The Port of Brisbane lies on Australia's eastern shores at the mouth of the Brisbane River as it enters Moreton Bay. The Port of Brisbane is about 220 kilometers north of the Port of Yamba and about 235 kilometers south of the Port of Maryborough. The third largest city in Australia, the Port of Brisbane was home to over 1.6 million people in 2001.
Capital and major port for the State of Queensland, the Port of Brisbane serves a large agricultural region. The port exports dairy products, wool, grain, meat, mineral sands, sugar, and preserved foods. The metropolitan area of the Port of Brisbane contains over half of the State's manufacturing. Plants in the Port of Brisbane include food processors, sawmills, oil refineries, paper mills, shipyards, and manufacturers of fertilizers, cement, automobiles, and rubber products.
There is a large white-collar industrial sector in the Port of Brisbane. Government, information technology, higher education, and financial services occupy the central business district and inner suburbs. Tourism is also a major contributor to the Port of Brisbane's local economy.
Before Europeans arrived at the Port of Brisbane,the indigenous Turrbal peoples called the place "Mian-jin." In 1799, explorer and cartographer Matthew Flinders landed below the red cliffs of Moreton Bay at a place that is now called Woody Point.
When the Governor of New South Wales ordered the construction of a new penal settlement in the north in 1823, John Oxley led a party to explore Moreton Bay and recommended Red Cliff Point for the settlement because it was easy for ships to reach. The Oxley party, with 14 soldiers and their families and 29 convicts, settled Redcliffe in Finding they did not have a good water supply, the new settlement moved to the Brisbane River site now called North Quay.
In 1828, convicts built the Windmill in Wickham Park and the Old Commissariat Store. The windmill was used for grinding grain and to punish convicts. The Old Commissariat Store was a grain house and later a hostel for immigrants. Today, it is home to the Royal Historical Society of Brisbane and a museum.
Initially called Edenglassie, non-convict settlers began to arrive in the Port of Brisbane region in 1838. Missionaries from Germany began settling Zions Hill in 1837 on 260 hectares of land that was known as German Station. Over the next five years, free settlers came to the area. In 1842, the Port of Brisbane was declared a free settlement.
The first exports leaving the Port of Brisbane included timber from local forests. The logs were rafted down the Brisbane River to Moreton Bay and moved by ship to Sydney. In the middle 1800s, the Port of Brisbane was recognized as the commercial center of the Queensland colony.
In 1850, the Port of Brisbane handled over 8.1 thousand tons of cargo. By 1885, the port handled almost 691 thousand tons. During the same period, the city's population grew from less than eight thousand to more than 100 thousand. During this period, water was the dominant transportation mode, and ships carried coal and agricultural products away from the port and brought manufactured goods into the Port of Brisbane. By 1888, production of frozen beef became an important component of the local economy and of Port of Brisbane exports.
The Port of Brisbane was part of a rivalry with the nearby town of Cleveland, which was a busy port at the time. In 1854, the wharves in Cleveland burned, and the Port of Brisbane began to grow as the leading port in Queensland.
Queensland became a separate colony in 1859, and the Port of Brisbane was made its capital. Incorporated in 1902 as a city, more than 20 small towns and shires were combined in 1925 to create the City of Brisbane.
The Port of Brisbane was important to the Allies during World War II, as it was used for General Douglas MacArthur's Southwest Pacific Headquarters, from which he managed the one million United States troops that passed through Australia. In 1942, the Battle of Brisbane resulted from a violent clash between US personnel and Australian soldiers and civilians. The Port of Brisbane was an important part of the Allied war effort. The Cairncross Dockyard was built to meet demands for ship repair facilities.
In the late 1940s, a new era began in the development of the Port of Brisbane and the community. Meat-, sugar-, mining-, and meat-processing became important contributors to the local economy and to port exports. The population grew significantly between 1947 and 1961 from 457 thousand to 693 thousand people. By the early 1960s, the Port of Brisbane was handling about 2.6 million tons of cargo per year.
In the 1960s, two phases of development changed the Port of Brisbane forever. The Moonie oil fields were discovered, bringing two new oil refineries to the mouth of the Brisbane River and a whole new area of activity to the Port of Brisbane. By the end of the 1960s, containerized cargo was becoming an important aspect of commercial shipping. The Port of Brisbane's first container terminal was built in 1969 in the Hamilton Reach of the Brisbane River.