Old Government House/Queensland University, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia


THE QUEENSLAND UNIVERSITY, BRISBANE, Q.
1910s

Street View

The government residential building was constructed to accommodate the first Governor of Queensland, Sir George Bowen, and his family. On 22 May 1860, the first Queensland parliament met. One month later a vote to fund a new government house was successful. The site chosen for the building was a high point of Gardens Point overlooking the Brisbane Botanic Gardens and with expansive vistas of the Brisbane River. There was an issue with the building being built in Brisbane, as the capital of Queensland had not yet been decided.

The two-storey building was designed by colonial architect Charles Tiffin in the Classical revival style in 1860. The front half of the building contained the Governor’s public and private rooms while the rear housed the service section. The front of the house had a plain design without displays of grandeur so as not to affront politicians and country citizens.

The first stage of the building was completed in March 1862 by builder Joshua Jeays. The building is built from locally sourced materials, with sandstone facades, Brisbane tuff (stone) (sometimes referred to incorrectly as ‘Porphyry’) to the service areas, red cedar, hoop pine and cast iron.
Wikipedia (Old Government House, Queensland)

Old Government House was the hub of colonial life in the early days of Brisbane. Constructed between 1860 and 1862, shortly after Queensland achieved separation from New South Wales, the House was Queensland’s first public building. A rare surviving example of the domestic work of Queensland’s first Colonial Architect Charles Tiffin, the House was both a private residence and official state office for Governor Bowen, the colony’s first governor, and continued to be the home of Queensland’s governors until 1910.

More than simply serving as a vice-regal residence, Old Government House played an important symbolic role in the early years of the colony. Its grand design and location high on the promontory at Gardens Point made it an impressive sight for visitors and immigrants arriving by ship: as they circled the point, it came into view as a stately palace against the backdrop of Brisbane’s ramshackle wooden huts scattered throughout the bush. It was a bold exemplar of the colony’s potential prosperity.
Queensland University of Technology: Old Government House

For 48 years the House served as a private family home and official State office for eleven governors. Within the Governor’s Library, many important decisions were made to advance Queensland’s development, and within the house and gardens, countless balls, receptions, dinners and garden parties were held.

In 1909 it was decided that a new, larger Government House would be built. A search began to accommodate the Governor while the new Government House was constructed in Victoria Park.
Government House, Queensland

The University of Queensland was established by an act of state parliament on 10 December 1909 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Queensland’s separation from the colony of New South Wales. The act allowed for the university to be governed by a senate of 20 men and Sir William MacGregor, the incoming governor, was appointed the first chancellor with Reginald Heber Roe as the vice chancellor. Government House (now Old Government House) in George Street was set aside for the university following the departure of the governor to the Bardon residence, Fernberg, sparking the first debates about the best location for the university.

In 1910 the first teaching faculties were created. These included engineering, classics, mathematics and chemistry. In December of the same year, the senate appointed the first four professors; Bertram Dillon Steele in chemistry, John Lundie Michie in classics, Henry James Priestley in mathematics and Alexander James Gibson in engineering. In 1911 the first students enrolled. The university’s first classes in the Government House were held in 1911 with 83 commencing students and Sir William MacGregor is the first chancellor (with Reginald Heber Roe as vice-chancellor). The University of Queensland began to award degrees to its first group of graduating students in 1914.

The development of the university was delayed by World War I, but after the first world war the university enrolments for education and research took flight as demand for higher education increased in Australia. Thus, in the early 1920s the growing university had to look for a more spacious campus as its original site in George Street, Brisbane, had limited room for expansion.
Wikipedia (University of Queensland)

History of the University of Queensland


April 2007 (Photo: me)

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