The MacArthur Museum Brisbane is in the heritage listed MacArthur Chambers Apartments Hotel building constructed between 1931 and 1934 as the Queensland headquarters of the Australian Mutual Provident (AMP) Society.
The emblematic statuary above the main entrance was carved by Fred Gowan of Sydney from Sicilian marble. The tableau illustrates the Society’s motto Amicus ‘certus in re incerta’ which translates to: a certain friend in an uncertain event. Until 1980, when the logo was changed, an Amicus tableau was erected on almost every AMP building, and was usually removed when the Society no longer occupied the premises. When the Society moved to new premises in 1978, however, the Amicus tableau remained on the Queen Street building.
The building was used as the headquarters of the Allied Forces in the South-West Pacific during WWII. Tenants were compulsorily evacuated under military orders from 21 July 1942 until 14 June 1945. The AMP Society reserved the basement and part of the ground floor, while the Commander-in-Chief of Allied Forces in South-West Pacific Area, General Douglas MacArthur, occupied the Board Room and his staff occupied the remainder of the building.
After the war, the building reverted to its former use as the AMP’s Queensland headquarters until 1978 when the Society moved to Eagle Street. In 1979 the ground and mezzanine floors were refurbished and leased as retail premises and offices. The building was reopened and named MacArthur Chambers in honour of General MacArthur.
The MacArthur Museum on Level 8 holds a letter of acknowledgement from General MacArthur’s wife about the renaming of the building in his honour. The MacArthur Museum opened its doors to the public on 5 October 2004. It is a cultural heritage project which documents the wartime heritage of Brisbane from 1942–45.
Frequency of Guided Tours: not applicable - self guided only
Photography restrictions, There are photo restrictions on one oil painting (which is signed) and no flash on two other oil paintings
Is Heritage listed
Recent Architectural or Engineering Awards: Nil
Environment Accreditation: Nil