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Art Deco


History of Art Deco

Art Deco

Art Deco is the term used to describe the visual style and design elements in architecture, fashion, jewellery, household goods, graphics & art, transport and industrial design in the years between WWI and WWII. The term comes from the 1925 'Exposition Internationale des Arts Decoratifs Industriels et Modernes', held in Paris. The style developed as a celebration of technological advancement, including mass production and was characterised by clean, geometric and elegant lines that replaced the excessive decoration of the Victorian and Edwardian eras. Its origins were in graphic art and poster design just prior to WWI in France and grew to a world-wide movement in the 1920s and 1930s.

The Art Deco style remains popular today, with a resurgence in the appreciation of history, music and style of the period, celebrating its beauty and elegance. The era is synonymous with social change, with the introduction of the right to vote for women in countries around the world. With the liberation of women from their traditional roles, hairstyles and fashions, social mores of the time began to change . With new dance crazes from the Charleston to the Black Bottom, the ‘flapper’ was born, along with the jazz age in music.

Innisfail’s concentration of Art Deco architecture occurred in the wake of the 1918 cyclone which devastated the town, with reportedly only 12 houses left standing. The Innisfail CBD was rebuilt with an eye to future-proofing the town from cyclones. The solid, reinforced concrete buildings were seen as a way of ensuring the town would still be standing after the next big blow, and the architectural style in vogue at the time, was of course, Art Deco.

We celebrate our town’s Art Deco heritage each year in September, with a five-day festival, encouraging locals and visitors and all Art Deco enthusiasts to flock to Innisfail for the festivities. Events range from Art Deco high teas, fashions & music, vintage market, movies set in the Art Deco period, historic cemetery walk, vintage car displays, town walks, trivia night and Great Gatsby themed events.

Five days of Art Deco fashion, fun, history, music and more. Don’t miss it!

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This is what we did in 2023

If you missed the 2023 Innisfail & District Historical Society's

Tropical Art Deco Festival,  take a look below to see what we did. There'll be even more to do in 2024. Save the date!

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