Queensland open house events
Since 2010, Open House public events have been staged in 6 Queensland cities as part of the global Open House movement, highlighting history and architecture.
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The global Open House movement, which began in London in 1992, showcases outstanding architecture and encourages people to explore and understand the value of a well-designed built environment, entering buildings — or parts of buildings — not usually open to the public, for free.
In 2019, Queensland Open House events attracted 96,000 visits.
Queensland Open House started in Brisbane in 2010, extending to Maryborough, Toowoomba, Gold Coast, Bundaberg and, in 2017, the Sunshine Coast.
The Open House model provides a significant opportunity for Brisbane and regional cities to showcase their history and architecture, while enhancing the tourist experience and appreciation of heritage.
At Brisbane Open House — a free public festival, held annually in conjunction with World Architecture Day — selected buildings are opened for the public with guided and self-guided tours to encourage visitors to engage with Brisbane's built environment.
Now in its 10th year and held over a full weekend, Brisbane Open House has grown from the initial 12,500 visits to attract 79,448 visits.
Over the past 10 years, more than 290 buildings across Brisbane have opened their doors to about half a million visitors.
Heritage buildings’ popularity grows annually. In 2019, 17 of the 25 most visited buildings were entered in the Queensland Heritage Register.
Research conducted by the Brisbane Open House events team at the 2019 event found:
- 78% of respondents wanted to visit heritage buildings
- 73% participated in Brisbane Open House to learn about the history of Brisbane and its architecture.
Brisbane Open House is supported by the Queensland Government, Brisbane Development Association and National Trust of Australia (Queensland), and sponsored by the Queensland Heritage Council.
Maryborough Open House & Garden is a free public event, providing residents and visitors with the opportunity to discover the unique attributes of Maryborough’s heritage places, encouraging new levels of community engagement.
In 2019, there were more than 8,000 visits to buildings and gardens including 15 Heritage Places.
The inaugural Maryborough Open House was held in 2012 and has become a popular annual event, expanding to Maryborough Open House & Garden, to include private and public gardens.
The event was established as a joint initiative of the Fraser Coast Regional Council and National Trust Australia (Queensland), in partnership with Fraser Coast Opportunities. The Queensland Heritage Council was an inaugural sponsor of the event.
Toowoomba Open House was a free public event, providing residents and visitors with the opportunity to celebrate Toowoomba’s unique built environment.
The Toowoomba Open House event has not been held since 2017.
The inaugural Toowoomba Open House, staged in 2013, was a considerable success with more than 2,500 visits to 17 buildings. In 2017, there were 6,814 visits to 19 buildings. All but 4 of the buildings were Heritage Places.
Toowoomba Open House was a joint initiative of Queensland Government, Toowoomba Regional Council, Toowoomba Branch of the National Trust of Australia (Queensland) and members of the Australian Institute of Architects–Darling Downs. The Queensland Heritage Council sponsored the event from its inception.
Gold Coast Open House is a free public event for residents and visitors of all ages providing access to some of the city’s most significant and interesting places.
At the inaugural Gold Coast Open House in 2015, 22 places opened their doors to about 3,000 people.
In 2019, Gold Coast Open House saw 56 buildings, places, and spaces accessible across the city – including 9 heritage buildings. The event attracted more than 4,000 visits.
Gold Coast Open House is a joint initiative of the City of Gold Coast, National Trust of Australia (Queensland) and members of the Australian Institute of Architects, and sponsored by the Queensland Heritage Council.
Sunshine Coast Open House is a free public event that celebrates the region’s architecture and offers behind-the-scenes access to some of the coast’s significant and iconic buildings.
In 2019, more than 4,000 visits were recorded to 30 buildings, including 8 Heritage Places.
Its inaugural event in 2017 saw 2,809 visitors welcomed to 30 places, including 11 Heritage Places and associated events.
The founding partners of the event included the Sunshine Coast Council, Noosa Shire Council and members of the Australian Institute of Architects, sponsored by the Queensland Heritage Council.
Bundaberg Open House is a free public event for residents and visitors of all ages providing access to some of the city’s most significant and unique places.
The inaugural event, in October 2016, provided opportunity to explore and learn more about Bundaberg, its history and how architecture and design have contributed to the city’s development.
In 2019, 1,428 visits were recorded to 13 buildings, 12 of which were Heritage Places.
Bundaberg Regional Council hosts Bundaberg Open House which is sponsored by the Queensland Heritage Council.
Relevant Sustainable Development Goals’ targets
Number of heritage places open, and number of people visiting heritage places at open house events by location for 2010–2020.