During its 125-year history, the South Brisbane Municipal Chambers (Old Town Hall) has had numerous custodians and functions. Designed as a prominent landmark directly across the Brisbane River from the Queensland Parliament building, its ornate architectural features make it a unique example of late colonial extravagance. With the absorption of the City of South Brisbane into the greater Brisbane City Council in 1925, the building lost its original purpose, but was subsequently deployed in various ways. After serving as a Council Works Depot, it became the headquarters of the US armed forces Military Police during World War II, and was then converted into post-war residential flats for government engineers and architects. Since the late 1950s, ‘The Chambers’ has been an educational and cultural centre, initially as the first campus of the Queensland Conservatorium of Music, then as a centre for adult learning, and finally now in its completely refurbished form as part of the girls’ school Somerville House. This ‘building biography’ traces the various phases of this iconic landmark from the viewpoint of those who worked, lived or studied there, and also provides insights into its social context within the South Brisbane community.