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Brisbane History, Australia

The first chapter of the Brisbane history opens around the time when Aboriginals like the Jagera and Turrbal people came into this region (setting up some sort of shelter close to the Brisbane River and even the Moreton Bay, where food was abundant).

The Europeans (read British) first stepped into the region when in 1823 Surveyor General John Oxley was able to locate the Brisbane River with the help of ex-convicts.

Brisbane History – As a Penal Settlement

Brisbane acted as a penal colony from 1825 to 1842. Although Brisbane was not the originally chosen location, the corrective settlement was shifted to Brisbane within a year of its establishment because of its advantageous location (being surrounded by Brisbane River) and access to constant water-supply. (The jail was originally established a short distance away in Redcliffe in 1824).

Since a government decree forbade unauthorized entry within a radius of fifty miles of the prison, it remained the only structure for quite a long time, say a the stretch of seventeen years until 1842.

Brisbane History– As a Free Settlement

Free-settlers started entering Brisbane and its adjoining region after England was forced to stop further deportation of hardened criminals to Australia (by a ruling of 1842). Initially, only the ex-convicts arrived; they were followed by entrepreneurs and soon a small township was formed.

The town continued expanding and its population continued growing. Things worked in favor of Brisbane and it was accorded the status of a city. Eventually, Brisbane became the capital city of the autonomous colony of Queensland in 1859.

Brisbane progressed uninterrupted in the late 1880s and became the commercial/economic center of Queensland. This developmental phase continued until the beginning of the First World War. This was a golden phase in Brisbane history. It is in this phase of development that Brisbane acquired distinctiveness in every sphere; whether it was architecture or culture, Brisbane developed unique traits quite different from other leading Australian cities like Sydney, Canberra or Melbourne.

Brisbane History – Post WWI Era

A number of city improvement acts were passed following the WWI; these laws saw culmination post implementation of the City of Brisbane Act 1924. As per this law, Brisbane (rather Brisbane GBC) became the largest local authority. This had immense effect on the city’s growth and development; however, once the Great Depression set in, the city’s progress was hindered. Abject poverty and disorder became rampant.

During the WWII, much of Brisbane city was turned into military base for the allied forces. With the arrival of American service members, the population of the city reached over 750,000. The city’s limited wealth and services could not support the additional population; tension built up between the American and Australian service members, resulting in the ‘Battle of Brisbane’. The post-WWII days, however, saw the city entering into another development phase. Following further expansion, Brisbane became the third largest city of Australia.

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