A Hall for All published by UQP 2023

Peter is excited to announce the imminent release of ‘A Hall for All: Celebrating The University of Queensland’s Mayne Hall’. This is his sixth book based on his ongoing research into Queensland’s cultural history.

UQP (University of Queensland Press) has published this ‘lively and timely history’ during the fiftieth anniversary year of the opening of Robin Gibson’s iconic building. That gala vice-regal event took place in March 1973.

For the next 30 years, Mayne Hall was a major performance auditorium for both UQ and the Brisbane community. Occasionally, it provided a forum for debate and protest. For many UQ students it was also where they sat exams and received their degrees.

Numerous images, many of which are previously unpublished, illustrate the 224-page full-colour book. In addition to a thoroughly researched historical account, the narrative cites many firsthand recollections of those who knew Mayne Hall.

Professor Deborah Terry AO, Vice-Chancellor and President of The University of Queensland has written the Foreword. It encapsulates several of the major themes which arose from this extensive research project about a much-loved venue.

The book’s title also cites a former Vice-Chancellor. In 1960, Sir Fred Schonell spoke about the wider community benefits this building would facilitate. This was on the occasion of the launch of a public fundraising campaign for UQ’s ‘Great Hall’.

The Brisbane City Council, through the Lord Mayor’s Helen Taylor Research Award for Local History, has provided significant financial support. Much of Peter’s research was based in the Fryer Library, where he was appointed Honorary Fellow in 2022.

Copies of ‘A Hall for All’ can be pre-ordered directly from UQP – simply click here.


Special announcement: Peter’s next book will be published by University of Queensland Press. This means his research on Mayne Hall will culminate within the building’s 50th anniversary year.

The book’s release date is likely to be during October 2023 – further details will be provided when available.

The exact anniversary of the official opening of  Mayne Hall was 31 March 2023. A special event, hosted by Professor Deborah Terry AO, Vice-Chancellor and President of The University of Queensland, recognised this significant milestone.

An online article also appeared during March 2023, in UQ News – click here to read the article. This features several photographs as well as comments by Peter and several other people associated with the building at various times. It also includes a link to a short film from 1960 which launched the public fundraising appeal for a ‘Great Hall’ at The University of Queensland. Even before construction commenced, its name was confirmed as Mayne Hall.

Peter was also featured in an interview on ABC Radio 612 – click here to listen to the interview or read the transcript.

Mayne Hall was a public and university venue for concerts, graduations, conferences, lectures and other events. Peter’s research has confirmed that Mayne Hall resonates strongly with many people. The forthcoming book will include a cross-section of these personal reminiscences. It also provides many fascinating details of the story of the building and its many users. In addition, some of the book’s numerous photographic illustrations have not been previously published.

To register interest in obtaining a copy of the book, please click here to contact Peter directly.

This research and its publication has been proudly supported by Brisbane City Council through its Lord Mayor’s Helen Research Award for Local History Grants Program. Further assistance has been provided by The University of Queensland, where Peter is an Honorary Fellow at the Fryer Library.