7 Things You Didn't Know About Brisbane

7 Things You Didn’t Know About Brisbane

Brisbane is filled with culture, fashion and food and is fast becoming known as THE destination to be. With the wide selection of eateries in Southbank, New Farm’s popular park and the city’s bustling shopping precinct, there is something to satisfy all.

In this article we’ll surprise you with some facts about Brisbane that few are aware of. There is a lot of information in the walls of our buildings and under our roads, so we’ve come up with 7 things you might not know about Brisbane.



1. The first ever lamington was made here

A lamington is a treat all many Australian’s love and cherish, it’s a treat that brings happiness and joy, but many don’t know it’s origins. As a surprise to many, the first ever batch of lamingtons were made here in Brisbane by French Chef Armand Galland.

“He took a slab of day old French vanilla sponge cake, iced it with chocolate and coconut and created the treat we love so much today. “

In 1900, Chef Galland accompanied Lord and Lady Lamington to Brisbane to cook for them. He found that he was constantly bothered to cater for uninvited guests walking up the driveway, so he found the quick and easy answer to feeding all of the hungry mouths. He took a slab of day old French vanilla sponge cake, iced it with chocolate and coconut and created the treat we love so much today. It was such a hit Lady Lamington was blown by it, Chef Galland then named the treat after her.


2. Queen Street was a convict barracks

queen street mall

The thought of Queen Street brings with it thoughts of shopping, spending, and eating but it wasn’t always that way, in fact it was quite a dark area back in the day, it has come a long way to transform in the shopping mecca it is today.

“Between the years of 1827 and 1830, a multi-story convict barracks was constructed on to hold the inmates.”

The corner of Queen and Albert Streets was once home to up to 1000 convicts. Between the years of 1827 and 1830, a multi-story convict barracks was constructed on to hold the inmates. The building was constructed complete with a flogging triangle to deter inmates from acting out.


3. Brisbane was the busiest submarine port in the world in WW2

After the bombing of Pearl Harbour on December 7, 1941, the US was in war with Japan in the Pacific. On their way to Pearl Harbour, within hours of the attack, dozens of US ships were diverted off their path to come to Brisbane.

By December of 1943, Brisbane was home to over 75,000 American troops because it was the closest city but was out of range of bombers. The Brisbane river was filled with hundreds of wharves for docked ships complete with building and repair facilities.


4. Story Bridge has a twin in Montreal, Canada

story bridge brisbane2

Many people have climbed the Story Bridge, but only a few know the history of it. The Brisbane construction has a twin in Montreal, Canada, named the Jacques Cartier Bridge, which was modelled off the Quebec Bridge.

“The Brisbane construction has a twin in Montreal, Canada, named the Jacques Cartier Bridge.”

The Montreal monument was a major influence for the Story Bridge and once it was completed in 1940, the amount of influence it had was evident. Today, you can climb the Story Bridge day and night to get a one of the best views of the city.


5. Sir Charles Kingsford Smith was the first fly across the Pacific to Brisbane

In 1928 a Brisbane born man by the name of Sir Charles Kingsford Smith left California for a solo plane ride back home. Flying via Hawaii and Fiji, Sir Charles landed after a staggering 83 hours and 38 minutes flight time.

“Flying via Hawaii and Fiji, Sir Charles landed after a staggering 83 hours and 38 minutes flight time.”

This trip flew him to the top of the list in the world of flying. Born in the Brisbane suburb of Hamilton, the busy road winding through, Kingsford Smith Drive, was named after the man himself.


6. Brisbane City Hall takes the top spot

brisbane city hall

Reaching a height of 92 metres, the Brisbane City Hall clock tower makes our hall the largest in the country. Built between 1920 and 1930 the tower has an observation platform stopping at 76 metres, where people can get a top look at the city surrounding.

City Hall hosts a range of events throughout the year and is often lit up in an array of colours for various occasions throughout the year, including Christmas.


7. Brisbane has an underground opera circuit

There’s nothing illegal about this underground ring. The Underground Opera Company has converted the heritage-listed Spring Hill Reservoirs into an intimate performance space with a capacity of 120.

“The Underground Opera Company has converted the heritage-listed Spring Hill Reservoirs into an intimate performance space with a capacity of 120.”

The company hosts performances every year with a list of famous opera singers from around the globe. The moody setting has the perfect acoustics making for a cosy performance and experience.



In addition, if you’re looking for all the top things to see and do in and around Brisbane including activities, attractions and more, be sure to check out our region catalogue to browse and book online!

Experience Oz Staff

This article was produced in a combined effort by Experience Oz staff members. Experience Oz is the home of things to do in Australia and New Zealand, with over 3,000 awesome experiences across Oz + NZ!

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