Brisbane Accommodation

Brisbane's European History

Before Brisbane was settled by Europeans in 1824 it was the most populated area of Australia with over 100,000 Aboriginal inhabitants. These people had lived in the area for around 50,000 years. By 1900 years of terrifying warfare and enslavement had greatly reduced the Aboriginal population. The remaining Aboriginals were herded on to reserves on the outskirts of Brisbane where they were forced to live under the restrictive rules imposed by white government.

Brisbane was first settled by Europeans to be used as a penal settlement where Sydney offloaded its worst convicts. In late 1823 Surveyor General John Oxley explored the area and discovered the river naming it in honour of the then Governor of NSW, Sir Thomas Brisbane. The Moreton Bay Penal settlement was established first in Redcliffe and three months later in an area now known as North Quay. The new site was chosen for its proximity to the Brisbane River, which supplied the settlement with an important and reliable water supply.

The settlement was walled and a 50 kilometre radius set up and patrolled so that unauthorised persons were kept out. . From the year 1828 hundreds of convicts laboured to construct the first stone buildings in Brisbane, The Colonial Stores Building and the Old Windmill. The goal served the convict population in this way for the next 17 years.

In 1841 three distinct areas were established, North Brisbane, Kangaroo Point and South Brisbane. Later in 1842 the district was opened to free settlers. In 1859 Queensland was named in honour of the reigning Queen of England and it became a separate colony from New South Wales. With an ever increasing population which had by this time reached 6,000 Brisbane was made the capital.

World War II saw the arrival of General Douglas McArthur and his troops of around 300,000 American soldiers. Such an increase in population so quickly had a major effect on Brisbane and strained its resources and the contentment of its Australian population. The tension in the city erupted in 1942 in a riot between Australian and American soldiers in what is known as "The Battle of Brisbane".

In the boom years that began in the 1950's migrants and refugees poured into Brisbane and began to shape the identity of the city's population as it is today. Finally in 1967 Brisbane took a cultural leap forward and awarded the same rights to Aboriginal people that were afforded to white Australians. Despite this Brisbane has been dominated politically by the right-wing policies of Joh Bjelke-Peterson who governed the state for almost 20 years and has lagged behind the rest of the country in matters such as human rights, rainforest conservation, and Aboriginal land rights.

The 1980's saw huge changes occurring in Brisbane that marked a point of departure from the less than appealing aspects of its past. In 1982 it played host to the Commonwealth Games and later in this prosperous decade to the 1988 Expo.

Today, the city could not be further from those less positive aspects of its history. Brisbane has truly come of age and proven itself to be an intelligent, imaginative and culturally significant city that welcomes change, diversity and growth more than any other Australian city.

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