Paul Budde's History Archives

The Military Compound

Going from the Convict Barrack in Queen Street towards the corner with George street.

A site, 300 yards away from the convict barracks,  had been reserved, as instructed by Governor Brisbane for  the military barracks. The first ones being constructed in 1825 as two slab huts. They were for the sergeant, the corporal and 12 privates Separate huts were build for the married couples. They stood on the corner of what is now Queen Street and North Quay, the site of the present Brisbane Square. However, it rapidly became clear that they were not sufficient for the new troops that arrived with Captain Bishop in August 1825.  A few temporarily wings was added to the existing structure.

It was not until 1828 that new barracks were build on the other side of Queen Street where now the Treasury Building (Casino) is situated. It could accommodate up to 100 soldiers.  In 1831 the old site became the second lumber yard. In 1848 the barracks were used to house the first immigrants that arrived in 1848 on the barque Artemisia.

By the 1860s the barracks had deteriorated to such an extent that they were described in the local press as “wretched and dilapidated hovels… repugnant and harrowing and an abominable shed”. 

The 12th (East Suffolk) Regiment of Foot vacated the barracks  in 1864, when the Green Hill Barracks were built. This wasn’t appreciated by the town folk. The emerging township heavily depended on the military for law and order and moving them outside the settlement would make the town less safe. The soldiers  were needed in fire fighting. There had been several serious fires in these years. The many timber building were a serious fire hazard especially when there was no fire fighting service set up in the town.

The existing buildings were renovated (?) and occupied by the Registrar-General, Treasury and Engineer of Harbours.  In 1874 a single-storey building for the Registrar-General replaced the barracks anticipating a government redevelopment of what had become known as Treasury Square.

Green Hills Barracks

A site on western edge of the ‘Green Hills’  – next the the newly erected goal – was used to construct the new ‘Green Hills Barracks’  (Petrie Terrace). The new barracks consisted of a guard room, a barracks block and officer’s quarters.

Initially the barracks expanded in subsequent years to include a military hospital and a magazine, however, after the British soldiers went back to Britain the barracks rapidly lost their military function. From 1870 to 1995 it became the police barracks. Once Australia started the build up their own military force the barracks were re-occupied by the army and at that time they received the name Victoria Barracks. It now became the headquarters of the Queensland Defence Force. After Federation in 1901 control of the site went to the newly formed Australian Army.

Victoria Barracks 2019

Victoria Barracks 2019

The Commander’s Compound

The building of Brisbane TOC

Convict History of Brisbane TOC