Thursday, March 15, 2007

The Queensland Club

On the corner of George and Alice streets, is the Queensland Club building. The Queensland Club building was constructed between 1882-84, however the club itself was founded in 1859 just four days before the separation of Queensland from New South Wales. Both building and club are important in demonstrating the pattern of Queensland's history whereby British society heavily influenced colonial Australian ways of life. The club replicated a British, class oriented gentlemen's club.

The building was designed by Scottish architect Francis Drummond Greville (FDG) Stanley. Born in Edinburgh in 1839, he trained in Scotland as an architect and emigrated to Brisbane in 1862. Eventually he was appointed Colonial Architect from 1 January 1872, a position he held until 1881. Stanley was a prolific architect and his work is found throughout Queensland. In this instance, the heavy walls, columns and spacious balconies evoke a tropical version of a traditional London club. It originally contained 41 members' bedrooms, eight bathrooms, a clubroom, dining room, billiard room, smoking room, visitors room, offices and the necessary kitchens, servants rooms and toilets, providing a `home away from home' for society's male elite.

The building is beautifully designed, and reminds me of Raffles Hotel in Singapore. As I understand it, it is still run as a private club via invitation only, so getting access inside could be difficult without someone in the know. I'm amazed about how little on the Internet there is about its activities today. From what I can gather it was quite the club for the rich and elite in society, which probably remains the case.

Cheers, I Love Brisbane, Wes.

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