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Making Place: 100 Views of Brisbane

Place, in Brisbane, is not a static thing. With the city we know changing so rapidly, this is the ideal moment to ask ‘what makes place?’ Is it about identity and connection, anchored in 65,000 years of First Nations People’s richness of cultures belonging to place, or the contemporary significance? Which sites are significant and why? Are the natural and built landmarks we recognise as characterising the city today the same landmarks we’ll see in the future?

Making Place: 100 Views of Brisbane asks these questions through the eyes of artists presenting 100 different views on place from the Museum of Brisbane’s Collections. What do collections like these tell us about the places that have been considered important by artists and society? Explore our ever-changing city from multiple perspectives; from the past, to the present and into the future.

Introductory Auslan Translation.

Picturing Place

100 artworks from the City of Brisbane Collection and Museum of Brisbane Collection are presented in Making Place: 100 Views of Brisbane. The exhibition explores 19 key themes, such as the river and Brisbane’s suburbs, examined through select artworks.

You can explore these artworks through audio descriptions and Auslan translations. Click on the images below to access this content.

Explore the artworks

A bright painting of Centenary Pool by artist Paul Davies.
Centenary Pool
Built in 1959 and designed by prominent architect James Birrell, Centenary Pool in Spring Hill is characterised by its sleek curved kiosk raised above the ground. Learn more.
Wickham Terrace painted by artist T Bryson Robertson.
Wickham Terrace
Wickham Terrace in Spring Hill, originally a fresh water site for Aboriginal people, is home to some of our city’s most significant buildings. Learn more.
A painting of City Hall during construction by artist Vida Lahey.
City Hall
City Hall was designed by architects Hall & Prentice in both Neoclassical and Art Deco styles, with grand Ionic and Doric columns at the front. Learn more.
A soft painting of Cloudland by artist Peter ODoherty.
Cloudland was a majestic ballroom in Bowen Hills and held a significant place in the public psyche both before and after it was demolished. Learn more.
A painting of St John's Cathedral by Robert Brownhall.
St John's Cathedral
Countless artists have studied, sketched, and painted St John’s Cathedral over the years, providing us with multiple perspectives and interpretations. Learn more.
A watercolour painting of the Bellevue Hotel by artist Joan Ricketts.
Bellevue Hotel
The Bellevue Hotel opened in 1886 on the corner of George and Alice Streets and featured striking wrap-around verandas. Learn more.
A painting by Robert Andrews.
Greater Brisbane Region
Greater Brisbane is the largest local government area in Australia. Learn more.
A sketch of the North Quay Law Courts by artist Lloyd Rees.
North Quay
North Quay is the riverfront stretch between Milton and the City Botanic Gardens. Learn more.
Central and Roma Street Stations
The first railway in Brisbane was built in 1879 when the line from Ipswich was connected to Roma Street. Learn more.
A painting of Moorooka by artist Margaret Cilento.
The identities of many Brisbane suburbs have been shaped by the migrant communities who have populated them. Learn more.
A painting of Highgate Hill by artist Stephen Nothling.
Constructed between 1958 and 1960, the high-rise apartment building Torbreck was named after a timber 1870s cottage that previously occupied the site. Torbreck (An Tòrr Breac) means ‘brow of the hill’ in Scottish Gaelic. Learn more.
A painting of Brisbane in the 1800s by Cedric Flower.
City Centre
Before the name Brisbane was officially chosen in honour of Governor Thomas Brisbane, the settlement was also known as Moreton Bay and Edenglassie (a combination of Edinburgh and Glasgow). Learn more.
A cyanotype of the Brisbane River by artist Judy Watson.
The River
Flowing through the heart of Brisbane, the river has been admired and used in many different ways. Learn more.
A painting of a gondola passing the Breakfast Creek Hotel.
Breakfast Creek
Booroodabin, the Breakfast Creek area, has a layered history. Learn more.
A painting of a Brisbane park by William Bustard.
Our city is home to around 2,160 parks, from small suburban playgrounds to sweeping bushland reserves, each contributing to the unique character and ecosystem of the city. Learn more.
A sketch of Customs House by artist Kenneth Jack.
Customs House
Customs House stands on the stretch of the Brisbane River known as Petrie Bight, named after architect and builder Andrew Petrie. Learn more.
A painting of Kangaroo Point by artist Isaac Walter Jenner.
Kangaroo Point
The stretch of land now known as Kangaroo Point has a rich history and is an important site for Aboriginal people. Learn more.
A painting of Grey Street Bridge by artist Jon Molvig.
There are 15 main bridges crossing the river. Given the river’s key role in Brisbane’s landscape and imagination, it is no surprise that several of these bridges have reached iconic status. Learn more.
A painting of City Botanic Gardens by Gwendolyn Grant.
City Botanic Gardens
In 1855, the land now known as Gardens Point was declared a botanic reserve. Learn more.

Growing Place

Jenna Lee is a Larrakia, Wardaman and KarraJarri saltwater woman originally from Darwin.  Her installation Growing Place (2022) features handmade paper flowers and an animated poem, titled Our Worlds, asking us to consider how we collect and present ‘place’ through language and archives. While partially drawing on her own connection with Brisbane, having lived in the city for 10 years, Jenna collaborated with Aunty Raelene Baker to create the prose.

“The paper flowers are made with multiple editions of the book ’Place Names of Australia’ published between 1973 and 1988. The flowers ’grow’ from walls and across cabinetry, mimicking the way First People’s language has always been present and, with the correct conditions, can once again thrive—creeping its way back into the built environment. The moving poetry re-inserts First People’s voices into historical records of place. Colonial settler words from the book have been rearranged to share the thoughts of the people whose perspective should have always come first.”

Jenna Lee

Courtesy the artist and MARS Gallery. Projections created in collaboration with Sai Karlen. Poetry created in collaboration with Aunty Raelene Baker. Install assistance from Ruby Lee and Col McElwaine.

Go behind the scenes with Jenna Lee while she installs her intervention, Growing Place. 

Hearing Place

Does sound evoke place for you? Lawrence English‘s atmospheric sound work, Site Listening : Brisbane (2022), plays throughout the gallery, featuring sounds recorded at locations around Brisbane. To accompany the exhibition, Lawrence has created a self-guided listening tour to help you explore the sounds of the city.

”Our eyes have come to be the primary lenses through which we seek to know the world around us. Site Listening : Brisbane is a work that subverts the preference for the visual and seeks to celebrate the sense of hearing as a means of revealing new, and potentially deeper, understandings of place. This work invites people to cast their ears outward and to rediscover Brisbane and its surrounding environments through entanglements with the strange familiar which is our city’s evolving soundscape.”

Lawrence English

This project was created as part of MoB’s Artist in Residence program, supported by Tim Fairfax AC. Courtesy the artist.

Documentation of Site Listening : Brisbane with Lawrence English at the Spring Mountain Conservation Estate and City Hall Clock Tower. The Conservation Estate, including White Rock, remains sacred to the Traditional Owners (Yaggera and Yuggarrapul groups) of Ipswich. Please respect Cultural Protocol and follow the established walking trails. Video: Greg Harm.

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Watch & Listen
Stories of Place Audio Tour
Explore the Making Place: 100 Views of Brisbane salon hang with artist Pat Hoffie in this self-guided tour.
Artist Lawrence English recording sounds in the Australian bush
Site Listening : Brisbane
Explore the sites and sounds of Brisbane.
Watch & Listen
Making Place Live in Concert
A musical exploration of our exhibition Making Place: 100 Views of Brisbane.
A girl with red hair is wearing a white jumpsuit with lemons all over it and facing sideways. Behind her, there is a red wall featuring thirteen paintings. Most of them are hung on the wall, though there are 3 sitting on plinths.
Quiet Afternoons