Wednesday, March 31, 2010

South Brisbane Town Hall

Late in the nineteenth century, South Brisbane was a separate borough from (North) Brisbane, and for a time was jockeying for the prime position in commerce, having plenty of both retail and industry. A town hall was constructed in 1891-2 on Vulture St, not far from the Stanley St intersection. Below is a photograph of the town hall from 1948.(Photo: State Library of Queensland and John Oxley Library; #33647)
There is interesting history to this building. Built in 1891-2 at a final price of £11,000 (from the initial contract of £7,000 - the original tenderer went broke) to a design by Mr John S Murdoch from the architecural firm of John Hall & Son. He subsequently became the Chief Architect for the Commonwealth. In 1904, Australia's first electrically-driven clock was installed in the tower. In 1925, the Brisbane City Council was formed and the South Brisbane Municipal Council was no more. The Brisbane City Council assumed ownership of this building, and it became the office for the city engineer. During the war years, the building was occupied firstly by the Australian Army, and then by the American Military Police.
(Photo: © 2010 the foto fanatic)

After the war, the building served as a number of flats until purchased in 1955 by the State government for use by the
Queensland Conservatorium of Music. It was subsequently an adult education office, and was then purchased in 1999 by Somerville House, a leading Brisbane girls' school. It now forms part of the school's campus, which also contains the heritage listed house, Cumbooquepa.

Click here for a Google Map.


Next: The Truth

There will be no posts over the Easter break - look for the next post on 7 April.


  1. Imagine living in there as a flat...who got dibs on the clock tower.

  2. Thanks for telling us about this magnificent building and the history of old South Brisbane.

  3. Handsome building! Despite going up in the early 1890s, one doesn't get the feeling that this building was intended as a town hall. The tower is fantastic and the windows onto the street are special, but the red brick is unusual in late Victorian town halls (I think).

  4. It wasn't built as a town hall but as "municipal offices". There is a fantastic description of the building in the Brisbane Courier of 6 June 1892, p.7. (See it online at the NLA's wonderful Australian newspapers site.)


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