Treasury's Historic Heritage

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Celebrating 20 Years - A Treasured History

2015 marks a milestone year for Treasury as we celebrate 20 years as a premier entertainment destination. As the trusted caretakers of the cherished Heritage Listed Treasury Casino & Hotel buildings, the year has seen us undertake a major Heritage Conservation Project to ensure the buildings’ pristine condition is maintained.

Heritage Conservation Project

With only a few Heritage Listed Buildings in Brisbane, the need to preserve our cultural heritage is of even higher importance.

As the trusted caretakers of the cherished heritage Treasury Casino & Hotel buildings, 2015 has seen the commencement of a major Heritage Conservation Project to ensure the buildings’ pristine condition is maintained.

This meticulous, multi-million dollar conservation project for the two sandstone buildings typically requires six months to restore each building façade.

Queensland Heritage Masonry Director Vincent Mackenzie-Ross leads the small team behind the heritage conservation program and brings more than 38 years of stonemasonry experience from his work across heritage buildings, cemeteries, churches, monuments, and war memorials.

A fixed gantry and scaffold has been erected on the Queen Street side of the Treasury Casino building. Entry to the Casino and its restaurants and bars are still accessible via the central stairs.

This page will be updated with progress to this major project as it happens. 

Treasury Building - a brief history

Prior to the Treasury Building's construction the site housed a two-storey military barracks. In 1901, the proclamation of the federation of the Australian Commonwealth was read by the Governor of Queensland Baron Lamington from a balcony on the William Street elevation.

The Queensland Government Cabinet met in the building until the 1905, when the Premier's Department moved into the Executive Building (subsequently known as the Lands Administration Building) in George Street. Subsequently, more departments moved out and the Treasury Building, along with the Lands Administration Building were sold and now form the Treasury Casino.

The Treasury was erected in three stages between 1886 and 1928. In 1883, a design competition for a two-storeyed building was won by Melbourne architects Grainger and D'Ebro. However this design was never used as the Queensland Colonial Architect, John James Clark, argued that the site warranted a four-storeyed complex built in stages.. Clark's own neo-Italianate design, entered in the competition prior to his appointment, was used. Clarke is also known for his earlier work on the Old Treasury Building in Melbourne and other public works in Perth.

The first stage of the building to be completed was the William Street and part of the Queen St frontages and was built by the Phippard Brothers. When completed in September 1889, the new building was occupied by the Premier, Colonial Secretary, Registrar-General, Treasury, Mines, Works, Police and Auditor-General. The construction of stage two, which completed the Elizabeth Street section, was commenced almost immediately and was completed by February 1893. This new wing was occupied by the Registrar of Titles, Justice, Works, Public Instruction and the State Savings Bank. The final stage of construction was started in 1922 and the Queen and George street frontages were officially opened in 1928, providing additional space for the existing occupants. In 1961, a five-storey annexe was built in the courtyard.

The building is faced with sandstone ashlar except for the inner walls of the arcade. These brick walls are finished with lined and unpainted render imitating ashlar. Each phase of construction has used a different type of sandstone. A colour difference is discernible between the Highfields stone used for the first phase of construction, and the Helidon sandstones used for the later stages.The external walls sit on a porphyry plinth.

The design was proposed by Australian Architect John James Clark. In that time the treasury building would be home to many government authorities such as the Registrar-General, Premier, Treasury, Security, Mines, and the Police. However, from 1989 the Registrar-General was the sole occupant of the building, as other members of the government had moved to newer, more modern quarters. The building is an important symbol of the development and progress of Brisbane’s political history. The architectural style can be compared to that of the 16th-century Italian architecture.(EPA 2006) It has an accomplished design, detailing both exterior and interior, materials such as sandstone and boasts exquisite workmanship. The Queen Street entrance features a grand staircase.

Land Administration Building - a brief history

Enjoy the high quality materials, opulent detailing and world-class workmanship of this former Seat of State Power, including the oval Queensland maple cabinet table and hotel room 105, originally the office of the Minister for Lands.

The Treasury Heritage Hotel (formerly the Land Administration Building), built 1899–05, has an historic association with a number of government and civic institutions. The Executive Council and Cabinet met in the building from 1905 until 1971, and it housed the offices of the State Premiers of this period. It was also the home of the Lands Department and, between 1905 and 1930, the Queensland Art Gallery. It was the first major Edwardian Baroque building built in Australia and is the finest example of this style in Queensland.

The building symbolises the sense of state pride and achievement associated with the advent of federation and statehood at the turn of the 20th century. The themes of agriculture and mining are featured in the architectural detail and it proudly showcases authentic Queensland materials. The base course and plinth are made of granite obtained from Enoggera and Mount Crosby. Brown freestone from Helidon faces the outer walls and freestone from Yangan, near Warwick, was used on the colonnade walls. The beautiful joinery is constructed of Queensland timbers and the ceilings are finished with fibrous plaster incorporating bagasse, a sugar cane by-product.

Designed under the supervision of colonial architect Thomas Pye, the building is recognised as one of the highest achievements of the Government Architect’s Office at a time when a sustained body of high quality work was produced.

In the early 1990s, the Land Administration Building and neighbouring Treasury Building were leased by Jupiters Limited and converted to a luxury five-star hotel and casino. Architectural firm Allom Lovell Marquis-Kyle managed what was claimed to be the state’s largest heritage conservation project to date, re-opening to the public in April 1995. Great care was taken to restore the building to its former glory and create a splendid setting for Treasury Casino & Hotel’s guests.