As the capital of Queensland, Australia’s second largest state, Brisbane is a vibrant and booming city with a history that spans centuries. Its growth and development has been shaped by the Brisbane River which winds its way across the region in a series of bends.
European settlers in the early 19th century founded a colony by displacing the region’s native inhabitants from a riverside area that is now occupied by the city’s business district.
A few decades later, a gold rush in the hinterlands of Queensland prompted an enormous inflow of wealth into Brisbane and it was during this period that many of the city’s landmark architectural pieces were built.
Prominent amongst these are the Treasury Building, constructed out of sandstone in 1889 in the Italian Renaissance style. A few blocks away and in a similar style and material of construction is Brisbane’s City Hall, with a 70metre high clock tower modelled on the lines of the bell tower of St Mark’s Basilica in Venice. Another major landmark is Brisbane’s Shrine of Remembrance, built in 1930 in the Greek Revival Style in memory of fallen Australian and New Zealander soldiers of World War I.
On a domestic scale, the region is well known for its indigenous Queenslander houses. Constructed primarily of timber, these were originally built on raised stumps to account for undulating land, keep pests away and to provide cooling from underneath. Another climate-induced feature are their deep verandahs that provide a respite from the tropical heat of the region. These kind of houses have been built since the 1840s and many charming examples can be seen lining the banks of the Brisbane River even today.
Apart from these historical gems, Brisbane also boasts of some interesting pieces of contemporary design that span art, architecture and urban interventions. Keep an eye out for these in the March issue of Home Review.
Text And Photos By Kunal Bhatia And Shuvajit Payne