South Brisbane Town Hall, Vulture Street, South Brisbane.
Today we are looking up at the South Brisbane Town Hall clocktower lit up at night during the Queensland Centenary Celebrations in 1959.
As you can see the lighting has changed a little and isn’t as bright as it was then.
You can also see how much the palm trees have grown in the 60 years that have passed.
The site was purchased in 1889 by the South Brisbane Municipal Council for £2,600. A design competition followed later that year and resulted in a design by John Hall & Son being accepted. One other architect that worked with this firm and on this project was John Smith Murdoch, who later became the Chief Architect for the Commonwealth of Australia. He designed buildings such as the Provisional Parliament House in Canberra (1927) and ANZAC Square in Brisbane (1926) (to name a couple).
The building was constructed by Brisbane brick maker and building, Abraham James at a price of £6,999 in 1891. The builder unfortunately went bankrupt and the council contracted builder John Stewart & Co. to complete the works. The building was completed in 1892 at a cost of £11,000 and was used until 1925 when this council was amalgamated into Brisbane City Council.
The clock seen pictured was installed in 1904 by the Synchronome Electrical Co. of Australia and was the first electrically driven clock system in Australia.
After councils amalgamation the building served as offices for councils district engineer from 1926 to 1940.
In 1941 the Australian Army rented the building until 1942 when the American Military Police housed their Base Section Three Headquarters here.
A large stained glass window above the stairwell was removed in order to construct a walkway across the grounds to Somerville House. Sadly this window has never been recovered.
After the war the building remained vacant until 1948 when it was converted to seven flats for council employees.
The state government purchased the building in 1955 for the newly established Queensland Conservatorium of Music who occupied the site until 1975.