Queensland Cultural Centre

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The Queensland Cultural Centre is a multi-venue centre located at South Bank, Brisbane, capital city of Queensland. It consists of the Queensland Performing Arts Centre (QPAC), the Queensland Museum, the State Library of Queensland (SLQ), the Queensland Art Gallery (QAG) and the Queensland Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA). The cultural centre was listed on the Queensland Heritage Register on 12 June 2015.[1]

The original part was designed by Brisbane architects Robin Gibson and Partners and opened in 1985. In 2010, Robin Gibson and Partners were granted a "25 Year Award for Enduring Architecture" by the Queensland Chapter of the Australian Institute of Architects (AIA).[2]

The GOMA building designed by Kerry and Lindsay Clare,[3] directors of the Australasian firm Architectus, was added to the complex in 2006. In 2007, the building received three awards: a Brisbane Commendation and a Public Architecture Award from the Queensland Chapter of AIA; and a National Award for Public Architecture, again from AIA. Then in 2010, the Clares received the AIA's Gold Medal for their work.

In the same year, an extension of the SLQ building designed by the Brisbane architects Donovan Hill and Peddle Thorp was opened. For their design, the architects were awarded the prestigious Sir Zelman Cowen Award for Public Architecture by AIA in 2007.

The centre is surrounded by sub-tropical gardens which are professionally maintained and developed by The Plant Management Company and are open to the public. There are several cafés, restaurants, bookshops and other public facilities located throughout the site.

In the immediate South Bank area there are restaurants, bars, parklands, walking paths, and swimming pools, the Queensland Conservatorium Griffith University, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's new radio and television headquarters which also house the Queensland Symphony Orchestra, and the Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre. With South Brisbane Railway Station directly opposite QPAC, many major bus routes running past the centre, and water transport available along the Brisbane River, the public has ready access to the centre. In 2009, a pedestrian and bicycle bridge called the Kurilpa Bridge was opened. It connects the Roma Street Railway Station area of Brisbane City with the centre, reaching South Bank next to GOMA and close to SLQ, QAG and the Museum.

Panorama of the Queensland Cultural Centre – with the Queensland Performing Arts Centre (left) and the Queensland Art Gallery (right), and the Cultural Centre Busway Station, located in Melbourne Street between the two buildings


The Queensland Cultural Centre is situated on the site of one of Queensland's historical theatres, the Cremorne.[4] Originally an open-air structure with seating for about 1,800, the Cremorne Theatre was located on Stanley Street, South Brisbane, between Peel and Melbourne Streets, close to the point where the Victoria Bridge crossed the Brisbane River from the city and on the site where the QAG now stands.[5]

By mid-1952, the building had been converted for use as offices and storage facilities for film distribution companies. It burnt down in 1954 and was never rebuilt. The present Cremorne Theatre, in the QPAC building, was named in honour of the historic Cremorne Theatre. During 1972, a decision to build a new Queensland Art Gallery on its present location at South Bank was made by the Queensland Government.[6] Later, during 1974, the government decided to extend this idea to a Queensland Cultural Centre which included the Queensland Performing Arts Centre, the State Library of Queensland and the Queensland Museum, as well as the Queensland Art Gallery, so that all of these institutions would be in proximity to each other, as well as being within easy reach of the Brisbane central business district.


Queensland Art Gallery[edit]

Queensland Gallery of Modern Art main entrance

The Queensland Art Gallery (formerly Queensland National Art Gallery), was established in 1895. The gallery has had many homes, and moved to its present location at the Queensland Cultural Centre at South Bank during 1982.[7] The gallery provides 4,700 m2 of viewing space and includes a water mall, fountains, water sculptures, an outdoor area and gardens.[7]

Queensland Gallery of Modern Art[edit]

The Queensland Gallery of Modern Art, which operates in association with the Queensland Art Gallery, was built at Kurilpa Point, upstream from the rest of the centre and near the William Jolly Bridge. It opened in December 2006. In addition to the display areas, it contains the Australian Cinémathèque which has two cinemas and the Children's Art Centre in which children are able to interact with the galleries collection. In 2007 a three manual 15 rank Wurlitzer Style 260 theatre organ, Opus 2040, originally installed in the Brisbane's Regent Theatre was restored by the Queensland Art Gallery with financial assistance from the Queensland Art Gallery Foundation and installed in the Cinémathèque Cinema 2.[8] The instrument is now being used regularly for the presentation of silent movies and for recitals.[9]

Queensland Performing Arts Centre[edit]

Queensland Performing Arts Centre viewed from Victoria Bridge

The Queensland Performing Arts Centre (QPAC), which is also located at South Bank, and is also part of the Queensland Cultural Centre, was opened in 1985. QPAC contains some of Brisbane's main theatres (Lyric Theatre, Concert Hall, Cremorne Theatre, and the Playhouse), and the Tony Gould Gallery which is operated by the Queensland Museum and displays historical material related to theatre in Queensland. In 2008, the Queensland Government closed QPAC and allocated A$34.7m for the complete refurbishment of the building under the direction of Cox Rayner Architects.[10] The centre re-opened in 2009.[11]

Queensland Museum[edit]

Queensland Museum and Sciencentre main entrance with pedestrian bridge (right)

The Queensland Museum was established in 1862, and has had many homes, including The Old Windmill (1862–1869) – Parliament House (1869–1873) – General Post Office (1873–1879) – followed by being based at a building on William Street, which was later home to John Oxley Library (1879–1899) – the Exhibition Hall, now called the Old Museum Building (1899–1986). The Queensland Museum moved to the Queensland Cultural Centre at South Bank during 1986 and includes 6,500m2 of floor space.[7] In addition to the main museum area, the building also houses the Queensland Sciencentre, a permanent interactive science exhibition suited for people of all ages. It plays an important role in educating people about new developments in the sciences.

State Library of Queensland[edit]

Established in 1896 and originally called the Public Library of Queensland, it was renamed the State Library of Queensland in 1902 was established in 1896. In its history, it had many homes including a long period in a building in William Street 1899–1988 – following which it moved to its present location near the Queensland Museum and the Queensland Art Gallery, as part of the Queensland Cultural Centre. The State Library was extensively renovated at its South Bank address during 2006, and reopened in December of that year. Along with the usual facilities of a library, the building contains an historical archive called the John Oxley Library, several galleries in which exhibitions are held throughout the year, lecture rooms and an Indigenous Knowledge Centre called kuril dhagun.[12]

Pedestrian bridge[edit]

The buildings of the Queensland Cultural Centre are connected by a pedestrian bridge over the Cultural Centre Busway Station. This bridge connects the Queensland Performing Arts Centre over Melbourne Street with the building containing both the Queensland Museum and the Queensland Art Gallery and provides ready access to buses at the Cultural Centre Busway Station.

Heritage listing[edit]

In 2014, the Australian Institute of Architects applied to give the cultural centre heritage status to protect it from proposals by the Newman government to add high-rise buildings to the site. The application attracted 1254 public submissions (a record for the heritage register).[13][14] On 12 June 2015, the Queensland Cultural Centre was granted heritage status. However, the listing on the Queensland Heritage Register covers only the 1980s buildings; the remodelled State Library of Queensland building and the more recent Gallery of Modern Art are explicitly excluded from the heritage listing.[1]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Queensland Cultural Centre (entry 602844)". Queensland Heritage Register. Queensland Heritage Council. Retrieved 21 June 2015. 
  2. ^ QPAC – Robin Gibson & Partners. Australian Institute of Architectics.
  3. ^ "Kerry Clare + Lindsay Clare – Clare Design". Retrieved 22 October 2011. 
  4. ^ Some sources, including QPAC's own website"Archived copy". Archived from the original on 23 August 2010. Retrieved 19 September 2010.  state that the theatre was originally called Cremorne Gardens. However, no first-hand evidence can be found supporting this, and the 1911 press reference quoted directly below refers to the theatre as the Cremorne.
  5. ^ Some sources state that the Cremorne Theatre was located where QPAC now stands. However, Peel Street was located on the opposite side of Melbourne Street where Stanley Street no longer exists.
  6. ^ History of the Queensland Art Gallery Archived 2 December 2009 at the Wayback Machine.
  7. ^ a b c Hogan, Janet. Living History of Brisbane, Boolarang Publications, 1982, pp. 128–129.
  8. ^ "Museum of Modern Art". theatreorgans.com. Retrieved 22 October 2011. 
  9. ^ "Australian Cinémathèque". Queensland Art Gallery. Archived from the original on 2 November 2011. Retrieved 22 October 2011. 
  10. ^ "Cox Architecture". Retrieved 22 October 2011. 
  11. ^ "New-look QPAC". indesignlive.com. 29 April 2009. Retrieved 22 October 2011. 
  12. ^ A kuril is a native marsupial and dhagun means "meeting place". Therefore, the literal meaning is "kuril's place". This kuril dhagun is part of a State-wide network of research facilities serving the needs of Indigenous Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islanders."Archived copy". Archived from the original on 13 September 2010. Retrieved 19 September 2010. 
  13. ^ van Vonderen, Jessica; Agius, Kym (19 November 2014). "South Bank plan: Architect's family pushes for heritage listing of Brisbane's cultural precinct". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 16 July 2016. 
  14. ^ "Brisbane's South Bank cultural precinct heritage listed, high-rise plan scrapped". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 20 June 2015. Retrieved 21 June 2015. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 27°28′24″S 153°01′07″E / 27.4732°S 153.0185°E / -27.4732; 153.0185