Having only been to Brisbane a handful of times, and even then mostly with family, I am determined to make my next visit something different. We hear a lot of talk about Brisbane's tourist attractions, what with all the parks and walks and other outdoor activities there are available all year round, but I've personally never been much of an outdoor person. Give me a museum, or a tour of a building any day.
Here is my preliminary list of historical sites to visit in and around Brisbane. If there are any major ones that locals believe I should check out that isn't on this list, please let me know!
The Windmill Tower, also known as the Brisbane Observatory, or the Old Windmill, is a State Heritage building that was built back in 1828. According to the Queensland Heritage Register, this is one of two buildings still remaining from the Moreton Bay penal settlement. It is the oldest windmill tower in Australia, and the only one built by convicts, and was used for a variety of purposes over the years, from grain grinding, to timekeeping, and even as a radio and telecomms station. It was registered as a heritage site in October 1992.
Observatory at the top of the old Windmill in Brisbane, ca. 1892. State Library of Queensland, 2008,
This building is a testament to Brisbane's economic growth during its early settlement, and is a major work of renowned Australian architect John James Clark. It exhibits Italian Renaissance-style architecture, erected in three stages between 1886 and 1928, and carries immense creative and architectural significance. The site itself has been associated with government and administration in Queensland since 1825, as convict-built officers' quarters and barracks; and was associated with the Treasury from the 1860s. It has been the site of Treasury Casino since 1995.
This is probably one of the most notorious gaols in Australian history. It started off as the Brisbane Gaol in 1883, and a women's gaol was added in 1903, one of the first gaols designed and built especially for women. It later became the site for prisoners serving the longest sentences, including those with life sentences. The site itself is now available for various tours, and as a venue for events, weddings, film, and photography.
The Barracks 25-61 Petrie Terrace, Petrie Terrace, Brisbane 4000
Formerly known as the Petrie Terrace Police Depot, The Barracks is now primarily a retail precinct with restaurants, bars, cafes, the Palace Cinemas, and various other shops. It had a long-standing association with law enforcement since the 1850s, and functioned as police barracks from 1885 to the mid-1980s. The site also houses other elements of historical significance, including remnants of the former Brisbane Gaol, the 1912 police stables, and the 1936 police garage and workshop. It was added to the State Heritage register in July 1999.