Brisbane's second purpose-built jail was constructed by contractors Andrew and John Petrie in 1860, on a site known then as Green Hills, and known today as Petrie Terrace. The jail was designed by Charles Tiffin, then New South Wales Clerk of Works, and cost £25,000 to build. It consisted of two two-storey cell blocks, as well as guard houses, storerooms, laundry and kitchen facilities, lavatories and washrooms.
(Drawing: © S Woolcock; 1988)
In 1883, a new jail was built at Boggo Rd and prisoners were transferred there, so the buildings were converted to use as a police barracks. Around 1885, the military barracks next door was renamed Victoria Barracks, and the whole Petrie Terrace complex was split between the defence force and the police force. Over ensuing decades, the shortcomings of the building for the purposes of accommodating and training police became apparent, and at the end of the 1930s it was decided to construct a new purpose-built police barracks and training facility. Architect RC Nowland of the Public Works department designed a three-storey brick and cement complex that would provide accommodation, offices, training facilities and recreational areas for police. The building was opened on 29 September 1939, and here is a photograph of it from 1951.
(Photo: State Library of Queensland and John Oxley Library; #10191-0001-0004)
Nowland's red brick building was perched on the ridge above Roma St, and its distinctive appearance and size made it easily recognised over much of Brisbane. During WWII, the barracks were also used by various Australian and US military personnel. After the war, police continued to be housed and trained here until the opening of the new police headquarters at North Quay in the early 60s and the creation of the Oxley Police Academy in 1973. In the late 80s, the buildings in the complex were sold, and the former stables became a nightclub (the famous Underground!), while the former wireless transmission building became a restaurant. The rest of the site fell into disrepair for many years.
(Photo: © 2010 the foto fanatic)
In 2008, the complex was redeveloped as The Barracks, a shopping and restaurant precinct, and a current picture of the main building can be seen above.
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Next: Vic Barracks