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Updated by Joanna James on Jan 30, 2020
Headline for Unique Things you didn't know about Brisbane – All aboard, Fact express from Meanjin to Brisbane.
Joanna James Joanna James
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Unique Things you didn't know about Brisbane – All aboard, Fact express from Meanjin to Brisbane.

Brisbane is one of the biggest and most visited cities in Australia. But Brisbane is not an easy city to discover in one go, here are a few facts even the biggest Brisbane advocate might not know.



Before Europeans claimed and named Brisbane it was inhabited by two clans of Aboriginals called the Turrbal and the Jagera. The name they used for Brisbane was Meanjin which means 'place shaped like a spike'.


Star Connection

Brisbane was named after the governor of New South Wales who first established a penal colony in the 1820s where the city would later emerge. Sir Thomas Brisbane was very interested in astronomy and was integral to building Australia's first observatory in Parramatta. The former governor was also a key figure in charting the southern hemisphere's stars.


Jackie Chan

Fortitude Valley's China Town Mall was used as a location to shoot 'Jackie Chan's First Strike'; his 1996 blockbuster which is his highest-grossing film ever in Hong Kong.


The First Lamington

This popular Brisbane dessert was created by a French chef by the name of Armand Galland who accompanied the Lord and Lady Lamington to Brisbane in 1900. The Lamington was made out of necessity when sudden visitors came to the Lamington residence and Galland had to quickly whip something up; a day old vanilla sponge cake, chocolate and coconut – the Lamington was born.


Queen's Street

Queen's Street may now be a thriving neighbourhood with many boutique shops and upscale vibe but in the past when this area was first being settled was actually used as a multi-storeyed convict's barracks. But that's all in the past the nearby areas are simply popping with activity. Don't look too far away for hotels Bowen Hills has some of the best like Oaks Mews for example.


Underground Opera

The Spring Hill Water Reservoir was built between 1871 and 1882 and was used as the city's primary water source until 1962 after which it was closed and abandoned for many years. However, in recent years a group called the Underground Opera Company has cleaned it up and renovated it and uses it as a space to stage Opera shows.


Submarine Port

Brisbane was the busiest submarine port on the planet during World War 2. After the attacks on Pearl Harbour, many US ships were directed towards Brisbane because of its strategic location and facilities. Brisbane is said to have hosted over 75,000 US troops during this time.


Sand Islands

North Stradbroke and Moreton Island are respectively the 2nd and 3rd largest sand islands in the world. North Stradbroke is considered as one of the most scenic places in Australia and as a great place to go Whale watching.



Brisbane is a happy place and home to happy people, how could a place bathed in sun for over 280 days a year be any other way. Even during the winter the temperature never drops below 20⁰C.

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