Wednesday, June 2, 2010

South Brisbane Library

Recycling a building, or perhaps it should be more appropriately be termed changing the purpose of a building, is not new. The building in the photograph below was originally constructed as the South Brisbane Post and Telegraph Office back in 1881; then it became the South Brisbane Municipal Library; and then the (South Brisbane) City Concert Hall, amongst other incarnations. The photograph is from 1898.
(Photo: State Library of Queensland and John Oxley Library; #142454)

The Post and Telegraph Office was originally a one-room post office attached to a three-bedroom accommodation for the postmaster. It was designed by FDG Stanley. In 1889, the Post Office was closed and the building was converted to the South Brisbane Mechanics Institute; then in 1893 the South Brisbane Municipal Council took it over, and following some renovation work it became the Municipal Library in 1897. Then, in 1902, the use of the building again altered - the building was extended to include the City Concert Hall, with the library being housed on the first floor. Later, in 1909, it was decided to convert the library into an art gallery to house the newly acquired Randall collection, and architect Thomas Pye was engaged for this purpose.
(Photo: © 2010 the foto fanatic)

After the Randall collection was transferred to Brisbane City Hall in 1973, the building was neglected, and it fell into disrepair. It wasn't until Expo '88 arrived that it was once again revitalised. It operated as a private club during Expo, and was then converted to offices. My recent photo (above) shows how it looks now.

Click here for a Google Map.


Oldest theatre


  1. "In 1889, the Post Office was closed and the building was converted to the South Brisbane Mechanics Institute".

    Aha... here is another institution in which I have been very Victorian-centred. Mechanics Institutes were a brilliant idea, whether they were purpose built and small, or large and adapted from an existing building, as in this case.

  2. I seem to recall the Queensland Academy of Sport operating out of this building in the nineties as well.

  3. This is my film school! I go to Uni in this building now. One of my lecturers commented to the fact that when this building was built, film was also developed. I always loved that thought! :)

  4. Thank you for that information.I think I went to a dance in the hall.

  5. I worked here as a trainee librarian in 1949 and 1950.

  6. When i worked in the municipal library there in 1949 and 1950 the library was on the ground floor and the Qld Symphony orchestra used the upper floor as a rehearsel venue.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...