Government House History

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.

The history of Queensland’s Government House

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.

 Read more about the History of Fernberg.