Home to over 2.5 million people, the city of Brisbane boasts a rich history and more than a few fun facts. Here are eight of the most interesting facts about Brisbane you can use to impress your friends!
To traditional owners, the area is known as Meanjin
Brisbane’s history goes back a long way, well before British colonisation. The area is called Meanjin by the Turrbal people, one of two major local First Nations groups – the other being the Jagera. Meanjin means ‘place shaped like a spike’. This is a reference to the ‘spike’ of land where the Brisbane central business district (CBD) is now located, shaped by a bend in the Brisbane River.
It’s home to the largest city hall in the country
Perhaps one of the lesser-known facts about Brisbane is that it is home to the largest city hall in the country. Brisbane City Hall, which opened in 1930, is spread across two acres of land and took ten years to build. When completed, it was the second-largest construction of its time, after the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
Here’s another fun fact: every fifteen minutes, the sound of the clock chiming can be heard from the streets nearby.
Streets in the CBD are named after royalty
Like many other Australian capitals, Brisbane has a clearly defined grid of streets that form its CBD. But there’s a secret hidden in the design: many of its streets got their names from British royalty.
Those running diagonally from northeast to southwest are named after female royals including Adelaide, Charlotte, and Elizabeth. Those running in a perpendicular direction are named after male royals, such as Albert, Edward, and George.
80,000 troops were stationed in Brisbane during WWII
During the Second World War, Brisbane was host to roughly 80,000 American soldiers. Tensions soon grew between visiting American and local Australian troops. This conflict eventually led to a riot breaking out in November 1942, which became known as the ‘Battle of Brisbane’. If you want to learn more about this little known part of history, visit the Museum of Brisbane.
It’s where lamingtons were invented (but we don’t know how)
Here’s one of the more curious Brisbane facts. The lamington – an iconic Australian dessert made by covering a piece of sponge cake in chocolate and coconut – was likely invented right here in Brisbane. But the origin story of this simple dessert is contested.
Some say the chef to Lord Lamington, the Governor of Queensland in the late 1800s, gathered together some leftover ingredients in a hurry, and named the new creation after his boss.
Others say it was entirely accidental, occurring when a piece of cake was dropped into a dish of chocolate. Whatever the truth, the lamington has become a classic Australian treat.
The city once had a monorail
As part of the World Expo 88 celebrations, all manner of cultural pavilions, art installations, and new infrastructure were built along the Brisbane River’s southern bank. This included a six-car monorail that transported patrons throughout the site. In fact, the entire South Bank area was heavily developed for the event. Some constructions – such as the Nepalese Peace Pagoda and the Skyneedle – are still visible in the area today.
Brisbane will host the Olympics and Paralympics in 2032
In 2021, Brisbane was chosen to host the Summer Olympics and Paralympics in 2032. It will be the third time the Olympics and Paralympics have been hosted in Australia, after Sydney in 2000 and Melbourne in 1956.
This city-wide event promises to attract international attention to the city, boost the economy, and celebrate Australian sporting and cultural talent. Brisbane is no stranger to global sporting events, having hosted the Commonwealth Games in 1982.
The city has over 300 sunny days a year
Speaking of summer, we now come to one of the most fun facts about Brisbane: the weather! Brisbane is known as the sunniest capital in the country, with over 300 sunny days each year according to Visit Brisbane. With that in mind, remember to stay sun-safe when out and about in the beautiful River City.