People's Palace, Brisbane

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People's Palace
StateLibQld 1 100372.jpg
The People's Palace after extensions in 1913
General information
Status Complete
Architectural style Federation style
Address 308 Edward Street, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
Coordinates 27°28′01″S 153°01′32″E / 27.467°S 153.02544°E / -27.467; 153.02544Coordinates: 27°28′01″S 153°01′32″E / 27.467°S 153.02544°E / -27.467; 153.02544
Construction started March 1910
Completed 1911
Opened 27 August 1911

The People's Palace is a heritage-listed building and a former temperance hotel in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. It is located at 308 Edward Street on the southern corner with Ann Street, diagonally opposite to Brisbane's Central Railway Station.[1] The building is on the Queensland Heritage Register.


Commandant Herbert Booth of the Salvation Army first proposed a People's Palace for Brisbane in July 1899, following the success of the People's Palace in Sydney. However, the original vision was for intended as a refuge or shelter accommodation.[2]

The People's Palace was built in 1910–1911 by the Salvation Army to provide affordable accommodation for working class travelling people. It was designed by the Lieutenant-Colonel Saunders, the Salvation Army's architect and secretary for property affairs. It was situated across the road from the Temperance Hall operated by the Brisbane Total Abstinence Society. Construction commenced in March 1910 under Saunders' personal supervision.[3]

Although not quite complete, the hotel was decorated with bright flags and hangings to celebrate Coronation Day (22 June 1911), the coronation of King George V.[4]

The hotel was officially opened on 27 June 1911.[5][6][7] It was under the control of Major Wilson assisted by Ensign John McLean.[8] It was popular with travellers to Brisbane due to its convenient location to the central railway station. The building also was the Queensland headquarters for the Social Wing of the Salvation Army.[3]

Neither alcohol nor gambling was permitted in the hotel.[9]

In 1929, the Canberra Temperance Hotel operated by the Queensland Prohibition League (later the Queensland Temperance League) opened on the site of the old Temperance Hall.

In the early morning of Thursday 20 January 1938, an electrical wire started a fire and burned out the upper storey. Fortunately the damage was covered by insurance.[10]

The building operated as a temperance hotel until 1979. After that, it was leased out as budget accommodation, used as Salvation Army offices and most recently operated as a backpacker hostel.


The building is a red brick and render building in the Federation style. It has a corner octagonal tower which serves as the building entrance.

It originally comprised 3 floors of accommodation with a service basement and a rooftop garden, build as a hollow rectangle to allow light and air to reach the internal rooms. In 1913 the building was extended to add an additional 2 floors of accommodation, creating a building of such height that special fire safety were imposed.[11] Despite this, many years later, to meet modern fire standards, a set of brick fire stairs has had to be added into the central hollow.

The roof level comprises a steeply pitched roof with red tiles arranged in a diamond pattern and dormer windows. The tower roof is bell-shaped and also has small dormer windows.

Its very distinctive appearance derives from the extensive use of decorative cast iron work for the balustrades of its verandahs and from the contrast of the cream-coloured render against the red brick on the upper part of the tower. Being situated on a hill on a busy intersection, it is one of Brisbane's most recognisable buildings.


  1. ^ "People's Palace (entry 600096)". Queensland Heritage Register. Queensland Heritage Council. Retrieved 19 December 2010. 
  2. ^ "COMMANDANT BOOTH'S LECTURE". The Brisbane Courier (National Library of Australia). 18 July 1899. p. 6. Retrieved 19 December 2010. 
  3. ^ a b "RELIGIOUS". The Brisbane Courier (National Library of Australia). 19 February 1910. p. 16. Retrieved 19 December 2010. 
  4. ^ "BRISBANE CELEBRATIONS". The Brisbane Courier (National Library of Australia). 23 June 1911. p. 5. Retrieved 19 December 2010. 
  5. ^ "Visit of Commissioner Hay". The Brisbane Courier (National Library of Australia). 24 June 1911. p. 3. Retrieved 19 December 2010. 
  6. ^ "PRACTICAL RELIGION". The Brisbane Courier (National Library of Australia). 28 June 1911. p. 12. Retrieved 19 December 2010. 
  7. ^ "THE PEOPLE'S PALACE". The Brisbane Courier (National Library of Australia). 6 July 1911. p. 5. Retrieved 19 December 2010. 
  8. ^ "RELIGIOUS". The Brisbane Courier (National Library of Australia). 17 June 1911. p. 16. Retrieved 19 December 2010. 
  9. ^ "PEOPLE'S PALACE". The Brisbane Courier (National Library of Australia). 28 June 1911. p. 10. Retrieved 19 December 2010. 
  10. ^ "£4000 FIRE LOSS AT HOSTEL". The Courier-Mail (Brisbane: National Library of Australia). 20 January 1938. p. 27. Retrieved 19 December 2010. 
  11. ^ "BRISBANE CITY COUNCIL". The Brisbane Courier (National Library of Australia). 9 July 1912. p. 4. Retrieved 19 December 2010. 

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