2007 Schools Wikipedia Selection. Related subjects: Geography of Oceania (Australasia)


location of Brisbane
1,810,943 ( 3rd)
Established: 1824
Area: 4768 km²
Time zone: AEST ( UTC+10)

Brisbane ( pronounced /ˈbɹɪz.bən/) is the capital and most populous city of the Australian state of Queensland, and is the third largest city in Australia, with a population of just under 2.0 million and an urban agglomeration of over 2.4 million people. It is a city set close to the Pacific Ocean, and is situated beside the Brisbane River on plains between Moreton Bay and the Great Dividing Range in south-eastern Queensland.

Named in honour of Sir Thomas Brisbane, the city grew from a harsh penal colony established in 1824 at Redcliffe, 40 km to the north. The colony was moved to Brisbane in 1825 and free settlers were permitted from 1842. It was chosen as the capital of Queensland when it was proclaimed a separate colony in 1859. The city developed slowly until after World War II, when it played a central role in the Allied campaign as the South West Pacific headquarters for General Douglas MacArthur.

More recently, Brisbane hosted the 1982 Commonwealth Games and 1988 World's Fair, as well as the Goodwill Games in 2001.


The Windmill built by convicts in 1828 — the heritage notice at the Windmill states that it is Queensland's oldest surviving building
The Windmill
built by convicts in 1828 — the heritage notice at the Windmill states that it is Queensland's oldest surviving building
Queensland's first Government House located in the QUT Gardens Point Campus grounds.
Queensland's first Government House located in the QUT Gardens Point Campus grounds.
The AMP Building (now the MacArthur Central building), was the Allied Pacific Headquarters of General Douglas MacArthur during World War II (photograph taken in 1938).
The AMP Building (now the MacArthur Central building), was the Allied Pacific Headquarters of General Douglas MacArthur during World War II (photograph taken in 1938).

The area now known as Brisbane was inhabited before European settlement by the Turrbul and Jagera people whose ancestors originally migrated to the region from across the Torres Strait.

In 1823 an exploration party led by John Oxley explored Moreton Bay and sailed up the Brisbane River as far as Goodna, some 20 km upstream from what is now Brisbane central business district.

In 1824, the colonial administration of New South Wales established a penal settlement at what is now Redcliffe, on the shores of Moreton Bay. However, the Redcliffe settlement was abandoned after only one year and the colony was moved south to a peninsula on the Brisbane River (today the Brisbane CBD), which offered a more reliable water supply. Non-convict European settlement of the Brisbane region commenced in 1838.

Queensland was proclaimed a separate colony in June 1859 and Brisbane, which was named in honour of Sir Thomas Brisbane (who was, at that time, Governor of New South Wales), was chosen as its capital. However, Brisbane was not incorporated as a city until 1902. Over twenty small municipalities and shires were amalgamated in 1925, to form the City of Greater Brisbane which is governed by the Brisbane City Council.

Historic buildings include The Windmill, which was built by convicts in 1828. According to the heritage notice at the Windmill, it is Queensland' oldest surviving building. The Windmill was originally intended for the grinding of grain. Another historic building is the Shrine of Remembrance, which was dedicated on 11 November 1930. The Shrine of Remembrance is Brisbane's main memorial of remembrance to Australia's war dead.

During World War II, Brisbane played a central role in the Allied campaign when the AMP Building (now called MacArthur Central) was used as the South West Pacific headquarters for General Douglas MacArthur, the chief of the Allied Pacific forces. Approximately 1,000,000 US troops passed through Australia during the war, as the primary coordination point for the South West Pacific.

Brisbane staged both a successful Commonwealth Games during 1982, and World's Fair during 1988. These events were accompanied by a scale of public expenditure, construction and development not previously seen in the state of Queensland.

In the new millennium, Brisbane is one of Australia's fastest growing centres, receiving large numbers of migrants from other Australian states and territories. Despite strong economic growth, Queensland government statistics show unemployment rates of over 12% amongst migrants to Brisbane statistical division from interstate and overseas.


Brisbane central business district with New Farm Park in the foreground.
Brisbane central business district
with New Farm Park in the foreground.
Landsat image of the Brisbane region.
Landsat image of the Brisbane region.

Brisbane city centre is situated in the southeast corner of Queensland, Australia, at a latitude and longitude of 27°28′S 153°02′E. 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, although the urban area is dotted by large hills reaching up to 300 metres such as Mount Coot-tha, Mount Gravatt, Whites Hill and Stephens Mountain.

Generally, the city is a low-lying floodplain and susceptible to severe flooding. Many suburban creeks also criss-cross the city, increasing the risk of localised flooding. The city has suffered two major floods since colonisation, in 1893 and 1974. The 1974 Brisbane flood occurred partly as a result of " Cyclone Wanda". Continual non-stop heavy rain had fallen during the three weeks leading up to the flood, which occurred during the Australia Day weekend (26–27 January, 1974). The flood damaged many parts of the city, especially in the suburbs of Oxley, Bulimba, Rocklea, Coorparoo and New Farm. The City Botanic gardens were also inundated, leading to a new colony of mangroves to form in the City Reach of the Brisbane River.

Map of Brisbane CBD.
Map of Brisbane CBD.

The Brisbane central business district is situated in a curve of a river. Covering only 2.2 square kilometres, it is easily walkable. The central streets are named for members of the House of Hanover. Streets named after female members ( Adelaide, Alice, Ann, Charlotte, Elizabeth, Margaret, Mary) run parallel to Queen Street and Queen Street Mall (named in honour of Queen Victoria) and perpendicular to streets named after male members ( Albert, Edward, George, William).

Brisbane has a lower inner city population density than Australia's two largest cities, Sydney and Melbourne, although constant population growth occurring in Brisbane is closing the gap between Brisbane and Melbourne. The lower population density reflects the fact that most of Brisbane's housing stock consists of detached houses. Early legislation decreed a minimum size for residential blocks resulting in few terrace houses being constructed in Brisbane. The high density housing that did exist came in the form of miniature Queenslander-style houses which resemble the much larger traditional styles but are sometimes only 1/4 the size. These miniature Queenslanders are becoming scarce but can still be seen in the inner city subrubs. Multi residence accommodations (such as apartment blocks) are relative newcomers to Brisbane, with few such blocks built before 1970, other than in inner suburbs such as New Farm. Pre-1950 housing stock was often built in a distinctive architectural style known as a Queenslander, featuring timber construction with large verandahs and high ceilings. The relative cheapness of timber in South-East Queensland meant that until recently most residences were constructed of timber, rather than brick or stone. Many of these houses are elevated on stumps (incorrectly referred to as stilts), that were originally timber, but are now frequently replaced by steel or concrete.

Overall the city has a density of 379.4 people per square kilometre, which is comparable to that of Sydney. Recently the density of the city and inner city neighbourhoods has increased with the construction of apartments, with the result that the population of the central business district has doubled over the last 5 years.


Brisbane has a typical subtropical climate with hot, humid summers and dry, mild winters. From late Spring through to early Autumn, thunderstorms are common over the greater Brisbane area, with the more severe events accompanied by large damaging hail stones, torrential rain and destructive winds.

The city's highest recorded temperature was 43.2 °C (109.8 °F) on the 26 January 1940, while the lowest temperature of 2.3 °C (36.1 °F) was recorded on 12 July 1894 and 2 July 1896. Brisbane's wettest day was 21 January 1887, when 465 mm (18.3 in) of rain fell on the city, the highest maximum daily rainfall of any of Australia's capital cities.

Climate Table
  Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Mean daily maximum temperature ( °C) 29.4 29.0 28.0 26.1 23.2 20.9 20.4 21.8 24.0 26.1 27.8 29.1
Mean daily minimum temperature ( °C) 20.7 20.6 19.4 16.6 13.3 10.9 9.5 10.3 12.9 15.8 18.1 19.8
Mean monthly rainfall ( mm) 159.6 158.3 140.7 92.5 73.7 67.8 56.5 45.9 45.7 75.4 97.0 133.3 1146.4
Source: Bureau of Meteorology


Brisbane City Hall houses the Museum of Brisbane and offices of the Brisbane City Council.
Brisbane City Hall houses the Museum of Brisbane and offices of the Brisbane City Council.
Brisbane City Council logo.

Unlike other Australian capital cities, a large portion of the greater metropolitan area of Brisbane is controlled by a single local government entity, the Brisbane City Council. Since the creation of the Brisbane City Council in 1925 the urban areas of Brisbane have expanded considerably past the City Council boundaries.

The City of Brisbane is divided into 26 wards, with each ward electing a Councillor as their community representative. The Lord Mayor of Brisbane and Councillors are elected every four years by popular vote, in which all residents must participate. The current Lord Mayor of Brisbane is Campbell Newman, who was elected to the position in March 2004.

Brisbane City Council is the largest local government body (in terms of population and budget) in Australia. The Council, formed by the merger of twenty smaller councils in 1925, has jurisdiction over an area of 1367 km². The Council's annual budget is approximately $1.6 billion, and it has an asset base of $13 billion.

The Brisbane metropolitan area now covers parts of several adjoining local government areas including Beaudesert Shire, Caboolture Shire, Gold Coast City, Ipswich City, Logan City, Pine Rivers Shire, Redcliffe City and Redland Shire.


Brisbane city by night, looking north along the Brisbane River towards the CBD.
Brisbane city by night, looking north along the Brisbane River towards the CBD.
Queen Street Mall, Brisbane CBD.
Queen Street Mall, Brisbane CBD.

Brisbane's economy has white-collar and blue-collar industries. White-collar industries include information technology, financial services, higher education and public sector administration generally concentrated in and around the central business district and recently established office areas in the inner suburbs. Blue-collar industries include 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.

Since 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" initative. 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) Saint 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 with the establishment of the Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation (IHBI).

Brisbane is also considered one of the major business hubs in Australia. Most major Australian and International companies have either a major or minor contact office in Brisbane. Many electronics companies also take advantage of the strategic port and airports by choosing to have distribution hubs in the city. LG, Panasonic, Samsung are just a few practical examples. DHL Global have their Oceanic distribution warehouse located in Brisbane, while Asia Pacific Aerospace their headquarters.

The Port of Brisbane is on the lower reaches of the Brisbane River and on Fisherman's Island at the rivers mouth, and is the 3rd most important port in Australia for value of goods. Container freight, sugar, grain, coal and bulk liquids are the major exports. Most of the port facilities are less than three decades old and some are built on reclaimed mangroves and wetlands. The Port is a part of the Australia TradeCoast, the country's fastest-growing economic development area, is a marketing partnership between the Queensland Government, the city of Brisbane, Brisbane airport and its seaport, originally proposed by a UK marketer who had also developed the Amsterdam airport Area zone. Geographically, Australia TradeCoast occupies a huge swathe of land around the airport and port. Commercially, the area has attracted a mix of companies from throughout the Asia Pacific region.

Home grown major companies from Brisbane include Suncorp-Metway Limited, Flight Centre, SunSuper, Orrcon, Credit Union Australia, Donut King,, WebCentral, PIPE Networks, Mincom Ltd. and Virgin Blue are headquartered in Brisbane, while the city has regional presences of Alcan, Oracle, Boeing and Red Hat.

Brisbane has many shopping centres. The Queen Street Mall has restaurants, souvenirs and shopping centres, including: Wintergarden, Broadway on the Mall, Queens Plaza, Brisbane Arcade and The Myer Centre. The majority of consumer commerce is generally done within the suburbs of Brisbane, via massive shopping centre hubs which include major departments chains. There are 4 major shopping centres in Brisbane located in the suburbs of Chermside, Indooroopilly, Mt Gravatt and Carindale. Smaller, yet significant shopping centres are also littered around the other suburbs of the city. For a full listing of shopping centres in Brisbane CBD, and Brisbane suburbs, see the Brisbane, Queensland section of the List of shopping centres in Australia article


Population by year
1825 47 (convict settlement)
1831 1,241
1839 2,212
1846 6,257 (free settlement)
1851 8,375
1891 104,276 (gold rush)
1925 260 000
1950 442,000
1960 603,000
1970 798,000 (interstate migration)
1980 1,067,000
1990 1,303,000
2000 1,591,000
2004 1,810,943 (2005 estimate)
2030 2,597,400 (projected)
2100 5,997,400 (projected, Largest City In Australia)

The population of Brisbane city is estimated at 971,757 (as of June 2005). Greater Brisbane has an estimated urban population of 1.81 million. Brisbane City Council as Australia's largest (by area) predominantly urban Local Government Area, is the most populous LGA in Australia. Brisbane is claimed to have Australia's highest rate of capital city population growth. The urban population reportedly grew by 11.5% between 1999 and 2004 .

The last Australian Census in 2001 showed that 1.7% of Brisbane's population are of indigenous origins, while 21.0% were born overseas. Approximately 13.5% of households speak a language other than English, with the most common being Chinese, Vietnamese and Italian. The median age across the city is 32 years old.

Part of the Brisbane central business district
Part of the Brisbane central business district


The Forgan Smith Building and the Great Court University of Queensland
The Forgan Smith Building and the Great Court University of Queensland

Brisbane has multi-campus universities and colleges including the University of Queensland (A member of the Group of Eight), Queensland University of Technology and Griffith University. Other universities which have campuses in Brisbane include the Australian Catholic University, Central Queensland University, James Cook University, the University of Canberra, the University of New South Wales and the University of Southern Queensland.

Brisbane also has TAFE colleges including the Bremer Institute of TAFE, Brisbane North Institute of TAFE, Metropolitan South Institute of TAFE and the Southbank Institute of TAFE. Other independent tertiary education providers include the Australian College of Natural Medicine, the Brisbane College of Theology, QANTM and Jschool: Journalism Education & Training.

Brisbane is covered under the jurisdiction of Education Queensland regarding public primary and high schools. For information about schools in Brisbane, see the List of schools in Queensland article.


Brisbane skyline taken from the South Bank Parklands
Brisbane skyline taken from the South Bank Parklands

Arts and entertainment

Brisbane has a thriving live music scene, as well as museums and theatres, performing arts and creative arts. It is the birthplace of internationally acclaimed singers, music bands, authors, actors, artists and sculptors. Many of Brisbane's singers and musicians (both popular and classical) have performed overseas, and have received international awards and recognition.

There are popular entertainment pubs and clubs within both the City and Fortitude Valley.

There is also the Queensland Cultural Centre at South Bank, which includes the Queensland Performing Arts Centre (with the Lyric Theatre, Concert Hall, Cremorne Theatre and the Playhouse), Queensland Museum, Queensland Art Gallery, State Library of Queensland, and soon to be completed Queensland Gallery of Modern Art. Close to the Queensland Performing arts Centre are the Queensland Conservatorium Griffith University and Suncorp Piazza, which are both located at South Bank Parklands, and the Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre.

Major cultural events include the Ekka (the Royal Queensland Show) is held each year in August, at the Brisbane Exhibition Ground, Riverfestival (which includes Riverfire), is held each year in September at South Bank Parklands and surrounding areas; Warana, (meaning Blue Skies), was a former spring festival which began in 1961 and was held in September each year. Run as a celebration of Brisbane, Warana was similar in many ways to Melbourne's Moomba festival. Warana was changed, in 1996, to a biennial Brisbane Festival, as a lower key event with a focus on the performing arts. Also, the Paniyiri festival at Musgrave Park (corner of Russell and Edmonstone Streets, South Brisbane) an annual Greek cultural festival held on the first weekend in May.

Tourism and recreation

Popular areas for tourism and recreation include the South Bank Parklands, the Roma Street Parkland (which has an outdoor amphitheatre), the Brisbane City Botanic Gardens (a colonial era botanic gardens founded in 1855 in the Brisbane CBD), and the Mount Coot-tha state forest (which includes a lookout over the city), the Brisbane Botanic Gardens (contemporary botanical gardens) which includes the Sir Thomas Brisbane Planetarium and the "Tsuki-yama-chisen" Japanese Garden, as well as Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary and Brisbane Forest Park, the rock-climbing cliffs which are located at the southern approach to the Story Bridge at Kangaroo Point, and the more than 27 km of bicycle pathways which line both sides of the river east and west of the city centre. Another new Brisbane attraction is the Story Bridge Adventure Climb. The Story Bridge is one of only three legally climbable bridges in the world. The latest addition to Brisbane tourism is the $750 million Portside Wharf.


Brisbane has teams in all interstate competitions including the Brisbane Broncos in the National Rugby League; the Queensland Reds in the Super 14 competition in Rugby union; the Brisbane Lions in the Australian Football League; the Queensland Roar FC in the soccer A-League; the Queensland Bulls in Cricket; the Brisbane Bullets in the National Basketball League and the KFC Queensland Breakers in the National Water Polo League .

With the closure of the Milton Tennis grounds in 1994, Brisbane was without major tennis facility until recently. In 2005, a new A$65 million tennis stadium, to be located in the suburb of Tennyson was approved by the State government and in conjunction with Mirvac constructions is to be constructed starting in May 2006, with a completion date scheduled for December 2008.

Brisbane has hosted several major sporting events including the 1982 Commonwealth Games and the 2001 Goodwill Games. Brisbane also hosted games during the 1987 Rugby World Cup, 2000 Sydney Olympics and the 2003 Rugby World Cup.



Brisbane is covered under Queensland Health's "Central" and "Southern" zones. There are 8 major public hospitals in the greater Brisbane area, as well as 4 major private hospitals, and numerous smaller facilities both public and private. Specialist and GP practises are also located in most suburbs and localities in the city.


CityCat catamaran ferry on the Brisbane River.
CityCat catamaran ferry on the Brisbane River.

As Queensland's largest city and state capital, Brisbane has an extensive transportation network within the city, as well as connections to regional centres, interstate and to overseas destinations. Public Transport in Brisbane is provided by bus, rail and ferry services. Bus services are operated by public and private operators whereas trains and ferries are operated by public agencies. The Brisbane central business district (CBD) is the central hub for all public transport services with services focusing on Queen Street Bus Station, Roma Street and Central railway stations, and various city ferries wharves. Brisbane's CityCat high speed ferry service, popular with tourists and commuters, operates services along the Brisbane River and in this regard is unusual among Australian cities.

The CityTrain urban rail network consists of 7 suburban lines and covers mostly the west, north and east sides of the city. It also provides the route for an AirTrain service between the City and Brisbane Airport (the AirTrain, itself, is owned by a company). Since 2000, Brisbane has been developing a network of busways to provide faster bus services. " TransLink", an integrated ticketing system operates across the public transport network.

The Brisbane River has created a barrier to transport. In total there are six road bridges, mostly concentrated in the inner city area. This has intensified the need for transport routes to focus on the inner city. There are also three railway bridges and one pedestrian bridge. The Eleanor Schonell Bridge is under construction between the University of Queensland and Dutton Park and is for use by buses, pedestrians and as a bicycle bridge. There are currently multiple tunnel and bridge projects underway as part of the TransApex plan. For further information about Brisbane's bridges, see the article Bridges of Brisbane.

Riverside Expressway. Captain Cook Bridge and Victoria Bridge
Riverside Expressway. Captain Cook Bridge and Victoria Bridge

Brisbane is served by several freeways. The Pacific Motorway connects the central city with the Gold Coast to the south. The Ipswich Motorway connects the city with Ipswich to the west via the southern suburbs, while the Western Freeway provides a connection between Brisbane's inner-west and the outer south-west, connecting with the Ipswich Motorway south of the Brisbane River. The Bruce Highway is Brisbane's main route north of the city to the rest of the State. The Bruce Highway terminates 1700km away in Cairns and passes through most major cities along the Queensland coast. The Gateway Motorway is a private toll road which connects the Gold Coast and Sunshine Coasts by providing an alternate route avoiding Brisbane's inner city area. The tollroad crosses the Brisbane River to the east of the city over the Gateway Bridge. The Gateway Motorway connects with Bruce Highway and the Pacific Motorway. A duplicate of the bridge is planned to be built in parallel to cope with the area's growing population.

Brisbane's population growth placed strains on South East Queensland's transport system. The State Government and Brisbane City Council have responded with infrastructure plans and increased funding for transportation projects, such as the South East Queensland Infrastructure Plan and Program. Most of the focus has been placed on expanding current road infrastructure, particularly tunnels and bypasses, as well as improving the public transport system.

The city is served by two airports. Brisbane Airport (IATA code: BNE) is the city's main airport and the third busiest in Australia. It is located at Eagle Farm, north-east of the city centre and provides domestic and international passenger services. Archerfield Airport (in Brisbane's southern suburbs) acts as a general aviation airport.


Water storage, treatment and delivery for Brisbane is handled by SEQ Water, which sells on to Brisbane Water for distribution to the greater Brisbane area. Water for the area is stored in one of three dams; Wivenhoe, Somerset and North Pine, all of which are at all time lows, causing councils in the South East Queenland area to devise some of the strictest water restrictions in Australia. Brisbane Water also handles sewage treatment and recycled water distribution.

Electricity and Gas in Brisbane are handled by Energex, a state government organisation, and Origin Energy, a private company that also handles the gas line grid within the city.

Metropolitan Brisbane is serviced by all major and most minor telecommunications companies and their networks. Brisbane has the largest number of enabled DSL telephone exchanges in Queensland. An increasing number are also enabled with special hardware ( DSLAMs) which enable ultra high speed ADSL2+ internet access. The Brisbane CBD also features a complete underground fibre optics network, with numerous connections to the inner suburbs provided by various service providers.

Cable via two major networks provided and serviced by Telstra and Optus. These provide both high speed internet as well as Pay TV services for the bulk of the city's metropolitan area. Both of these providers also host wireless networks with hotspots within both the inner and suburban areas.

In addition, Hutchinson, Telstra, Optus and Vodafone all operate both 2.5G and 3G mobile phone networks citywide.

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