Museums, monuments and moments in Brisbane

This final post focussed on our trip to Brisbane includes museums, galleries, monuments and statues…a bit of a miscellany of things to see and do. It is by no means a comprehensive guide, just a few random things to see in Brisbane.

1 Brisbane is home to the Queensland Art Gallery and Gallery of Modern Art (QAGOMA). These galleries are located in two buildings on the south bank of the river in the South Bank Cultural Precinct, home to these galleries, the Queensland Performing Arts Centre, the Queensland Museum and the State Library of Queensland. The galleries are home to some permanent exhibitions of international, Australian and Indigenous works, and while we were there, the 9th Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art was on. This year there were 80 artists from 30 countries in the exhibition, with such a wide variety of works that it would be hard to categorise them in any way.

Queensland Art Gallery (with a work by one of my favourites, Sonia Delaunay, in the background)
..and looking the other way…

Gallery viewing is thirsty work, so we stopped for morning tea at one of the cafes, and met this little fellow, who believe it or not, was watching for scraps of food! A woman accidentally dropped a crumb of scone, and he scuttled over to pick it up. I’m sure scones are not part of his diet normally…

Watching lizard

It is worth noting that both galleries and the museum are free of charge, which is excellent as one can pop in and browse bits and then go back another day for a bit more. As well as being thirsty work, gallery and museum going is hungry work, and we made use of one of the several cafes to be found in the precinct. The library also has a cafe and a nice small bookshop.

A really nice potato and tuna salad at the GOMA Cafe Bistro

2 The Queensland Museum is a museum of natural history, cultural heritage, and science, with a mix of permanent and temporary exhibitions. When we were there, with it being the school summer holidays, there were a lot of things for children going on, but we did spend some time in the ANZAC Legacy Gallery, where Karl spotted a 1917 German tank that he had heard about while watching a recent documentary.

3 If you want to know a little more about Brisbane city, then the Museum of Brisbane, located within the City Hall, offers a permanent display of photographs and other artefacts relating to the city’s history. The space is also used for temporary exhibitions, and when we were there included a display of clothing designed by Australian designers Easton Pearson between 1989 and 2016.

Dress made of cotton voile with copper chain from 2014

The cafe on the ground floor of the City Hall, is a branch of the Shingle Inn chain, but with the fittings and layout of the original Shingle Inn. This reconstruction is aimed at re-creating the atmosphere of the original 1936 restaurant. Just be aware that there is not a lot of leg room in the booths!

Shingle Inn, City Hall

4 What else did we see in Brisbane? Well, first up, this Nepalese Pagoda, situated in the South Bank Parklands. It was originally brought to Brisbane as Nepal’s contribution to the World Expo exhibition in 1988, and still stands as a visitor attraction.

Bell outside the pagoda
A bit of Nepal

5 Also worth seeking out is the ANZAC Square War Memorial. Opened in 1930, it stands in a quiet spot within Brisbane’s CBD. It is heritage listed and contains the Eternal Flame of Remembrance in a bronze urn.

The War Memorial
The Eternal Flame

6 Now, I was born and raised in Scotland, and it always amazes me as to how many statues there are of Scotland’s national poet, Robert Burns, dotted about the place. Therefore it shouldn’t really have been a surprise to find one in Brisbane. This was erected in 1929 by the Brisbane Burns Club and stands in Centenary Place.

7 Last, but my no means least, The Guardian by Cezary Stulgis, that stands on the corner of Wharf and Ann Streets. This wolf-man is just under 2 metres tall, and looks like he is waiting to cross the street, just like all the people around him. You can’t really see from the side view below, but there is a square cutout where his internal organs would sit. He looks a little sinister, a little calculating, and watches everyone walking by. You almost expect him to start walking.

So that wraps up some of the things we did in Brisbane. We walked everywhere, which meant we more than reached our 10,000 steps a day (think the most was 17,000). It was a good trip, and no doubt we will be there again some day.

The featured image at the top of the post is of a dog and a rabbit on Fish Lane.

You can find Thistles and Kiwis on Facebook, and also on Instagram @thistleandkiwis.  As for Twitter….am totally inactive these days.  If you want to get in touch, email me on


  1. So lovely to see your round up of Brisbane – it’s my home town, and I work at the State Library, so your pictures were my every day, even the sculpture in Fish Lane. My husband and I are heading to New Zealand in a couple of weeks for a holiday, and I am in full planning and dreaming mode. Can’t wait. Thanks for sharing. margaret


    1. Oh glad you enjoyed the post! We had a really good holiday in your home town. I loved the arbour on the South Bank and walking through the gardens by the river. Hope you enjoy your holiday in New Zealand!


  2. Nice blog, Barbara. I especially liked the photos of the hedge dog and rabbit, the Scone-eating Lizard and the wolf! You are so lucky to be able to visit all the amazing places you do! Thanks for sharing them!


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