It soon became apparent that the former Immigration Depot, converted to offices for the Department of Agriculture to occupy in 1890, was too small for the activities of the growing department. More office space was needed as indications were that the Stock Department would be included in the same building when the mooted Department of Agriculture and Stock was created.
Plans attributed to Thomas Pye and John Murdoch, working under Government Architect Alfred Brady, were prepared for an added two wings and an additional storey to the William Street elevation of the former depot. The builders were Caskie and Thompson. The offices were occupied in May 1899. The Department of Agriculture and Stock came into being in 1904.
A new wing to the south of the former depot was constructed substantially in brick by day labour in 1916. Predicted to meet the future needs of the Department for a number of years, this new wing was extended in 1923, ran parallel to William Street and formed part of an overall new main building that would be located across the now vacant land where Pettigrew’s sawmill had been. Plans for the 1923 extension were signed by the government’s acting chief architect, WJ Ewart. This new wing accommodated seed laboratories and stores and an office for the agricultural chemist. Scientific work undertaken during the 1920s was on fruit fly, citrus scale insects, cotton bollworm and codling moth.
A three storey infill block was constructed to adjoin the 1923 block in 1929. This brick extension housed the government entomologist, the government pathologist, libraries and various laboratories.
From plans dated 1933 and signed by AB Leven, the last two extensions were completed by the end of 1936. Offices in this section were allocated to the Government Analyst’s Department, the Public Health Department, the sugar pathologist and the Geological Survey Department.
The various departments began moving from the building in the 1950s and in 1989 the Department of Primary Industries vacated the building completely. In 1994 all the post-1898 extensions were demolished to make way for what became the Neville Bonner building. In 2017 the Neville Bonner building was itself demolished as part of the Queen’s Wharf re-development being undertaken by Destination Brisbane Consortium.
Bruce Buchanan Architects, Pty Ltd, in association with the Historic Buildings Section of the Department of Administrative Services (Queensland), The Old D.P.I. Building and Environs, Conservation Study August 1990.
Read the Queensland Heritage Register citation for this building.