Bush to Bay plans for iconic Spiegeltent

Spiegeltent at Wynnum Festival. | Newsreel
The imported Spiegeltent used at Wynnum Fringe Festival last year. Moves are under way for a locally-owned replacement. | Photo: Supplied by Wynnum Fringe Festival

A $500,000 crowdfunding campaign is under way to give a rundown entertainment venue a new lease on life and send it on an 800km journey from western Queensland to Brisbane’s bayside.

The organisers of Wynnum Fringe, a bayside arts festival, aim to relocate and restore a run-down Spiegeltent from the regional town of Augathella, nine hours west of Brisbane, and provide a new semi-permanent performance venue for the Brisbane region and beyond.

Wynnum Fringe Festival founder Tom Oliver said the crowdfunding campaign was a response to the national live entertainment crisis, which had seen several major festival cancellations and high-profile venue closures over the past 12 months.

“This project will provide a much-needed platform to nurture emerging talent, bring communities together, increase capacity-building across the sector and create year-round jobs for creative workers,” Mr Oliver said.

“It not only revitalises a forgotten gem in Queensland’s cultural history, but gives the Brisbane region a new live performance venue of similar capacity to the recently shuttered The Zoo.”

Mr Oliver said they had raised $89,000 in two weeks and were on track to achieve the first milestone of $100,000, which was the amount needed to pack up the venue and bring it to Wynnum, east of Brisbane.

He said the Augathella Spiegeltent, which was designed by world famous fourth-generation Belgian tent-building family The Klessens, was originally commissioned in 2008 by the Queensland Government as part of Queensland’s 150th anniversary celebrations. It toured across the state before settling in Augathella.

“The venue was a community function and entertainment centre until it fell into disrepair many years ago and now deemed not useable by The Murweh Shire Council.”

Mr Oliver said with its uniquely Queensland design, blending traditional 19th century Belgian construction techniques with a quintessential Australian shearing shed aesthetic, the Augathella Spiegeltent was regarded as Australia’s first Spiegeltent of its kind.

Learn more about the Spiegeltent and how to donate.

The Augathella Spiegeltent. | Newsreel
The Augathella Spiegeltent will be restored and moved to Wynnum, on Brisbane's bayside.