Plan to Restore Brisbane’s Old Museum Unveiled

The Queensland Government has unveiled plans to fully restore the Old Museum in Bowen Hills.

The state government announced that it will be setting aside $3 million for the maintenance of the heritage-listed building. But to completely restore the museum, at least $60 million is needed.

To generate the needed funds, the government will create a fundraising body, which will be chaired by Chris Freeman AM. Queensland Governor Paul de Jersey has agreed to be the patron of the fundraising body.

Mr Freeman chairs the Queensland Performing Arts Trust and is a director of Sunland Group Ltd. He is also a member of Brisbane City Council Urban Futures Board.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said that the task will be a challenge worthy of the talents of the governor and Mr Freeman. She also stated that the restoration is an important bridge to connect Queensland’s history and its future.

“The Old Museum will continue to be owned by Queenslanders but will form part of the precinct, for use by the RNA, during the EKKA each year,” she said.

Significance of the Museum

The Old Museum was built in 1891 for the Queensland National Agricultural and Industrial Association. It was formerly called the Exhibition Building and Concert Hall. The state government took over the building in 1897.

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The building’s concert hall became the main venue for concerts in Brisbane.  The concert hall was later transformed into the Queensland Art Gallery before the museum collection was moved to South Bank.

In 1992, the Old Museum was listed on the Queensland Heritage Register. It is one of the most important works of G H M Addison and is considered as one of the most substantial works of the building boom in the late 19th century in Brisbane.

Today, the Old Museum is a venue for many performances and is also the home of the Queensland Youth Orchestras and other various musical groups, including the Brisbane Symphony Orchestra and the Brisbane Philharmonic Orchestra.