Friday, July 24, 2009


One of Queensland's business success stories is the insurance and banking giant, Suncorp. Way back in 1916, the Queensland government formed the State Accident Insurance Office, which very shortly thereafter became the State Government Insurance Office (SGIO). Originally a general insurer, SGIO expanded to offer life insurance products and superannuation, then also added finance and banking operations. The State government built its first high-rise office tower on the corner of George and Elizabeth Streets to accommodate the insurance company, which moved in there around 1922. This is that building (below), photographed in 1922.

(Photo: State Library of Queensland and John Oxley Library; #177045)

The building is still standing opposite Queen's Park, and is still used by the State government, and this is how it looks today, now dwarfed by larger buildings in Brisbane's CBD.
(Photo: © 2009 the foto fanatic)

SGIO continued to grow both organically and by acquisition, and had to move to bigger premises. Their new head office was built in 1971, on the corner of Turbot and Albert Streets, just next door to the Albert St Uniting Church.
(Photo: © 2009 the foto fanatic)

In 1996, SGIO (by then known as Suncorp) merged with Queensland-based Metway Bank (which itself had grown from a building society to a publicly listed bank) and the State government's investment operation QIDC to create the allfinanz monolith Suncorp Metway. Although the State government was a major stakeholder in this operation originally, it subsequently sold down its interests, and now Suncorp is Australia's largest general insurance operation, as well as the fifth-largest bank in the country. One building is apparently now no longer enough, and the old Metway Bank head office building in Ann St also sports the Suncorp logo (below).
(Photo: © 2009 the foto fanatic)

However, Suncorp staff are evidently housed somewhere else - in a new building in Brisbane Square, I believe. Mightn't be too long before we see a Suncorp symbol down there too.


Motorists' friend

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