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.
Entry into the museum is free and you can wander around for as long as you wish. There are some wonderful interactive exhibits at Old Government House, led by the “ghost of Governor Musgrave“..
There is a wonderful eatery called The Pantry Cafe located within the Old Government House kitchens (incidentally, where lamingtons themselves were invented). They serve breakfast, brunch and lunch refreshments and you can sit and eat in the Governor’s shady inner courtyard where the carriages were kept.
Old Government House is listed with the National Trust and QUT undertake ongoing restorations to maintain the historically significant building. Old Government House successively became the University of Queensland’s inaugural building (1910-1972) and the headquarters of the National Trust of Queensland (1972-2002). As one of Queensland’s most significant historical buildings, it was the first building in the state to be heritage listed in 1978. In 2002, the Queensland University of Technology accepted custodial responsibility for the House and undertook a lengthy restoration project. This included the delivery of an interpretative multimedia centre to highlight the cultural and historical significance of each part of this landmark colonial building.
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