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City Hall is at the heart of historic Brisbane. Museum of Brisbane is located on City Hall’s third level and is a portal to experiences of the past, interpreting history in an innovative and contemporary way. Tour guides will engage you in uncovering Brisbane stories and extend your understanding of our city.
City Hall is one of our city’s most significant heritage and cultural icons. Since opening in 1930, City Hall has played an important role in the lives of Brisbane communities in times of war, peace, celebration and refuge, earning the title of the ‘People’s Place’. City Hall hosts Brisbane’s civic, community, artistic and social life and has welcomed famous guests from The Rolling Stones to Queen Elizabeth II.
The Queensland Heritage Register and the National Trust of Queensland list City Hall as a ‘culturally, historically and architecturally significant building’.
Building City Hall was a major undertaking for our city in the 1920s, taking 10 years to build at a cost of almost one million pounds. When City Hall opened for business on 3 January 1928 it was one of Australia’s most expensive buildings, ranked as the second largest construction of its time (outdone only by the Sydney Harbour Bridge), and the first major Australian concrete ‘column and beam’ building.
Designed by Hall and Prentice, City Hall has a great circular hall and corridors surounded by offices and function venues. Its architectural style is described as ‘inter-war academic classical’. The main entrance from King George Square is emphasised by imposing Corinthian columns that are nearly 14 metres high. The Clock Tower rises over 87 metres above the ground, making City Hall the tallest building in Brisbane for its first 30 years. The Main Auditorium is City Hall’s single largest space. Its copper dome is the biggest in Australia, spanning 31 metres in diameter and is visible from Museum of Brisbane on level 3. The dome is supported on a brick base that allows the interior of the Main Auditorium to be unobscured by columns.
City Hall builders used locally-sourced materials as much as they were able, and handcrafted its finer details. The exterior is built from ashlar coursed sandstone from the Helidon district near Ipswich and, inside the building, Queensland maple and silky oak timbers were used. Three types of marble form the interior finishing of City Hall — white marble from Italy, black marble from Belgium and brown marble from Orange in New South Wales.