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Plough Inn

  • 600294
  • South Bank Parklands, South Brisbane


Also known as
Plough Inn Hotel
State Heritage
Register status
Date entered
21 October 1992
Retail, wholesale, services: Hotel/inn
3.1 Developing secondary and tertiary industries: Feeding Queenslanders
3.8 Developing secondary and tertiary industries: Marketing, retailing and service industries
3.11 Developing secondary and tertiary industries: Lodging people
Addison, George Henry Male
Wilson, Alexander Brown
James, Abraham
Construction periods
1885–1922, Hotel
1885–1922, Kitchen wing
Historical period
1870s–1890s Late 19th century


South Bank Parklands, South Brisbane
Brisbane City Council
-27.47835492, 153.02248661


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Criterion AThe place is important in demonstrating the evolution or pattern of Queensland’s history.

The picturesque front facade in particular, along with the nearby Allgas Building facade, survives as a fragment of the former streetscape of Stanley Street, South Brisbane's principal commercial thoroughfare in the late 19th century.

Criterion BThe place demonstrates rare, uncommon or endangered aspects of Queensland’s cultural heritage.

Plough Inn is significant historically as a rare surviving remnant of the commercial and shipping heart of South Brisbane in the late 19th century.

Criterion EThe place is important because of its aesthetic significance.

The picturesque front facade in particular, along with the nearby Allgas Building facade, survives as a fragment of the former streetscape of Stanley Street, South Brisbane's principal commercial thoroughfare in the late 19th century.

Criterion HThe place has a special association with the life or work of a particular person, group or organisation of importance in Queensland’s history.

The place has a strong association with the work of prominent Brisbane architect Alexander B Wilson.


This two-storeyed former hotel was constructed in 1885 for Brisbane publican Daniel Costigan. It replaced a previous, less substantial structure on the site, which had functioned as the Plough Inn since 1864. The new building was erected during South Brisbane's heyday and was part of the 1880s boom-time reconstruction of Stanley Street premises.

The building was designed by architect Alexander B. Wilson, who is more known for his domestic work. It was built by contractor Abraham James, whose tender of £3,300 was accepted in March 1885.

The hotel, prominently located in central Stanley Street, serviced the commercial heart of South Brisbane. Its proximity to the South Brisbane wharves ensured its popularity amongst those engaged in shipping interests.

Initially the L-shaped interior comprised on the ground floor: a central hall, staircase, dining room, two private rooms [probably for dining also], bar, parlour, storage spaces, billiard room and lavatories; the first floor contained fourteen guest rooms and a bathroom. A verandah along the back of the building connected it to a detached single-storey kitchen. A cellar completed the facilities.

The building has been altered a number of times since its initial construction. In 1922, additions were made by contractors Robertson and Corbette, following the designs of GHM Addison and Son. It is thought that the street awning was added at this time.

In 1987 the building was modified to function as a tavern during Expo '88. Most of the internal walls were removed, the central fire place and chimney were taken out, and the interior was re-fitted. Also the front verandah was widened, the rear verandah extended, and windows and doors replaced at this time.

In 1991-92 a conservation plan for the Plough Inn was prepared by Bruce Buchanan architects, and the interior was fully refurbished. The front verandah was also reconstructed.

The Plough Inn now operates as a Southbank hotel.


The Plough Inn is a two-storeyed rendered masonry building with front and rear verandahs, and a single-storeyed service building to the rear. It has a picturesque front facade which is a remnant of a former streetscape.

The hotel has an L-shaped plan; the rectangular service building is attached via the rear verandah.

The front facade is richly detailed, while other elevations are more perfunctory. The front facade has three bays, expressed with rusticated pilasters and parapet decoration comprising pediments either end and a central name plaque. The pediments are flanked by acroteria, and the plaque is inscribed with the words PLOUGH INN. The pediments and plaques are connected by a miniature balustrade, and rest on a deep cornice with dentils, separated by another band of decoration from a second cornice.

Whilst little remains of the original hotel internally, the Plough Inn retains its external envelope and overall form.

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Location of Plough Inn within Queensland
Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)
Last reviewed
1 July 2022
Last updated
20 February 2022