Brisbane was home to the Jagera and Turrbal Aboriginal clans who were able to survive off the river with it's abundance of of fish, shellfish, crabs and shrimps.
The first European exploration of Moreton Bay, where Brisbane lies, was carried out in 1797 by Matthew Flinders, who landed where today Redcliffe is situated. In 1799, Flinders, in the Norfolk, charted the east coast of Queensland. In 1823, John Oxley in the Mermaid named the Brisbane River after the Governor of New South Wales at the time and traveled 100 kilometres up the river.
A convict settlement was established at Redcliffe in 1824 and moved to Brisbane in the following year. At the time, this territory was still part of New South Wales. The first free settlers arrived in 1837 and by 1840 all convicts had been withdrawn from Brisbane.
By 1851, the residents of Queensland had started to think of independence from New South Wales. Queen Victoria was petitioned and agreed, preferring the name Queensland to the alternative suggestion of Cooksland. Queensland was proclaimed on 6th June 1859.
By 1840, however, with all the convicts withdrawn, Brisbane had become a city for free settlers. Large houses including Palma Rosa at Hamilton and Newstead House were built.
The population grew to 6,000 by 1859 when Queensland was separated from New South Wales and became a colony in its own right, Brisbane became its capital.
At Federation in 1901, Queensland was the fastest growing state and Brisbane the hub with trade and industry booming taking full advantage of the Brisbane River.
After World War I, Brisbane was the largest local authority in Australia with 1,220 square kilometres.
City Hall and the Masonic Temple were built in 1930 and soon after the Story Bridge.
World War II made Brisbane vunerable to Japanese attack and military camps spruing up all round the city. In 1942, the AMP building became headquarters for the United States General Douglas MacArthur, the Commander in Chief of the South-West Pacific Campaign.
Thousands of United States servicemen were stationed in Brisbane and on 26 and 27 November 1942 and tensions with the locals led to a streetfight that is now remembered as the 'Battle of Brisbane'.
In 1974 floods devastated Brisbane (as happened in 2011). 1982 saw in the Commonwealth Games and in 1988 the World Expo. The media coverage of the Games was the biggest broadcasting operation ever undertaken in Australia and the 1988 World Expo gave Brisbane a further boost and set it on a path of massive transformation to make Brisbane what is now being sold as a "new world city".