Almost 150 years since being built, the General Post Office in Queen street is still up and running in its original function. Today Lord Mayor Graham Quirk looks back at the history of the heritage listed building. 

  • Built in 1872 the heritage listed GPO in Queen Street still operates today.
  • Few would know, however, that before its construction it was the site of a woman’s prison.
  • A permanent post office was required due to Brisbane’s growing population, which had reached more than 30,000 in 1859.
  •  The General Post Office was built by John Petrie to replace the temporary post office also located in Queen Street.
  • Petrie drew on local materials and expertise in the erection of the new building, using porphyry from Kangaroo Point, sandstone from Murphy’s Creek and Breakfast Creek and iron from Smellie & Co for the upper floor columns and railings.  
  •  The new General Post Office was finally opened to the public in September 1872.
  • The first typewriter to be used in any post office in any Australian city was used at the Brisbane GPO in 1892.
  • The General Post Office was also home to the Queensland Museum between 1873 and 1879 and during World War II the front of the post office was used as a saluting dais for military parades.
  • Due to the post office’s close proximity to Brisbane’s first power station, it became the first building in Brisbane to become an electricity customer.
  • In fact the General Post Office is thought to be the first consumer of electricity in the British Commonwealth outside of Great Britain.
  •  To learn more about the history of the General Post Office join one of Council’s Classic City Centre Heritage Trails.
  •  To download a copy of the heritage trail visit