Wednesday, December 9, 2009

King George Square

The original square on this site was called Albert Square, but after the death of King George V, the square was widened and renamed in his honour. Subsequently, a statue of the king was erected in the square facing City Hall - see the picture below from 1960.

(Photo: State Library of Queensland and John Oxley Library; #6668-0001-0006)

Albert St used to pass between City Hall and the statue until 1969, when the Square was redeveloped and Albert St was closed off at Adelaide St. The statue of the King was shifted closer to City Hall, and it was turned around as a result of the Queen, when she saw the statue on a visit here, asking "Why is Grandpapa retreating?" The following photograph, from 1972, shows the repositioned statue, with King George V now majestically leading his subjects into battle.

(Photo: Courtesy Brisbane City Council; #BCC-B54-38749)

Later, some additional statues were added. Bronze statues that had been part of Expo were added in and around the rectangular fountain that was a feature of the Square (see below) and Speakers' Corner was established with bronze portrayals of Steele Rudd, Emma Miller and Sir Charles Lilley (bottom photograph).(Photo: Courtesy Brisbane City Council; # BCC-T120-1054)

(Photo: © 2009 the foto fanatic)

As a result of the construction of the Northern Busway, King George Square has had to be redeveloped again. Gone is the grass and gone are the water features. Instead we have lots of bland granite paving and a few token trees.(Photo: © 2010 the foto fanatic)

Summer days will be as hot as Hades here - a temperature of 50 degrees Celcius was recently recorded by a television reporter trying to determine how citizen-friendly the Square will be. Perhaps that is a deliberate design flaw to discourage people from gathering here for demonstrations, as happened frequently in the sixties and seventies - or am I just a conspiracist? ;-) Check this article in Brisbane Times for a recent photo and more news on the heat. Edit 19/01/2010: Brisbane has just experienced a scorcher, and the temp in King George Square was measured at 56.3 Celcius!

Click here for a Google Map.


Next: The Queen Mum


  1. i like the top photo becuase (1) i've never seen it before (2) interesting to see what used to occupy where the SGIO/Suncorp building is now (3) the taxis - they look like FB and FC and EK Holdens!!!!!!!

    i haven't been to brisbane since the re-development, so i should really reserve judgement until i see it for myself - but i confess to shaking my head - i loved the grass.

  2. The redevelopment is AWFUL! The paving reflects the sun and it's so glary and hot crossing the square (which I have to do to get to my office building)! Bring back the grass please!!

  3. Hi Foto F., just letting you know that I put a link to this post of yours in my blog post today.

  4. Hi, Can anyone tell me if there were goldfish in the ponds in King George Square in the 1950s. I know they had them in Anzac Square, but can't remember if they were in the fountain ponds in King George Square!!!

  5. I don't remember goldfish being in the fountain of King George Square.


  6. I remember there being a chocolate fountain with purple fish in it

  7. I think a few people experienced that in the sixties!


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