19 Oct 2017

Queensland Business Monthly: The secrets of Brisbane’s iconic places


■ How it all began: In 1877, Irish brothers Nicholas and Edward Fitzgerald bought a failing distillery on the site and opened the brewery the following year.

■ Who owns it now: Lion has been owner of the XXXX brewery since 1990. It still operates and brews day to day, with the 145 people on site at Milton.

■ Director: Irene Bell

■ Contribution: One in every 10 beers sold in Australia is XXXX Gold, making it Australia’s leading beer brand.

■ Interesting facts: The famous XXXX name began life as a reference to the quality of beer, which used to be measured in Xs. The first brew produced was XXX Sparkling Ale, which was awarded three Xs. The result was promising, but the brewers believed something was missing. So in 1924, they improved the recipe further, gaining the magical fourth X.

The famous “Fourex Man” came to life in 1924, but beer lovers had to wait until 1991 to get the much-loved XXXX Gold.

QAGOMA (Queensland Art Gallery and Gallery of Modern Art)

South Brisbane

■ How it all began: Queensland artists Isaac Walter Jenner and R. Godfrey Rivers successfully lobbied for the creation of a state art gallery, which opened as the Queensland National Art Gallery in 1895. After moving around Brisbane the gallery finally opened at its permanent home in South Bank in 1982. It was later decided a second building was required to display more contemporary art and the Gallery of Modern Art opened in 2006.

■ Who owns it now: The State Government.

■ Director: Chris Saines.

■ Contribution: QAGOMA set a new annual attendance record of more than 1.73 million visitors in 2016-17. Proceeds from QAGOMA’s retail outlets, cafes and restaurants support the gallery.

■ Interesting facts: The State Government held an international competition to design the Gallery of Modern Art and commissioned Sydney-based company Architectus to come up with a building.

QAGOMA holds more than 17,000 artworks from Australia and around the world.

In September 2017, QAGOMA will unveil a new reconfiguration of the gallery’s Australian Art Collection.

Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary

Fig Tree Pocket

■ How it all began: The sanctuary opened in 1927 as a safe refuge for sick, injured and orphaned koalas. It was started by Queenslander Claude Reid who recognised something had to be done to protect the species as the wild population was rapidly declining due to culling for the fur trade.

■ Who owns it now: The Kamori family, since 1988.

■ General manager: Robert Friedler.

■ Contribution: The sanctuary cares for 130 koalas unable to live in the wild.

■ Interesting facts: Lone Pine is one of the only places in Australia where you can actually hold a koala. It has attracted many famous visitors over the years including Taylor Swift, Ed Sheeran, Mariah Carey, the Pope and Jackie Chan.

Lone Pine holds two Guinness World Records for being the world’s first and largest koala sanctuary and for having the world’s oldest captive koala. “Sarah” lived to the age of 23, twice as long as the average life expectancy. She died in 2001.

When Lone Pine first opened the road to the sanctuary was gravel and dirt. Often, after heavy rain, the only way to access the sanctuary was by boat.

Breakfast Creek Hotel


■ How it all began: The Breakfast Creek Hotel was built in 1889 by former

Brisbane lord mayor William MacNaughton Galloway, who remained with the business until his untimely death in 1895 when he fell from a second-floor window of the hotel.

Castlemaine Perkins became the registered owner of the hotel in the 1920s, about the time the Cavill family took up the lease. They held the licence until 1998.

■ Who owns it now: Australian Leisure and Hospitality Group.

■ Venue manager: Sam Gullo

■ Contribution: The hotel employs more than 150 staff and has an estimated 20,000 guests every month.

■ Interesting facts: Steaks are serious business at the Breakfast Creek Hotel, with 5000 to 7000 cooked each week.

This means long-time catering manager Melinda Venning, who has been with the hotel for 31 years, has personally cooked well over five million steaks so far.

The establishment continues to sell beer from wooden kegs after a successful petition by wharfies in 1977 to the Castlemaine Brewery director at the time, Paddy Fitzgerald.

Lang Park (Suncorp Stadium)


■ How it all began: The former Anglican, Presbyterian, Roman Catholic and Jewish burial grounds were gazetted as Lang Park in 1914, and became Queensland Rugby League headquarters in 1957. In 2003, Suncorp Stadium reopened after a $280 million State Government redevelopment.

■ Who owns it now: Known as Lang Park until 1994, Suncorp Stadium is owned by the State Government and managed by Brisbane-based company AEG Ogden.

■ General manager: Alan Graham.

■ Contribution: Suncorp Stadium hosted 47 major sporting events and concerts in 2016, for a total of 1,082,737 fans.

■ Interesting facts: It is well known that the stadium is built on a former graveyard, but it is also the final resting place of a performing elephant named Carly, which died in 1956. Carly was part of Wirths’ Circus, which visited Lang Park annually from the 1920s until 1963.

The remains of nearly 400 people were exhumed by archaeologists during the redevelopment of Suncorp Stadium.

South Bank Parklands

South Bank

■ How it all began: On the site of World Expo 88, South Bank was constructed in response to calls for the site to be retained as an open space for public use. The South Bank Corporation was formed in 1989 to oversee planning and development of the precinct. The parklands officially opened in 1992, with 16 days of public events.

■ Who owns it now: The State Government. The SBC manages commercial assets such as retail tenancies. Brisbane City Council handles operational services such as horticulture, maintenance and water.

■ Chief executive: Jemina Dunn.

■ Contribution: South Bank has an estimated 11 million visitors a year.

■ Interesting facts: The Nepalese Pagoda is one of only three hand-carved peace pagodas outside of Nepal. It took 60 Nepalese families two years to carve and was shipped to Brisbane for Expo 88.

The Parklands’ Rain Bank harvests, stores, treats and reuses about 77 megalitres of stormwater a year, equivalent to more than 30 Olympic-sized swimming pools.

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