Old Museum Building
The Old Museum Building, 2019
Former namesExhibition Building and Concert Hall
General information
AddressCnr Gregory Terrace and Bowen Bridge Road, Bowen Hills, Brisbane, Queensland
OwnerQueensland Government
Design and construction
Architect(s)George Henry Male Addison

The Old Museum Building is a heritage-listed former exhibition building, former museum and now performance venue in Bowen Hills, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. It is made from 1.3 million red bricks and bordered by Gregory Terrace and the Exhibition Grounds.[1]


The original exhibition building

The Old Museum was originally called the Exhibition Building and Concert Hall. It was built in 1891 for the Queensland National Agricultural and Industrial Association after Brisbane's first exhibition building, which had occupied the land, was destroyed by fire on 13 June 1888. At the time of the fire the building was being used as a skating rink.[2]

On 25th of April 1891, the laying of the foundation stone ceremony was held. Sir Arthur Hunter Palmer, acting Governor of Queensland, was given the honour of laying the foundation stone. Buried beneath the foundation stone is a bottle containing each of Brisbane's leading journals. The construction of the Old Museum was completed in August 1891[3]

The land had been used by the Queensland Acclimatisation Society from 1863-1875.

The new exhibition building was designed by the architect George Henry Male Addison (1857–1922). The style of the building may best be described as progressive eclecticism or Indo-Saracenic.[4] The edifice was built over a period of 12 months by over 300 workers. It is entered in the Queensland Heritage Register.

The Queensland Government took over control of the building and grounds when the National Association was forced into liquidation by the economic depression in 1897.[5]

In 1899, the Exhibition Hall became home to the Queensland Museum, with the museum remaining in the building until the museum's relocation to the Queensland Cultural Centre in 1986. During the Queensland Museum's 86 years in the building, other parts of the building were used as a Concert Hall and an Art Gallery. Because of the Queensland Museum's long occupancy of the building, the building is now known as the Old Museum.

In 2016, the building was taken back for Ekka and has since been used for the flower and garden displays.[1]

Performance venue

The Old Museum building is home to the Queensland Youth Orchestras, who use the building as a rehearsal, performance and office space. The building is also home for the Brisbane Symphony Orchestra, Brisbane Philharmonic Orchestra, Queensland Youth Choir, Queensland Wind and Brass, Brisbane River City Clippers Barbershop Chorus, Queensland Rhythmic Gymnastics Organisation, Queensland Police Pipes and Drums and the Zen Zen Zo Physical Theatre Company.

The play Troilus and Cressida by William Shakespeare, was also presented in the Old Museum building in 1989. Members of the cast included Geoffrey Rush, Jane Menelaus and Russell Dykstra.[6]

The Old Museum building was also used as one of the sites for the 1980s Australian series of Mission: Impossible.

Photographs of the Old Museum

Heritage listing

The building was listed on the Queensland Heritage Register on 21 October 1992.[7]

In 2009 as part of the Q150 celebrations, the Old Museum Building was announced as one of the Q150 Icons of Queensland for its role as a "structure and engineering feat".[8]


  1. ^ a b Hinchliffe, Jessica (9 August 2019). "Ekka's people's building has always been a stunner". ABC News. Retrieved 11 August 2019.
  2. ^ The Brisbane Courier, 14 June 1888, p. 6
  3. ^ "Old Museum Building - 125th anniversary". State Library Of Queensland. 30 April 2016. Retrieved 31 August 2023.
  4. ^ Walker, Paul; King, Stuart (December 2007), "Style and Climate in Addison's Brisbane Exhibition Building", Fabrications: The Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, Australia and New Zealand, 17 (2): 27–48, ISSN 1033-1867
  5. ^ "Queensland National Agricultural and Industrial Association – Old Museum Stories". Retrieved 28 August 2023.
  6. ^ "Troilus and Cressida". AusStage. Retrieved 17 June 2015.
  7. ^ "Old Museum Building (entry 600209)". Queensland Heritage Register. Queensland Heritage Council. Retrieved 11 March 2014.
  8. ^ Bligh, Anna (10 June 2009). "PREMIER UNVEILS QUEENSLAND'S 150 ICONS". Queensland Government. Archived from the original on 24 May 2017. Retrieved 24 May 2017.

27°27′07″S 153°01′46″E / 27.451875°S 153.029369°E / -27.451875; 153.029369