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