Since opening in 1924, Brisbane arcade has a rich history
the HISTORICAL HEART OF BRISBANE CITY
The ‘Jewel in the Crown’ of Brisbane, Brisbane Arcade is Brisbane’s oldest shopping arcade. Believed to have been under construction in 1923 with the first store openings in 1924, the arcade’s history spans nearly a century, a milestone set to be celebrated in the coming years. Home to some of the city’s most iconic fashion designers, the arcade continues to buzz with local talent and production – making it a truly unique shopping destination in Brisbane and Queensland.
Long before Brisbane’s Queen Street Mall was dotted with concept stores, multi-level shopping centres and superstores, the city’s consummate shoppers have flocked to Brisbane Arcade to enjoy couture fashion, jewellery, tailors, dining and other shopping experiences. Today, Brisbane Arcade’s interiors speak of a bygone era of shopping elegance and old world charm.
Brisbane Arcade, in the Queen Street Mall, was built in 1923 and designed by architect Richard Gailey Jr for Dr James Mayne and his sister Mary Emelia Mayne. Brisbane Arcade has had a checkered history. Prior to construction, the Mayne family was shunned by society and socially outcast when it was alleged that their family patriarch, Patrick Mayne (James and Mary Emelia’s father), had confessed to murdering a man to steal a significant sum of money that had enabled him to establish the Mayne family wealth and, subsequently, Brisbane Arcade.
Brisbane Arcade was designed by Richard Gailey Jr, who is regarded as one of Queensland’s most important earlier architects. The building is located on a long narrow plot of land in the central city linking Queen Street to Adelaide Street. The design of the Arcade reflects the archetype of the traditional shopping arcade, which developed in Europe in the late 18th century.
The Arcade provides a pedestrian thoroughfare between two of the city’s busiest streets, with three levels of shops (basement, street, gallery levels) flanking a lofty central gallery under a solid roof with clerestory lighting. Architectural details of interest include the Edwardian Baroque style street facades, original terrazzo stairs, balustrades and dado panelling. The Brisbane Arcade received Heritage Listing in 1992.
THE MAYNE FAMILY
The history of the Mayne Family is captured in the iconic book The Mayne Inheritance, by Rosamond Siemon, published through the University of Queensland Press, in 1997. The Mayne siblings became great benefactors to the University of Queensland. He gave the university the land for their St Lucia campus. Brisbane Arcade was also established in a Trust and proceeds from the Trust still benefit the University of Queensland Medical School and medical research.
My dad’s shop ‘Stev’s Jewellery’ was on the second floor in the arcade during the 1970s-80s when I grew up. Best memories.
MEMORIES, STORIES & TALES
Brisbane Arcade holds a special place in so many people’s hearts and minds as well as Brisbane’s history.
There are 95 years of memories, stories and tales that make up Brisbane Arcade’s rich tapestry of history.
Whether it was where your engagement ring or wedding gown was purchased, or you worked in the many shops that have made up Brisbane Arcade’s past and present, there are countless stories to be told and cherished.