The Rise of Brisbane as a Cultural Destination

Brisbane has come a long way in its short history, and after having been for years widely regarded as little more than a large country town, things have most definitely changed. The following is a brief look at some of the main factors behind Brisbane’s emergence as a world-class cultural destination.

A big decade

Brisbane came out of its shell in a big way during the 1980s, hosting two huge International events in the 1982 Commonwealth Games and Expo 88, which many locals point to as a big turning point for the city. The city also saw Movie World established in 1988, which would provide a huge boost to the arts and culture of the city and help to transform the city’s reputation.

The big city exodus

While Brisbane was busy hosting major events during the ‘80s, other Australian cities weren’t having quite as much fun. Having invested heavily in the boom of the early ‘80s, the larger cities of Sydney and Melbourne had left themselves vulnerable to a crash, and when it inevitably came in the late ‘80s, thousands of jobs were lost.

Even the smaller centres of Adelaide and Geelong lost out big, and Perth was crippled by the infamous WA Inc collapse and Alan Bond scandal. Thousands fled the big cities in search of jobs and security, and with Brisbane one of the only places left standing economically, it quickly became a popular destination.

The Brisbane River

The South Bank of the Brisbane River was developed in 1988 for Expo 88 and was then gifted to the city upon the completion of the event. While it would take a few years for it to be fully embraced by the city, South Bank started to thrive as the ‘90s began and quickly grew into one of the most vibrant arts and culture districts of the city.

A huge bonus came when the city decided to put a stop to the contentious practice of dredging for minerals in the Brisbane River, which up until that point had been viewed as a dubious practice and an eye sore. Nowadays, the Brisbane Riverfront also hosts some of the most stylish and comfortable hotels in Brisbane.

A reason to stay

Up until the ‘90s, Brisbane’s youth tended to leave the city once they graduated high school in order to migrate to the more hip, entertaining and opportunity-filled cities of Sydney and Melbourne. However, by the early ‘90s, there were finally a few good reasons to stay. With jobs abundant and the arts scene on the rise, Brisbane’s youth started to not just stay, but also to carve out opportunities for themselves and thrive. Many point to this shift as being central to the transformation of the city.

Today in Brisbane

Over the past two decades, Brisbane has continued its amazing transformation from small country town to a vibrant world-class city, with the arts, hospitality and cultural scenes well and truly leading the way. Older buildings have been restored and turned into trendy Brisbane apartments, the restaurant scene has absolutely exploded, and Brisbane communities have become the envy of much of Australia. If you are looking for somewhere awesome to make a move, take a second look at Brisbane.