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Top 5 Hidden Historical Landmarks in Brisbane

Home > Brisbane > Burgers | Escape the City | Indoor | Lists | Outdoor
by Barry J (subscribe)
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Published August 16th 2018
Lose yourself in Brisbane
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The best burgers in Brisbane - gone but never forgotten (by Ohio Cafe).


We've all seen Brisbane's icons, including the Story Bridge, St. Helena Island, Shorncliffe Beach, and the Gabba.

But if you're a true Queenslander, you deserve that joy of discovery, finding something special for the first time in the state's capital. These secret delights, bypassed by spying Google drones, await, often with friendly locals keen to reveal the back-story.

With a sense of adventure, dash of persistence, your best period outfit and sepia-tinted glasses, check out five of Brisbane's hidden historical highlights:


General MacArthur's Office
In the regal surrounds of the MacArthur Chambers Hotel, guests sip wine and nibble canapes, oblivious to a tense WWII legacy.

General Douglas MacArthur, allied commander of the Pacific forces, strategised with the Aussies to take on the Imperial Japanese Army. During the worst periods of the war, his presence in the city boosted morale until his victorious return to the Phillippines in 1944.

After the Allied triumph, his office remained. This 1940s snapshot hosts exhibits and photographs within a hidden museum on the 8th floor.

Visit the museum at MacArthur Chambers at 201 Edward St on Tuesday, Thursday or Sunday between 10am 3pm. For details, visit MacArthur Chambers Hotel.

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Boogie Woogie Bugle Boys of Company B (image by MacArthur Museum Brisbane)


Priestdale - Chung Tian Temple
Feed the soul with Buddhist inspiration in our city's south-east.

As you seek the golden glow of enlightenment, the distinctive Chinese red tones the surroundings with happiness and prosperity.

Amongst lush green bushland, you'll feel free of the city's chaos, meditating in harmony built on centuries of stoic tradition.

Taste tranquillity during a tea ceremony beside Dennis Lake, while koalas doze in treetops.

Visit the temple at 1034 Underwood Rd, Priestdale. For details, visit Chung Tian Temple.


Clayfield Ohio Cafe
Forget the droning history lesson boxed with dry facts, figures and dates. Instead, pay your respects to our tasty history at the site of the Ohio Cafe Bar, where the best burgers to Brisbane were served for over 70 years.

In June 2018, the dream ended as rising costs and parking problems closed the classic cafe. Relive the delicious memories over your packed lunch outside the site on 699 Sandgate Rd, Clayfield.

For the online memorial page, visit Ohio Cafe on Facebook.


Indooroopilly - Walter Taylor Bridge
According to Greek mythology, we'll pay a toll to enter the afterlife, as Charon, the ferryman, delivers souls across the river Styx. No money? Prepare for a century of painful limbo, trapped between worlds on the riverbanks.

From Valentine's Day, 1936, we could drive over our longest spanning suspension bridge, after paying the bridge's resident and toll keeper. While it didn't take us into the afterlife, it did get us across the river.

Over 70 years later, his descendants found new lodgings, vacating a home unique in the Southern Hemisphere.

After an overdue declutter, Brisbane City Council opens the bridge pylon for tours. Visit the former apartments and ballroom of the toll keeper in this heritage-listed bridge. Coin donations to appease the spirit of Charon are optional...

To book a tour with the Brisbane Greeters, visit Brisbane City Council.

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Windswept awe at Brisbane's history (by Pezibear / Public Domain)


Ferny Grove Rail Trail
Brisbane hosts hundreds of hiking trails for the nature lover but few hide a history to match the Ferny Grove Rail Trail.

In 1947, a cheerful group of over 200 people boarded a train bound for an idyllic picnic site at Samford. As the train continued beyond Ferny Grove, the downhill drop caused the lead engine to rocket from the rails, plunging into the valley, destroying the lead carriages to become our worst rail crash.

Walk or cycle the valley's abandoned steel corridor to reflect at the plaque dedicated to the 17 victims.

Visit Rail Trails for the guide.


Have you discovered hidden history in Brisbane? Please let us know with a comment.


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Why? For history's hiding places.
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Where: Throughout Brisbane
Your Comment
Good summary Barry...and well researched...
by kevin (score: 1|36) 86 days ago
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