Brisbane River and City at dawn. Queensland, Australia.(4)

Ralph de Zilva

Cedar Creek, Australia

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Nikon D700 & Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8 lens
Gitzo tripod

Featured in
South East Australia on 28.07.2012
Nikon D700 on 25.2.2011
All Countries-Wetlands, Ponds, Lakes And Rivers in 2011

Prior to European settlement, the Brisbane area was inhabited by the Turrbal and Jagera people, whose ancestors migrated to the region from across the Torres Strait. They knew the area as Mian-jin, meaning “place shaped as a spike”.

The Moreton Bay area was initially explored by Matthew Flinders. On 17 July 1799, Flinders landed at what is now known as Woody Point, which he named “Red Cliff Point”, after the red-coloured cliffs visible from the bay. In 1823, Governor of New South Wales, Thomas Brisbane, instructed that a new northern penal settlement be developed, and an exploration party led by John Oxley further explored Moreton Bay.

Oxley discovered, named and explored the Brisbane River as far as Goodna, 20 kilometres (12 mi) upstream from the Brisbane central business district. Oxley recommended Red Cliff Point for the new colony, reporting that ships could land at any tide and easily get close to the shore.

The party settled in Redcliffe on 13 September 1824, under the command of Lieutenant Henry Miller with 14 soldiers; some with wives and children; and 29 convicts. However, this settlement was abandoned after a year, and the colony was moved to a site on the Brisbane River now known as North Quay, 28 kilometres (17 mi) south, that offered a more reliable water supply. Chief Justice Forbes gave the new settlement the name of Edenglassie before it was named Brisbane.

Non-convict European settlement of the Brisbane region commenced in 1838. German missionaries settled at Zions Hill, Nundah, as early as 1837, five years before Brisbane was officially declared a free settlement. The band consisted of two ministers, Christopher Eipper (1813–1894) and Carl Wilhelm Schmidt, and lay missionaries Haussmann, Johann Gottried Wagner, Niquet, Hartenstein, Zillman, Franz, Rode, Doege and Schneider. They were allocated 260 hectares and set about establishing the mission, which became known as German Station.

Free settlers entered the area over the following five years and by the end of 1840 Robert Dixon began work on the first plan of Brisbane Town in anticipation of future development. Queensland was proclaimed a separate colony on 6 June 1859, with Brisbane chosen as its capital, although it was not incorporated as a city until 1902. Over twenty small municipalities and shires were amalgamated in 1925, to form the City of Brisbane which is governed by the Brisbane City Council.

1930 was a significant year for Brisbane, with the construction of landmarks that helped define the character of the city. The Story Bridge and Brisbane City Hall, then the city’s tallest buildings, were both completed. Additionally, the Shrine of Remembrance, in ANZAC Square, became Brisbane’s main war memorial.

During World War II, Brisbane became central to the Allied campaign when the AMP Building (now called MacArthur Central) was used as the South West Pacific headquarters for General Douglas MacArthur, chief of the Allied Pacific forces, until his headquarters were moved to Hollandia in August 1944. MacArthur had previously rejected use of the University of Queensland complex as his headquarters, as the distinctive bends in the river at St Lucia could have aided enemy bombers. Also used as a headquarters by the American troops during World War II was the T & G Building.

Approximately 1 million US troops passed through Australia during the war, as the primary coordination point for the South West Pacific. In 1942 Brisbane was the site of a violent clash between visiting US military personnel and Australian servicemen and civilians which resulted in one death and several injuries. This incident became known colloquially as the Battle of Brisbane.

Postwar Brisbane had developed a “big country town” stigma, an image the city’s politicians and marketers were very keen to remove. Despite steady growth, Brisbane’s development was punctuated by infrastructure problems. The State government under Joh Bjelke-Petersen began a major program of change and urban renewal, beginning with the Central Business District (CBD) and inner suburbs. Trams in Brisbane were a popular mode of public transport, until the network was closed in 1969, leaving Melbourne as the last Australian city to operate a tram network.

The 1974 Brisbane flood was a major disaster which temporarily crippled the city. During this era, Brisbane grew and modernised rapidly becoming a destination of interstate migration. Some of Brisbane’s popular landmarks were lost, including the Bellevue Hotel in 1977 and Cloudland in 1982, demolished in controversial circumstances by the Deen Brothers demolition crew. Major public works included the Riverside Expressway, the Gateway Bridge, and later, the redevelopment of South Bank, starting with the Queensland Art Gallery.

Brisbane hosted the 1982 Commonwealth Games and the 1988 World Exposition (known locally as World Expo 88). These events were accompanied by a scale of public expenditure, construction and development not previously seen in the state of Queensland.

Brisbane’s population growth has exceeded the national average every year since 1990 at an average rate of around 2.2% per year.

Brisbane was again hit by a major flood in January 2011. The Brisbane River did not reach the same height as the previous 1974 flood but still caused extensive damage and disruption.

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Artwork Comments

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