The city of Brisbane, Australia

Find Brisbane on this map

Find Brisbane on this map

The city covers an area of 3 080 square kilometres and is built on the Brisbane River on the east coast of Australia. 

The city was officially named in 1825, by explorer John Oxley after Sir Thomas Brisbane who was the governor of New South Wales. 

The first people to live in the Brisbane area were the Yuggera people.

They had occupied the land for thousands of years before European settlers arrived. The Yuggera people lived on the land in the Brisbane area. They were fisher people and used nets and spears to catch fish.

They built houses and travelled north and south to share ceremonies with neighbouring Aboriginal peoples. European settlement began in 1800s and at first the different groups got on well. However, as more and more Europeans arrived the Aboriginal hunting lands and fishing areas were taken over. The Aboriginal people were moved to camps where many died of diseases brought to Australia by the settlers.


Modern Brisbane

Today, the city is run by a city council, elected by the people of the city. A Lord Mayor leads the city council. Brisbane is the business centre for Queensland and is a modern city of offices, theatres, cinemas and restaurants. There is a mix of older style buildings dating from the time of early settlement and new high-rise office and apartment buildings.

Every day thousands of people travel to Brisbane by bus, train and river ferry to work, shop or find entertainment in the city. They join the thousands of tourist from around Australia and from countries around the world who visit each year.

Climate of Brisbane

The weather in Brisbane is sub-tropical, which means that the summers are hot, wet and humid. During the summer the average high temperature is about 30C with lows of about 20C. In winter the average temperature is about 22C and rarely falls below 13C. Brisbane has an average rainfall of about 1400 mm annually, the majority of which falls in the summer period.

Brisbane: A short timeline of European settlement and development 1823 - 1982


The Brisbane River is explored by John Oxley and two convicts.  Oxley names it after the governor of New South Wales


A convict settlement established and called  Moreton Bay Penal Settlement


Settlement moved up river for better water and named Brisbane


Fortitude valley settled by 630 free settlers from Scotland.  The valley was named after the ship Fortitude


Telegraph links Brisbane to Sydney


Cobb & Co, a stage coach company, opens an office in Brisbane.                                        Gas lighting in the city


Gold discovered nearby and people move into and through Brisbane to the goldfields.


Free education introduced throughout Queensland.                      


Horse drawn trams introduced


Electric trams are running.


University of Queensland opens


Qantas was founded in Winton, Queensland on 16 November 1920 as Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Services


Charles Kindsford Smith, who was born in Brisbane, arrived after flying 11000 kilometres across the  Pacific Ocean in a monoplane, Southern Cross


Airmail services from England to Brisbane begin


Story Bridge crossing the Brisbane River is opened.


Commonwealth Games held in the city.

Story Bridge was designed by John Bradfield who also designed the Sydney Harbour Bridge Getty Images

Story Bridge was designed by John Bradfield who also designed the Sydney Harbour Bridge Getty Images