When we first visited Brisbane in 2013, we spent a week exploring the CBD (Central Business District). Since that time, we have enjoyed many facets of the CBD and over the next blog or two I want to take you on a little tour of the city of Brisbane, as we have experienced it. You might recognize some of the pictures as I have posted them before, but don’t worry, there are lots of new ones too. (But that isn’t the old and new that I am referring to in the title.)
As you will shortly see from the pictures, it is the city architecture that is this delightful mix of old and new – although “old” is quite a relative term as Brisbane is quite a young city – in terms of the world’s major cities – and even the churches that look old were only constructed around the turn of the 20th century and completed near the end of that century. Still, the juxtaposition of these old style buildings against the modern glass towers is striking.
Cathedral of St. Stephen
Albert St Uniting Church
St. John’s Anglican Cathedral
Some of the other interesting buildings that grace the city core are not churches, but they do have an interesting place in Brisbane’s architectural story. Speaking of story – or rather, history – here is a little….
Brisbane was formed initially as a penal colony for British convicts sent from Sydney. Only hardened criminals, and recidivist prisoners were sent to the Moreton Bay Convict Settlement. It acquired a reputation for violence, and death from disease. Further the overseers of the prisoners were prisoners themselves and chosen for that role based on their brutality and ability to maintain discipline through terrorizing the other prisoners. It won’t surprise you to learn that they had to be housed in separate barracks because they were hated and risked being murdered in their sleep.
Brisbane’s desirable suitability for fishing, farming, timbering, and other occupations caused it to be opened to free settlement in 1838, and to cease being a penal colony. The town became a municipality in 1859 and a consolidated metropolitan area in 1924.
When Ed and I were in Brisbane in May 2013 we visited Brisbane City Hall, which also houses the Museum of Brisbane. The exhibits at the museum were fascinating, especially the ones that depicted Brisbane’s phenomenal growth from just over 2000 people in 1851 to over 2.2 million in 2014.
City Hall and Museum of Brisbane
In addition to a really great museum and the offices of Brisbane City Council, Brisbane City Hall, built between 1920 and 1930, also has 14 venue rooms for rent including one with a ceiling that has a constantly changing light show.
There is a certain humorous irony to the fact that the former Queensland Government Treasury building(built between 1886 and 1928) is now occupied by the Treasury Casino.
A few final pictures of interest…