Brisbane City Hall
The Brisbane City Hall was erected between 1920 and 1930 and is heritage listed. It was designed by architects Hall & Prentice and the sandstone-faced building features a finely detailed main entrance topped by a 92 metre clock tower.
The Hall is open Monday to Friday from 8:00-5:00 and Weekends 10:00-5:00, admission is free. The clock tower is open to the public seven days a week from 10:00-3:00.
This site was once a swamp through which Wheat Creek ran. What tipped the balance in favour of t his spot being used was that most of the land was owned by the Council already.
A town hall had been built in Queen Street in 1864, but it was soon considerate inadequate, particularly when compared with the grandeur of the other buildings being constructed in the boom of the 1880s. In 1917, a foundation stone was laid despite the fact that designs had not been considered. The laying of the stone roused some enthusiasm for the project and in 1920 a second foundation stone was laid. With plans approved, construction began.
The swampy conditions made the site so hazardous that a workman drowned whilst inspecting the foundations. In late 1927, council officers were working in parts of the new building. In 1928 the first council meeting was held there. It was finally completed in 1930.
The construction of a civic square in front of the hall was first proposed in the 1930s, but King George Square did not open until 1975 to mark the Jubilee of the creation of the Greater Brisbane Council. It was originally named Albert Square, but on the death of King George V in 1935 it was renamed for his honour.
A statue of the King was erected although this flouted custom by facing toward the hall instead of out over the square. When Queen Elizabeth visited in 1954 she is said to have remarked, “I see you have grandfather facing the wrong way.” In 1960 when the square was refurbished it was turned the right way.
The square was under construction while I was there for the car park being put in below the hall and train tracks for a direct route to the hall.
A little known fact is that one of the doors from Sir Thomas Brisbane’s family home in Largs, Scotland is on display. You can see it on display in the foyer of the Balmoral and Windsor rooms of the first floor. [more]
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