The Valley, as it’s affectionately known by locals, was
Australia’s first dedicated entertainment district and continues
to be a hive of activity, alive with the sounds of people and music.
Live music thrives in venues such as The Zoo and Judith Wright Centre
of Contemporary Arts and international DJs are drawn to the super clubs
and chic bars.
Fortitude Valley has a well deserved reputation as Brisbane's home
for one-of-a-kind fashion, with the mix of fashion designers, artists
and musicians working within the area. In the 1950s, the suburb was the
largest shopping precinct outside of a central business district in
Wickham Street: Running through the heart of Fortitude Valley,
Wickham Street has grown over the years to incorporate up and coming
urban and street wear stores, as well as many sporting and outdoor
adventure retailers. Shopping around the Valley is always an adventure
with the variety of food outlets in the Chinatown mall, the end of
which meets up with Wickham Street.
Brunswick Street: With a history of eccentric characters and a taste
for the alternative, Brunswick Street Mall in Fortitude Valley is a
magnet for all things boho.
Judith Wright GalleyJudith Wright Centre of Contemporary Art: Modern
art has long been an area of focus in Brisbane. The Judith Wright
Centre of Contemporary Art is home to the Institute of Modern Art,
founded in 1975, which continues to deliver programs dedicated to
emerging and established artists.
Phillip Bacon Galleries: In terms of longevity and quality, Philip
Bacon Galleries is not only downtown's most prestigious private
gallery, but regarded nationally and internationally as among
Queensland Military Memorial Museum: displays are set out
chronologically from the early 1800s to the modern era, relating the
history of Queenslanders' service in Queensland and Commonwealth
Defence forces, both in times of peace and during war, and of the
Allies of the Colony and Commonwealth in war.
Chinatown Mall: Situated in Fortitude Valley, Brisbane's Chinatown
is a hive of activity draws in as many locals as it does visitors.
Maybe it's the hustle and bustle of the Chinese supermarkets, the
exotic ingredients, or the steaming Yum Cha breakfast shared with
friends that bring people back time and time again. Maybe it's the
smells and sounds of fresh ingredients meeting a wok, or green tea
poured over and over. Whatever the case, Chinatown is celebrated as an
Black Pearl Epicure and Cooking School: a gourmet paradise. Be
tempted with olive oils, French chocolate, exquisite teas, rich smoked
salmon, caviar, specialty sausages, truffles, imported Australian
cheeses and delicious hampers.
Perfume Masterclass at Libertine Parfumerie: Stepping inside
Libertines is like walking into the French boudoir you always dreamed
of. From black polished wood floors and ornate architraves, through to
the gorgeous chandelier centrepiece and rows and rows of shelves
brimming with intricate perfume bottles adorning beautiful cabinets.
Libertines run evening Perfume Masterclasses where the experts can help
you select a perfume that's just right. Libertines run 'singles' nights
once a month to cater for individuals or small groups who want to learn
more about fragrance. Location: Robertson Street (just off James
Street), Fortitude Valley.
Valley Markets: also called the Valley Markets or the Brunswick
Street Markets. Held every Saturday and Sunday in the Brunswick Street
Mall, you can hunt for a bargain, check out the vintage fashion and
bric a brac or chill out with live entertainment.
Valley Fiesta: an annual three-day event featuring free live music,
market stalls, food and drink from many local restaurants and
cafés, and other entertainment. Artists that have performed at
the Valley Fiesta include Tim Rogers, Butterfingers and Evermore on the
main stage and Nick Skitz and End Of Fashion at surrounding venues.
Valley Jazz Festival: was founded in 2004 by Jazz Queensland Incorporated.
Big Gay Day: a Gay, Lesbian, Bi-Sexual and Trans-gender festival held
over one day in and around the Wickham Hotel in Fortitude Valley. The
celebration raises money for GLBT groups such as GLWA and Open Doors.
Previous entertainment has included various local and international
DJ's, performers such as Marcia Hines, Operator Please and TV Rock as
well as Drag Shows.
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Fortitude Valley is an inner suburb of the City of Brisbane. The
suburb lies immediately northeast of the Brisbane central business
district, which is 1 km away.
How to get there
Fortitude Valley railway station serves all suburban and interurban
lines, including Airtrain to the Brisbane Airport. The station is
located in Zone 1 of the TransLink integrated public transport system.
Brisbane Transport operates buses to, from and through Fortitude Valley.
Scottish immigrants from the ship SS Fortitude arrived in Brisbane
in 1849, enticed by Rev Dr John Dunmore Lang on the promise of free
land grants. Denied land, the immigrants set up camp in Bowen Hills. A
number of the immigrants moved on and settled the suburb, naming it
after the ship on which they arrived. A post office was established in
1887. 1891 saw the train line extended from the Brisbane central
business district into Fortitude Valley, and Thomas Beirne opened a
business on Brunswick Street. His business thrived and, after
extension, he travelled to England in 1896, leaving his manager of two
years, James McWhirter, in charge. Soon after his return, McWhirter
established a competing drapery business opposite Beirne's in 1898.
Beirne and McWhirter became keen rivals and are credited with
establishing the Valley as a hub of commerce from the late 1890s.
In the late 19th century, commercial activities in Brisbane were
divided along religious lines, with Protestant shopkeepers setting up
along Queen and Adelaide Streets in the central business district, and
shops operated by Roman Catholics in Stanley Street, South Brisbane.
However in the 1893 Brisbane flood (and again in 1897), major floods
wiped out many shops, and owners in that area decided to move and set
up operations north of the river in an area free of flooding. The area
they chose was Fortitude Valley. By that time Brisbane's horse-drawn
tram system already centered on Fortitude Valley, making it the logical
choice to establish a shopping precinct.
From the early 1900s through to the 1960s, the thriving shopping
precinct was dominated by McWhirters, Beirne's and, later, Overells'
department stores. The Overells Building was completed in 1907. They
were ultimately bought out by the Myer, David Jones and Waltons chains
respectively with Overells being bought by Walton in 1956. Woolworths
and Coles supermarkets and a host of smaller shops also flourished in
the precinct during this period. Owing to its proximity to the central
business district and the close concentration of public transport in
the area, the Valley became the largest non-CBD shopping precinct in
Australia through the 1950s and 1960s.
The rise of suburban shopping centres and the closure of the tram
network in 1969 sounded the death knell for Fortitude Valley, with a
gradual decrease in customers. David Jones closed its Valley store in
the 1970s and Myer closed its doors in the early 1990s, and the
once-thriving commercial centre devolved to dilapidation. In the 1970s
and 1980s, the area fell into disrepute and, with the tacit support of
police and government, illegal gambling houses and brothels set up
shop. As the first step to its revitalisation, the Chinatown Mall
opened in 1987.
The 1990s saw the development of Fortitude Valley into a thriving
live music scene and nightclub district. In 1991, the Brunswick Street
pedestrian shopping mall was established. Thereafter, the Brisbane City
Council led a concerted urban renewal campaign, encouraging high
density residential development around the suburb to clean up the
suburb and rid it of its seedy reputation. In 2012, around 50,000
people head to Fortitude Valley's clubs, pubs and restaurants each