125th anniversary of South Brisbane Town Hall – History in Pictures

On July 1, 1892, the South Brisbane Municipal Chambers (also known as the South Brisbane Town Hall) were officially opened with a special banquet attended by the Queensland Premier, Sir Samuel Griffith. Construction on the municipal chambers started in 1891 and the building was occupied by the South Brisbane Municipal Council until they were disbanded in 1925.

South Brisbane Town Hall ca.1892. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 35531

South Brisbane Town Hall ca.1892. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 35531

The Brisbane Courier reported on the events of the opening –
“There was a large attendance, most of the guests being received on entering by the mayor and other officials of the council. The building itself looked its best. Outside it was lit up by innumerable Chinese lanterns, and inside all the offices were illuminated, so that they could be inspected by the guests. The unanimously expressed feeling was that the council are in possession of very handsome buildings. The council hall was used as a dining-room, and it presented a brilliant appearance.”

In 1904, the tower clock was installed and was reportedly the first electrically-driven clock system in Australia.

The former South Brisbane Municipal Chambers was heritage-listed in 1992. Further information on the history and significance of the building can be found on the Queensland Heritage Register.

South Brisbane Town Hall. Undated. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 19890

South Brisbane Town Hall. Undated. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 19890

In recognition of the 125th anniversary, here are a selection of historical images of the South Brisbane Municipal Chambers from our photographic collection.

View from tower of South Brisbane Town Hall ca. 1892. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 91676

View from tower of South Brisbane Town Hall ca. 1892. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 91676

From Souvenir of Queensland : presented to Imperial troops, 17th January 1901. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland

From Souvenir of Queensland : presented to Imperial troops, 17th January 1901. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland

Danish ball at the South Brisbane Town Hall, ca.1900. Neg 116568

Danish ball at the South Brisbane Town Hall, ca.1900. Neg 116568

Intersection of Vulture and Stanley Streets South Brisbane ca. 1907. South Brisbane Municipal Chambers in the background. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 11381

Intersection of Vulture and Stanley Streets South Brisbane ca. 1907. South Brisbane Municipal Chambers in the background. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 11381

South Brisbane Town Hall ca. 1908. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 123305

South Brisbane Town Hall ca. 1908. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 123305

South Brisbane Town Hall decorated for the visit of the Prince of Wales in July 1920. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 66477

South Brisbane Town Hall decorated for the visit of the Prince of Wales in July 1920. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 66477

View across the Brisbane River to South Brisbane 1927. Clock Tower is visible. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 127777

View across the Brisbane River to South Brisbane 1927. Clock Tower is visible. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 127777

View of men sitting on the lawn and South Brisbane Town Hall 1935. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 202840

View of men sitting on the lawn and South Brisbane Town Hall 1935. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 202840

South Brisbane Town Hall on Vulture Street South Brisbane 1948. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 33647

South Brisbane Town Hall on Vulture Street South Brisbane 1948. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 33647

Further information –

  • 29436 John Hall and Son Architectural Drawing 1890 – architectural drawing done for a competition for the proposed new municipal chambers for South Brisbane. The architects Messrs John Hall And Son of Queen Street, Brisbane won the competition though the design was attributed to John Smith Murdoch who worked for the firm. The drawing shows; plan of ground floor; plan of upper floor; plan of attic room; plan of roof. The scale is: 8ft – 1in.