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A-Z Guidebook: (Old) Queensland Museum, Brisbane

Welcome to the A-Z Guidebook Link Up. If you would like to join, read the A-Z Guidebook tab at the top of the blog and write a travel post relating to the letter of the month.

*Q may pose a challenging letter for some. You can always use the alternate theme for some additional inspiration. This month:

Q or Quiet

The (Old) Queensland Museum and I go way back. It’s the first school trip I remember going on and it left an indelible memory. I was probably six or seven. I don’t recall any of the displays though given the era, I’m sure they were mouldering stuffed animals in dusty cases. What I do recall is stepping out of the doors onto the wide verandah and spying a set of fish tanks. Contained within were lung fish, billed as living fossils. They must have left an impression, because here I am telling you about them over 40 years later. Truth be told, I think I was more impressed by a living creature on display in the museum than I was by the fact that they were living fossils.

Red brick building in fauc gothic style with turrets and a silver roof. Palms trees in foreground.

Built in 1891, it was Brisbane’s original Exhibition Building but after they fell on tough times, the government took control and installed the Queensland Museum in the building. Can you imagine The Ekka falling on tough times these days? It housed the museum collection until 1986, before the museum moved to new digs in South Brisbane. The red brick, towers and turrets alongside requisite Qld palm trees makes this an architectural curiosity in a city where the hallmark of stately buildings is typically sandstone.

These days the building is home to several arts groups as well as The Qld Youth Orchestra, Qld Philharmonic and Qld Youth Voice Choir. It’s also part of the annual Open House Scheme, where one weekend a year, buildings around Brisbane open their doors to the public so we can learn more about their history and see what’s going on inside. I am happy to report that when I took a guided tour of the Old Museum last year, that some of the original lead tanks that housed the lung fish are still on the porch, exactly as I recall.

OK – so I’m cheating again and even using the same cheat as last time by inserting (Old) into my title. But the (Old) Queensland Museum is just such a lovely building, it was a crying shame not to take the opportunity to share it with you.

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10 comments… add one
  • Tandy I Lavender and Lime October 15, 2016, 2:16 pm

    That’s amazing that the fish tanks are still there. I love these posts of yours Fiona.

    • Fiona Ryan October 17, 2016, 11:01 am

      It is amazing. They don’t make them like they used to, which is probably just as well as the frames are made from lead!

  • Sherry m October 15, 2016, 3:12 pm

    Isn’t this a wonderful building Fiona? I still remember when they used it in a mission impossible film. Oh the glory:) Looks very unlike Queensland.

    • Fiona Ryan October 17, 2016, 11:00 am

      Oh – I didn’t know this was used in a Mission Impossible. I’ll have to look out for it. Yes, I love it as it’s very different to what we typically see in Qld.

  • Emily (Cooking for Kishore) October 18, 2016, 9:18 am

    That is a beautiful building, love the colors! I love the fact that they do open houses so that people know the history of the building. Thanks for sharing! 🙂

    • Fiona Ryan October 19, 2016, 10:28 am

      Open House is sponsored by architects so there are lots of new building too, that show off the new architecture too. I look forward to it every year.

  • retrostuart October 19, 2016, 7:42 pm

    ‘Old’ is a very good introduction to a nice evolution of a notable building..

    • Fiona Ryan October 22, 2016, 11:53 am

      Ha – I think I’ve used my get out of jail free cards for this series so will have to put my thinking cap on for future letters.

  • Joy @MyTravelingJoys October 20, 2016, 2:41 am

    Bummer we never made it to Brisbane either, but we did at least hit Queensland which is my Q for the month! 😉

    • Fiona Ryan October 22, 2016, 11:54 am

      You can always come back Joy. Q can be difficult so Queensland is perfect. X is going to pose some challenges for me though!

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