Brisbane is the capital of and the most populous city in Queensland. With a population of over 2.4 million people, it has become one of Australia’s most liveable cities. But how did this great city become one of the most popular in Australia?
Brisbane is one of the oldest cities in Australia and was founded upon the ancient homelands of the indigenous Turrbal and Jagera peoples. What we now know as Brisbane, was known as Mian-Jin to the aboriginal people, which means “place like a spike”. The Jagera and Turrbal clans had lived around the river before European settlers arrived however, it is not known how long they resided in the area although, there are some reports that date back around 40,000 years.
In 1799, Matthew Flinders was the initial explorer in the Moreton Bay area. He was later joined by surveyor John Oxley in 1823 who was instructed by the governor of New South Wales to look for a suitable place for a northern convict outpost for convicts from Sydney. While Oxley was exploring the area, he discovered the river which he named after the governor, Thomas Brisbane.
Heading back to the Moreton Bay region Oxley recommended the first convict jail be built-in Redcliffe as it was close to the shore and easily accessible to the ships. This was built in 1824 and brought in the first wave of convicts, officials, soldiers and their wives and children. Then, however, this was moved to Brisbane in 1825 after officials believed being near the river would be a more reliable water supply and was thought to be a deterrent against offenders escaping. Over the next 5 years, free settlers entered the area and the population grew.
By the end of 1840, surveyor Robert Dixon began work on the first plan of Brisbane Town for future development. By the 1880s, Brisbane rapidly became the place people were eager to settle into and from here quickly began to develop distinct architectural features and culture. The city grew steadily over the years and one of it’s biggest turning points was when it played a central role during World War II (1939-1945) and housed the main allied headquarters for service personnel. Post-war brought a spurt in the population and Brisbane staked its claim as the third-largest city in Australia.
After the population boom and the city becoming a non-convict region, two landmark events brought a major change and accelerated Brisbane towards the city we know it to be today. The first being the Commonwealth Games held in 1982 and following that, the Expo 88 which both resulted in massive injections of infrastructure, construction and development in the area as well as increased public exposure.
Today, Brisbane is known as a vibrant city with many cultural experiences, outdoor activities, entertainment, shopping centres, beautiful scenery and is also known for its architecture which forms much of the city’s heritage.