Friday, April 3, 2009

Brisbane City Hall

When it was built, Brisbane's City Hall, with its distinctive clock tower, was the tallest building in the city, and it remained so for another 30 years. The clock could be seen and heard all over town. When I started work in the city in the latter half of the sixties, City Hall was just being pipped for height by a couple of office blocks. One of them was the MLC building on the corner of Edward and Adelaide Sts, which later added to its height by installing a weather beacon on the top. By a system of changing lights which could viewed over much of Brisbane, you could tell whether it would be rainy or fine weather. These days you can do that with an iPhone! The foundation stone for City Hall was laid by the Prince of Wales in 1920, and the building was finally opened in 1930, when this photograph was taken from across Ann St.

(Photo: State Library of Queensland and John Oxley Library; #31184)

We learn now that City Hall is suffering from "serious structural, electrical, mechanical, hydraulic and safety issues and may have to close permanently", according to the City Council's web site. Estimates for the repair of the building vary between $100 million and $200 million, but fortunately the consensus seems to be that City Hall must be saved. Actually, that part of town is looking quite bedraggled already - King George Square is being redeveloped because of the construction of the Northern Busway, and the closure of City Hall for major repairs will increase the look of abandonment. Here is a picture taken of City Hall before King George Square was cleared for its makeover.
(Photo: © 2009 the foto fanatic)

It would be a shame to lose this icon of the city,and I think that the funds for the building's restoration just have to be found somehow. I can't imagine Brisbane without a City Hall, and if not this one, then where? Tearing it down and rebuilding would be anathema to most Brisbanites.

Click here for a Google Map.


Next: What's in a name?


  1. Great photo ff, and I agree, cit hall needs to be restored to its former glory, a beautiful building and some lovely interior rooms.

  2. You almost need an update photo... Look at King George Square now! horrible, horrible concrete!

  3. Hi Loretta

    I agree about the concrete.There is a post on it:


  4. As ex-pat Brisbanite (Bardon mostly) I would appreciate knowing if City Hall is safe - I spent a lot of time in the Art Gallery & Museum. Its hard to keep up from Lancashire, UK

    1. Good news!
      After a three year, $215 million refurb, City Hall is now not only safe, but there have been improvements to community space and accessibility as well as upgrades to current building standards.
      As a result, City Hall will be with us for a long while yet.

    2. Excellent news, many thanks for letting me know


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