About the Venues
Old Government House, 2 George Street Brisbane
Old Government House was completed in May 1862 and served as the official residence for Queensland’s first eleven governors. It was designed by Queensland’s first Government Architect Charles Tiffin in a Greek revival style and was built by Joshua Jeays in 18 months using the finest locally sourced materials. Looking at the House today it is apparent that it was an important colonial building and events like today help us to get a sense of its former grandeur and atmosphere.
Music regularly resonated throughout the House whether it was the private piano practicing of the lady of the house or a band playing at one of the many vice-regal functions. A beautiful reminder of this time is the 1905 ‘Bechstein’ miniature grand piano in the Hall purchased at the request Lady Chelmsford for her own use in the family’s many private and public performance.
Rockton, today described as a large Victorian mansion, commenced as a three room brick cottage constructed in 1855 for bank manager William Craies and his wife Sabina. From the 1860s Rockton featured verandahs, an entrance hall, dining and drawing rooms, four bedrooms and a nursery. Later owners extended the house with a more elaborate two-storeyed wing that included bedrooms, bathrooms and a staircase leading to a steeply hipped roof capped by a widows’ walk with cast iron lace balustrading, and a tower which was added around 1900.
The breezeway created between the 1865 wing and the 1890s extension was enclosed to form a ballroom in which concerts are held today. The current owners are Angela and Wybe Geertsma. Angela’s grandparents, Will and Laura Haenke, purchased Rockton in 1918 when it was in a state of disrepair. Rockton has since been returned to its original grandeur, surrounded by tranquil gardens.
St Mary’s Anglican Church, 455 Main Street Kangaroo Point
‘St Mary’s-on-the-Cliffs’ is one of Brisbane’s most historic churches. Built in 1873 by Alfred Grant and designed in Neo-Gothic style by Richard Suter, the current stone building replaced an earlier wooden church that was on the site from 1849. Built of Brisbane tuff or porphyry, the unlined nave features timber trusses while the sanctuary is plaster-lined with three painted by noted artist Godfrey Rivers. The organ which was installed in 1876 was imported from a London church, and is the oldest such instrument in Queensland, with some pipes dating back to the 1600s.
Due to its central and prominent position above the Kangaroo Point cliffs, St Mary’s is closely linked to Queensland’s history. In addition to serving as the state’s naval chapel, in colonial times St Mary’s was the home church of the early governors who lived just across the river at Old Government House. The church was placed on the Queensland Heritage Register in 1992, having satisfied the various criteria relating to a building of cultural significance. St Mary’s has a proud musical tradition and is frequently used as a concert venue.