Spotlight on the collection: UQ legends - Forgan Smith

The stories behind UQ buildings, libraries, and campuses…

Forgan Smith (Building 1)

William Forgan Smith was the Queensland Premier from 1932 to 1942. During the depression, his government's relief work program included the construction of the first buildings at UQ's new St Lucia site.

[21].
Premier Forgan-Smith, laying the St Lucia Foundation Stone 6 March 1937
Courtesy UQ Archives UQA S533 16:21.

Construction began on Hennessy, Hennessy & Co's plans in 1937. However the situation in 1942 resulted in the first use of 'main building' being the Army's Advanced Land Headquarters, under the command of General Blamey.

Wartime University - On parade, Main Building in the background, c 1941 Courtesy UQ Archives UQA S177 B829;
Wartime University - On parade, Main Building in the background, c 1941
Courtesy UQ Archives UQA S177 B829
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Australian Women's Army Service site - trenches between Central Library and Mayne Hall, c1941. Courtesy UQ Archives, UQA S178 B175
Australian Women's Army Service site - trenches between Central Library and Mayne Hall, c1941.
Courtesy UQ Archives, UQA S178 B175

Departments, including Classics, Economics, English, History, Philosophy, and Law relocated from UQ's original George St Campus in the late 1940s. The East wing of the building (now rooms E234 - 236) housed the Fryer Library in its first St Lucia home.

Forgan Smith building (undated) Fryer Library University of Queensland Photograph Collection, UQFL466, image AC/P/32, Fryer Library, University of Queensland Library.
Forgan Smith (undated) Fryer Library University of Queensland Photograph Collection,
UQFL466, image AC/P/32, Fryer Library, University of Queensland Library.
Available via UQ eSpace

William Forgan Smith also supported the University, as a sponsor for the development of key faculties and as Chancellor from 1944 until his death in 1953. In 1967, the 'main building' was renamed in his honour.

Forgan Smith, as one of the first and most impressive buildings on the St Lucia Campus is a key part of UQ's history and synonymous with its image, even featuring on postcards.

Forgan Smith building (undated) Fryer Library University of Queensland Photograph Collection, UQFL466, image AC/P/32, Fryer Library, University of Queensland Library.
Queensland University, Brisbane, Queensland (c1960s) Fryer Library
University of Queensland Photograph Collection, UQFL466, image AC/P/121,
Fryer Library, University of Queensland Library. Available via UQ eSpace

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Curious about another building at UQ? Have a suggestion for the Fryer blog? Want to write about your Fryer research for the blog? Contact us at fryer@library.uq.edu.au

Last updated:
18 January 2017