Museum of Brisbane

Sunday Stories | The Lions

Have you ever wondered why there are two lions resting in front of City Hall?

These bronze sculptures sit either side of the building’s main entrance in King George Square, a few metres in front of the portico. The bronze sculptures were designed by Mr B. Summerhayes, a Perth architect with the assistance of Edward Frederick Kohler, a Perth sculptor.

The lions were designed to form part of a King George V memorial, following the death of the monarch in 1936. Following this event, the area in front of City Hall, known as Albert Street Square, as it was largely composed of Albert Street itself, was widened and renamed King George Square in tribute.

Part of this tribute included the commission of bronze sculptures in memorial, with a design to be selected from a Commonwealth competition. Renowned architect Reginald Summerhayes won the competition in conjunction with sculptor Edward Kohler, both from Perth in Western Australia.

The sculptures included an equestrian monument of King George V and two lion statues that were unveiled in 1938 on imposing sandstone plinths. They existed like this until the late 1960s where they were relocated to accommodate the renovation of King George Square to include a car park.


Today all statues still stand in King George Square, with the two lions on peaceful guard at the entrance. You can find out more about City Hall, the unique heritage building we call home, on our website as we celebrate 100 years since its construction first began! 

Image 1 and 2: King George V and Lions Statue – Albert Square in front of City Hall, 1958, courtesy Brisbane City Council. Image 3: Lion sculptures, King George Square, 2013, courtesy Wikipedia.