A Study of the “People’s Building”

In the year 2000, Queensland’s Dept of Public Works commissioned Heritage Architect Peter Marquis-Kyle to update the 1989 Old Museum Building Conservations study. This resulted in his heritage award winning Old Museum Building Conservation Management Plan. This study has enabled and supported all works that have occurred in the 30 years since the Art Gallery and Queensland Museum moved to South Bank.

The entire plan can be found and enjoyed here http://www.marquis-kyle.com.au/pr/000237.php. It is also available in downloadable PDF versions.

Peter Marquis-Kyle addresses not only the material and fabric significance of the building, but its importance to community : “Generations of Queenslanders have regarded the Old Museum Building with special affection. Perhaps this universal esteem has been a factor in the strong public support for the conservation of the building. The Old Museum has been regularly visited by the public over a long period. Many people have fond childhood memories of family outings to this place.”


Marquis-Kyle outlines recommendations for future use :

“Continued public access Maintaining public access to the Old Museum is important for the continuity of its significance as a place of resort.

Policy 6 Uses that foster continued use by the public should be favoured over uses that do not.

Public use of the gardens

Maintaining public use and enjoyment of the gardens throughout the seasons is necessary for the continuity of their importance as public gardens. The gardens were designed as public gardens, and continuously used in that way since they were constructed.

Policy 7 The gardens should remain open to the public throughout the year.

Future use The history of the site demonstrates that the building is adaptable to a range of uses without necessarily losing significance. The whole site is an important relic of various episodes in Brisbane’s cultural past, and is a resource that needs to be protected at the same time as it is used.

Policy 8 No new use should begin until its compatibility with the retention of cultural significance has been established.The recent subdivision of the exhibition hall space – to create the sound-isolated music studio – has diminished the significance of the exhibition hall. “

Policy 9 Uses that will support the restoration of the open spaces of the exhibition hall should be favoured over uses that do not.


Reading this document reminds us as the Building Managers that we are entrusted with not only the protection of the substance of the building, but of its character and worth to the people of Brisbane (in fact, Queensland and Australia)

With the support of Queensland Youth Orchestras, Queensland State Government (Dept of Public Works) and the people, this building, although yet not fully restored, is critically important to all people. Constructed on an ancient meeting space, its current use is still that of ‘Meeting Place’ and would remain that way.

(The Queensland Art Gallery moved in 1974 and Queensland Museum in 1986. )