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Published October 17th 2011
Little Stanley Street South Brisbane Queensland 4101
South Bank has always been a meeting place for the traditional landowners, the Turrbal and Yuggera people and in the early 1840s it became the central focal point of the early European settlement.
South Bank Precinct was quickly established as the business centre of 1950s Brisbane. In 1893 this was disrupted when Brisbane flooded, forcing the central business district (CBD) to shift across the river to the northern side, to be situated upon higher ground.
Brisbane central business district still stands on the Northern side of the river and the flooding can be said to have contributed instrumentally to the decline of South Bank with the area becoming a home to vaudeville theatres, derelict boarding houses, light and heavy industry.
In the 1970s, the parklands began to reclaim the land along the river bank and the Queensland Cultural Centre was built. This Culture Centre included the Queensland Art Gallery, the Queensland Museum, the Queensland Performing Arts Centre (QPAC) and the State Library of Queensland (today it also includes the Queensland Gallery of Modern Art.)
In 1988, Brisbane held the well remembered World Expo '88, following which the Queensland Government initially intended to develop the land for commercial interests.
A subsequent public campaign lobbied for the site to be redeveloped as parkland for the enjoyment of people in Brisbane and in 1989, the South Bank Corporation, a Queensland Government statutory body, was established to oversee the development and management of the new South Bank Parklands.
The Goodwill Bridge connects the South Bank Parklands to Gardens Point, home of the Queensland University of Technology, Garden's Point campus and the River Stage.
The South Bank Parklands are easily accessed from South Bank via Vulture Street, Little Stanley Street and the Cultural Forecourt; from the City via the Victoria Bridge; from Gardens Point via the Goodwill Bridge; and from Kangaroo Point via the Riverwalk.
Bicycles can access the South Bank Parklands from South Bank via Vulture Street, Little Stanley Street and the Cultural Forecourt; from Gardens Point via the Goodwill Bridge; and from Kangaroo Point via the Riverwalk, with bicycle racks located at the Visitors Centre in Staley Street Plaza.
One of the more recent and much loved attractions at South Bank Parklands is the Channel 7 'Wheel of Brisbane'.
The Wheel is a 60 m (197 ft) tall observation wheel, erected at the parklands in August 2008 to celebrate the 20th Anniversary of World Expo 88 and the 150th Anniversary of Queensland 1859-2009.
The wheel carries 42 gondolas on a 15 minute ride offering panoramic views of the South Bank Parklands, the Brisbane River and the Central Business District.
The Lifestyle Markets operate every Friday (5:00pm – 10:00pm), Saturday (10:00am – 5:00pm) and Sunday (9:00am – 5:00pm) and offer a range of arts, crafts, homewares, collectibles, exotic items and clothing, definitely a worthwhile outing for any and all ages.
The Nepal Peace Pagoda
One of the most popular attractions and also one of the most beautiful places to find inner-peace is at the Nepal Peace Pagoda. This was originally located on the Expo site and moved to its new riverfront location at Expo's conclusion.
South Bank Parklands as we know them were developed following World Expo 88, with canals, bridges and launches throughout.
Gondwana Rainforest Sanctuary and a Butterfly House provide even more to see and enjoy while in the parklands. The Butterfly House was later renamed as the Butterfly and Insect House and In April 1998 the Butterfly and Insect House were renamed as South Bank Wildlife Sanctuary.
Having moved to Australia with my family in 1989, we were not privy to the wonder that was Expo but I have heard many tails and stories and have always loved the Parklands.