Brisbane: History

Sub Tropical Paradise

Brisbane History

The Jagera and Turrbal Aboriginal clans had lived around the Brisbane river for a considerable time period before European settlers arrived. Surveyor General John Oxley 'found' the river in 1823 after a tip-off from some ex-convicts who had found their way to the region and had been mixing with the local Aborigines. He named it after the Governor of New South Wales at the time, Thomas Brisbane. Europeans didn't settle the region until the first convict jail was built in Redclliffe in 1824, but even that was quickly moved to the site of the present-day Brisbane CBD in 1825 after officials realised the natural bend in the river provided a pretty good barrier against escape. Free settlement didn't begin in the Brisbane region until 1842 because the Government initially wanted the jail kept isolated from the wider community. The usual assortment of entrepreneurs and ex-convicts quickly followed and a town began to grow around the river.

By the late 1880's Brisbane was the main centre of commerce and the capital of the colony of Queensland and it was beginning to develop its own distinctive architecture and culture. The city grew steadily until World War II when it become the main allied headquarters in the South Pacific and an influx of Australian and American servicemen stretched the population to three quarters of a million. Industry flourished and continued to boom post war and Brisbane firmly staked its claim as the third largest city in the country.

The 1982 Commonwealth Games were hosted in Brisbane and the city received a massive infrastructure and sporting facilities boost as a result. Brisbane has always struggled behind Sydney and Melbourne in the cultural stakes, but the city now has a thriving arts scene and is responsible for some of the best live music venues and shopping districts in the country.