Wish you were here – Vintage postcards of Brisbane

Today’s tour of turn-of-the-20th-century Brisbane is brought to you by digitised postcards from our collection, while the commentary is provided by this tourist guide, produced by the Queensland Government Tourist Bureau from the same period. So make yourself comfortable and get ready to discover this great city.

Let the tour commence….

Collage of images around Brisbane ca. 1907. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 194876

Collage of images around Brisbane ca. 1907. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 194876

“Brisbane, the capital of the State of Queensland, is perhaps the most picturesque city in the Commonwealth. It stretches across an amphitheatre of dark-blue hills and emerald flats, through which, like a silver ribbon, winds the stately river that bears its name.”

View of the Brisbane River from Bowen Terrace, Brisbane, ca. 1907. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Image APO-047-0001-0010

View of the Brisbane River from Bowen Terrace, Brisbane, ca. 1907. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Image APO-047-0001-0010

“The chief business centres are Queen Street and Fortitude Valley, where many business establishments do a trade over the entire State and beyond.”

Queen Street in the heart of Brisbane ca. 1906. Postcard features the newly completed New Zealand Insurance Company's buildings in Queen Street, Brisbane. Other businesses feature on the northern end of Queen Street near the intersection with Wharf Street. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Image 4831-0005-0030

Queen Street in the heart of Brisbane ca. 1906.  Northern end of Queen Street near the intersection with Wharf Street. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Image 4831-0005-0030

Brunswick Street, Fortitude Valley Brisbane ca. 1905. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Image API-079-0001-0004

Brunswick Street, Fortitude Valley Brisbane ca. 1905. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Image API-079-0001-0004

“Brisbane possesses one of the best electric tramway services in the world, which, on the average, carries 60,000 persons a day and earns £125,000 a year in penny fares. During Exhibition week the trams carry half a million passengers, the figure for 1906 being 619,342, and for 1907, 639,121. The city is lit by electricity and by gas.”

View of the Brisbane River at Garden Reach ca.1906. Custom House in the background. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Image 4831-0005-0067

View of the Brisbane River at Garden Reach ca.1906. Custom House in the background. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Image 4831-0005-0067

“Brisbane abounds in fine buildings, among which may be mentioned the new Executive Offices – an imposing structure – the Treasury, Parliament House, the Queensland National Bank, Supreme Court, Queensland Club, the Central Railway Station, and the Commercial Travellers’ Club.”

Parliament House and grounds Brisbane ca. 1906. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 194833

Parliament House and grounds Brisbane ca. 1906. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 194833

Executive Buildings and gardens statue of Queen Victoria and Public Library, Brisbane ca. 1910. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 194819

Executive Buildings and gardens statue of Queen Victoria and Public Library, Brisbane ca. 1910. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 194819

Law Courts, Brisbane, ca. 1902. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 194824

Law Courts, Brisbane, ca. 1902. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 194824

Central Railway Station, Ann Street, Brisbane ca. 1905. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Image API-079-0001-0005

Central Railway Station, Ann Street, Brisbane ca. 1905. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Image API-079-0001-0005

“During August in each year an exhibition of produce, manufactures, and live stock is held in the fine grounds at Bowen Park…. In 1906 over 34,000 people attended on the principal day…”

National Exhibition at the Show Grounds, Brisbane. Undated. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 194829

National Exhibition at the Show Grounds, Brisbane. Undated. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 194829

“The city contains many fine parks and recreation grounds, the principal being Queen’s Park and Botanic Gardens, the Acclimatisation Society’s Garden, Albert Park, Brisbane Cricket Grounds (Five Ways), Victoria Park, and several others.”

Strolling through the Brisbane Botanical Gardens, 1900-1910. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Image 4831-0005-0074

Strolling through the Brisbane Botanical Gardens, 1900-1910. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Image 4831-0005-0074

Botanical Gardens in Brisbane and a view to the southeast ca. 1906. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Image 4831-0005-0079

Botanical Gardens in Brisbane and a view to the southeast ca. 1906. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Image 4831-0005-0079

“In addition to the Government State schools, Brisbane is well supplied with educational institutions, such as the Brisbane Boys’ Grammar School, Brisbane Girls’ Grammar School, School of Arts, two Technical Colleges, Queensland University Extension (Students’ Movement), and Public Library and Museum. The movement for the establishment of a Queensland University is steadily gaining ground.”

Girls' Grammar School on Gregory Terrace, Brisbane, 1906-1910. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Image APE-062-0001-0002

Girls’ Grammar School on Gregory Terrace, Brisbane, 1906-1910. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Image APE-062-0001-0002

“All suburbs are now linked by tram and rail with the city. Some of them are of great natural beauty, such as Hamilton, Clayfield, and Toowong.”

Hamilton, Brisbane ca 1908. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 204329

Hamilton, Brisbane ca 1908. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 204329

“[I]ts climate closely resembles that of Southern California – that is to say, it enjoys one of the mildest temperatures in the world.”

Fishing and boating parties at Enoggera Creek, Brisbane ca. 1900. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 69613

Fishing and boating parties at Enoggera Creek, Brisbane ca. 1900. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 69613

“Many charming charming seaside resorts are within easy distance of the metropolis, the principal being Cleveland, Humpybong, Redcliffe, Manly, Sandgate, Wellington Point, Wynnum, Southport, and Tweed Heads.”

Pier at Southport, Queensland ca. 1908. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Image 4831-0005-0192

Pier at Southport, Queensland ca. 1908. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Image 4831-0005-0192

Ladies watching the boats at Wynnum Jetty, Brisbane ca. 1907. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Image 194784

Ladies watching the boats at Wynnum Jetty, Brisbane ca. 1907. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Image 194784

Moora Park and beach at Sandgate (now part of Shorncliffe), Queensland ca. 1908. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Image 4831-0005-0180

Moora Park and beach at Sandgate (now part of Shorncliffe), Queensland ca. 1908. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Image 4831-0005-0180

Camping at Tweed Heads, ca. 1911. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 194813

Camping at Tweed Heads, ca. 1911. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 194813

You can view more digitised vintage postcards of Brisbane via our One Search catalogue.