Brisbane Arcade Celebrates 100 Years

Brisbane Arcade Celebrates 100 Years

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Posted 2024-05-01 by Gillian Chingfollow
Queensland's oldest and arguably most elegant shopping centre, the Brisbane Arcade, has reached a major milestone by celebrating 100 years of retail exclusivity.


(Photo: Gillian Ching)

Since opening in 1924, the Brisbane Arcade has become a tourist and renowned destination in the City precinct where shoppers visit for exquisite luxury items and a heritage retail experience like no other in Brisbane. With every step through the narrow arcade and doting shops on either side of the strip, it feels like inhaling beauty one storefront at a time. This is generally a shopping experience where gorgeous handcrafted gowns made from unique textiles, sweet tea rooms and the highest quality sparkling jewels reign supreme.

Long-term retail residents include jewellery specialists Stones Diamonds , multi award-winning designers Keri Craig, Julie Tendahl and wedding gown supremo DARB couture .

Many of the shops, such as Stones Diamonds are family businesses which are multi-generational illustrating the longevity and commitment of the retailers to the arcade and its history and elegance.


(Photo: Gillian Ching)

One of my favourite shops is The Tea Centre with premium speciality fine, loose tea, accessories such as delicate fine bone china teapots and cups and handmade woollen tea cosies. Part of the specialty range of teas offers teas for well-being, teas for immunity and energy and classic blends fit for any high tea or a quiet moment of rest.

The Tea Centre epitomises all of the foundations that the Brisbane Arcade is based upon charming, delightful, and deserving.


(Photo: Gillian Ching)

The Architectural Features
The grand darling of opulent shopping is like stepping into an episode of Bridgerton. Designed by architect Richard Gailey Jr for Dr James Mayne and his sister Mary Emelia Mayne, it is packed with distinct architectural features which reflect the era in which it was created but also stood the test of time. The design brief for him Mr Galley was to design a traditional 18th Century European arcade.


(Photo: Gillian Ching)

The arcade has been built across three levels of shops (from the basement, street level and gallery levels) flanking a lofty central gallery under a solid roof with clerestory lighting. Special architectural details include the Edwardian Baroque style street facades, original terrazzo stairs, balustrades and dado panelling. The Brisbane Arcade received Heritage Listing in 1992. It was home to Brisbane's first bistro.


(Photo: Gillian Ching)

The arcade is owned by the Mayne Family Trust and in a continuing tradition, proceeds from the arcade go towards University of Queensland Medical School benefiting medical research. When she died in 1940, Mary Maynes' will determined that:

The net income of her estate be applied in perpetuity for the benefit of the Medical School and
in particular, for the following purposes:
  • For the purchase of equipment for the Medical School.
  • For the establishment and maintenance of chairs of medicine and surgery.
  • For the endowment of medical research work and the granting of scholarships within the Medical
  • School.


    (Photo: Gillian Ching)
    Turning 100 is a major milestone for the arcade, particularly in an era of instant gratification, disposability and fast fashion. In memory of its past, the arcade has collected stories from visitors and retailers (which appear on its website) called Centenary Memories to share moments which have shaped its history. Comedic legend Barry Humphreys (aka Dame Edna Everidge and Sir Les Patterson) even features in the stories and recounts his visit to the arcade and his impressions of the building. He goes so far as to name it as one of his six favourite things in Brisbane.


    (Photo: Gillian Ching)

    There is also a space on the site where you can write and share your own memory of the Brisbane Arcade. Maybe it is the place where you bought your wedding dress, visited Darrell Lea chocolates, had tea with your mum or simply spent time in this living piece of Brisbane history.


    (Photo: Gillian Ching)

    What Else
    With two entry points, the Brisbane Arcade is free to visit and located in Adelaide and Queen Streets in the Brisbane Central Business District. Follow the celebratory signs in the Queen Street Mall to find the arcade and see the historical photographs from its past. So, perhaps considering re-visiting the past and making some new memories to help celebrate the 100 years of the Brisbane Arcade and wish it only the start of many more.


    (Photo: Gillian Ching)

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    283773 - 2024-04-19 08:44:26

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