Brisbane is the capital and most populous city in the Australian state of Queensland, and the third most populous city in Australia. Brisbane’s metropolitan area has a population of 2.2 million, and the South East Queensland urban conurbation, centred on Brisbane, encompasses a population of more than 3 million. The Brisbane central business district stands on the original European settlement and is situated inside a bend of the Brisbane River, approximately 16 kilometres (10 miles) from its mouth at Moreton Bay. The metropolitan area extends in all directions along the floodplain of the Brisbane River valley between Moreton Bay and the Great Dividing Range. The metropolitan area sprawls across several of Australia’s most populous local government areas, including the City of Brisbane, which is by far the most populous LGA in the nation. The demonym of Brisbane is Brisbanite.
Brisbane is named after the river on which it is located, which in turn was named after Scotsman Sir Thomas Brisbane, the Governor of New South Wales from 1821 to 1825. The first European settlement in Queensland was a penal colony at Redcliffe, 28 kilometres (17 mi) north of the central business district, which was founded in 1824. That settlement was soon abandoned and moved to North Quay in 1825. Free settlers were permitted from 1842. Brisbane was chosen as the capital when Queensland was proclaimed a separate colony from New South Wales in 1859.
The city played a central role in the Allied campaign during World War II as the South West Pacific headquarters for General Douglas MacArthur. Brisbane has hosted many large cultural and sporting events, including the 1982 Commonwealth Games, World Expo ’88 and the final Goodwill Games in 2001. As of 2008, Brisbane is classified as a Global city.
Brisbane is in the southeast corner of Queensland, Australia. The city is centred along the Brisbane River, and its eastern suburbs line the shores of Moreton Bay. The greater Brisbane region is on the coastal plain east of the Great Dividing Range. Brisbane’s metropolitan area sprawls along the Moreton Bay floodplain from Caboolture in the north to Beenleigh in the south, and across to Ipswich in the south west.
The city of Brisbane is hilly. The urban area, including the central business district, are partially elevated by spurs of the Herbert Taylor Range, such as the summit of Mount Coot-tha, reaching up to 300 metres (980 ft) and the smaller Enoggera Hill. Other prominent rises in Brisbane are Mount Gravatt and nearby Toohey Mountain. Mount Petrie at 170 metres (560 ft) and the lower rises of Highgate Hill, Mount Ommaney, Stephens Mountain and Whites Hill are dotted across the city.
The city is on a low-lying floodplain. Many suburban creeks criss-cross the city, increasing the risk of flooding. The city has suffered three major floods since colonisation, in February 1893, January 1974, and January 2011. The 1974 Brisbane Flood occurred partly as a result of “Cyclone Wanda”. Heavy rain had fallen continuously for three weeks before the Australia Day weekend flood (26 – 27 January 1974). The flood damaged many parts of the city, especially the suburbs of Oxley, Bulimba, Rocklea, Coorparoo, Toowong and New Farm. The City Botanic gardens were inundated, leading to a new colony of mangroves forming in the City Reach of the Brisbane River.
Tourism plays a major role in Brisbane’s economy, being the third-most popular destination for international tourists after Sydney and Melbourne. Popular tourist and recreation areas in Brisbane include the South Bank Parklands, Roma Street Parkland, the City Botanic Gardens, Brisbane Forest Park and Portside Wharf. The Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary opened in 1927 and was the world’s first koala sanctuary.
The suburb of Mount Coot-tha is home to a popular state forest, and the Brisbane Botanic Gardens which houses the Sir Thomas Brisbane Planetarium and the “Tsuki-yama-chisen” Japanese Garden (formerly of the Japanese Government Pavilion of Brisbane’s World Expo ’88).
Brisbane has over 27 km (16.8 mi) of bicycle pathways, mostly surrounding the Brisbane river and city centre, extending to the west of the city. The river itself was popular with bathers, and it permitted boating excursions to Moreton Bay when the main port was in the city reaches. Today fishing and boating are more common. Other popular recreation activities include the Story Bridge adventure climb and rock climbing at the Kangaroo Point cliffs.
The nearby Australia Zoo, made famous by Steve Irwin, also encourages many tourists to visit Brisbane.