10th June 2010

She's 148 this year but Queensland's "new" Old Government House is celebrating her first birthday this week.

Reopened after a painstaking $15 million restoration just in time for the State's 150th anniversary on June 7 2009, the grand old dame of Queensland colonial history on QUT's Gardens Point campus is marking the first anniversary of her reopening.

Old Government House's expert restoration and adaptation has earned Brisbane architects Conrad Gargett the Australian Institute of Architects' Brisbane Regional Architecture Awards' top honour, the 2010 John Dalton Award for Building of the Year.

This follows The National Trust of Queensland's John Herbert Memorial Award, the grand award of The National Trust of Queensland Heritage Awards, and a gold award from the Queensland Heritage Council last year. QUT historian and Old Government House curator Dr Katie McConnel also received the Governor's Heritage Award for her development of the multi-media, interpretative, touch-screen display which shows visitors the life and times of Queensland's first 11 governors and their families who lived in the house from 1862 to 1910.

The people of Queensland and beyond have embraced Old Government House; the house has hosted 88,155 visitors in the past year. They have wandered through the gracious rooms and marvelled at the grand cedar staircase and the cascading chandelier that is the centrepiece of the entrance.

They have also learned about the house's history from the touch-screen displays and guided tours, viewed the largest collection of Australia's finest landscape artist in the William Robinson Gallery on the first level, and taken tea and lamingtons in the courtyard.

Already, 19 couples have chosen Old Government House as their wedding venue and another 33 are booked for this year.

No wonder then that Dr McConnel has found the words "beautiful"," fabulous" and "interesting" are the most frequent in the visitors' book.

"A year on, it is still a great thrill for me to see how visitors young and old, from overseas, interstate as well as Queenslanders enjoy wandering around the House and discovering the history of Queensland's wonderful treasure that is Old Government House," Dr McConnel said.

For more information on Old Government House go to http://www.ogh.qut.edu.au/

Media contact: Niki Widdowson, QUT media officer, 07 3138 1841 or n.widdowson@qut.edu.au.

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