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Old Government House Brisbane

September 25, 2010

I’ve visited some great old historical buildings and am going to post some information and photos about them.

Hope you enjoy them as much as I enjoyed dabbling in their history.

Old Government House in Brisbane, one of Queensland‘s (the north eastern state of Australia) most significant heritage buildings.

Completed in 1862, it was the home of Queensland’s governors until 1910. The first Governor, Sir George Bowen, took up residence in May 1862 and was delighted with his new home, calling it “handsome”, “commodious” and “beautifully situated”. Governor Bowen was the first of eleven governors to live in the House over its 48 years of service as a vice-regal residence. Four children were born, two governors died, and countless key moments in Queensland’s history took place within its walls.

Public opinion was positive. The press declared the finsihed building a “structure highly creditable to the colony” and reported it “well adapted in point of coolness and ventilation to the climate of this colony; the rooms being large, lofty and airy, and furnished in a plain but exceedingly tasteful manner.”

The building’s orientation was criticized because it faced the river rather than the adjacent Botanic Gardens, which gave an ugly view of the Kangaroo Point stone quarry-  ‘a dull, flat and unprofitable face of rock’. However, it was an impressive sight for visitors arriving by ship because as they circled the point, the grand house sitting high on the promontory symbolized Queensland’s potential prosperity. Against the backdrop of early Brisbane – a frontier town of dirt tracks and huts scattered throughout the bush, where straying pigs were a major public nuisance – Government House stood tall as a vice-regal palace.

The House successively became the University of Queensland’s inaugural building, then the lecture rooms of Queensland University of Technology and the office of the National Trust of Queensland. It was the first building in Queensland to be heritage listed in 1978


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