Classic Brisbane City Centre Heritage Trail
The penal settlement at Moreton Bay was established at Redcliffe in 1824 but moved to the present Central Business District (CBD) site in 1825 where there was a better water supply, fewer mosquitoes and safer anchorage. The convict settlement was closed in 1839 and in 1842 Moreton Bay was officially opened for free settlement as part of the colony of New South Wales.
The Indigenous people in the area became increasingly displaced by the European presence and were forced to move further away from the settlement
By 1843, the plans for the CBD as we know it today had been laid out in a grid, with the city streets named after English monarchs (male monarchs running parallel to the river). In 1859, Queen Victoria granted an approval to establish the new colony of Queensland, separate from New South Wales. By the 1860s, Brisbane was a thriving town with the emergence of Queen Street as the commercial centre.
During the 1880s, Brisbane experienced a financial boom. Many of the original buildings were demolished to make way for more permanent and stately structures that reflected the increased wealth and affluence of the city. However, by the 1890s, Brisbane had fallen into a financial depression.
By the 1920s, the city had recovered and Brisbane continued to expand. Along Queen Street large department stores, such as Allan & Stark, provided Brisbane residents with the latest fashions and products. Grand picture theatres such as the Regent and Wintergarden, together with cafes and hotels, added to the bustling nightlife in the city.
During the Second World War, Brisbane played a major role as the headquarters for the American led Allied South West Pacific campaign against the Japanese forces. By December 1943, Brisbane was host to over 75,000 American troops. This large number of American soldiers often caused tensions between the Australian and American troops.
The city centre has transformed into a modern and vibrant place. But if you look close, you can see the city’s past in its many heritage buildings and historic sites.
There are 26 points of interest along the Classic City Centre Heritage Trail taking you on a journey through a range of sites and events that have shaped Brisbane's history.
This walking tour is based on the website of Brisbane City Council.
Get full experience in the app
Follow the steps to access all 26 places on the itinerary, plus features like audio guides, navigation, hotels nearby and more.