Dating back to 1829, Brisbane’s heritage-listed Commissariat Store is one of only two surviving buildings that date back to Queensland’s convict period. Built in a back-breaking four months by recidivist criminals sent to Queensland’s Moreton Bay Penal Settlement as extra punishment, the Commissariat Store was originally built as a government storehouse. Surrounded by the gleaming skyscrapers of the Central Business District, today the Commissariat Store is known as the Birthplace of Brisbane, representing the beginning of European settlement in Australia.
On the river by Queens Wharf Road, today the Commissariat Store is a museum run by the Royal Historical Society of Queensland. On a visit, you can learn the story and struggle of the penal colony through the exhibits and convict-era objects on display. You’ll even see a small glass jar with the remains of some of the prisoners’ fingertips. There’s also an impressive art collection at the museum, and it’s worth seeing the 1940s painting, View of Brisbane, by Vida Lahey. Volunteer guides can also show you around the museum for no extra charge.
Photo courtesy of the Commissariat Store.
Open Tuesday to Friday from 10-4pm, the Commissariat Store museum is on 115 William Street in the CBD. Adult tickets cost $6, and children’s tickets cost $3. Guided tours are free.