Brisbane, the capital of Queensland, Australia. It is situated in Stanley county, on the banks of the river Brisbane, 25 m. from its mouth in Moreton Bay. It is built on a series of hills rising from the river-banks, but some parts of it, such as Woollongabba and South Brisbane, occupy low-lying flats, which have sometimes been the scene of disastrous floods. The main streets and principal buildings of the city are situated on a tongue of land formed by a southward bend of the river. The extremity of the tongue, however, is open. Here, adjoining one another, are the botanical gardens, the grounds surrounding Government House, the official residence of the governor of the colony, and the Houses of Parliament, and Queen's Park, which is used as a recreation ground. From this park Albert Street runs for about three-quarters of a mile through the heart of the city, leading to Albert Park, in which is the observatory. Queen's Street, the main thoroughfare of Brisbane, crosses Albert Street midway between the two parks and leads across the Victoria Bridge to the separate city of South Brisbane on the other side of the river.
The Victoria Bridge is a fine steel structure, which replaced the bridge swept away by floods in February 1893. Brisbane has a large number of buildings of architectural merit, though in some cases their effect is marred by the narrowness of the streets in which they stand. Among the most prominent are the Houses of Parliament, the great domed custom-house on the river-bank, the lands office, the general post-office, the town halls of Brisbane and South Brisbane, and the opera house. The Roman Catholic cathedral of St Stephen (Elizabeth Street) is an imposing building, having a detached campanile containing the largest bell in Australia. The foundation-stone of the Anglican cathedral, on an elevated site in Ann Street, was laid by the prince of Wales (as duke of York) in 1901. The city is the seat of a Roman Catholic archbishop and of an Anglican bishop. Many of the commercial and private buildings are also worthy of notice, especially the Queensland National Bank, a classic Italian structure, the massive treasury buildings, one of the largest erections in Australia, the Queensland Club with its wide colonnades in Italian Renaissance style, and the great buildings of the Brisbane Newspaper Company. Brisbane is well provided with parks and open spaces; the Victoria Park and Bowen Park are the largest; the high-lying Mount Coot-tha commands fine views, and there are other parks and numerous recreation grounds in various parts of the city, besides the admirable botanical gardens and the gardens of the Acclimatization Society. Electric tramways and omnibuses serve all parts of the city, and numerous ferries ply across the river.
There is railway communication to north, south and west. By careful dredging, the broad river is navigable as far as Brisbane for ocean-going vessels, and the port is the terminal port for the Queensland mail steamers to Europe, and is visited by steamers to China, Japan and America, and for various inter-colonial lines. There is wharf accommodation on both banks of the river, a graving dock which can be used by vessels up to 5000 tons, and two patent slips which can take up ships of 1000 and 400 tons respectively. The exports are chiefly coal, sheep, tallow, wool, frozen meat and hides. The annual value of imports and exports exceeds seven and nine millions sterling respectively. There are boot factories, soap works, breweries, tanneries, tobacco works, etc. The climate is on the whole dry and healthy, but during summer the temperature is high, the mean shade temperature being about 70° F.
Brisbane was founded in 1825 as a penal settlement, taking its name from Sir Thomas Brisbane, then governor of Australia; in 1842 it became a free settlement and in 1859 capital of Queensland, the town up to that time having belonged to New South Wales. It was incorporated in the same year. South Brisbane became a separate city in 1903. The municipal government of the city, and also of South Brisbane, is in the hands of a mayor and ten alderman; the suburbs are controlled by shire councils and divisional boards. The chief suburbs are Kangaroo Point, Fortitude Valley, New Farm, Red Hill, Paddington, Milon, Toowong, Breakfast Creek, Bulimba, Woolongabba, Highgate and Indooroopilly. The population of the metropolitan area in 1901 was 119,907; of the city proper, 28,953; of South Brisbane, 25,481.