History Museums Walk (Self Guided), Brisbane

Brisbane is a city that's proud to share its part of Australian heritage with visitors. Its best known museums offer a fascinating glimpse into both the national history and natural history of Australia. Take this tour to see the must-visit history museums of Brisbane on your trip through the city.
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History Museums Walk Map

Guide Name: History Museums Walk
Guide Location: Australia » Brisbane (See other walking tours in Brisbane)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 5
Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.3 Km or 2.1 Miles
Author: gene
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Victoria Barracks
  • Queensland Police Museum
  • The Museum of Brisbane
  • Commissariat Store
  • Queensland Maritime Museum
Victoria Barracks

1) Victoria Barracks

The Victoria Barracks is one of Brisbane’s oldest buildings and was first built in 1864. Most of the buildings that can still be seen today date from around Federation at the beginning of the 20th century. In recent years parts of the unused barracks have been converted into a dining, shopping and cinema precinct, where you can sample some excellent Australian fusion food in a historically rich setting. The military section of the barracks is under the control of the Army History Unit and the Queensland Military Heritage Foundation.

Within the museum there are army paraphernalia and artifacts dating from the Boer War at the end of the 19th century through to the 1970s. You will find old army uniforms, photographs, medals, a wide range of weaponry and memorabilia. It provides a fascinating glimpse at life in the Australian army and the contributions that diggers from South East Queensland have made to national and international security. Since the barracks is still officially in use as a Tri-Service Institution, it is not open to the public during the week: opening times are Sunday 1pm to 4pm or at other times by appointment only. The barracks is on Petrie Terrace in Paddington and there is no entry fee.
Queensland Police Museum

2) Queensland Police Museum

The Queensland Police Museum provides the chance to sneak a peek into the world of policing. With displays that cover the beginning of the Queensland Police in 1864 through to the present day it is a valuable historical record of the state as well as a chance to learn more about one of the most dramatic and intriguing of careers. Test your abilities as a gumshoe by collecting clues and trying to solve a murder at the museum. If you have ever thought that you could take on the best of Law and Order or CSI, then this is your chance to learn about forensics and how clues can be linked together to find the criminal and solve the mystery.

There are 25 displays in the museum and they cover Queensland Police history, famous state crimes, detective techniques, history of women in the police force, transport and operational systems. There is also a research library where you can visit and find archived data dating back to 1864.
The Museum of Brisbane

3) The Museum of Brisbane (must see)

The Museum of Brisbane is run by the city council and is dedicated to showcasing the different faces, historical and contemporary, of this sub-tropical state capital city. You will find fascinating displays dealing with the social history, built environment, natural, visual arts and design aspects of the city. The ethos of the museum is to present installations that guide the visitor towards developing an understanding of Brisbane’s people and communities and how they have worked together to create the city that you see today. It also encourages visitors to envisage the city that Brisbane will become in the future.

Favorite exhibitions tend to be those that highlight well known people or events and shine a light on facets that are previously unknown. Past favorites have included installations on the Whiskey Au Go Go fire bombing in the 1960s; the Mayne Family who endowed money to begin the University of Queensland and Lady Diamantina Bowen. The museum tends to feature many temporary exhibitions that run for a period of between six and eight weeks. In 2012 the museum moves from its temporary location to a newly renovated and extended site at the top of Brisbane’s City Hall. The museum is open every day between 10am and 5pm, Fridays till 7 pm, and is only closed on Anzac Day and Christmas Day. Entry is free.
Commissariat Store

4) Commissariat Store

The Commissariat stores is a fascinating little museum displaying all manner of strange and interesting historical artifacts relating to Brisbane's convict history. The staff is composed of volunteers only who are always ready to help visitors with passion and great knowledge. The Commissariat is also one of the oldest buildings in the city.
Hours: Tuesday to Friday 10am to 4pm
Queensland Maritime Museum

5) Queensland Maritime Museum (must see)

The Queensland Maritime Museum is located at the Kangaroo Point end of the Southbank Parklands and was opened in 1971. Located on the banks of the Brisbane River it is home to a vast collection of Queensland and Australian maritime historical documents and artifacts. Since Brisbane has always been a bustling port city, there is a lot of valuable historical information to be gleaned on a visit here. The museum is divided into different exhibitions that focus on: Navigation, Lighthouses, Ship Models, Marine Engines, Vessels, and the Dry Dock. The library onsite has extensive archived information relating to pearling, immigration, shipwrecks, commercial ships and yachts.

The Dry Dock at the museum is one of the most important signs of Queensland’s colonial past. It was proposed in 1870 and building began in 1875 by 1881 it was functioning. It was also of strategic importance during World War II when it was used by the major allied defense to service around 50 submarines amongst other navy vessels. Visitors also get to board the Diamantina, which was a Queensland built WWII vessel and you can see how navy officers lived and worked on deck. The Queensland Maritime Museum is open every day from 9:30am to 4:30pm.

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