Museum of Brisbane

Sunday Stories | The Signature Wall

Sunday Stories | The Signature Wall

In 2008 over 150 signatures were uncovered in the basement of City Hall. This section of the wall was originally the location of a men’s bathroom, with the signatures discovered to belong to soldiers that were serving during WWII. City Hall was an important hub for Brisbane’s home-front activities during WWII, hosting patriotic rallies and march pasts, morale-boosting dances and performances as well as housing voluntary organisations and air raid shelters.

In 1939 two large supper rooms in the basement of the building were made available to the Returned Soldiers and Sailors League (then RSS later RSL) as a rest room for soldiers. Alongside serving meals to the troops, the RSS equipped the rooms with chairs, tables and reading materials. The adjacent bathroom facilities were used by soldiers passing through with many signing their name and service number on the wall in pencil.

When this wall was rediscovered over 60 years later, a former City Hall tour guide Lyris Mitchell conducted research into all the serial numbers and names listed on the wall. Through this research, Mitchell discovered that all Australians returned home alive, despite some being injured. The wall has since been affectionately known as “the lucky wall” and is now a heritage listed feature of City Hall. A complete replica is installed on Level 3, inside the Museum.


Inset, detail of Signature Wall, Photo Grace Herrmann