Brisbane CBD – Old and New

by | Nov 16, 2014

Although Brisbane is a relatively young city (relative to most of the world’s major cities), the CBD has the a unique appearance of old and new buildings. The churches, for example, which look old, were really only constructed around the turn of the 20th century and completed near the end of that century. Still, the juxtaposition of the old style buildings against the modern glass towers is striking.

Cathedral of St. Stephen

While the outside looks older because of the use of Sandstone, the inside is more modern and is currently in use for regular services.

Next door to the Cathedral is the original St. Stephens, built in 1850. This is the oldest church in Queensland. 

For more pictures of the inside of both of these unique buildings and a little history, go to “Brisbane Open House”

Albert Street Uniting Church, Brisbane CBD

Albert Street Uniting Church is right in the heart of the CBD. You might remember seeing it in the first blog post “Ed Working in Brisbane CBD.” In this post, Ed was standing in King George Square with this church in the background. Poor little church is dwarfed by all these taller buildings looming over it. But it still has presence and catches your eye.




 Stay tuned for some more pictures of Albert Street Uniting Church in the post “Brisbane Open House“. I really enjoyed this Open House event because we got to wander around inside many places that we normally wouldn’t have access to.

St. John’s Anglican Cathedral

St. Johns Anglican Cathedral – Construction of Brisbane’s largest and most striking cathedral began in 1901 and reached completion in 2009.

Inside, handmade tapestry cushions depicting Australian flora and fauna grace every pew.

Some of the other historical buildings that grace the city core are not churches, but they do have an interesting place in Brisbane’s architectural story. Speaking of story – or rather, history – here is a little….

Brisbane was  formed initially as a penal colony for British convicts sent from Sydney. Only hardened criminals, and recidivist prisoners (repeat offenders) were sent to the Moreton Bay Convict Settlement. It acquired a reputation for violence, and death from disease. Further, the overseers of the prisoners were prisoners themselves and chosen for that role based on their brutality and ability to maintain discipline through terrorizing the other prisoners. It won’t surprise you to learn that they had to be housed in separate barracks because they were hated and risked being murdered in their sleep.

Brisbane’s desirable suitability for fishing, farming, timbering, and other occupations caused it to be opened to free settlement in 1838, and to cease being a penal colony. The town became a municipality in 1859 and a consolidated metropolitan area in 1924.

Brisbane City Hall and the Museum of Brisbane

When Ed and I were in Brisbane in May 2013, we visited Brisbane City Hall, which also houses the Museum of Brisbane.  The exhibits at the museum were fascinating, especially the ones that depicted Brisbane’s phenomenal growth from just over 2000 people in 1851 to over 2.2 million in 2014!

In addition to a really great museum and the offices of Brisbane City Council, Brisbane City Hall, built between 1920 and 1930, also has 14 venue rooms for rent including one with a ceiling that has a constantly changing light show.


Take a close look. Ed is waving hello to you!

Treasury Casino, Brisbane CBD

There is a certain humorous irony to the fact that the former Queensland Government Treasury building (built between 1886 and 1928) is now occupied by the Treasury Casino.

Customs House

More on this interesting building in “Brisbane Open House”.

A Few Final Pictures of Interest…

I hope that these pictures have shown you what a fascinating place the Brisbane CBD is. Be sure to also look at the other posts in the Brisbane CBD series for more.

I don’t know the name of the building to the right below, but it has the interesting architecture of intricately scrolled metal railings, popular in many of the early buildings in Australia.

The National Australia Bank (above) is one the major banks of Australia.

Below: Oh dear, a somewhat unfortunate name for a business.

The Regent Theatre is a heritage listed cinema, built from 1928-1929. It sits next to a modern art installation of butterflies. This building can be found on the popular and busy Queen Street.

%d bloggers like this: