Explore The Secrets Of South Brisbane

Kangaroo Point, QLD, Australia; Brisbane, QLD, Australia; South Brisbane, QLD, Australia
Distance: 4 km
by Brisbane Heritage Walks

In 1824, the founding of the Moreton Bay penal settlement heralded the beginning of the European presence in Queensland and the consequent displacement of the First Australians in the area.

Explore The Secrets Of South Brisbane - Cya On The Road

The south bank of the river was first cleared and cultivated by convicts in an attempt to achieve self-sufficiency for the fledgling settlement.

In 1842, Moreton Bay was declared a free settlement and more of the land in South Brisbane was cleared. From the early 1840s, the wharf at South Brisbane was a primitive affair where ships were moored to a large tree trunk. In 1845, the Hunter River Steam Navigation Company bought two riverside lots and constructed a wharf and stores. This encouraged further wharf expansion along the south bank and in turn, brought positive economic growth for South Brisbane with hotels, shops, houses and infrastructure being built to service the wharves.

The south bank of the river quickly became the centre for shipping vessels carrying produce from the Darling Downs and Ipswich to Brisbane. By 1850, the wharves catered for four-fifths of all Brisbane’s imports and exports.

In 1874, a permanent bridge was built over the river. Between 1880 and 1900, South Brisbane experienced a substantial economic boom, due directly to the construction of a suburban rail line to the southern suburbs and the linking of the western line to Ipswich in 1884. A dry dock, coal wharves and other industries were established at this time.

The ‘Borough of South Brisbane’ was established in 1888 as a separate municipal body from the City of Brisbane and by 1903, South Brisbane had been declared a separate city. Along with all other separate councils in Brisbane, the South Brisbane Municipal Council was amalgamated into the Greater Brisbane City Council in 1925.

In the post-war era, many immigrants seeking a new home away from war-torn Europe were attracted by the low rents, proximity to the city and employment opportunities in South Brisbane and the area grew as a multicultural hub.

By the end of the 1970s, the south bank of the river had become increasingly run-down. In the 1980s, it was transformed by the construction of the Queensland Cultural Centre and became the host site for the World Exposition (Expo) in 1988. Following Expo’88, the site became public parklands, which is now known as South Bank.

Let's take a stroll and re-discover the secrets of South Brisbane!

The walking tour was inspired by Brisbane City Council's website.

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