City Hall, Brisbane

City Hall Brisbane

 64 Adelaide St, Brisbane City QLD 4000, Australia +61 7 3403 8888 Website 8am – 5pm Brisbane Campervan Hire

morkscream (contributor)

The mid-19th century building with Victorian architecture and an impressive clock tower, is the only CITY HALL in Australia, the rest are TOWN HALLS.

If you have a look above the Portico and Entrance to City Hall, you will see a beautifully sculptured pediment, known as the tympanum. It was carved by noted Brisbane sculptor, Daphne Mayo in the early 1930’s after City Hall was opened. It is considered quite an important Brisbane sculpture.
It depicts “Settlement of Queensland.”

Viewing the sculpture, I could see Cattle, Horses, Men & Women and a Kangaroo. In the centre was a female figure, said to depict “progress,” and on the sides were white settlers with their cattle and Explorers with their horses. All of these figures were moving out from under the protecting arms of the woman going to claim the land from the indigenous people and native animals. They are represented by two Aboriginal males crouching in the left hand corner, and a fleeing kangaroo. A young European male and female, a sheep and a row of books and an artist’s palette, represent the new European nation, agriculture and civilisation

It is an adaptation of the pedimental groupings of ancient Greek temples.

City Hall is open to the public 7 days a week.
Monday to Friday 8am to 5pm
Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays 9am to 5pm

City Hall has FREE TOURS

Available inside City Hall 7 days a week at –
10.30am, 11.30am, 1.30pm, 2.30pm and 3.30pm.

City Hall clock tower tours are 7 days a week
10am to 5pm


cupslucy (contributor)

The Museum is a purpose built gallery on the third floor of the Brisbane City Hall. It has a number of exhibits that will change over time. At present there is a fantastic photo history of Brisbane display based on the discovery of the river. There is also a display remembering Expo 88 for the 25th anniversary, and an exhibition on ‘Fellow Humans’ by Steven Hart.

Museum of Brisbane is open seven days a week from 10am to 5pm except for the following.

Closed on Good Friday, Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Years Day.
Open from 1pm to 5pm on Anzac Day.

To get to the museum, enter City Hall via the King George Square foyer and take the lifts outside of Shingle Inn to Level 3.


stickyvisual (contributor)

When it was built the clock was the largest and most modern time piece in Australia. The face is made from white opal and is almost 5 metres across. The minute hand is 3 metres long. The clock rings a Westminster Chime and the largest bell that marks the hour is 4.3 tonne.

The tower is 92 meters high with a viewing platform at 76 metres. Originally not open to the public the lift operators started taking visitors up the tower for the price of sixpence for an adult and thripence for children.

Although the view from the tower has changed dramatically over the years (the Brisbane City Hall was the tallest building in the city for almost 40 years) it is a time honoured tradition to take a ride up the tower. The old cage manually operated lift has been restored and departs from the third level of the building every 15 minutes from 10am. The lift takes you to the viewing platform where you can walk around for a few minutes to take in the view and on the way back down stops level with the clock faces. Unfortunately, for safety reasons, you are not allowed out so have to peer through the mesh of the lift walls.

The ride is now free but tickets must be obtained from the desk outside the Museum of Brisbane on the third floor. It pays to book early as the trip is still very popular and the lift can only hold a small number of people.


fletchwin_chester (contributor)

This magnificent auditorium deserves a tip of its own.

With a diameter of 31 metres the copper roofed dome is the largest in Australia. The outer copper roof was replaced in its own restoration prior to the main work which started in 2009. The dome is supported by a strong brick base which means there are no internal pillars to block the audience view. The ceiling of the dome had become badly damaged and was unable to be restored. It has been replaced with an acoustic ceiling which also holds electronic gadgetry and lighting. The dome can hold its own light show.

The main feature of the auditorium is the magnificent five-manual Father Henry Willis Organ. It is one of the best preserved examples of this type of organ anywhere in the world. The instrument was built in London in 1892 for a different Brisbane organisation but was bought by the city council after the original owners went bankrupt in 1987. In 1928 the organ was enlarged and refitted for its new home and had its inaugral performance with the opening of Bridbane City Hall in April 1930.

The organ was removed for restoration in 2010 and all 4,300 pipes were cleaned prior to being re-installed in 2013.

Above the organ is a beautiful freize by reknown sculptor Daphne Mayo.


EarlyRoger (contributor)

This 45 – 50 minute tour takes you to 4 levels of the City Hall from the newly excavated basement to the museum on the 3rd floor. After discovering major structural damage in 2009 a massive restoration project took place and the City Hall was reopened in April 2013.

Everything have been faithfully restored including the floors which had to be lifted and refitted – especially the magnificent mosaic floor in the foyer. Modern adaptions such as safety and fire modifications have been skillfully achieved. The beautiful marble staircases have been cleaned and chandeliers polished.

Tours leave hourly from the main foyer starting at 10.30am and are completely wheel chair friendly using lifts (elevators) to get between floors. You start off in the which has been extensively excavated to install a commercial kitchen to cater for the functions. Down here is a curious piece of history – once the wall of the men’s washroom is a panel covered with signatures dating around WWII. It is known as the Signature Wall. From the basement the tour makes its way upwards visiting courtyards, function rooms and the auditorium until it finishes at the Museum of Brisbane and the starting point for the Clock Tower tour.


Grossosleepy (contributor)

I have many fong memories of the City Hall from childhood. School holidays saw a trip to Brisbane and a ride up the clock tower. We insisted Mum take us at midday so we could be deafened by the Westminster chiming bells.

When I was older I participated in massed school choirs that performed in the auditorium.

The site chosen was once the site of a stables and horse pond. The first foundation stone was laid in 1917 and was said to contain a time capsule. Later it was found to be out of alignment and was replaced with the second and current stone laid on 29 July 1920 by Edward, Prince of Wales (later King Edward VIII / Duke of Windsor).

The building was constructed with Helidon Sandstone and where possible local materials were used in the interior as well. The main entrance, from King George Square is through columns almost 14 metres high holding a beautiful tympanum crafted by renown sculptor Daphne Mayo. Daphne also created the frieze above the stage of the auditorium. the clock tower stands 92 meters above the city making the City Hall the tallest building in Brisbane for almost 40 years.

Although the building was partially occupied from 1927 it was opened on 8 April 1930 by Queensland Governor (Sir John Goodwin). The seat of the Brisbane City Council, the building has also been used for royal receptions, pageants, orchestral concerts, civic greetings, flower shows, school graduations and political meetings.

In 2009, it was discovered that building on swampy ground was taking its toll and massive structural restoration was needed. After a three-year restoration, the building was re-opened on 6 April 2013.


mcdonaldsprinter (contributor)

City Hall was built during the 1920s and receives hundreds if not thousands of visitors a day. The sandstone building itself is iconic, long adopted as a symbol of the city. Architectural buffs should have a great day, lapping out all the fine details and grand designs.

Most tourists however, come here to go up to the observation platform right up there in the bell tower. Entry is free.

There is a schedule for the bell tower visit with the last visitor waved in, usually way before 5pm.

There is an elevator on the left side after entering City Hall which you would have to take from the Ground Floor to connect to another lift to take you up the bell tower. There are plenty of historical photos along the connecting corridor, and it wouldn’t hurt to grab some glimpses of old Brisbane.

The actual bell tower lift is one of those manually-operated steel grid kind. My operator was a vivacious staff who greeted everyone warmly until I realise she repeats the same thing to every new visitor, regardless if they understand English or not. She’ll grin widely, usher you in, mutter some facts about the Bell Tower and then usher you out when you reach the Platform. On your return, she smiles warmly again, muttered some greetings, turned her back, and then ushers you out when the descend ended. And she repeated the cycle all over again. And again. And again.

Now, you may ask how bad is that? There were some visitors in the lift who actually asked her some questions. Still keeping sunshine on her face, but without hardly a blip or a blink, continued her monologue based on the script in her head. No one was the wiser when we landed. I remembered one of the lads giving a resigned shrug.

Quite honestly, the view from the top was a tad disappointing as the authorities had placed guards and railings so you can’t really try to be Superman, well at least, from City Hall. I found more amusement, from the antics of the life operator instead.


bonkcod (contributor)

The numerous small councils in the Brisbane area amalgamated in 1925, to form the Brisbane City Council. That led to the construction of the Brisbane City Hall, which opened in 1930. It faces King George Square, currently a building site, but which formerly had a few statues (most significantly, one of a British king of that name) and some landscaping with palm trees. The building is finished in sandstone, has a classical façade and a tower which was the highest point in Brisbane for many years. I’m prepared to stick out my neck and say that I think this remains one of the most stylish buildings in Australia.

The main feature of the interior is the large circular auditorium with its pipe organ (though I suspect the Lord Mayor and his Deputy, who have offices there, may disagree). In recent years, the Museum of Brisbane (free) has been developed to the left of the main entrance and, when we visited, was featuring a display on the history of the Miss Australia contests, run from the 1920s until 2000 when they fell victim to political correctness. The Museum, which also has a shop, merits a brief visit though I would count it of only relatively passing interest.

The City Hall is open from 0800 to 1700 on weekdays and 1000 to 1700 on weekends. It is closed on public holidays. If you wish to contact (07) 3403 8888 you can arrange to take a guided tour of the building, at a cost of $5 per adult (discounts for children and seniors).

Main photo: Brisbane City Hall in 1964
Second photo: Brisbane City Hall, now surrounded by buildings
Third photo: City Hall Auditorium (panorama, expands).


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