Our city is evolving with us and around us, Helen Goltz discovers.
How we live
Houses: Our Queenslander homes were traditionally built of timber and on stumps to cool the building; to protect the house from pests; and allow for the natural flow of water in the event of downpours. They sat on big blocks – 24 or 32 perches in old-school measurements.
Today, the Queenslander is often of brick or concrete construction with a smattering of timber, and built-in below to allow for more living space. The standard block is 405 square metres (16 perches).
Units: Our first unit block in Brisbane was Torbreck in Dornoch Terrace, Highgate Hill, completed in 1960. It is still there thanks to heritage listing. Unit living has become very popular since then with about 2000 apartments built in the inner-city in 2011/12 and it is predicted that up to 4500 apartments could be on the market by 2016.
How we get around
Brisbane once had a tramway network that operated between 1885 and 1969 and ran on standard gauge track. The trams ran along our streets and passengers boarded at designated stops. Brisbane was the last capital city to shut down its trams. There have been ongoing proposals since the early 1990s to reinstate them.
Our newest transport addition is the BaT (bus and train) Tunnel project, a 5km north-south tunnel that will deliver rail and bus together. Brisbane transport infrastructure also includes the CLEM7, Go Between Bridge, Eleanor Schonell Bridge, Legacy Way, Kingsford Smith Drive upgrade project and Airport Link.
Brisbane for visitors
Brisbane was renowned for having a very swish Lennons Hotel built by Hotelier John Lennon on George Street in 1884 (a new Lennons went up in Queen Street in 1972). But our current lack of hotel rooms in the city means we are missing out on expenditure and Lord Mayor Graham Quirk wants to see up to 330 new rooms in the city annually until 2022.
On 9 May, Premier Campbell Newman officially opened Gambaro Hotel. Director John Gambaro says the hotel had been in the planning for seven years. “We wanted to offer guests a premium package: two award-winning restaurants, a new function centre and a luxury hotel in the entertainment precinct of Caxton Street.
“Over sixty years we have seen a lot of growth. Brisbane is now more than ever a destination for tourists and locals to play, stay and eat. The one thing that I don’t believe will change anytime soon is the warmth and friendliness of Brisbane people,” John says.