Five years, five highlights for the Brisbane Greeters

People say love at first sight doesn’t exist, but long-time Greeter Sue Hammond knows that isn’t true. She first laid eyes upon Brisbane during Expo 88 and the attraction was immediate. Love makes you do wild things and by the end of 1988 Sue and her husband were calling Brisbane home.

A long-serving volunteer at Brisbane’s Visitor Information Centre (“the best in the world”), Sue was one of 12 Brisbane Greeters when the program first launched on Valentine’s Day five years ago. 

There are now more than 200 Greeters across the city and to celebrate turning five, Visit Brisbane sat down with Sue to unearth her top five highlights.

1. Showing off Brisbane’s best-kept secrets

Brisbane Greeters host a visit to Burnett Lane

Sue loves being able to show off bits of Brisbane that visitors and locals would never come across on their own. Her particular favourite is the Mary Mackillop statue in St Stephen’s Chapel, the Christopher Trotter sculptures scattered throughout the city and the public artwork along Burnett Lane. “Even if people just walk up Burnett Lane, they don’t look up,” she tells us. Sue tries to incorporate Brisbane’s public art into as many of her Greets as possible.

2. Being part of something bigger

“When you explain it, (people are) blown away by the idea, and then they’re even more blown away that there are Global Greeters,” Sue says. She believes Brisbane’s Greeter program is the best one in the world – and Sue would know, when travelling she has gone out of her way to take Greets in St Petersburg and Buenos Aires.

3. Sharing the history of Brisbane City Hall

CityHall

Sue says she could do a whole Greet just around City Hall. Before its reopening, she took part in a great deal of training – and it turns out that even the most unlikely bits of information make the world of difference. Sue recalls one Greet where a visitor had taken particular interest in the acoustics of a room because of his job. 

4. Taking event-themed Greets

Brisbane Greeters World Science Festival

“Every month there’s something going on, we always do Greets around Anzac Day, we do Oktoberfest and Quandamooka,” Sue says. Around big events, the Brisbane Greeters often run specially designed greets. Last year, for the first World Science Festival Brisbane, a science-themed Greet tied it all together. One of the highlights for Sue was working public art at the Kangaroo Point Cliffs into this science and Brisbane story. “It was kind of quirky,” she says. 

5. Unforgettable connections with people

While it’s easy to lose count of how many people Sue has met over the past five years, there’s no doubt that a special few have stuck in her mind. The standout for Sue was taking Callum from Western Australia on a Greet. He was here on a Make a Wish experience. “The whole Greet completely changed once I found out, and I focused on him. That was very special,” Sue recalls. 

Brisbane has more than 200 volunteer Greeters who will be participating in a scavenger hunt across the city as part of the Brisbane Greeters’ fifth birthday celebrations on Valentine’s Day. Keep an eye out for the red shirt brigade with their big smiles, warm faces and infectious passion for Brisbane.

You can find out more about the Brisbane Greeters program and book your own Greet here.

Learn more