Situated in the heart of the city of Brisbane in an historic precinct opposite Parliament House and the City Botanic Gardens, the Club is a five minute walk from the Queen Street Mall, 25 minutes by car from the International airport, 30 minutes by car from the Domestic airport and 60 minutes by car from the Gold or Sunshine Coasts.
History of the Club
At the time of separation from New South Wales, the whole of the population of Queensland was just over 28,000 people. Of these Brisbane claimed not more than 5,000, encouraged by fourteen churches, twelve policemen and thirteen public houses. In fact, Brisbane was about the size of Roma or Charleville of a few years ago.
There were no paved streets, no theatres and one cabby.
By 1850, Brisbane was, in fact, a town of weatherboard and shingles punctuated by three or four solid stone structures, left over from the convict administration, and the handful of larger buildings that had arisen in the intervening fifteen or twenty years.
Nor did Brisbane have things her own way in the matter of trade and influence as she has today. Right at the back door another settlement, Ipswich was marching step by step with her. Almost up to the time of separation the population of Ipswich was equal to and occasionally exceeded that of Brisbane. In 1856 Ipswich had 2,459 inhabitants to Brisbane’s 2,395.
In the early 1840’s the virgin bushlands of the Downs and the river valleys immediately below the Range echoed to the mustering cries and the cantering hoof beats of the squatters. They had ‘overlanded’ up from Sydney with their flocks and their herds, had built their first homesteads and brought in their families. Their wool was dragged by lumbering wagon and wool cheques came back in return. In a very short time they were established.
The Squatter of those days was a man of substance. He was a landowner, and as such assumed and was granted the status of landowners of the Old Country so familiar to early Australians. To these men and particularly to those from the Downs and the Brisbane River Valley, Ipswich was definitely the centre. Brisbane meant little to them, when they came to Ipswich, and if, of necessity, they had to go to Brisbane it simply meant an extra trip from, and back to, Ipswich.
Ipswich of the 1850 and early sixties claimed in the North Australian Jockey Club, the leading turf club north of Sydney. Another amenity set up there by the squatters, largely for themselves, was the North Australia Club which became a popular centre which rankled the people of Brisbane.
On the 6th December 1859, four days before Sir George Bowen landed in Brisbane to proclaim Queensland a state separate from New South Wales and to become its first governor, a meeting was held at the Exchange Rooms, North Brisbane. As a result of this meeting the Queensland Club was born and is four days older than the state of Queensland.
The first premise of the Club was a two storeyed brick residence on the north side of Mary Street about half way down the hill from George Street. The residence was purchased from the owner, the sheriff of Brisbane for 2,000 pounds. To the original building the Club immediately added a smoking room, a billiard room, and a wing containing a number of bedrooms.
On April 3rd 1870, it was partially destroyed by fire. The southern parts of the building, including the bar, the stranger’s room, the library, secretary’s room, the hall, a bedroom and most of the contents were, including the Club records, completely destroyed.
This Club house was restored, but by September 1880 there were 202 members of the Club, which taxed the facilities of the Mary Street Clubhouse to its limits.
The present site of the Club was purchased in October 1881 and work on the present building was commenced June 1882. By the end of that year work was well under way.
The architect was Mr F.D.G. Stanley who twenty years before had won second prize in a competition to decide the most suitable design for the new Houses of Parliament and who was responsible for the design of many fine buildings in Brisbane.
The old Clubhouse was closed on 26th May 1884, having been sold in October 1883, and part of the present Clubhouse was used as from that date.
This Clubhouse was opened and occupied on June 1st 1884 at a total cost of 24,000 pounds (Land, furniture and Building).
On November 25th, 1985 the Club suffered a second major fire that destroyed the roof of the Clubhouse and damaged much of the bedroom accommodation. Extensive renovations were undertaken and the refurbished Clubhouse was fully operational on Monday 6th April 1987.
19 George Street
Brisbane, Queensland 4000