Museum of Brisbane

Brisbane 1895


Upon walking into our most recent exhibition, The view from here: The photographic world of Alfred Elliott 1890-1940, it is hard not to notice (and be completely absorbed) with the 12m long sweeping vista of Brisbane city. This image was taken by Alfred Elliott from the observation deck of the Windmill on Wickham Terrace in 1895. It was created by joining together eight glass-plate negatives taken by Elliott, which were then digitally recreated by the Museum and turned into an interactive display.

The photograph depicts an almost forgotten Brisbane, and the interactive element identifies 73 locations and buildings within the image. It is estimated that only 20% of the buildings in the vista remain today.

We have had many visitors ask if there is a publication for the exhibition or something to take home with them. A publication has not been developed, however visitors can take home a copy of the sweeping vista, including references to all the buildings in the interactive part of the exhibition, from our Museum Shop for only $2.

Unfortunately if you stand at the top of the Windmill today, you will not see a view as stunning as Elliott did. The surrounding buildings tower over the Windmill and the trees from the park block out closer views, however back in the late 1980s, it was the highest point to see the city from. After Brisbane became a free settlement in 1842, the convict-built windmill was used as a signal tower and then opened to the public – becoming known as the Observatory. It provided the best view of Brisbane until the Clock Tower in City Hall was opened to the public in 1930 and the Windmill closed shortly after as an observatory.

The view from here: The photographic world of Alfred Elliott 1890-1940 is open until 30 August. Don’t miss it!