In 1863, the site for Queensland’s first Parliament House was chosen and an architectural competition was held throughout Australia in search of a design. Charles Tiffin, Queensland’s colonial architect won the competition and in July 1865, the foundation stone of Parliament House was laid. Finally on 4 August 1868, Members of the Queensland Parliament met for the official opening of Parliament House. It was regarded by all as the finest building in Queensland.
Drawing inspiration from the French renaissance revival style, the gracious two story building is characterised by solid sandstone colonnades, a porte-cochère and interior grassed courtyard.
As was typical of the era, most of the ornamental fittings, such as lighting, plasterwork, ornamental glass, tiles, balustrades and marble mantelpieces were imported from England. Much of the furniture, still used today, including the desks for the Speaker and President in the chambers, large tables used in the chambers, chairs, bookcases and shelving in the libraries was provided by local builder John Petrie, made from Queensland yellowwood and cedar.
In the late 1890s, the extension facing Alice Street was added and included offices and Members’ facilities. A high-rise concrete annex was built in 1979, housing ministerial suites, offices, lounges and additional function spaces. Accommodation was also built, making it the only Parliament in Australia to provide on-site accommodation for regional members during sitting weeks. An extensive renovation of the annexe took place in 1981 and in 2022, it is once again being updated.