One of Brisbane’s oldest shopping destinations, the heritage-listed Brisbane Arcade is celebrating its 85th year of shopping success this year.
Renowned for its up-market, home grown retailers and award-winning designers, Brisbane Arcade is also fondly remembered for its unique stores that have over the years included a beautifully presented cake shop, an umbrella shop and a delightful doily shop.
The shopping galleria has maintained its popularity today due to the building’s old world charm and its mix of specialist retailers.
Facts about Brisbane Arcade:
- Brisbane Arcade was built in 1923 for Dr James Mayne and his sister Miss Mary Emelia Mayne. The Arcade was the original site of the Mayne family home where James’ and Emelia’s father Patrick ran a butcher shop where the Colorado store is now.
- In the book The Mayne Inheritance (University of Queensland Press, 1997) author Rosamond Siemon refers to claims that before Patrick Mayne died in 1865, he confessed to the murder of sawyer and exconvict Robert Cox at the Bush Inn at Kangaroo Point 17 years earlier, robbing him of some £350. It is believed that this money allowed Patrick to establish himself in business and subsequently become the owner of the Brisbane Arcade site.
- This confession has been described as Brisbane’s most famous, worst kept secret. The confession was made even worse by the fact that Patrick Mayne had let an innocent man hang for this murder.
- Of Patrick’s six children, none had children of their own, or even married. Brisbane Arcade eventually became the property of the two youngest children, James and Mary Emelia who were to become some of Brisbane’s best known philanthropists.
- James Mayne was a wealthy surgeon, and with no children as benefactors, James gave a great deal to the University of Queensland including the land to build its St Lucia campus.
- Brisbane Arcade continues to be operated today in its original form by the Trustees of the estate of Dr James Mayne and Miss Mary Emelia Mayne and operating proceeds benefit the University of Queensland Medical School and Medical Research.
- Brisbane Arcade was designed by Richard Gailey (Junior), who is regarded as one of Queensland’s most important earlier architects. The Arcade is the archetype of the traditional shopping arcade and includes architectural features befitting a traditional European shopping arcade such as Edwardian Baroque style street facades, original terrazzo stairs, balustrades and dado panelling.
- The building has undergone a number of transformations over the years with the most significant taking place in 1992 when it was restored to its current historical charm. That same year Brisbane Arcade received Heritage Listing.
- The Arcade is remembered for unique specialty retailers that included the George E Adams cake shop, Linds umbrella shop, as well as a popular dancewear shop and a delightful doiley shop.
- Long term retailers include Robert White Jewellers (1974), Keri Craig (1977), Eden Jewellery (1983), Skin Beautiful (1983), Petite Salon (1992) and Irma J Smith (1993). Other well known stores are Darrell Lea, Stones Jewellers, House of Dower, Tengdahl, Bora, Darb Bridal Couture, Maryons Shoes and Room with Roses.
- Brisbane Arcade is managed by McGees Property and runs from Adelaide Street through to the Queen Street Mall. It consists of around 50 retailers over three levels with the majority of the stores being home-grown Brisbane businesses, providing a showcase of local talent and home to some of the best and most awarded designers, manufacturers and buyers in the industry.