It is to Government House that the premier travels when he or she wishes to request from the governor a dissolution of parliament and the calling of a general election. Following the outcome of such elections, the governor appoints the premier and ministry and the swearing-in of members takes place at Government House.
Government House Open Day, when it is open to the general public, is held each year, usually on Australia Day, 26 January and Queensland Day, 6 June.
The original building was designed by Benjamin Backhouse and constructed in 1865 for Johann Heussler. In the 1880s a subsequent owner, John Stevenson, employed architect Richard Gailey who doubled the size of the building, transforming it into an Italianate mansion. The property was purchased by the Government of Queensland in June 1911.
A section of natural bushland at the back of the property was retained while formal gardens were developed close to the house. In 1937, the addition of a new eastern wing which contained a reception room, billiard room and supper room was completed.