Brisbane's Best Heritage Trails

The trip down memory lane has taken on a refreshing new meaning in Brisbane recently, first with the Bulimba Heritage Trail along Oxford St and now the advent of another fine plaque-dotted heritage trail, this time in a hilly inner westside suburb – the Reminiscing in Rosalie Heritage Trail.

Sacred Heart Catholic Church Rosalie

While admittedly this is not the kind of news to trigger a bout of dancing in the streets or even a hasty kitchen jig, it is still good news, especially for those who are of the belief that Brisbane heritage is an oxymoron. For what a Brisbane history trail severely lacks in Shakespearean cottages, medieval fortresses and Roman aqueducts it makes up for with lots of little 'a ha moments' and quaint surprises.

Pioneer Cottage Bulimba

And here's the thing. Because it's so easy to think of Brisbane as the city that history forgot (or bypassed altogether on the Captain Cook freeway) when you do discover history-laden buildings and remnants of stories of the past, especially on a well-trodden route you took for the last 5 years to the bus stop or to fetch milk and never knew was there, well, it's a bit like finding out something interesting about the dull, predictable but slightly cute boy/girl next door.

Woman walking in front of Plough Inn in South Brisbane

Not to mention that there's something oddly satisfying and exclusive about standing alone in front of an old bridge abutment, shabby once grand villa or bus shelter and learning the secret story it has to tell. And this is a feeling that can never be replicated while standing amongst a huge crowd of yodelling tourists jostling and waving their cameras and deodorant-free underarms in the air in front of a famous scaffolded European building (that you spent two thousand dollars and suffered rigor mortis in a metal tube for 24 torturous hours in order to partially view).

Child cycling under the William Jolly Bridge in Brisbane

Of course the other benefit of plaques outside buildings are twofold. Firstly, and this is where council has been clever – they are on the footpath, where they are easily spotted, not on the buildings themselves, so private residences don't have to put up with general public noses pressed up against their walls. And secondly, that once there is more awareness of the history buried or still living in an area the harder it's going to be to get rid of it.

Bulimba House

So hopefully this is just the start of plaque-led heritage trails in Brisbane's older neighbourhoods but meantime some great plaque-less others for the history-curious include the South Brisbane Heritage Trail and walks around the Brisbane CBD and Fortitude Valley derived by council. 

Bulimba Ferry Terminal
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