For many thousands of years Aboriginal people have lived in what is now known as Brisbane. The Turrbal clan stake a claim as the traditional land owners of the area but the Jagera clan also claim the area as their own. Although it is difficult to accurately determine, it appears the Turrbal were more active north of the Brisbane River and the Jagera were mostly located south of it.
In 1823, John Oxley was the first English colonist to explore the area that became Brisbane. His was sent by the colony of New South Wales who determined the area might be a possible position for a new jail - intended to house dangerous prisoners in a remote location! The original settlement was established in what is now the suburb of Redcliffe but was later moved to a location further south down the bay. In 1837, free settlers moved to the area and pushed successfully to close the jail and release the land in the area.
In 1859, a gold rush led to the establishment of the colony of Queensland with Brisbane as its capital, named after Sir Thomas Makdougall Brisbane, the sixth Governor of New South Wales. In 1925, the Queensland State Parliament created the City of Brisbane Act and set up a single government for the city. Brisbane also 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. It was also rated the 16th most livable city in the world in 2009 by The Economist.
In recent times (January and February 2011), Brisbane and wider Queensland experienced devastating major flooding as a result of an extreme rain pattern caused by the La Nina weather effect that lasted literally months over the state. The flooding was so massive it drew worldwide attention. To put the virtually inconceivable scope of the disaster into perspective; the flooded areas of Queensland were bigger than the combined sizes of France and Germany. True to form, Brisbanites and fellow Queenslanders pulled together to support one another in this very difficult time, showing the true spirt they are rightfully famous for. As a result of these floods and their huge impact on the local people and the economy, all tourism to this area will be even more appreciated than ever. If you decide to support Brisbane (and Queensland) with a visit, expect a very warm welcome!