Museum of Brisbane

Sunday Stories | Treasures from the Restoration

Have you ever wondered what treasures could possibly be buried underneath the buildings of our city?

Renovations or excavations on build sites have often revealed hidden treasures or long-lost objects underneath, waiting to be discovered. City Hall, one of Brisbane’s most iconic buildings, has undergone many renovations and restorations during the last century.

The most recent restoration of the building took place from January 2010 – April 2013, involving significant work taken to stabilise the building. This restoration included structural work to the building’s interiors, replacement of all building services as well as conservation of the well-known copper dome, the auditorium and façade of the building. Specialist work was also undertaken to restore many of the building’s original heritage surfaces.

To guarantee the structural integrity of City Hall for the future, work needed to be done on the building’s foundations. To reach this part of the building, the floorboards lining the auditorium were carefully removed in March 2011 to provide the restoration team with enough access. It is estimated that during the restoration just over 1000 tonnes of material was removed.

After excavating three metres below the auditorium floor, workers found remnants of a past Brisbane, including a cobblestone drain and old streetscape that dated from over 100 years ago.

Many other objects were uncovered that had been buried below, including a concert ticket from 1972, an old wheel, some rusted machinery, a piece of a wooden desk and more. Some of these treasures from the restoration are on display in the Adelaide Street foyer of City Hall.

Uncover more of City Hall’s treasures on a free, guided tour of the heritage listed building. Find out more here

Image 1, 2 amd 3:City Hall Main Auditorium – Restoration progress, 2013, courtesy Brisbane City Council . Image 4: Lord Mayor Graham Quirk Inspecting Restoration Work in City Hall, 2010, courtesy of Brisbane City Council.