Silent Guardians in Kangaroo Point: Echoes of WWII Air Raid Shelters

Amidst the lively atmosphere of Raymond Park lie two unassuming structures that whisper tales of a bygone era. Unbeknownst to many, these seemingly ordinary shelters hold a secret history, serving as vital lifelines during the tumultuous days of World War II.

Photo Credit: Australia at War

Constructed as part of Brisbane City Council’s extensive air raid shelter network, these Kangaroo Point shelters are a testament to the city’s resilience and preparedness during WWII. Strategically placed throughout the city, these shelters provided safe havens for residents during times of crisis.

The Kangaroo Point shelters, one nestled near Baines Street behind the iconic Pineapple Hotel and the other situated towards Wellington Road, are among the few remaining examples of this wartime architecture. They are a poignant reminder of the challenges and sacrifices the community faces during global conflict.

Photo Credit: Australia at War

Interestingly, the Brisbane City Council adopted an innovative design for its public air raid shelters, ensuring their continued usefulness even after the war. The brick walls surrounding the shelters could be easily removed, leaving behind a sturdy cantilevered roof structure that could be repurposed as bus shelters or general shade providers.

While many of Brisbane’s air raid shelters have been lost to time, those in Raymond Park have endured, their original purpose often overlooked by passersby. However, for those who know their history, these structures serve as a tangible link to the past, a silent tribute to the courage and resilience of those who lived through WWII.

Today, as residents and visitors enjoy the park’s amenities, these unassuming shelters stand as a quiet reminder of a time when the world was at war. They are a testament to the enduring spirit of Kangaroo Point and a tribute to the generations who came before.

Published Date 13-July-2024

Patients of St Vincent Private Hospital Network in Kangaroo Point Could Pay More as Funding Talks with NIB Collapse

Patients at the Kangaroo Point campus of St Vincent’s Private Hospital, along with thousands across Australia may soon face increased out-of-pocket expenses for their healthcare.

This comes after a breakdown in negotiations between St Vincent’s Health Australia, the nation’s largest not-for-profit healthcare provider, and private health insurer NIB.

On Thursday, 4 July 2024, St Vincent’s served notice to NIB, indicating their intention to terminate their existing contract within 65 business days unless a revised funding agreement can be reached. The potential fallout of this stalemate would see NIB-insured patients shouldering a larger portion of their medical bills when seeking treatment at any of St Vincent’s ten private hospitals across NSW, Victoria, and Queensland.

St Vincent’s CEO, Chris Blake, stressed the gravity of the decision, stating it was a first in the institution’s 167-year history. Despite their best efforts, Blake asserted that NIB had not presented a fair offer that adequately addressed the escalating costs associated with providing private hospital care.

Inflationary pressures on wages, food, energy, personal protective equipment, IT services, and even basic maintenance have significantly increased the financial burden on hospitals. Blake cited St Vincent’s electricity costs as a prime example, expected to nearly double from $6.5 million in 2023 to $12 million this year.

While St Vincent’s successfully negotiated new agreements with other major health funds like Medibank, HCF, and the Alliance group in recent months, talks with NIB have stalled. NIB’s CEO, Mark Fitzgibbon, expressed disappointment with St Vincent’s public stance, maintaining that their offer was fair and reasonable. He assured continued discussions, highlighting the remaining months of their partnership.

The stalemate has drawn concern from the Australian Medical Association (AMA), with President Prof Steve Robson urging both parties to resume negotiations to protect patients’ interests. Robson warned that the dispute could erode public trust in private health insurance, especially amidst rising premiums and cost-of-living pressures.

Dr Katharine Bassett, representing Catholic Health Australia, echoed these concerns, accusing insurers of prioritising profits over patient welfare and hospital sustainability. She pointed to NIB’s substantial premium increase and relatively low return to policyholders as evidence of this trend.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s (ACCC) recent report on private health insurance revealed a significant surge in industry profits. This, coupled with the closure of 71 private hospital services due to financial strain in the past year, underscores the escalating crisis in private healthcare, as Blake emphasised.

Photo Credit: St Vincent’s Private Hospital/ Facebook

Both St Vincent’s and the CHA are advocating for reforms to address these systemic issues. They propose changes to the annual premium round process and a new funding model to better reflect the actual costs incurred by hospitals. The AMA is also calling for the establishment of an independent regulatory body to ensure the sector’s proper governance and patient value.

As the October 3rd deadline looms, the fate of thousands of patients’ healthcare costs hangs in the balance. Whether a resolution can be reached that satisfies both St Vincent’s and NIB, while safeguarding patient interests, remains to be seen.

Published Date 11-July-2024

Skyhomes Fetch Nearly $30 Million, Luxury Market Booms

Kangaroo Point is cementing its status as a luxury property hotspot with the latest sales at River House development totalling close to $30 million for just four skyhomes.

Development managers Fortis confirmed the sale of four whole-floor luxury residences in River House, a project that is transforming the Kangaroo Point skyline. The sales reflect the suburb’s growing appeal to high-end buyers, with prices showing a marked upward trend. Two residences sold for $6.8m and $6.5m before site demolition, while two more recently commanded even higher prices of $7.9m and $8.2m.

River House, currently in early construction on the Kangaroo Point riverfront, will feature 14 whole-floor luxury apartments upon completion. The development is strategically located just 1 km from Brisbane City Council’s forthcoming $190m green bridge, which will provide a direct link between Kangaroo Point and the CBD, further boosting the suburb’s desirability.

Photo Credit: Fortis

Place Kangaroo Point agent Simon Caulfield highlighted the area’s transformation, stating, “Kangaroo Point’s luxury real estate market is undergoing a significant shift. Local buyers are now competing with interstate investors, willing to pay premium rates for luxury full-floor residences in this prime location.”

Photo Credit: Fortis

The suburb’s appeal lies in its proximity to the city centre, coupled with its quieter, more exclusive atmosphere. River House capitalises on this, offering residents unparalleled views of the Brisbane River and city skyline, along with the convenience of inner-city living.

Photo Credit: Fortis

“River House is designed to set a new standard for luxurious living in Kangaroo Point. The strong sales demonstrate the high demand for premium properties in this unique suburb,” Fortis associate director Dan Boman said.

Photo Credit: River House – Kangaroo Point

The development features bespoke architecture by Plus Architecture and interiors by Mim Design, aiming to complement Kangaroo Point’s existing mix of heritage homes and modern apartments.

As Kangaroo Point continues to attract luxury developments like River House, it’s rapidly becoming one of Brisbane’s most prestigious suburbs. The area’s transformation is driven by both local and interstate buyers seeking high-end properties that offer both lifestyle benefits and strong investment potential.

Published 5-July-2024

Kangaroo Point Cliff Repairs Cause Temporary Detours for Pedestrians

Pedestrian access at Kangaroo Point is undergoing temporary changes due to essential cliff remediation works.

The Brisbane City Council has announced that the stairs adjacent to Joey’s, leading down to the cliff base, will be closed on weekdays between 7:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. from 3rd to 17th July.

Alternative Routes and Assistance Available

Photo Credit: Pexels

To accommodate these necessary repairs, a detour has been established via the southern stairs located opposite Llewellyn Street. The council has assured the public that clear signage and traffic control will be in place to guide pedestrians and minimise disruption during this period.

Project Timeline Subject to Change

While the council aims to complete the remediation works within the specified timeframe, it is important to note that this is contingent upon weather conditions and any unforeseen circumstances that may arise on-site.

Council Urges Patience and Cooperation

As these works are crucial for the safety and preservation of the Kangaroo Point cliffs, the Brisbane City Council requests the understanding and cooperation of residents and visitors during this temporary inconvenience.

Published Date 03-July-2024

$22.5 Million Boost for Riverwalk at Kangaroo Point Enhances Brisbane’s Active Transport Network

A $22.5-million investment is set to complete the Riverwalk at Kangaroo Point, creating a continuous bike and pedestrian pathway to Mowbray Park.

The $22.5 million investment is part of a larger $315-million commitment over the next four years to enhance cycling and walking paths throughout the state. 

This initiative falls under the expansive $37.4-billion Queensland Transport and Roads Investment Program (QTRIP) for 2024-2028, which is set to bolster active transport facilities across Queensland significantly.

Economic and Health Benefits

The investment in active transport infrastructure is expected to deliver considerable economic returns. Studies show that every dollar spent on bike infrastructure brings nearly five dollars in economic benefits, including improved health, reduced congestion, and lower transportation costs. Walking infrastructure is even more lucrative, returning $13 for every dollar invested.

Key Projects Under QTRIP

Several projects have been highlighted under this initiative:

– The construction of a $36.1 million velobridge over Birdwood Road on the Veloway 1 in Greenslopes.

– A $41.5 million allocation for the Cairns Southern Access Cycleway, with joint funding from the Australian Government.

– $20 million for a cycleway accompanying the Gold Coast Light Rail Stage 3.

– Enhancements to the active transport facilities on Moggill Road, with an investment of $10.4 million.

– The development of a network of bike-friendly streets in South Brisbane, West End, and Highgate Hill, receiving $9.6 million.

– An allocation of $9.4 million towards stage 2 of the New England Highway Bikeway.

These infrastructure improvements are complemented by initiatives aimed at promoting cycling and walking, including education, safety improvements, and economic stimulation through active transport. The broader strategy also involves using research and data to guide decision-making and improve the effectiveness of these initiatives.

Ongoing Developments

Meanwhile, the first stage of Kangaroo Point bridge works is now complete, with more than 200 meters of new pathways constructed underneath the Story Bridge between Main St and Deakin St. This development provides a seamless link improving accessibility for those who walk, ride, or scoot from the Gabba and eastern suburbs into the CBD.

In addition to the Riverwalk project, Brisbane City Council is actively improving other parts of the Kangaroo Point Bikeway, especially between Captain Cook Bridge and Thornton Street. This includes enhancing connectivity, safety, and accessibility along this vital corridor. A recent community consultation has provided valuable insights, which will help shape future improvements in the area.

 Captain Cook Bridge and Thornton Street
Photo Credit: BCC

Future Prospects

Looking ahead, further enhancements are planned for Kangaroo Point’s active travel infrastructure. This includes the detailed design and upcoming construction of the Shafston Avenue Bikeway, which aims to connect existing routes to the new Kangaroo Point Green Bridge, creating an important link for Brisbane’s active travelers. This project is contingent upon a funding agreement between the local and state governments.

The extensive investments and ongoing projects underscore a robust commitment to enhancing Brisbane’s active transport network, fostering a healthier, more connected city.

Published 24-June-2024

Stolen Tour Boat Ends Up in Kangaroo Point After Alleged Joyride

A river tour ferry was discovered lodged on the rocks at Kangaroo Point, with police investigating reports the vessel was stolen from South Bank overnight whilst people were partying on board.

Police confirmed they were investigating an overnight break and enter on a commercial vessel at South Bank. The police statement said initial information indicated unknown offenders had forced entry to the vessel and stolen items from onboard. It is believed the engine was started and the vessel left its berth. 

The engine then failed, and the vessel drifted towards the ferry terminal near Ferry Street, Kangaroo Point, where it rested in the morning.  

Owner’s Account

Lindsay Jones, the owner of River Tours ferry MV Neptune, believed his ferry, operated as a charter boat on the Brisbane River since 1966, had been broken into overnight. He said the other vessel next to theirs was also broken into, but it was harder to get into and was much better locked up than theirs. 

Mr Jones said they were waiting on the tide to rise to dislodge the boat from the rocks, as the engines would be burnt out without the water coolant.

The MV Neptune is usually moored at the Cultural Centre public pontoon in South Bank and offers sightseeing, onboard lunch packages and sunset cruises for passengers. The cruise line has won the Travellers Choice award and best of Queensland experience in 2023.

Impact on Operations

River City Cruises posted a statement on its website, saying the boat had been severely damaged and was currently out of operation due to unforeseen circumstances. No cruises would depart until further notice.

Photo Credit: River City Cruises

The statement said several staff members and crew were at the scene, and the owner, Jones, was uncertain when operations would resume as he awaited assessing the damage. It said the MV Neptune would be towed later that day and transported to a repair shop.

Eyewitness Reports  

It was understood three men were seen at the dockside terminal, with one man yelling he would never be caught and that he had been up all night running at a group of people. A River City Cruises worker reported they had thrown books, opened the alcohol cabinet, and helped themselves to snacks. 

Debris and a broken railing from the side of the boat were visible on the ship’s top deck after it had smashed into glass windows along the dockside terminal. The anchor was seen dangling from the front of the boat, with the chain coiled outwards.

A local resident said he saw the boat travelling along the river overnight with what seemed to be a party onboard. He said he saw it going downstream, close along the marina’s edge. He wondered what it was doing at the time because the boat and route seemed unusual.  

Published 12-June-2024

Dami Im Begins Jazz, Soul, and Blues Tour at Brisbane Jazz Club in Kangaroo Point

Australian singer-songwriter Dami Im has launched her Jazz, Soul, and Blues Tour at the Brisbane Jazz Club in Kangaroo Point, marking a return to her musical roots with exclusive performances alongside her dynamic Jazz Quartet.

Dami Im’s Jazz, Soul, and Blues Tour will commence with an engaging two-night performance on June 14th and 15th, 2024, at the Brisbane Jazz Club, located at 1 Annie Street, Kangaroo Point. This opening act promises to deliver an unforgettable experience in Dami’s hometown, setting the tone for the rest of her nationwide tour. 

Following these initial performances, the tour will continue to prominent jazz clubs across Australia, with dates and venues to be announced, offering fans multiple opportunities to witness Dami’s musical evolution in a cozy, inviting atmosphere.

Starting her tour in her hometown of Brisbane, Dami Im’s latest venture showcases a decade-spanning career filled with diverse musical achievements. Dami has continuously evolved her musical style from her chart-topping participation in Eurovision to her collaborations with notable artists like John Legend and James Morrison. 

Dami Im
Photo Credit: Dami Im/Facebook

Now, she’s returning to the genres that ignited her passion for music: Jazz, Soul, and Blues. This tour promises a mix of retro jazz and soul classics, contemporary covers, and her original compositions, performed in an intimate quartet setting. 

Audiences can expect a night of deep musical exploration, from heart-wrenching blues to upbeat jazz tracks that showcase Dami’s versatility and command over her art.

Early Life and Career Achievements

Born in Seoul, South Korea, Dami moved to Brisbane at the age of nine, where she began her journey in music. A graduate of the Young Conservatorium of Music program at Griffith University, she gained widespread recognition by winning the fifth season of “The X Factor Australia.”

Her subsequent music releases, including the platinum-certified album “Dami Im,” have seen significant success, culminating in performances at prestigious venues and events worldwide. Dami’s impressive trajectory in the music industry is also highlighted by her significant contributions to music education and her efforts to promote musical diversity.

Dami Im
Photo Credit: Dami Im/Facebook

Personal Insights and Future Endeavours

Residing in Queensland with her husband and son, Dami continues to explore her musicality. She remains committed to her role as a Compassion Australia supporter, frequently engaging in charity events and concerts. As Dami revisits the genres that shaped her early music career, she also celebrates the skill and artistry of her band, expressing her excitement about performing in renowned Jazz venues across Australia. Her personal connection to these genres is deeply rooted in her musical and cultural upbringing, influenced by a mix of Korean and Australian musical traditions.

Dami Im’s Jazz, Soul, and Blues Tour is not just a musical event but a personal homage to the genres that shaped her as an artist. For fans and new listeners alike, this tour offers a unique opportunity to experience Dami’s profound musical talents up close, in the storied environment of the Brisbane Jazz Club at Kangaroo Point.

Landmark Queenslander Fetches $6.6 Million at Auction

A historic Queenslander in Kangaroo Point has sold for $6.6 million at auction. The sale of “Rockfield” at 19 Leopard Street was one of 86 auctions scheduled in Brisbane on Saturday, June 8, 2024.

Photo Credit: Place

Place Bulimba agents Sarah Hackett and Lauren Marmotta marketed the property, which attracted significant interest during its campaign. Ms. Hackett reported that over 100 families viewed the home, with four registered bidders participating in the auction held on a balcony overlooking the Brisbane River.

Photo Credit: Place

“The opening bidder actually ended up with the property,” Ms. Hackett said. “It’s going to be their family home.” The winning bid came from a local buyer, securing what has been described as a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”

Photo Credit: Place

The marketing strategy targeted local schools and three major hospitals due to their proximity. “We had a couple of doctors registered to bid due to the convenience of being around the corner from the hospitals,” Ms. Hackett added.

Photo Credit: Place

Rockfield, an immaculately renovated Queenslander, offers panoramic views of the Brisbane River, city skyline, and Botanic Gardens. The property combines historical charm with modern conveniences, making it a highly sought-after residence.

Photo Credit: Place

Linda Butler, the seller, has owned Rockfield since 1997. “It’s one of those houses that you drive past and when it came on the market, I just knew it was a once in a lifetime opportunity,” Ms. Butler said, reflecting on her initial purchase.

Photo Credit: Place

This sale comes amid a surge in Brisbane’s auction market. PropTrack data indicates that 124 properties were set for auction this week, marking a 20% increase compared to the same period last year. The market also features entry-level homes and properties attractive to developers and investors.

Published 7-June-2024

Key Construction Milestone Achieved: Kangaroo Point Bridge Nears Completion with Final Span Installation

The last 25-metre span weighing 100 tonnes has been securely installed, bringing Brisbane’s new Kangaroo Point Bridge to 85 per cent completion.

Construction crews achieved a major feat by positioning the final span using a crane from a nearby barge. This final installation marks a pivotal moment in the bridge’s construction, which spans a total length of 182.7 metres. The bridge is set to feature unique viewing platforms offering panoramic 360-degree views of the cityscape.

Brisbane City Council and the federal government jointly fund this project, which has entered its final stages. With the structural framework nearing completion, attention is turning to the remaining tasks including concreting the deck and installing balustrades, seating, and lighting.

Kangaroo Point Bridge
Photo Credit: BrisbaneCityCouncil

Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner highlighted the bridge’s anticipated impact, stating that it could divert 84,000 cars from roads annually, potentially halving pedestrian travel times between Kangaroo Point, The Gabba Stadium, and the CBD. The project has generated over 1,400 construction jobs and once completed, it will be the second major pedestrian and cycle bridge opened in Brisbane this year.

Significant developments adjacent to the bridge include the installation of lifts and stairs at the Kangaroo Point landing and the nearing completion of an above-water restaurant. On the CBD side, efforts are underway to establish a riverside café and a welcoming plaza.

Future Attractions and Dining Destinations

Upon its completion, the Kangaroo Point Bridge will serve as a crucial link between the CBD and Kangaroo Point and a vibrant hub of activity and leisure. The bridge’s design includes two exclusive dining venues offering unique experiences and stunning views of Brisbane’s riverscape.

Stilts Dining – An Elevated Experience: Positioned above the water, Stilts Dining pays tribute to Queensland’s architectural heritage by resembling a Queenslander home on stilts. This restaurant will offer a menu focused on locally sourced steaks and seafood, catering to both casual diners and those seeking a more formal atmosphere. With a private dining room available, Stilts Dining aims to provide a world-class culinary experience, enhanced by panoramic views of the CBD, Brisbane River, Story Bridge, and the Kangaroo Point Cliffs.

Stilts Dining
Photo Credit: BrisbaneCityCouncil

Mulga Bill’s – Riverside Café: Inspired by Banjo Patterson’s poetry, Mulga Bill’s will integrate the active transport theme of the bridge. This café will serve a variety of dishes including wood-fired pizzas and seafood, alongside quick grab ‘n go options such as pastries and coffee. Mulga Bill’s will also offer picnic boxes, perfect for enjoying in the surrounding parklands. Located at the city entrance to the City Botanic Gardens, this café will capitalize on its scenic location at the nexus of Edward and Alice streets meeting the Brisbane River.

Mulga Bill’s
Photo Credit: BrisbaneCityCouncil

These dining venues are part of Brisbane City Council’s vision to transform the Kangaroo Point Bridge into a must-visit destination.

The project aims to deliver a quintessentially Queensland experience, blending culinary delights with breathtaking views, thereby enhancing Brisbane’s appeal as a city that beautifully merges urban living with riverside charm.

Published 3-June-2024

Plans to Slash Parking Requirements Raised for Kangaroo Point, Inner City Apartments

Outdated minimum carparking requirements for new apartment developments in several high-density, inner city Brisbane suburbs like Kangaroo Point are on the chopping block, a radical move that could potentially slash up to $100,000 off construction costs and shake up the city’s housing market.

Under current regulations, developers are forced to construct one carpark space per one-bedroom dwelling and two spaces for two and three-bedroom units, driving up costs substantially. Industry experts estimate the construction of an underground or podium-level carpark within a new Brisbane high-rise development exceeds $100,000 per space.

Australian Bureau of Statistics data reveals a third of Brisbane homes are single-adult households, and over 60 per cent of those in the four suburbs own one or no cars. Mr Schrinner aims to stimulate liveability near high-employment areas by catering to this demographic shift.

The Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner stated that abolishing the mandatory minimum parking requirements, under the planned Inner-City Affordability Initiative, would not only reduce costs but also stimulate an increase in housing supply across the inner-city suburbs of Fortitude Valley, Kangaroo Point, Milton, and Newstead, which are set to be impacted by this transformation in planning regulations.

Number of registered vehicles per property including motorbikes, scooters and heavy vehicles:

Location% No Car Ownership% One Car Ownership
Fortitude Valley28.7%55.6%
Kangaroo Point12.0%52.8%

“By removing mandatory minimum car parking requirements under our Inner-City Affordability Initiative we can put downward pressure on the price of building and buying a new apartment in those areas of Brisbane with great access to high-frequency public transport,” Mr Schrinner said.

“It will mean more people will be able to afford to live in areas close to transport and key employment centres, like the CBD.

“Our approach preserves Brisbane’s low-density suburbs and helps prevent urban sprawl, which contributes to congestion and causes significant transport and environmental costs.

“We want to help create more well-connected communities where multiple cars per household are not necessary to get around.”

Kangaroo Point
Photo Credit: Google Maps

Premier Steven Miles has thrown his support behind the plan, labelling the existing requirements as “ludicrous” for areas with ample public transport options. He expressed openness to extending the policy to more parts of the city.

The maximum car parking limits under the Inner-City Affordability Initiative align with existing regulations in Brisbane’s central business district and the recently expanded South Brisbane area covered by the state government-supported Kurilpa Sustainable Growth Precinct plan.

Property Council of Australia’s Queensland executive director Jess Caire believes the change will attract investment in building new homes, helping to boost supply despite skyrocketing construction costs. 

However, urban planner Mark Limb from Queensland University of Technology has cautioned that developers are not guaranteed to pass on savings to homebuyers. Even if the policy resulted in lower prices for some new high-rise apartments, Dr Limb argued it would have little to no real impact on overall housing affordability or supply levels. 

Dr Limb explained that there is a mistaken belief that loosening regulations in the private market would result in an oversupply of housing. In reality, developers strategically manage the release of new housing projects to prevent the devaluation of their properties.

Published 18-May-2024