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This article is about the Australian city. For other uses of Brisbane, see Brisbane (disambiguation).
Brisbane by night
Brisbane by night

Brisbane is the capital city of the state of Queensland, Australia. The city's name is pronounced "BRIZ-buhn", IPA: . The City of Brisbane has around 960,000 inhabitants, within a greater metropolitan area of 1.77 million people. A resident of Brisbane is popularly known as a "Brisbanite." Ironic but affectionate nicknames for the city include "Bris Vegas" and "Brisneyland".


Geography and climate

Location of Brisbane in relation to other major cities
Location of Brisbane in relation to other major cities

Brisbane is situated in the southeast corner of Queensland, an hour north of the Gold Coast by road or rail at latitude . The city straddles the Brisbane River, and its eastern suburbs line the shores of Moreton Bay. The greater Brisbane region lies on the coastal plain east of the Great Dividing Range though the city is still hilly in some areas, and the urban area is punctuated by large hills reaching up to 1,400 feet (427 meters) such as Mount Coot-tha, Mount Gravatt, Whites Hill and Stephens Mountain.

One feature of Brisbane's urban geography is its lower population density compared to other Australian cities such as Sydney and Melbourne. This is due mainly to the Undue Subdivision of Land Prevention Act 1885, a law passed by the Parliament of Queensland to prevent overcrowding and urban degradation in the state's cities and towns. There are very few terrace houses in Brisbane and apartments dating before 1970 are relatively rare. Most of Brisbane's housing stock consists of detached houses on large blocks of land featuring sub-tropical gardens. Pre-1950 housing stock is often built in a distinctive architectural style known as a Queenslander , featuring large verandahs and built upon stilts, in order to maximise the circulation of cool air during summer months.

Brisbane has a subtropical climate with hot, moist summers and warm, mild winters. Brisbane is subject to high humidity, mainly from November through to April. Summer thunderstorms are common, and Brisbane frequently experiences hailstorms, cyclonic winds and more recently severe drought during the summer months.

Climatic averages:

  • Mean January maximum temperature — 29 C (85 F)
  • Mean January minimum temperature — 21 C (69 F)
  • Mean July maximum temperature — 20 C (69 F)
  • Mean July minimum temperature — 10 C (49 F)
  • Mean annual rainfall — 1146 mm (45.1 inches)
  • Wettest month on average — January, 160 mm (6.3 inches)
  • Driest month on average — August, 46 mm (1.8 inches)

Historical extremes:


The population of the City of Brisbane is estimated at 957,010 (as of June 2004). Together with six surrounding Local Government Areas, Brisbane has an estimated metropolitan population of 1,774,890 as of 2004. Brisbane City Council is the most populous Local Government Area in Australia and is one of the largest cities in the world in terms of geographic area. Brisbane boasts Australia's highest rate of capital city population growth. The metropolitan population reportedly grew by 11.5% between 1999 and 2004.

The Local Government Areas surrounding the City of Brisbane which form the Greater Brisbane metropolitan area are:

  • Ipswich - A coal mining township and home of the Queensland Rail workshop. Ipswich's population has nearly doubled since 1994. Population: 135,500.
  • Logan City - A high-growth area in the Brisbane-Gold Coast corridor. Population: 173,300.
  • Redcliffe - Famous for brown sandy beaches and one of the longest bridges in the Southern Hemisphere which connects the outskirts of the city to the Redcliffe Peninsula. Population: 52,300.
  • Caboolture - A dairy farming region to the north of Brisbane characterised by recent residential development along the Bruce Highway. Population: 120,800.
  • Pine Rivers - Brisbane's northern shire. Population: 13,200.
  • Redland - A shire overlooking Moreton Bay on the east of Brisbane. Population: 127,700.


Brisbane has a diverse and vibrant economy with many sectors and industries represented in the city's total production of goods and services. Both white-collar and blue-collar industries are present, with white-collar industries such as information technology, financial services, higher education and public sector administration generally concentrated in and around the central business district and recently established office parks in the inner suburbs. Blue-collar industries such as petroleum refining, stevedoring, paper milling, metalworking and QR railway workshops tend to be located on the lower reaches of the Brisbane River and in new industrial zones on the urban fringe. Tourism is an important part of the Brisbane economy, both in its own right and as a gateway to other areas of Queensland.

Traditionally, Brisbane was somewhat of a "branch economy" city, with most major financial institutions having their headquarters in Sydney or Melbourne. To encourage diversification, during the late 1990s and early 2000s the Queensland state government has been developing technology and science industries in Queensland as a whole, and Brisbane in particular, as part of its "Smart State" campaign. The government has invested in several biotechnology and research facilities at several universities in Brisbane. The Institute for Molecular Bioscience at the University of Queensland (UQ) St Lucia Campus is a large CSIRO and Queensland state government initiative for research and innovation that is currently being emulated at the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) Campus at Kelvin Grove. According to the state government this QUT facility is intended to cross-fertilise with the UQ facility and make Brisbane a science and research hub of Australia and the region.


Unlike most other Australian capital cities that have their urban areas controlled by dozens of different municipal authorities, Brisbane is controlled by the Brisbane City Council , the largest local government body (in terms of population) in Australia. The Council, formed by the merger of twenty smaller councils in 1925, has jurisdiction over most of the inner and outer suburbs, and borders the City of Redcliffe, Pine Rivers Shire, Esk Shire , the City of Ipswich, the City of Logan and Redland Shire.

The area of Brisbane city is split into 26 wards, each of which elect a council member as a representative. The Lord Mayor is also elected by a popular vote in which all residents must participate. Voting occurs every four years.

On 27 March 2004, former civil engineer Campbell Newman defeated incumbent Lord Mayor Tim Quinn in mayoral elections. Newman is a member of the Liberal Party and is only the second Liberal Lord Mayor of Brisbane.

Brisbane City Council runs the city's bus system (although private operators do exist), as well as a series of catamaran ferries (CityCats).


The city is named for Sir Thomas Brisbane (17731860), British soldier and colonial administrator born in Ayrshire, Scotland.

In 1823, the explorer John Oxley landed at the Brisbane River and named it after Sir Thomas Brisbane, Governor of New South Wales and astronomer. In 1824, the first convict colony was established at Redcliffe Point. Only one year later, the colony was moved south from Redcliffe to a peninsula of the Brisbane River, site of the present Central Business District, called "Mean-jin" by the local Turrbul inhabitants. The settlement was named "Edenglassie" by British pioneers but was subsequently re-named to match the river.

The colony was originally established as a "prison within a prison" - a settlement, deliberately distant from Sydney, to which convicts who re-offended while serving their sentences could be sent as punishment. It soon garnered a reputation, along with Norfolk Island, as being one of the harshest penal settlements in all of New South Wales.

Private settlement near the area was forbidden for many years, and the colony was sluggish in development. As the inflow of new convicts decresed steadily, the population began to decline. In 1842, the area was opened up for free settlement. Settlers took advantage of the abundance of timber in local forests inhabited by humans and wildlife that could be displaced with no legal recourse. Grazing and farming took hold quickly on the fertile land of the coastal plain, and the convict colony was eventually closed.

By 1869 almost all of the Turrbul people had died from gunshot or disease. The few remaining survivors escaped the region with the help of a settler, Tom Petrie.

Queensland was formally established as a self-governing colony of Britain separate from New South Wales in 1859. Brisbane was declared the capital, but not until 1902 was it officially designated a city. Severe flooding in the 1890's devastated the city and destroyed the first of several versions of the Victoria Bridge. Even though gold was discovered north of Brisbane, around Maryborough and Gympie, most of the proceeds went south to Sydney and Melbourne. The city remained an underdeveloped regional outpost, with comparatively little of the classical Victorian architecture that characterized southern cities.

In 1924, the City of Brisbane Act was passed by the Queensland Parliament, amalgamating the Cities of Brisbane and South Brisbane; Towns of Hamilton, Eagle Junction, Ithaca, Sandgate, Toowong, Windsor and Wynnum; and the Shires of Balmoral, Belmont, Coorparoo, Enoggera, Gaythorne, Kedron, Mitchelton, Moggill, Sherwood, Stephens, Taringa, Tingalpa, Toombul and Yeerongpilly to form the current City of Brisbane in 1925. To accommodate the new enlarged city council the current Brisbane City Hall was opened in 1930 - the highest cost building in Australia until the construction of the Sydney Opera House.

During World War II, many US forces were stationed in and around the city, and, for a time, it was the headquarters for General Douglas MacArthur, Supreme Allied Commander, South West Pacific Area. Buildings and institutions around Brisbane were given over to the housing of military personnel as required. The University of Queensland campus at St. Lucia was converted to a military barracks for the final three years of the war, one whole section of which was given over to a notoriously prosperous but illegal tavern, gambling hall and brothel complex.

Brisbane marked the northern point of the "Brisbane Line" - a controversial defence proposal, allegedly formulated by the Menzies government, that would, upon a land invasion of Australia, surrender the entire continent bar the populated coastal strip south of Brisbane to the Japanese.

On November 26 and November 27 1942 conflict broke out between US and Australian servicemen stationed in Brisbane. By the time the violence had been quelled nearly a hundred Australian soldiers were dead, and thousands of Australian and US servicemen were injured along with scores of civilian sympathisers. Tens of thousands of soldiers were involved in the battle on both sides. This incident, which was heavily censored at the time and apparently was not reported in the US at all is known as the Battle of Brisbane .

Brisbane has been inundated by four severe floods of the Brisbane River — in 1864, 1893, 1897 and 1974. A comprehensive flood mitigation scheme was instituted for the Brisbane River catchment area in the aftermath of the 1974 flood. Since then the city has remained flood free during unbroken cycles of drought, locust plagues and outbreaks of infectious, insect-born diseases including malaria, Dengue fever and Ross River virus. During this period real estate values in Brisbane have risen 15 fold.

In 1976 Brisbane's first FM radio station began broadcasting from a studio at the University of Queensland Student's Union. 4ZZ (later 4ZZZ) became a major catalyst for the development of original music in the Queensland capital. Bands such as The Saints, The Go-Betweens, The Riptides and The Laughing Clowns established an ecosystem for alternative music that has endured, progressed and matured over several decades. The movement culminated in international chart success by local bands Savage Garden and Powderfinger early in the new millenium, followed by a period of stagnation and cultural decline after the state government banned the use of electric instruments in public performances to minimize risk to the public from the effects of the Y2K bug.



Popular areas for tourists in the city include the Southbank Parklands (the site of Expo 88) and the recently developed Roma Street Parklands. Major shopping precincts exist throughout the CBD, in the Queen Street Mall and in Fortitude Valley. Brisbane is also home to a colonial era botanic gardens in the CBD, rockclimbing cliffs at Kangaroo Point, an extensive riverside bikeway, and the Mount Coot-tha state forest which includes a lookout over the city, contemporary botanical gardens, and the Sir Thomas Brisbane Planetarium.


Brisbane is home to many traditional and modern landmarks. Here are some of the most notable:

  • Story Bridge - A cantilever bridge connecting Fortitude Valley to Kangaroo Point. Constructed, like the Sydney Harbour Bridge, as a public works program during the Great Depression, The bridge is the home of the River Festival and is lit up at night. Bridge climbs are becoming a major tourist attraction.
  • Brisbane City Hall - The Brisbane City Hall, with its imposing clock tower, was the most expensive building in Australia until the completion of the Sydney Opera House in 1971. Still the working headquarters of municipal government, the City Hall houses a museum of Brisbane history and opens its main towers to tourists during the day.
  • Treasury Building - For 70 years the seat of power for the Queensland Government Treasury, this Edwardian sandstone building at the top of the George Street government precinct is now the Conrad Treasury Casino.
  • State Law Building - With its post-modern design, the State Law Building is known locally as "Gotham Tower" (see Gotham City) because of its distinctive top. The refurbishment was designed by a local architect from Conrad & Gargett.
  • Newstead House - Built for Queensland's first Governor on the Breakfast Creek bank of the Brisbane River, Newstead House has been the elegant private home of an army captain, a slave trader, an opera singer and a newspaper baron, and is now open to the public.
  • Lang Park - Officially called Suncorp Stadium through affiliation with a sponsor, Lang Park is the home of Queensland Rugby League, the Brisbane Broncos and the annual State of Origin rugby league clash between Queensland (the Maroons) and New South Wales (the Blues).
  • The Gabba - The Brisbane Cricket Ground at Woolloongabba hosts domestic and international cricket matches, as well as Australian Rules Football. Home of the Queensland Bulls (Cricket) and the Brisbane Lions (Aussie Rules Football), the Gabba hosted football matches for the Sydney 2000 Olympics and was the site of the famous tied test of 1960 between the West Indies and Australia.
  • Brisbane Exhibition Ground - Operated by the RNA (Royal National Agricultural and Industrial Association of Queensland), the showgrounds are home to the annual RNA Show, better known as the Ekka which attractions more than 600,000 visitors every year.
  • ANZ Stadium - Formerly known as QE2 Stadium, the third largest sporting arena in Queensland. The stadium was built as a temporary venue for the 1982 Commonwealth Games but endured as home for the Brisbane Broncos rugby league team during the 1990's and hosted the 2001 Goodwill Games.
  • Queensland Museum - Brisbane is home of the Queensland Museum which is located at the South Bank Parklands.
  • The Skyneedle - Originally built for World Expo '88, the Skyneedle stands 88m from the ground and during special events beams light skywards with a visibility of more than 60km. The Skyneedle was to be relocated to Disneyworld in Tokyo after Expo '88 when a local hairdresser bought the rights and moved it 500m from its original location at South Bank.
  • AMP Place - Brisbane's first 'true' skyscraper at 130m was built in 1978.
  • Central Plaza 1 & 2 - Currently Brisbane's tallest inhabited office building and second-tallest structure, Central Plaza 1 sits at 174m, 571ft and was constructed in 1988. Designed by Japanese architect Kisho Kurokawa modelled on a split shard of crystal.
  • Riverside Centre - A modern, heritage-listed building which hosts weekend markets and is also the location of several well-known restaurants, as well as the Brisbane Stock Exchange. Designed by Harry Seidler in 1986.


Brisbane has a modest performing arts culture, distributed throughout venues such as La Boite's Roundhouse Theatre in Kelvin Grove, the Optus Playhouse and Lyric theatre at Southbank, the Powerhouse in New Farm, the Brisbane Arts Theatre on Petrie Terrace and the recently opened "Judith Wright Centre" in Fortitude Valley.

Brisbane's CBD, centred around the Queen Street pedestrian Mall, offers a range of restaurants, award winning shopping centres, night clubs, music and souvenirs. Other popular restaurant districts across the city include Fortitude Valley, New Farm, Teneriffe, West End, Bulimia, Milton, Rosalie, Paddington and Sunnybank.

South Bank Parklands is built on the former World Expo site and is famous for firework displays throughout the year. Tourists and locals alike frequent the beautiful bougainvillea lined Riverside Walkway at all times of the year and flock to the area during music and arts festivals.

Fortitude valley, known popularly as 'the Valley' was zoned as an entertainment precinct in 2004. The Valley is home to bars, nightclubs, restaurants and cafes and to Brisbane's Chinatown precint. The Brunswick street mall hosts bustling pedestrian markets on Saturday and Sunday mornings.

Close to Brisbane

  • The Gold Coast about 70 km south-east of Brisbane. It is a major tourist zone with approximately 40 km of beaches, as well as theme parks, canals and mountain hinterland.
  • The Sunshine Coast is a collection of beachside communities backed by a subtropical hinterland.
  • Toowoomba is a garden city located inland and 700 m above sea level on the Great Dividing Range.
  • Ipswich, Queensland is a satellite city located approximately 40 km South-West of Brisbane and is well known for its Queensland Rail Workshop in the North of the town.


Brisbane is served by seven broadcast television stations: ABC, ABC2 (digital), Seven, Nine, Ten, SBS, and community television station Briz 31 .

In addition to the community radio stations 4ZZZ, BayFM 100.3 , multicultural 4EB and the radio station for the print handicapped 4RPH , 98.9 FM for the Best Country (it was the first indigenous radio station in a capital city), 101FM (Logan), 4OUR (Caboolture), 997FM (Redcliffe), Switch 1197 AM , 96.5 FM Family , 4MBS Classic FM 103.7 and 4TAB (betting), there are these commercial radio stations in Brisbane: 4BC , 4BH , 4KQ , B105 FM, Triple M, NEW 97.3 , River 94.9 and NovaFM .

The ABC transmits all five of its radio networks to Brisbane: 612 ABC , Radio National, Triple J, Newsradio and ABC Classic FM . SBS also broadcasts its national radio network to Brisbane. WorldAudio National Radio 2 transmits on 1620AM (City) and 1629AM (North). Radio Brisvaani provides a voice to the Indian community with Hindi language service on 1701AM.


Brisbane's local sporting teams are:

Colleges and universities

A number of tertiary education institutions have campuses in Brisbane, or in the surrounding areas:

Sister cities



See the list of Brisbane suburbs.

Interesting facts

Originally the neighbouring city of Ipswich was intended to be the capital of Queensland but Ipswich proved too far inland to allow access by large ships and so Brisbane was chosen as the capital instead. Ipswich as the Capital of Queensland was chosen after Charters Towers in North Queensland. Construction and planning to make Charters Towers the state's capital was well under way when the Gold Mining boom suddenly ran dry, which shocked and dismayed many people as the estimated reserve of gold was put close to 150 years. Ipswich was then chosen and rejected because of the transportation problems involved; in the 1800's transportation was a primary consideration in locating many of the Capital cities.

Within the Brisbane CBD, the central streets are named for members of the House of Hanover. Streets named after female members (Adelaide, Alice, Ann, Charlotte, Elizabeth, Margaret and Mary) run parallel to Queen Street, and perpendicular to streets named after male members (Albert, Edward, George, and William). See Streets of Brisbane .

See also

External links

Last updated: 10-13-2005 06:01:04
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