The inner suburb of South Brisbane is situated on the southern bank of the Brisbane River, directly connected to the central business district by the Kurilpa, Victoria and Goodwill bridges. Over the years, South Brisbane gained a seedy reputation with many pubs, brothels and boarding houses among warehouses with few homes. It was unofficially declared the cities ‘black’ area during World War II. The suburb was previously heavily industrialised. Its regeneration began when it was selected as the location of World Expo ’88, which was built on former wharves and industrial land. Following Expo ’88, South Bank Parklands was built on the former Expo site.
How to get there: from Brisbane, cross the Victoria Bridge from Queen St; by rail, train to South Bank of South Brisbane station on the Cleveland or Beenleigh lines. Modern public transport services include suburban train stations at South Brisbane and South Bank and South East Busway stations at Cultural Centre, South Bank, and Mater Hill. CityCat ferry services link South Brisbane to other riverside suburbs.
South Bank inner-suburban recreational area on the banks of the Brisbane River opposite the Central Business District. It began life as the site of Expo 88, a landmark exhibition event in the history of Brisbane which provided the launch pad for an exciting period of growth and development. The theme of the Expo was “Leisure in the Age of Technology”, and the mascot for the Expo was an Australian platypus, named “Expo Oz”. Since the Expo, South Brisbane has emerged as fashionable, high density, modern residential area, given its proximity to the city centre and good public transport links.
The precinct is today set among parklands, tranquil setting for numerous attractions, including Streets Beach, a calm, blue salt-water man-made beach; garden and rainforest walks, including the Energex Arbour Boulevard; picnic and barbecue areas; more than 20 restaurants and cafes. Rydges Hotel South Bank, Queensland Conservatorium, Griffith University, Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre and the Queensland Maritime Museum are located around the perimeter of South Bank. A sightseeing ferris wheel is located at South Bank near the Nepal Peace Pagoda. Free admission.
Streets Beach, Brisbane is one of South Bank’s most popular attractions and the only man-made beach in Australia in the middle of the city. A unique swimming location, Streets Beach overlooks the Brisbane River and Central Business District. Conceived as a major piece of landscape, it has a sparkling, crystal clear lagoon with white sand beaches, palm trees, pebbled creeks and shady shallows surrounded by sub-tropical trees and exotic plantings.
Brisbane Cultural Centre
As its name suggests, this precinct, situated on the opposite bank to the Brisbane CBD alongside the South Bank precinct, is the central hub of cultural activity in Brisbane. The complex includes the Queensland Performing Arts Centre (QPAC); Queensland Museum; State Library of Queensland; Queensland Art Gallery and Gallery of Modern Art.
The Playhouse. Photo: QPAC
Queensland Performing Arts Centre
For more than 30 years, Queensland Performing Arts Centre has showcased the best of local, national and international performing arts. QPAC is home to Queensland Theatre Company, Queensland Ballet, Queensland Symphony Orchestra and Opera Queensland. Sitting at the heart of South Bank’s Cultural Precinct, the centre has multiple venues designed for all types of performing arts including dance, music and theatre. QPAC has four main facilities: The Lyric Theatre, The Concert Hall, The Cremorne Theatre and The Playhouse. Location: Grey Street, Corner Melbourne Street, South Brisbane.
The Queensland Performing Arts Centre Museum, in the heart of Brisbane’s Cultural Centre, offers a back-stage insight into the achievements of some of Queensland and Australia’s most influential performing artists. They provide access to the collection through exhibitions and research facilities. The collection consists of costumes, photographs, programs and artefacts. A changing program of exhibitions is presented.
The state’s premier museum, it has a distinct Queensland flavour with special features focusing on the cultures of the peoples of the Torres Strait Islands, dinosaur remains found in Queensland and the fish and animals found on the land and in the seas of Queensland. These include three full size model whales hanging from the ceiling of a walkway outside the Museum. Free admission. Location: Grey Street, South Brisbane.
The Science Centre offers an exciting, interactive and experience-rich environment that is contemporary, user-friendly and inspiring for all ages. The Sciencentre houses permanent and changing exhibitions and also provides in-depth education experiences, innovative Science Theatre shows, and showcases objects form Queensland Museum’s science and technology collection.. Location: Grey Street, South Brisbane.
Queensland Art Gallery | Queensland Gallery of Modern Art
Features collection of Australian and international paintings, sculptures, decorative art objects and works on paper. South Brisbane. The Queensland Gallery of Modern Art is the Queensland Art Gallery’s second building, and is the largest gallery of modern and contemporary art in Australia. It complements the Queensland Art Gallery (QAG) building, situated only 150 metres away. Queensland’s Gallery of Modern Art also houses Australia’s first purpose built cinematheque. Location; Stanley Place, South Brisbane QLD 4101. Ph (07) 3840 7303.
Queensland Maritime Museum traces Queensland’s maritime history from the days of the early navigators to the present day. The Museum occupies a number of maritime-related buildings surrounding the South Brisbane Dry Dock which, during a century of service, was used by ships of all types including US submarines during World War II.
The museum’s displays include the smallest yachts ever to sail the oceans of the world, a lighthouse from the mouth of the Brisbane River, a Torres Strait pearling lugger, cannons from the time of the Battle of Trafalgar and the Royal Australian Navy frigate HMAS Diamantina, built in Queensland and commissioned in 1945. Entry fees apply
Location: on the banks of the Brisbane River, at the southern end of the South Bank Parklands, next to the Goodwill Bridge. 412 Stanley St, South Brisbane QLD 4101. Ph (07) 3844 5361
Known, along with West End and Highgate Hill as Kurilpa (Water Rat) to the local indigenous people, the area remains important in indigenous life. Musgrave Park has been for many years a place of congregation for the Murri peoples of south-east Queensland. It is the site of a bora ring that has been buried. The Ngundari and Jagara groups were drawn to the river at South Brisbane for fishing and gunyah building.
European settlement commenced with the first land sales in 1843, followed by the development of wharves along the bank of the Brisbane River. The first street in the area was called Stanley Quay, later to become Stanley Street. Commercials buildings and hotels developed around the Russell Street area. By the 1850s there were over 100 residences in the area. Due to its proximity to wharves the area became the place where bullock drovers stayed and relaxed. Thomas Baines visited Brisbane in 1855 and depicted South Brisbane in a painting titled ‘South Brisbane from North Brisbane’, 13 years later. South Brisbane Recreation Reserve (now known as Musgrave Park) was created in 1856.
In 1867, it was proposed to build a public grammar school adjacent to the reserve. However it was not until 1925 that Brisbane State High School moved to the site (having first been established in 1921 at old Normal School on the corner of Adelaide and Edward Street). In 1884, the railway to the south was opened with a terminus at South Brisbane. As a result, South Brisbane experienced a construction boom. In 1888, South Brisbane became an independent municipality, initially as the Borough of South Brisbane and then becoming the City of South Brisbane in 1903. In 1925 the City of South Brisbane was amalgamated into the City of Greater Brisbane. The first electric tramway in Brisbane ran along Stanley Street in South Brisbane on 16 June 1897.
The South Brisbane Memorial Park commemorates those of South Brisbane who died in World War I. On 20 May 1921 the South Brisbane City Council set aside a triangular block land bounded by Stanley Street, Vulture Street and Sidon Street opposite the South Brisbane Town Hall. On 6 August 1923 the park was dedicated Governor-General of Australia, Henry Forster.