Queensland Art Gallery and Gallery of Modern Art

Fast Facts

Duration: 1-2 hours
Price Guide: $0
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Queensland Art Gallery and Gallery of Modern Art

The Queensland Art Gallery and Gallery of Modern Art form part of the Queensland Cultural Centre, which also include the Queensland Museum, the Performing Arts Centre and the State Library of Queensland. The galleries are symbols of the State’s artistic and cultural development, and are great places for all to see.

Starting the tour

Start at Central Station (alternatively, if you’re already in the city, start from Queen St Mall – skip to section 2 directions).

Section 1:

Exit via the main entrance onto Ann Street. Cross the road and walk right, taking your first left down Edward Street. Continue walking for around 5-10 minutes; soon you will see Queen Street Mall to your right.


Queen Street Mall – originally part of Queen Street and named after Queen Victoria – is said to be Brisbane’s ‘premier shopping destination’. It was closed to traffic in 1982 and since then has become home to over 700 specialty stores and six centres, including: Broadway on the Mall, MacArthur Central, Queens Plaza and The Myer Centre – all of which are home to highly sought-after fashion retailers; from high street stores to exclusive designers. Whether it’s banking, boutiques, cinema, entertainment, fashion, food, or shopping you’re after, look no further.

Section 2:

Turn down Queen Street Mall and continue straight until you reach the end, cross the road into Brisbane Square.


In this small square are a variety of things – you will notice various artworks (they look like giant metal spheres – good for taking photos on!) scattered around. To your left is the former Treasury Building, now a Conrad Casino – erected in three stages between 1865 and 1928; it was designed by architect John James Clark. It was said that the notion in the design brief was: ‘to express the majesty of government and the dignity of public service’. The exterior walls are sandstone ashlar, whilst the inner walls of the arcade are imitate ashlar – the architecture itself is compared to that of 16th-century Italian works. In the 1890s and early 1900s the building hosted patriotic displays and was widely seen as a symbol of self-government – to this day it is still an important representation of the progress in Brisbane’s political history. It wasn’t until 1905 that the Premier’s Department of the Queensland Government Cabinet moved into the Executive Building (subsequently known as the Lands Administration Building) in George Street. Soon they were followed by more departments and eventually no longer formed at the Treasury Building. Subsequently, it was sold and is now a Conrads Casino; a huge contrast in ulitisation when compared to its once political aspirations. Now, it is a place of vibrance and entertainment – with five bars and six restaurants to choose from, not to mention 80 gaming tables and 1300 (!) gaming machines (more than anywhere else in Queensland) – it’s a 24/7 party if you’re gambling inclined. Opposite the Casino is the ‘Brisbane Square’ building – a new addition to Brisbane’s high rise buildings; it is home to Brisbane City Council and was completed in late 2006, after long construction delays. It has 38 floors and rises to 151 metres. Its use is not particularly exciting; mainly used for office space and retailers. It is however the largest commercial office building in Australia to have won a 5 star Green rating. Directly beneath it lies the new Brisbane City Council central library. There is one hour of free internet per day to be had here, but only if you sign up (proof of address needed) There is also a large selection of magazines (vintage and new) to be read, if you can’t afford to keep buying your trashy – but much loved – gossip magazines.

Section 3:

Cross the square and head over Victoria Bridge (keeping to the right hand side)


Victoria Bridge is the fifth crossing of the Brisbane River and is celebrated as Brisbane’s first permanent bridge. It connects the Brisbane central business district (CBD) to South Bank. It can be walked, driven or cycled across. The original bridge built here in 1865 lived an extraordinarily short life of two years before collapsing due to a marine wood worm infestation. A replacement was built in 1874, lasting slightly longer before being washed away in the floods of 1893. A third bridge was built in in 1897 and lasted until 1969, when the current bridge was opened, which has lasted til this day (hurrah). The stone abutments at each end were designed by Arthur Midson. On the southern side of the arch there is a marble memorial tablet, placed in remembrance of 11-year-old Hector Vasyli, who was tragically killed in a road traffic accident on the site in 1918 when welcoming returning soldiers. The Brisbane River flows right through the city and empties itself into Moreton Bay. It is dammed by the Wivenhoe Dam, which forms the main water supply for Brisbane. Sea Cat passenger ferries and boat cruises operate daily along the river, which are undoubtedly a superb way to see the city’s sights.

Section 4:

When over the bridge, immediately turn right. You will see the art gallery to your left.


The Gallery also has a children’s art centre, an innovative program that aims to develop youths for visual arts.

Opening hours: Monday-Friday 10:00-17:00. Weekends: 09:00-17:00

Section 5:

The Gallery of Modern Art is located just 150m from the Queensland Art Gallery – exit via the sculptures and gardens side – and it is directly in front of you.


The Gallery of Modern Art is a more recent addition to the Cultural Centre; having been opened in 2006. Inside are varied displays of significant indigenous art, including ‘Urban Dingo: The Art and Life of Lin Onus 1948-1996’ and ‘Balance 1990: View, Visions, Influences’.
The artworks mainly focus around the twentieth and twenty-first century, and Queenslanders are encouraged to see them – there are even travelling exhibitions that tour to remote regional areas to ensure all can see them.

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