We had booked one of the free tours to start at 11.30am. City Hall was built in the 1920s and opened in 1930. It was recently closed for about 18 months while it was being restored. The main reason for the renovation was the city hall was sinking. It is built on land that was originally marshes and while piles were used in the initial construction, the years had taken their toll. Aside from saving city hall from sinking, renovations and additions were made in other areas of the building, including digging out underneath the auditorium to build an industrial kitchen (previously all catering had to be brought in). As the venue is used by out Lord Mayor and can be hired by residents for events (at an exorbitant fee) it really needed an onsite kitchen.
One of the significant discoveries made during the updating was an original wall which was once a part of the mens urinals (lovely I know). But back during World War 2, men took it upon themselves to leave a mark on the wall. As it turns out, all the names that could be read have been checked out and every man who signed the wall made it through the war alive. And funnily enough, one of the men is my father's uncle. Small world, especially since we originally hail from Mackay (about a 13 hour drive North).
After our tour, we headed down to the Shingle Inn which is newly located on ground level. It is constructed from the original 1936 Shingle Inn cafe which was built in the city. When refurbished in the 90s, the interior was put into storage. Now, they have rebuilt it into City Hall where it is well used. A booking is necessary if you want to visit, but it is worth it for the lovely atmosphere. The staff even dress in traditional maid ensembles.
To finish off our day, we headed up to the top floor where the Brisbane City Museum is now located (previously on the ground floor). It has much more room now and the exhibits have a very professional and polished look. The exhibit currently on display is Hollywood Costumes from the 30s, 40s and 50s. The collection is a personal one from a Brisbane lover of vintage film. The costumes were amazing and it was lovely to see pieces from films that I love on display.
And a photo from the kids area to finish: