South Brisbane Railway Wharves

South Brisbane Railway Wharves

Stage Number: MBSH.03.01.68

Group: Southern

Local Study Area: West End-South Brisbane-North Woolloongabba

Epoch: Late 19th Century

Street Address: Dock Street, South Brisbane

Latitude & Longitude: -27.48205556,153.02830556

Time Link: 1885

Map Link: 1885

Image Time Point: 1885

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A Railway line from Corinda to South Brisbane was opened in 1884, terminating near the South Brisbane Dry Dock, and the riverside railway wharves opened during the following year. A railway siding extended down to the river from the rail line at the top of the hill, allowing direct delivery to the ships at the wharves. This was especially welcomed by West Moreton coal owners, who previously had to unload coal from trains and haul it to wharves on drays. All this new infrastructure delivered a massive boost to the local economy as the railway line attracted industry and commerce to the area. By the end of the decade, wharves extended along the South Brisbane riverfront from the Victoria Bridge to River Terrace.

These wharves were a major source of employment, but by the mid-20th century the demand for them declined as larger port facilities were built in other areas downstream along the river. In 1960, the railway siding to the railway wharves was removed and the wharf was demolished in 1974.


E.L. Richard, ‘The Development of the South Brisbane Wharves to the 1890s, and the Graving Dock’, Queensland Division Technical Papers, The Institution of Engineers, vol.31, no.6, April 1990, pp. 8-8.

Image Citations

South Brisbane railway wharves on the Brisbane River, ca. 1889. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Record number: 114804.

Map References

QSA. QSA Series ID 2043 City of Brisbane and Suburbs Maps – A1A Series. 12 chains to the inch. Pugh’s Almanac street map of Brisbane. 12 chains to the inch.. 634507