2 George Street, Brisbane QUT Gardens Point Campus
SUNDAY ONLY // 10am to 4pm Guided tours
Original architect: Charles Tiffin // Restoration architect: Conrad Gargett and Allom Lovell
Old Government House was the residence of the Governors of Queensland from 1862 until 1910. It was designed to accommodate the administration of the colony, to host large society functions, and to allow for everyday domestic life.
As the residence of the Governor, the House has strong associations with many prominent Queenslanders. The Governors’ wives were prominent and popular hosts of many charitable balls held within the House to raise money for hospitals and other causes.
The building is a fine example of Classical Revival architecture modified for a tropical environment, and contains many rare finishes and fittings. With its iron and sandstone Ionic columns, triangular gables, and graceful semi-circular pavilions, it was the epitome of civilisation and democracy at the time.
This House is unique as the only purpose-built Government House in Queensland, and as a rare surviving example of the domestic work of the Colonial Architect, Charles Tiffin. It displays the characteristics of a well-appointed 19th-century house, particularly in its demarcation between public zones, private rooms and service spaces, as well as the division of the genders into female and male sides of the House. The splendid reception rooms are a dramatic contrast to the rear service wing. This wing is clearly separate and the rooms were simple and practical, and designed to facilitate the running of the House. It is interesting to compare the wide, gleaming staircase of the main hall with the narrow, winding steps of the female servants’ staircase with its treads worn down by many rushing feet.
Originally located in the middle of a private domain of 30 acres and surrounded on three sides by the Brisbane River, today this two-storey sandstone house is at the centre of QUT’s Gardens Point Campus. Some of the garden setting survives and provides a glimpse of the tall trees, lawns, and flower beds that once surrounded the House and demonstrates the picturesque qualities of a grand garden villa.
Sunday Tour Times
Guided tours on the hour from 10am
Tour tip and other info
Free Amadeus Orchestra performance at 11am. Refreshments available for purchase.