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The Moreton Bay area was explored by John Oxley as the site of a potential penal settlement in 1823. On this trip Oxley named the Brisbane River in honour of the New South Wales Governor, Sir Thomas Brisbane.
The original Moreton Bay convict station was established at Redcliffe in September 1824 but this site was abandoned a few months after its original settlement in favoured of the better-watered Brisbane site, 20 kilometres up the Brisbane River.
Brisbane operated as a penal colony from 1825 until its official closure in 1839, during which time free settlers were not permitted within an 80 kilometre radius of the site.
In 1831 the Moreton Bay settlement was comprised of 1066 convicts and 175 soldiers, however little remains of Brisbane's convict era today. The Commissariat Stores, believed to be Brisbane's first stone structure, were constructed as a two storey building in 1828-29. The top brick storey was added in 1913. The building is now home to the Royal Historical Society of Queensland.
The only other convict-built structure remaining in Brisbane today is the old windmill (1828) in Wickham Terrace. Built under the command of Captain Patrick Logan the mill was constructed to grind maize. Wind power was soon replaced by a treadmill where convicts were forced to work as punishment. The windmill became a signal station in 1861 and was later an observatory, fire lookout and television transmission tower.
The Moreton Bay district was officially opened up for free settlement in 1842, after surveys of the land had been carried out over the preceding three years. Settlers initially established the three separate townships of North Brisbane, South Brisbane and Kangaroo Point during the 1840s. Growth during that decade, however, was slow and suffered from a lack of funds from the administration in Sydney.
Queensland's first newspaper, the Moreton Bay Courier, was first published in 1846. It subsequently became the Brisbane Courier and, from 1933, the Courier Mail.
Early pastoralist Patrick Leslie built Newstead House in 1846. Believed to be the oldest extant house in Brisbane, it was bought by Captain John Wickham in 1847. Wickham lived at Newstead House until 1859 and extended the residence for entertaining during this period.
The sandstone St Stephen's Catholic Church was constructed in Gothic-style during 1850 and is the city's oldest remaining church. The twin-spired, Gothic-Revival-style St Stephen's Cathedral, designed by Benjamin Backhouse, replaced it as the main Catholic place of worship when it opened in 1874.
The Deanery, a double storey residence built in 1853, served as the Governor's residence between 1859 and the completion of Government House in 1862.
The northern settlers' gained self-governance in 1859 when Queensland was declared a separate colony from New South Wales. The Brisbane site was chosen in front of other contenders to become the capital of the new colony. At this time Brisbane had a population of around 6,000 residents.
The first Anglican bishop of Brisbane was consecrated in the year Queensland gained independence. 'Bishopsbourne' (1868) was built as the bishop's residence.
Brisbane underwent economic and building booms in the 1860s and 1880s, and these periods of expansion left behind a legacy of substantial structures.
The Classical Revival-style old Government House was built between 1860 and 1862. The porphyry and sandstone building was used as the Governor's residence until 1910, during which time the upper verandah (1873), billiard room (1899) and southwest balcony (1906) were added. It became the original University of Queensland building in 1910 and is now home to the National Trust of Queensland.
An 1864 fire destroyed many of the early buildings in the Brisbane city area.
The French Renaissance-style Parliament House was designed by Charles Tiffin who won 200 guineas as the victor of an Australia-wide competition to design the building. Parliament House opened in 1868, though construction of the building was not completed until 1889.
The late Victorian Classical Revival-style General Post Office was constructed between 1871 and 1879 on the site of the former female factory prison.
Brisbane's tramway commenced operation in 1875 and ran until the system was replaced by bus services in 1969. The railway line to Sandgate opened in 1882.
Construction of the Treasury Building, which extends across an entire city block, began in 1884 and building continued in stages until its completion in 1922.
The National Bank on the corner of Creek and Queen Streets was completed in 1885. The Italian Renaissance-style building with its Corinthian columns, limestone pilasters and opulent interior was considered on of the world's finest banks at the time of its construction.
The Customs House, constructed between 1886 and 1889, features Corinthian columns at its entrance as well as a prominent copper dome. It operated until 1988 when the gradual move of port activities closer to the river mouth resulted in its closure.
Brisbane became a city in 1902.
The first section of the Gothic Revival-style St John's Anglican Cathedral was consecrated in 1910, nine years after the foundation stone was laid. The Cathedral has been built in three stages with the second stage finished in 1968 and the final west end of the church due for completion in 2006.
The sandstone-faced Brisbane City Hall, with its 91 metre high clock tower, was built between 1920 and 1930. The landmark Story Bridge opened in 1940.
During WWII Brisbane became the headquarters for United States General Douglas MacArthur's South-West Pacific Campaign and thousands of American troops were stationed in the city.
Brisbane's development in the last half of the 20th century included hosting the Commonwealth Games in 1982 and the World Expo in 1988.
|Brisbane, Queensland - City Hall. Courtesy of Tourism Queensland.
The subtropical city of Brisbane today has a population in excess of 1.6 million residents and is Australia's third largest city. Despite its development during the 20th century it still retains numerous public buildings constructed during the Victorian era as well as thousands of 'Queenslander' houses on stilts.