Brisbane Open House on Saturday 1 October will open up some of our city's best-known and most beautiful buildings for free public tours. So, if you've ever wanted to step inside the mysterious Masonic Temple, take a peek behind the scenes at QPAC, or visit the exclusive Tattersall's Club, here's your chance.
Brisbane Open House is an initiative of the Queensland Government, National Trust and the Brisbane Development Association. It aims to encourage an appreciation of good design, and to increase engagement between people and the city's significant buildings. It began with great success last year, when a range of Brisbane buildings welcomed more than 12,500 curious visitors.
This year, more than 30 buildings are on the open house list, dotted throughout the CBD, Fortitude Valley and South Brisbane. This is a rare chance to experience guided and self-guided tours through buildings and parts of buildings normally off limits to the public, or to get a free squiz at places that normally charge admission fees.
A highlight for me will be the beautiful Masonic Temple on Ann Street (built 1928-1930), which I've often admired from the street, but never stepped inside. It will be open for tours from 9am to 4pm. Old Parliament House on the corner of George and Alice streets (built in the 1850s) will be open for self-guided tours from 10am to 2pm, while Tattersall's Club on Queen Street (built 1926) will run pre-booked tours at 9am and 10am.
If you want something a bit more modern, you can tour behind the scenes at the Queensland Performing Arts Centre, or take a look at the high-tech book-sorting machine at Brisbane City Council's Brisbane Square Library. And, if you're more the seafaring type, you can step on board the historical HMAS Diamantina at the Maritime Museum at South Bank.
Check the full list on the Brisbane Open House website for details of all the buildings and tours. Be aware that you need to book in advance for some tours, and some also have dress codes for visitors (no thongs at Tattersall's, for example...).
And, if you fancy yourself a photographer, take your camera with you for a chance to win the $1000 prize for the person who takes the best photo of an Open House building on the day.