Overlooking the steel-grey waters of the Brisbane harbor, The State Library of Queensland is a treasure trove of knowledge and information. The library provides general information and research services on history, maps, rare books and the visual arts. Moreover, the establishment also offers free Internet (bookings required) and screens free films every Sunday. The library also provides a wide range of services that includes audio/visual stations, photocopying books and manuscripts and helping the local populace trace down their ancestry thanks to their extensive genealogy records.
Since the Gardens' opening in 1976, more than 52 hectares (130 acres) has been developed to represent plant varieties from around the world. Attractions include the Fragrant Plant and Herb Garden; the Exotic Rainforest; Japanese Garden; Tropical Dome Display; Arid Region Plants & Cactus House and the Lagoon & Bamboo Grove. A 30-minute self-guided tour of the Aboriginal Plant Display shows plants used by Aborigines for medicine, shelter and food.
Located in the South Bank Parklands, the Queensland Art Gallery is recognized as one of the most innovative and exciting visual arts centers in Australia. The gallery's diverse series of exhibitions have extensively covered all areas of the visual arts including photography, fine art, modern art, indigenous art and sculpture. Guest speakers, lectures, festivals and lively educational programs have further enhanced the gallery's reputation.
The Commissariat Store is one of the two oldest buildings in Brisbane, the other one being the Old Windmill. Steeped in history, the building was built by convicts in the 1820s. As new facets of the building come to light (like the recently excavated brick-made drains in the basement), the building becomes more and more intriguing for the common man. Used as an immigrant house in the past, the Store now functions as the headquarters of the Royal Historical Society of Queensland. A museum and the well-stocked library are also located in the building. The Commissariat Store is being used to host cultural events like book launches and music concerts too.
The Gallery of Modern Art, affectionately known as GOMA, is among the foremost art venues in Brisbane. While the neighboring Queensland Art Gallery features historic pieces, GOMA, which opened in 2006, celebrates art from the 20th and 21st centuries. The museum promotes Australian artists and international talent. Known to host some avant-garde and futuristic work, this large contemporary art gallery in Australia, is a haven for the artistically inclined. They regularly host art programs, lectures, and workshops for budding artists.
A part of the Queensland Cultural Center at South Bank, the Queensland Performing Arts Complex provides outstanding facilities for musicals, opera, dance, theater and orchestral performances. The complex features four major performance areas: the Cremorne Theatre, Lyric Theatre, Optus Playhouse and Concert Hall. Each venue has aspects specifically designed for different styles of productions and boasts breathtaking views across the Brisbane River. The complex also has the Lyrebird Restaurant, the Promenade Café, bars and a gift shop. Show timings vary.
Redback Art Gallery was set up in 1989 in order to showcase and sell leading Aboriginal artwork. The Gallery has developed links with many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and has exhibited large community shows drawing from talent across the nation. Some of the community exhibitions have come from Turkey Creek (Western Australia), Utopia (Northern Territory), and Aurukun (Queensland). There have also been memorable solo exhibitions from such renowned artists as Emily Kngwarreye, Joseph Jurra, and Queenie McKenzie. The Gallery also has close contact with the local Brisbane art community.
Within the St. John's Cathedral precinct is an old house noted for its steeply pitched roof, upper story oriel window and narrow arched windows, which are most unusual. This historic old house was opened in 1909, as the first part of a two stage development next to St John's Cathedral. All the buildings in this area resemble the Gothic style of architecture. Wander around, admiring this interesting historic building and also explore the reading room tucked within.
Walking through the gates you are greeted by a white Buddha in the grounds, with two elephant guards-statues of course. This interesting temple was built by Chinese market gardeners in 1884 and was restored and opened to the Brisbane Chinese community in 1966. Two small shrines (shoes off please) featuring red and gold, are spiritual places to meditate. Amongst the artifacts on show is a rather incongruous shelf of ordinary cooking oils-used for burning candles.
Built in 1868 as the home of the first Anglican Bishop of Brisbane, the stately sandstone building, Bishopsbourne is shaded by a surround of arcades on two levels of the large rectangular classic shape. The slate roof has many double chimneys and the iron balustrade on the upper level is an intricate design. Adjacent stands the chapel, a simple building of rough-faced stone, dedicated in 1912. Inside the rough porphyry gives a feeling of going way back in time, almost middle ages! Very spiritual. Both buildings are now part of the Theological College; entrances Milton Road and Baroona Road.
Focusing on the Aboriginal fine art from the Central and Western desert, Emu Apple Gallery displays the works of the most renowned artists in the business. Sourced straight from the Aboriginal art centers in Central Australia the art work at the gallery is from the place where the Aboriginal art movement commenced way back in 1972. As the story goes, the Pintupi tribe was taken to the Papuna settlement so that they could all live and be settled in the same place, and this marked the beginning of the movement. This kind of art only grows in value and demand. One example of the art and its artist is Daphne deJersey who is well known for the Pink Charlie Fruit. She acquired her knowledge and interest of bush food from her mother and grandmother. Other well known artists displayed at the venue are Marsha Hall, Judy Watson Napangardi and Margaret Mara. Do check the website or call for more details.
An African art store, Fafali Gallery shows off everything African. The passion that comes to an artist is two-fold when shared with the persons appreciating the piece of art. The same applies to the magic and wonder of African artworks. What is fabulous about this store is that although it focuses on African brilliance and beauty, it also displays products and items from India, Pakistan, Vanuatu, Indonesia, USA, UK as well as Hong Kong. Products from these places as well as African countries like Ghana, Nigeria, Togo, Kenya, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Egypt and the Ivory Coast are equally popular. We also have an impressive range of Australian-made items as well as pieces from India, Pakistan, Vanuatu, Indonesia, USA, UK and Hong Kong. The exotic artifacts, artwork, figurines, wood carvings, masks, scarves, bags, animal print furnishings, home ware, bead jewelery and lots more are big sellers at the store. So come to the store and immerse yourself in colorful, cultural and tribal wonders.