Character Design Forum

Brisbane has a unique and special character, which is important to residents, visitors, investors and businesses. This character provides a link to the past, exposing the layers of change that have occurred in the city, as well as opportunities to celebrate and shape the future character and identity of Brisbane. And an important contributor to the character and identity of Brisbane’s suburbs is its iconic Queenslander and other traditional residential designs.

Brisbane City Council recently conducted the Plan your Brisbane consultation where more than 100,000 residents had their say. The result was Brisbane’s Future Blueprint where 'Empower and engage our residents' is one of the eight principles that were developed.

A key action to progress that principle is to help residents have more say in the protection of our Queenslanders and other traditional designs. To facilitate that, Council is holding a Character Design Forum to engage residents in a discussion about these important city assets.

As our city adapts to meet our changing social, environmental and technological needs, we need to manage the balance between meeting new requirements while respecting the character of our traditional houses, streets and suburbs.

Please get involved and have your say in this online space. It is your opportunity to contribute to a set of design principles that will guide future extensions and adaptations to Brisbane’s Queenslanders and other traditional designs.


Brisbane has a unique and special character, which is important to residents, visitors, investors and businesses. This character provides a link to the past, exposing the layers of change that have occurred in the city, as well as opportunities to celebrate and shape the future character and identity of Brisbane. And an important contributor to the character and identity of Brisbane’s suburbs is its iconic Queenslander and other traditional residential designs.

Brisbane City Council recently conducted the Plan your Brisbane consultation where more than 100,000 residents had their say. The result was Brisbane’s Future Blueprint where 'Empower and engage our residents' is one of the eight principles that were developed.

A key action to progress that principle is to help residents have more say in the protection of our Queenslanders and other traditional designs. To facilitate that, Council is holding a Character Design Forum to engage residents in a discussion about these important city assets.

As our city adapts to meet our changing social, environmental and technological needs, we need to manage the balance between meeting new requirements while respecting the character of our traditional houses, streets and suburbs.

Please get involved and have your say in this online space. It is your opportunity to contribute to a set of design principles that will guide future extensions and adaptations to Brisbane’s Queenslanders and other traditional designs.



You  may submit a photo of your favourite Queenslander (or adapted Queenslander) or other traditional design in Brisbane (please ensure address details are excluded). Please explain why you like it. 

If you wish to submit a photo of a design that, in your opinion, does not work well, please submit your feedback here.


Thank you for submitting your story. We will let you know when it is published.

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  • Our old home in Annerley

    by Bob59, about 12 hours ago

    We bought our house in 1978. It was a Queenslander built before 1929. Weather boards and tongue and groove with lots of fretwork and archways. Over the years we have renovated it with mainly second hand timber from demo sites initially. We bought the silky oak timber staircase from the Adult Ed building in George st when they were fumigating the buildings in the late1980s, and it's now stands proud in our home in original condition . We have tried to keep the place as authentic as possible. Even the inside has the original character, having raised our family here.... Continue reading

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  • Assessment Processes

    by Ain, 4 days ago

    Most agree that the character of Brisbane's older suburbs be retained and this forum is largely about the design elements which should be protected and enhanced.

    However consideration must also be given to how these standards are implemented. The current assessment process is slow, costly and decisions can be inconsistent. This discourages compliance and often leads to poor outcomes.

    Also, there needs to be room in any new standards to allow contemporary designs to work in with character housing. The current standards instead encourage replicas which sometimes look tacky.

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  • Loss of bird habitat and natural cooling and beauty in inner Brisbane

    by emma lily, 7 days ago

    We are long term residents of Paddington and are alarmed at the destruction of old trees and gardens in our area in recent years. The majority of restorations and renovations are extending the built footprint onto almost the entire block, entailing the destruction of many old and established trees, as well as simple backyard gardens (which support flowers, insect and lizard life, and hence birdlife). It's astonishing to us that so many who are moving to the area and doing such redevelopments say that they love the trees and birdlife do not seem to make the link. Brisbane is in... Continue reading

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  • Critique of Planning Protections & Hiding Our Heritage

    by Blake, 10 days ago

    The following is a very, very brief critique on the protections of character houses, based on my thesis. Please let me know if you wish to receive access to this research. I've basically written the book (62 pages) critiquing character housing protections in Brisbane. Also, please ask me questions and let me know your view on the below:Pre-1946 Building Overlay

    Good at protecting streetscapes, as this is usually applied at the streetscape level, and generally protects buildings AND their streetscapes. This does NOT protect all pre-1946 houses, just those on 'character streetscapes'. Many of these protected houses actually still get... Continue reading

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  • Balancing Heritage Protection and Higher-Density Redevelopment

    by Blake, 10 days ago

    A compromise on heritage protection and sustainable development needs to be reached. Heritage protection can involve protecting Queenslander houses in their low-density setting, but sustainable development means we need to intensify development in areas close to services such as employment, close to public transport, and also provide more housing as Brisbane grows to keep it affordable. Queenslanders tend to exist in the best areas for high-density development, which are often older, well-serviced suburbs. For example, the area North of Buranda Station is only Queenslanders, but it is close to the City, Stones Corner, and has excellent transport services, which makes... Continue reading

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  • Balancing Heritage Protection and Higher-Density Redevelopment

    by Blake, 10 days ago

    A compromise on heritage protection and sustainable development needs to be reached. Heritage protection can involve protecting Queenslander houses in their low-density setting, but sustainable development means we need to intensify development in areas close to services such as employment, close to public transport, and also provide more housing as Brisbane grows to keep it affordable. Queenslanders tend to exist in the best areas for high-density development, which are often older, well-serviced suburbs. For example, the area North of Buranda Station is only Queenslanders, but it is close to the City, Stones Corner, and has excellent transport services, which makes... Continue reading

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  • Protecting Brisbane's Beautiful Old Queenslanders

    by Christine , 12 days ago

    I agree the large majority of old QLDer homes seen on the way to work in the city have NOT been kept well. I know developers have bought up many houses on large lots, renting them out without fixing them, because they have been waiting to cash in.

    There needs to be a new law introduced to aid QLDs best interests.

    1. All rentals need to provide insulated ceilings, carpets or flooring refreshment at least every 10years, and a minimum green rating of water and electricity.

    2. In the inner city I would like there to be an additional law... Continue reading

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  • Allow battle-axe configurations in Character Residential Zones if you want to preserve character

    by abadaba, 12 days ago

    While increasing densities (to a certain point) are necessary and even desirable (since they lead to more council revenue and thus the ability to lay on better services like more frequent public transport without breaking the bank), the problem with reconfigurations/subdivisions in CR zones is that the preferred way to split a large block under 1000sqm is right down the middle (since you need to have 600sqm for the back block and 450sqm for the front one). This has lead to a plethora of long skinny blocks that inevitably get filled in with McMansion-esque pseudo-character homes with no room between... Continue reading

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  • Why Aren't We Saving Mid Century and Other Unique Architectural Styles?

    by Brever, 12 days ago
    Mcm house

    I'm not going to beat around the bush: I hate Queenslanders.  So what really annoys me is that every beautiful house which is not a Queenslander (why does it have to be a Queenslander in particular or it's not worth preserving?  Seriously, who wrote these rules???) can be ripped down without cause and let's not even go there when it comes to what it's being replaced with, because that will never be on a heritage register now hear you me.  Can we not just agree that "a good looking house" (of any style) from a earlier architectural period which is... Continue reading

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  • Land size is a part of the character of our traditional houses

    by Bertie Girl, 12 days ago
    18813890 1553246241372322 6230577737505284411 n

    I would like to see land size restrictions as part of the planning process for managing our character homes. In addition to retaining their characteristic design features, their setting, including large backyards, street and side setbacks should be maintained. If this means no subdividing for infill housing in these character precincts then so be it. I know we need additional housing, but what's the point of nominating TBC areas if they can't be held up as evidence of what they looked like originally. I also disagree with the process of allowing houses to be raised and built underneath. This entirely... Continue reading

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