The Prawnster in Kangaroo Point Grapples with an Uncertain Path Forward

The Prawnster, a popular seafood haven in Kangaroo Point, finds itself at a crossroads with its future hanging in the balance following a recent legal verdict. 

Nestled within the picturesque Dockside Marina, this iconic seafood restaurant has faced a protracted legal battle concerning its commercial operations on the river.

Despite the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the termination of its berthing and mooring deed, owner Martin Brennan remains steadfast in his commitment to keep the restaurant’s doors open. He maintains that “closing down isn’t an option” and vows to continue trading, assuring patrons that a solution will be found.

A Unique Dining Experience

Since its inception in August 2020, The Prawnster has offered a distinctive dining experience. Situated on two refurbished trawlers and a covered pontoon, it aimed to provide fresh seafood sourced directly from Queensland’s trawlers while floating on the serene waters of the Brisbane River.

The concept was inspired by successful ventures such as Prawn Star in Cairns and the Fisherman’s Co-Op on the Gold Coast.

The Prawnster Dockside Marina Kangaroo Point
Photo Credit: The Prawnster/Facebook

The restaurant’s popularity soared, earning accolades and adoration from its customers. In 2022, it was voted among the top 10% of restaurants worldwide on TripAdvisor, a testament to its quality and appeal.

The Legal Dispute

The heart of the matter revolves around the restaurant’s right to operate on the Crown lease at Dockside Marina. Whilst The Prawnster’s legal team sought clarification in court, the focus initially centered on the termination of the berthing and mooring deed. The court upheld this decision, thereby putting into question the restaurant’s location.

Whilst the court did not delve into the specifics of the Crown lease, it left the possibility open for further legal action. Brennan’s legal team is contemplating an appeal and is carefully examining their options, considering the complexity of the situation.

The Prawnster Dockside Marina Kangaroo Point
Photo Credit: The Prawnster/Facebook

Despite the uncertainty surrounding its location, The Prawnster remains committed to its loyal patrons. With his eyes on the upcoming holiday season, Mr Brennan is determined to find a way forward. Whether it be at Dockside Marina or an alternative mooring location closer to the CBD, he is confident that the restaurant’s unique concept and loyal customer base will endure.

Mr Brennan is reaching out to both state and local government authorities, seeking support and collaboration to secure an appropriate mooring location. His resolve to keep the business trading is unwavering, driven by the outpouring of support from the community.

Follow their Facebook page for updates.

Published 21-Nov-2o23

Kangaroo Point Dockside Marina Restaurant Lodges Court Action Versus the State

The Prawnster, a Dockside Marina restaurant in Kangaroo Point, has launched a legal battle to save the business from eviction. Owner Martin Brennan acknowledges his uphill challenge as a David against Goliath. 

The lawsuit against the State Government marks the latest development in a protracted saga that spans over three years. The Prawnster‘s two boats have remained the sole commercial operators at Dockside Marina, despite being instructed to vacate the premises this May 2023. 

The eviction notice came after marina lessee Ken Allsop lost his final bid to alter lease conditions.

Mr Brennan questions why his establishment cannot be relocated to the State Government’s pontoons outside the cultural centre in South Bank. He points out that two other commercial cruise boats made the move at the start of the pandemic and have been successfully operating there ever since.


The Prawnster Dockside Marina
Photo Credit: The Prawnster/Facebook

Frustrated by the lack of options, he has taken the matter to the Supreme Court, fully aware of the substantial costs involved. He believes that Mr Allsop’s application to amend the seabed lease conditions would have likely been approved had he not expanded his operations at Dockside.

He claims that the expansion to two boats has had minimal impact on the residents of Dockside apartments. Admittedly, The Prawnster faced regular visits from the water police following a complaint about incorrect boat mooring. Additionally, the establishment endured multiple inspections and other complaints. 

Mr Brennan, however, said his operation has never been an issue for the government.  With a dozen employees and glowing reviews on TripAdvisor, The Prawnster is a well-regarded establishment.

Meanwhile, Mr Allsop has been engaged in a separate battle, trying to appeal the Department of Resources’ directive to remove commercial operators from the marina. The Department insists that the facility was intended solely for recreational boat users.

The Department of Resources spokesperson acknowledges the value of tourism operators on the Brisbane River but emphasizes that lessees must adhere to the conditions of their leases. While the government recognises the need for alternative mooring options, it remains committed to ensuring compliance with the lease conditions.

The expansion of commercial operators in recent years, including jetski and electric boat rentals, prompted complaints from residents of nearby Dockside unit towers. The grievances include noise disturbances from customers, odours emanating from rubbish, and alleged safety concerns due to golf buggies transporting supplies across a public boardwalk.

In February of last year, the Department of Resources ordered all businesses to vacate the marina by April, leading to threats of a floating blockade. However, a moratorium was offered after the marina suffered severe damage during the 2022 floods. 

The Prawnster Dockside Marina
Photo Credit: The Prawnster/Facebook

Despite Mr Allsop’s request for an internal review of the eviction notice, the Department upheld its decision in June, issuing a final notice to vacate earlier this year. Unfortunately for the affected businesses, the promised CBD marina, which was expected to provide a new home for them, will not be constructed. 

As a result, The Prawnster and other businesses are left without viable options, placing their livelihoods in jeopardy. While some operators, such as Brisvegas and Jetski Brisbane, have managed to secure temporary alternatives, the increased costs and inconveniences associated with the new locations pose significant challenges.

Published 24-May-2023

Final Notice: Dockside Marina Commercial Boat Operator Told to Leave

Hundreds are about to lose jobs after commercial boat operators at Dockside Marina were given final notices to leave and find more suitable moorings.

Dockside Marina lessee Ken Allsop has been unsuccessful in convincing the State to amend his lease conditions, resulting in a directive for commercial operators including Prawnster, Brisbane Jet Skis, GoBoat, and Yot Club to vacate the Kangaroo Point premises.

“Well the axe has fallen and all commercial ventures operating at the Dockside Marina have been told to leave as of April the 5th. No mention as to where we were expected to go as the promised commercial marina has never been constructed,” Wayne Miller wrote in his update to their online petition against the eviction.

“This was a state promise back in 2016. Billions of dollars are being thrown around for the building of infrastructure for the 2032 Olympic Games, but no mention or consideration for the Charter Boat industry who will benefit the tourists and locals alike.”

In 2022, the Department of Resources (DoR) issued a notice to remove commercial operators from the Dockside Marina by 4 March 2022, stating that the lease was meant only for recreational boat users. 

The Department said that the lease allowed only private vessels to moor either permanently or temporarily.

The decision was put on hold after the marina suffered flood damage in February. Allsop sought to appeal the decision but was rejected in June 2022. The operators were then notified recently that they had to leave by early April.

The facility has seen an increase in commercial operators over the years, including a floating seafood restaurant, jetski and electric boat hire, which prompted complaints from residents of the adjacent Dockside unit towers due to noise, rubbish smells, and safety concerns. 

A DoR spokesperson noted that whilst the department recognizes the value of the tourism operators on the Brisbane River, lessees on government property must adhere to their lease conditions.

They added that the department is seeking alternative mooring for the businesses operating from the marina. 

As an interim solution, Charter boat operators Aquarius Charters and Brisvegas relocated a few weeks ago after opportunities to move opened at Rivergate Marina.They said, however, that this would add to their fuel cost and staff hours as well as their maintenance cost, not to mention that it is far from their customers. 

Meanwhile, small electric hire vessels operator, GoBoat, has moved to Breakfast Creek near the Mercedes Benz headquarters, although they too prefer a location closer to the CBD.

Published 5-April-2023

Hundreds Of Employees Impacted By Dockside Marina Eviction Order

Hundreds of jobs are at risk after a dozen of small businesses in Kangaroo Point’s Dockside Marina have been told to vacate the marina berths due to ‘leasing irregularities.’ 

Read: ‘Harrow’: Popular Australian TV Show Highlights Kangaroo Point, Other Brisbane Locations

The eviction notice comes from the State Government, which states that businesses, such as Prawnster, Brisbane Jet Skis, GoBoat and Yot Club only have until 4 March 2022 to find a new location. Otherwise, they could risk closing for good, with around 400 staff losing their jobs. 

The Dockside Marina is leased by the Queensland Government to private companies, under an ongoing lease. However, the first condition of the lease is that it would only be used for residential boats, but there is a commercial vessel serving out of the Marina.

Wayne Miller, owner and operator at Aquarius Charters, launched a petition in hopes of saving the hospitality industry in Brisbane River.

Photo credit: Dockside Marina/Google Maps

“Being evicted with nowhere to go is not something we want to face after surviving the onslaught of Covid. Staff will lose their jobs and personal bankruptcy looms,” Miller stated.

“With the Olympics on our doorstep visitors to Brisbane will be crying out for river venues. Every other city supports their marine hospitality industry except Brisbane and we have the best river in all the cities,” he added.

Shadow Minister for Natural Resources, Mines and Energy Pat Weir, who met with small business owners and their staff earlier in February, said Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and her Resources Minister should act now as these businesses are already going through a difficult time. 

Photo credit: Greg Van Ryt/Google Maps

“They need to either fix the leasing issue by amending one clause, allowing these operators continuity of trade, like they have done for over 17 years. Or they must find another suitable location for these operators to relocate to,” Mr Weir said.

Gabba Ward councillor Jonathan Sri, whose electorate takes in the marina, highlighted that if commercial activities at the Dockside Marina are formalised, this will likely lead to higher rents being charged for the berths, which in turn would lead to residential boat tenants being displaced in favour of more restaurant and party boats.

GoBoat Picnic Boats Now Available in Kangaroo Point

Did you know that GoBoat has finally launched its fleet of new eco-friendly picnic boats at Dockside Marina in Kangaroo Point? The best part? They’re pet-friendly! 

GoBoat, a boating company from Denmark, has finally released its series of Scandinavian-designed picnic boats across the Brisbane River, and now that they’re open to the public, all of Brisbane is invited to come give them a spin — no licence required. 

Though construction isn’t finished for their upcoming permanent venue along Breakfast Creek, the company has opened a limited-time pop-up venue at Dockside Marina in Kangaroo Point to give Queensland a taste of what the vessels this Danish company has to offer.

Photo credit: Instagram/GoBoat Brisbane

These boats have been designed to be eco-friendly and environmentally sustainable. Their German electric engines do not produce any smog, nor do they make loud and disruptive noises — a combination which makes for a peaceful cruise down the Brisbane River.

Each boat stands 18 feet long, fashioned from recycled materials such as reclaimed wood and PET bottles. Shading will be installed to shield those aboard from the elements.

Photo credit: Instagram/GoBoat Brisbane

Those interested in renting the boats can do so for the price of $109 an hour, $189 for two hours, and $229 for three hours. Food, beer, and other beverages from outside can all be brought aboard these boats, and customers are allowed to bring their pets along for the ride. Up to eight passengers will be able to fit in a single vessel which makes these boats ideal for group picnics. 

Photo credit: Instagram/GoBoat Brisbane

Though the official launch of GoBoat Brisbane in their permanent site at Breakfast Creek has yet to be announced, their pop-up placeholder is located at Dockside Marina at 44 Ferry St, Kangaroo Point. For more information, visit their website here. Follow their social media accounts on Facebook and Instagram for the latest updates and announcements concerning the upcoming picnic boats.