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115 William Street, Brisbane City
SATURDAY AND SUNDAY // 10am to 4pm Self-guided tours and general access
William John Dumaresq: Original building // Cleary & Kennedy: 2000 Refurbishment
1829: Original building // 1913: Top floor added // 1981, 1999-2001: Refurbishments
Image credit: Matt Palmer
The heritage-listed former Commissariat Store is Brisbane’s oldest occupied building and is one of only two buildings surviving in Brisbane from the convict period. It is of national importance as one of four Commissariat buildings surviving in Australia, and provides evidence for the building methods, skills and materials available at the time it was constructed.
The Commissariat Store was built as a two-storeyed provisions store by convicts using local stone in 1828–29. Penal colonies were run on a military system and the Commissariat was used for the procurement, supply and distribution of essential goods.
A third storey of rendered brick was added in 1913 to accommodate its continuing use as a government store. The importance of this building was emphasised by the addition of the Royal Cipher and date set in the front wall, which was retained when the third storey was added.
The Commissariat Store was built of Brisbane tuff from the quarry at Kangaroo Point, with sandstone from Oxley Creek used for footings, base course, quoins, sills and lintels. The heavy excavation work was carried out by convict gangs, but the masonry and other construction work was undertaken by labourers from Sydney.
The penal colony was closed in 1839 and Moreton Bay was declared open for free settlement in 1842. While many other government buildings were sold, or demolished, and the Commissariat Store was retained for continued government use as a store. Over the years, further extensions and modifications were made to the building to accommodate its many other uses including a land sales office for free settlers, an immigration depot, and a police barracks.
Since 1981 the Commissariat Store has been the headquarters for the Royal Historical Society of Queensland.
Image credit (below building close up and internal): Liesel Amiet
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