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First Parliament House

Parliament House Sketch

The Queensland Parliament met for the first time on 22 May 1860, the anniversary of Captain Cook's charting of Moreton Bay, in the old convict barracks in Queen Street, roughly opposite the current Myer Centre.  This building, completed in 1827, was chosen simply because it was one of the largest in Brisbane at the time.  Following free settlement in 1842, it had been used for various purposes including the Supreme Court, Crown Solicitor's Office and chambers for judges and sheriffs.

Prior to Parliament's first meeting, alterations were made to the Old Convict Barracks to prepare it for its legislative use.  In one of its first decisions, the new Queensland Parliament voted to begin a Parliamentary Library with an initial establishment cost of £1300.  This was also housed in the old convict barracks.  Further alterations and refurbishments were made to the barracks over the next few years including the establishment of a refreshment room, the addition of furniture, plus the installation of gas and a fire hose.  Despite the alterations, the building remained bleak and reminiscent of its original use.