Customs House, Brisbane

Customs House, Brisbane
Customs House

Customs House from Queen Street
General information
Architectural style Victorian Free Classical
Location Brisbane, Queensland
Address 399 Queen Street, Brisbane
Coordinates 27°27′56″S 153°01′52″E / 27.465465°S 153.031113°E / -27.465465; 153.031113Coordinates: 27°27′56″S 153°01′52″E / 27.465465°S 153.031113°E / -27.465465; 153.031113
Current tenants University of Queensland
Construction started 1886
Completed 1889
Renovated 1994
Cost ₤38,346
Technical details
Floor count 3
Design and construction
Owner Government of Australia
Architect Charles McLay
Architecture firm Queensland Colonial Architect's Office

Customs House is a building located on Queen Street by the Brisbane River in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. It was originally used for the collection of customs duty and was both completed and opened in 1889,[1] when Queensland was a British colony, replacing the original Customs House located at Petrie Bight. Construction was finished in three years at a cost of ₤38,346.[2] The downstream end of the Brisbane central business district was selected to spur the development of wharves in the precinct known as Petrie Bight.[3]

Customs House is a Brisbane landmark known for its distinctive copper dome.[3] The building was designed by Charles McLay of the Queensland Colonial Architect's Office.[4] Despite no government in the country having a coat of arms at the time, the building features a depiction on its facade of a shield between an emu and kangaroo.[1] An iron balustrade was shipped from England with the initials VR wrought on it. Inside the structure features black and white marble with cedar fittings.[4]

The building became redundant when port facilities moved to the Port of Brisbane at the mouth of the Brisbane River, resulting in its closure in April 1988.[4] The building is now leased by the University of Queensland and was refurbished between 1991 and 1994, at a cost of A$7.5 million.[4] There is a restaurant and function centre within the building, and regular concerts and art exhibitions are also held here. The Long Room was once the place customs business was transacted.[3] Today the room is used for lectures and dinners.

The Customs House was registered on the Register of the National Estate in 1980.

Customs House is within reach of the CityCat catamaran ferry service, as well as the Free Loop Bus.



  1. ^ a b Readshaw, Grahame; Ronald Wood (1987). Looking up looking back at old Brisbane. Bowen Hills, Queensland: Boolarong Publications. pp. 38. ISBN 0864390327. 
  2. ^ Customs House. University of Queensland. 2008. 
  3. ^ a b c Gregory, Helen (2007). Brisbane Then and Now. Wingfield, South Australia: Salamander Books. pp. 20–21. ISBN 9781741730111. 
  4. ^ a b c d Hacker, D. R. (1999). Petries Bight: a Slice of Brisbane History. Bowen Hills, Queensland: Queensland Women's Historical Association Inc. pp. 12. ISBN 0959027181. 

External links

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