City Center, Brisbane
The city center, in a sharp bend on the Brisbane River, is laid out on a rectangular plan which makes it easy for visitors to find their way about. Streets running southeast/northwest are named after British kings and princes (William, George, Albert, Edward), the cross streets after queens and princesses (Ann, Adelaide, Elizabeth, Charlotte, Mary, Margaret, Alice). While in the 19th C most of the private houses in central Brisbane were built on stilts to adapt to the subtropical climate (though this is often concealed by later façades), the public buildings of the period were designed to impress, reflecting the increasing self-confidence of their Victorian builders.The surviving 19th C buildings are in sharp contrast to the high-rise buildings of reinforced concrete and reflective glass which tower heavenwards in the center of Brisbane as in the other Australian capitals.The distances in central Brisbane are not great, and it is perfectly possible to see the principal sights on foot. A convenient starting point for a sightseeing tour is Central Station (built 1900; suburban services) in Ann Street, opposite Anzac Square.
Anzac Square War Memorial
Anzac Square is located in the center of Brisbane and houses the Shrine of Remembrance.
The Old Windmill (or Old Observatory) is the oldest building in the city. It was originally used for grinding grain, but when there was no wind the mechanism was converted into a treadmill for prisoners (16 to 25 at a time), becoming known as the 'tower of torture'. From the middle of the 19th C it was used as a signal and weather station.
King George Square
King George Square is the center of municipal administration.
City Hall (1920-30) is a building in neoclassical style with a tall tower in Florentine style and a colonnaded façade and portico.Although the modern high-rise blocks are higher than the tower, it still offers an impressive view of the city from the platform at the top (lift; not open on Sundays). Within the City Hall is the City Gallery, with a collection which includes historical documents, photographs, ceramics and furniture as well as pictures, mainly 19th C works (outback scenes by Richard J Randall).
Address: Box 1434, Brisbane, QLD 4001, Australia
Opening hours: 8am-5pm; Sun: 10am-4pm; Sat: 10am-4pm
Entrance fee: FREE
In front of the City Hall is the Petrie Tableau, a piece of metal sculpture by Stephen Walker set up here on the 200th anniversary of white settlement in Australia. It depicts Petrie, one of the earliest free settlers, setting out to explore the interior.
Queensland Police Museum
The Queensland Police Museum features a variety of exhibits some which date back to 1864. Displays cover a variety of subjects including police equipment, techniques, and operational units such as mounted police.
Queen Street Mall
Queen Street Mall is a pedestrian zone with boutiques, department stores, shopping arcades, pavement cafés and cinemas.
Address: George Street, Box 12260, Brisbane, QLD 4003, Australia
Queen Street Mall runs southwest to the Treasury Building (1885-1928), which occupies an entire block between George, William, Queen and Elizabeth Streets. In the convict settlement this was the site of the military barracks. Built in the style of an Italian palazzo, the Treasury Building with its colonnaded front is well adapted to the subtropical climate of Brisbane.
Construction of the Customs House began in 1886. The building was completed and opened in 1889, which makes the Customs House older than City Hall. In 1988 the Customs House was closed after almost 100 years of service. In 1991 the University of Queensland bought the building and restored it. The Customs House building is now used for a number of educational and cultural events.
Queensland Cultural Centre includes the Queensland Art Gallery, the Queensland Museum, and the State Library.
Queensland Maritime Museum
The Queensland Maritime Museum (Stanley Street) features a dry dock from 1871 and the Second World War frigate Diamantina and ship models.Exhibits trace maritime history from the days of the early navigators to the present day. There are model ships from ancient Egyptians, through Mediaeval times as well as photographs and paintings.
Address: Stanley and Sidon Streets, South Brisbane, QLD 4101, Australia
Opening hours: 9:30am-4:30pm
Always closed on: Christmas - Christian (Dec 25), Day after Christmas, St Stephen's Day, Boxing Day (Dec 26), Christmas Eve - Christian (Dec 24), Good Friday - Christian
Entrance fee in AUD: Family $16.00, Adult $7.00, Students $6.00, Senior $6.00, Child $3.50
Useful tips: Reduced opening hours occur on Anzac Day.
In the center of the Queens Garden is a statue of Queen Victoria.
The Sciencenter is a hands-on museum of science and technology.There are 100 interactive exhibits divided into three galleries: Body Zone, Earth Space and Action Stations.
Old Commissariat Store
The Old Commissariat Store was built by convict labor in 1828. The upper floor was then used as a grain store. The top story was added in 1913, even though the tablet giving the date 1828 is on this floor. After the end of the convict period the building was used as a hostel for immigrants and for the storage of records. It is now a museum and the headquarters of the Royal Historical Society of Queensland (Queen's Wharf Road).
George Street features a variety of attractions.
Parliament House is an imposing sandstone building in French Renaissance style designed by Charles Tiffin, winner of a national architectural competition, and built in stages between 1865 and 1891. There are conducted tours of the building, and when Parliament is sitting visitors are admitted to the public gallery.
Address: Chief Attendant, Corner George & Alice Streets, Brisbane, QLD 4000, Australia
Opening hours: 9:30am-4:30pm; Sun: 10am-2pm; Sat: 10am-2pm
Useful tips: Listed times are for non-sitting days. Tour times may vary while Parliament is sitting.
Guides: Guided tour included with admission.
Typical Visit: 30 minutes
Old Government House
The Old Government House was built in 1860-2 for the first governor of the new colony. This handsome building with its gracefully rounded portico and arcading remained in government hands until 1910, when it became the home of the University of Queensland. It is now part of the Queensland Institute of Technology, and also houses the headquarters of the National Trust, the body responsible for the protection of ancient monuments (bookshop, information center).
City Botanic Gardens
The City Botanic Gardens are on a site occupied by a farm in the days of the convict colony. It is beautifully laid out with displays of exotic flowers, huge bunya pines and palms.
George Street Mansions
The George Street Mansions (1890) are six well restored terraced houses with handsome façades in dark-colored brick and arcading in light-colored sandstone, now occupied by shops.
Eagle Street has a number of modern high-rise buildings in concrete and glass.
General Post Office
Ann Street in Brisbane features a variety of attractions. It runs parallel to Adelaide Street and is a major thoroughfare, that runs straight through the city.
St John's Cathedral (Deanery)
St John's Cathedral (Anglican) and the Deanery are on Ann Street. The Deanery, built in 1853, was reckoned the handsomest house in the town, and from 1859 to 1862 was the seat of the governor of Queensland pending the completion of his official residence. Since 1910 it has been the deanery of St John's Cathedral (begun in 1901 but still not completely finished).
Masonic Memorial Centre
The Masonic Memorial Centre in Brisbane is a memorial to fallen heroes of war. The Urn of Remembrance on the main floor of the building symbolizes the memorial. The building also serves as the headquarters for the United Grand Lodge of Queensland.
The Naval Stores are now a museum which allows visitors to learn about Brisbane's navy. Originally, the Naval Stores were used to store munitions. The stores were built in the 1880s and were used until 1986 when they were bought by Brisbane City Council.
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