During the past 150 years Queensland Governors have resided in and worked from two important Brisbane locations: Old Government House at Gardens Point, and Government House, or Fernberg in Paddington.
Old Government House 1862–1910
Located at Gardens Point overlooking the Botanic Gardens, Queensland’s first Government House was completed in May 1862 and was occupied soon thereafter by Sir George Bowen, Queensland’s first Governor, and his family.
For 48 years the House served as a private family home and official State office for eleven governors. Within the Governor’s Library, many important decisions were made to advance Queensland’s development, and within the house and gardens, countless balls, receptions, dinners and garden parties were held.
A decision to relocate
In 1909 it was decided that a new, larger Government House would be built. A search began to accommodate the Governor while the new Government House was constructed in Victoria Park.
Many of Brisbane’s finest houses were submitted for consideration but Fernberg was selected, with the Queensland Government signing a three-year lease in March 1910.
In early 1911, the Queensland Government purchased Fernberg and its forty-one acres of land for £10,000. Though the foundations had been laid for the new Government House at Victoria Park, its construction was stalled and finally abandoned. Fernberg became the official residence of Queensland Governors.
History of Fernberg
Queensland’s Government House, also known as Fernberg (German for distant mountain), is a working vice-regal residence - a unique combination of private residence, busy office, public symbol of the State’s prestige, guardian of important traditions, and proud protector of the State’s history and heritage. The property has changed hands multiple times during its lifetime, but has been the official residence and workplace of Queensland Governors for more than a century.
‘Fernberg’ was one of the first houses built in Brisbane’s Paddington area and since 1910, has been the home and workplace of Queensland Governors. As a heritage-listed, State-owned residence surrounded by 14 hectares of Estate, it is an important Queensland landmark steeped in historical, cultural and environmental significance.