Kangaroo Point is one of Brisbane’s most recognisable landscapes, with its distinctive peninsula, the iconic Story Bridge and stunning panoramic views from the sheer cliff faces fringing the Brisbane River. It’s an area that thrives on visual contradictions: classic tin workers’ cottages jostle for space alongside soaring Dockside skyscrapers and classic six-pack brick blocks.
The first European settlers to the Kangaroo Point area arrived in the early 1800s, when John Oxley reportedly described the peninsula as ‘a jungle filled with mangroves’. Local aboriginal people had been moving around and through the Brisbane area for thousands of years prior to European settlement, and Kangaroo Point was no exception. The area was rich with edible plant varieties and wildlife, and local clans made the most of the natural abundance and sought food from the dense jungles on the banks of the Brisbane River.
With a growing influx of new settlers arriving through Queensland ports in the second half of the 19th century, a decision was made to set aside a large block for an immigration depot, which opened in 1888. That building was Yungaba, a beautiful historical showpiece which still stands today on the eastern side of the peninsula in the shadows of probably Brisbane’s most recognisable icon, the Story Bridge.
A big player in Kangaroo Point’s maritime history was the Evans Deakin Shipyard, which built the largest ship ever manufactured in Australia, the Robert Miller. During the 1974 floods the oil tanker was moored out the front of the shipyard, when a floating pontoon smashed into the ship at
speed tearing it from its moorings. While there were fears the giant ship could create a huge dam and cause additional flooding in the city area, strategic positioning by mariners ensured the ship was pointed against the current and disaster was narrowly averted.
Today with immigration ships and oil tankers long gone, most people arrive to Kangaroo Point via the Story Bridge, but some still disembark on the riverbank stepping off the classic timber ferries moving commuters and tourists between the city and peninsula. One thing that remains constant for Kangaroo Point is its natural beauty and prized inner-city position, which is a drawcard for both visitors and local residents.