jo White Director of Questacon, the National Science and Technology Centre and we’re celebrating our 35th anniversary. I hope you will join us.

[Images move through of footage from the Questacon building opening ceremony, and then aerial views of the Questacon building]

The 23 November 1988 marked the day the centre was officially opened in this iconic building in Canberra’s parliamentary triangle indicating its national significance.

[Images move through to show school children looking at a display, the Ainslie Public School entrance, school children looking at different displays, and then the Questacon building]

It was a substantial step for Questacon which had started locally eight years earlier in the Ainslie Primary School and it was the culmination of more than a decade of effort to convert a dream into reality.

[Images move through to show a view looking down on the Questacon building, various internal views of the Questacon building, and then people looking at displays inside the building]

And what a building, its curvy lines undulate around the base of cubes and cylinders and internally there’s a voyage of discovery matching the ambition of Questacon itself to excite minds and spark an interest in science and technology for all Australians.

[Image changes to show Jo talking to the camera, and then images move through of various shows at the Questacon building]

The 35 birthday of our building is a good time to stop and acknowledge Questacon’s journey and the people who’ve brought us here, honouring the past and looking to the future.

[Image changes to show Jo talking to the camera]

Questacon has many wonderful partnerships which continue to strengthen, evolve, and support us.

[Image changes to show a view of a building with the Australian flag on the side, and then the image changes to show Jo White and a Japanese male posing for a photo]

You may not know; the building was funded by the Australian/Japanese Governments and businesses, and we continue to appreciate an enduring friendship with Japan.

[Image changes to show a side view of Jo talking to the camera, and then the image changes to show a photo of Professor Mike Gore, and then a photo of three people posing for a photograph]

We couldn’t celebrate our 35th anniversary without recognising the Australian National University and honouring Professor Mike Gore who founded Questacon, and former directors including my predecessor, Professor Graham Durant for his strong leadership over 19 years.

[Image changes to show Jo talking to the camera]

What really makes Questacon so remarkable is its people and the quality of what they produce.

[Images move through to show a customer service person welcoming a family to Questacon, and then a female giving a presentation at Questacon]

Our people are our greatest asset.

[Images move through to show various interactive science shows being performed, and then audience members looking at the displays]

Their knowledge of science and ability to share it, is gold standard and their enthusiasm and unity of purpose has engendered a trust and love of visitors and the community.

[Image changes to show Jo talking to the camera, and then images move through to show various shows and displays at Questacon, and then audience members watching the shows]

With so much to be grateful for, our anniversary is about giving back to the community which has embraced and supported us over the years, whether as a visitor to the centre or audiences of our national touring programs that have reached across the country.

[Image changes to show Jo talking to the camera]

On the 25th and 26th of November we’ll be staging a free community event in front of the building and offering half price entry over the weekend.

[Images move through to show various shows and exhibits being performed at Questacon, children watching the displays, and children interacting with the displays]

We’re going to bring the best of Questacon to you, with our science circus in full swing, engaging exhibits, experiments will pop and bang around you, all sorts of hands-on play to immerse you in the joy of science.

[Image changes to show Jo talking to the camera, and text appears: www.questacon.edu.au]

And if you can’t make it in person visit our special anniversary website where we’ll be telling stories of our history and highlighting some of the extraordinary people and their contribution to Questacon.

[Image changes to show Jo and three others posing for a photograph, and then the image changes to show a group of employees standing out the front of the building waving to the camera]

I’m passionate about science and inspiring the next generation of Australians into science and technology.

[Image changes to show Jo talking to the camera]

We want everyone, no matter what your age, where you’re from, to enjoy a taste of science, experience Questacon and help us celebrate 35 years of achievements. See you there.

[Music plays and the image changes to show the number 35 made up of coloured shapes, and the Australian Government and Questacon logos, and text appears: Questacon Community Celebration, Saturday 25 and Sunday 26 November 9am to 5pm, Celebrate 35 years of science inspiration, Free activities, science shows and roving entertainment, Discounted entry to the Centre, www.questacon.edu.au]

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