Dutton Park Continentals

Dutton Park Continentals

Stage Number: MBSH.02.01.13

Group: Southern

Local Study Area: Dutton Park-South Woolloongabba-Buranda

Epoch: Early 20th Century

Street Address: Dutton\'s Park, Dutton Park

Latitude & Longitude: -27.49752778,153.02311111

Time Link: 1908

Map Link: 1911

Image Time Point: 1911

Suggest An Edit
View Your Faviourties


Despite the presence of the prison, sanitary works and animal pound, the Dutton Park received a boost in popularity in the 1900s when the recreation reserve became a noted leisure hotspot. The Brisbane Tramways Company had recently extended their tracks to the Dutton Park area and hit on the idea of increasing traffic by staging ‘Continental’ shows in the recreation reserve there. The ‘Continentals’ featured a mix of live variety entertainment – singers, acrobats, musicians – and new-fangled short movie features. This was part of the transition in entertainment tastes away from the 19th-century variety show era and into the movie age. The park itself was decorated with electric lights, leading one reporter to describe it as an ‘absolute fairyland’.

The tramway company also installed a dry toboggan run down the steep slopes and had planned to build a waterslide, a ‘switchback railway’ (an early type of wooden roller coaster), and a swimming enclosure and boathouse on the riverbank. Most of these projects were not completed because in 1915 the South Brisbane City Council declined to lengthen the terms of the Brisbane Tramway Company’s franchise on tram operations, and the company lost their incentive to improve the park. The Dutton Park Continentals came to an end.


Chris Dawson, ‘Absolute Fairyland: Heady Days in Dutton Park’, Brisbane, BRGHS, 2006; Brisbane Courier, 13 March 1930.

Image Citations

Advertisement for the ‘Dutton Park Continental Garden Theatre’. The Telegraph, 24 August 1909.

Map References

QSA. QSA Series 1748 Moreton District, County of Stanley Maps – A1 Series. 2 chains to the inch. Plan of Dutton Park Land Sale, City of South Brisbane, Parish of South Brisbane, County of Stanley. With local sketch at 30 chains to the inch. 2 chains to the inch. Survey Office, Brisbane.. 620305