Brisbane Off The Beaten Path Tips by thedouglas Top 5 Page for this destination
Brisbane Off The Beaten Path: 166 reviews and 251 photos
This great open zoo is located 30kms or so up the Bruce Highway, towards the Sunshine Coast. Set on 20 acres of landscaped parkland, the zoo has been here for more than 30 years. It was initially a native animal sanctuary in the 60's, and then registered as a zoo in the 70's, with the arrival of international animals. It has been family owned since the early 80's, and is run as a very personal project by this animal loving family, constantly seeking to improve the range of animals they care for, and their living conditions.
Look for the big brown zoo sign at the Boundary Road exit and follow the signs 2 Km to the Zoo. A family ticket is $62.
You can park your car internally, so that access to the vehicle is easy. There is a cafe serving light lunch food and tea/coffee and cake, but you can also bring your own picnic or barbeque lunch to enjoy in the grounds of the zoo. There are plenty of tables and oodles of grassy space for sitting and enjoying lunch on rug - or just soaking up the setting.
Your only cost can therefore be entry to the zoo, but you can buy animal feed at the entrance or cafe for $3.00 per bag or 2 bags for $5.00. This is the only food you are permitted to give the animals, for obvious reasons. A feature of a day at the zoo is the animal animal feeding, for Bears, Squirrel Monkeys and Koalas, with morning and afternoon sessions. These are great fun, and are accompanied by informative and educational talks by staff.
You can touch and feed many of the animals including the koalas and deer. Another feature for the kids in particular, is the Friendship Farm, where there are a range of farm animals to feed and interact with.
Ruins on the island
This 166 hectare island is Queensland's most historical - and lies 4kms from the mouth of the Brisbane River. From 1867, it operated as a penal settlement, considered to be the best in the world at one time. Due to the increasing need for gaol space in Brisbane, this site, originally a quarantine station, was chosen as a site of a new prison.
Prisoners, whose warders were often tradesmen, built the necessary infrastructure for the maximum security prison for men - the worst criminals at the time. For the first 2 years, the inmates built 2 cell blocks, kitchen, bakehouse, hospital, underground tanks, stables, Superintendant's home, boathouse and a jetty. In 1869, a sugar mill and lime kilns were added. Structures were built of quarried beachrock from the island, bricks made from clay on the island, or imported timber. The structures were of a high standard, due to the skilled supervision and demanding standards of these often cruel men.
Sugar milling became the major industry on the island, but there were a range of other crafts carried out there - bootmaking, book binding, stonemasonry, carpentry, tailoring, blacksmithing, candle making, oar and sailmaking, and animal husbandry and agriculture. The Ayreshire cows from St Helena won many RNA prizes, and oil taken from the olive groves won awards in Italy! No wonder it was looked upon as a model prison of excellence.
The life of a 19th Century prisoner was quite at odds with the almost idyllic sounding story - sentries, contant patrolling, beatings, leg irons, barred windows and very long days typified their lives. Shark feeding was instigated as a deterrent to escape - and, as few people swam in those days, there was little hope of making it out by swimming.
I haven't been for years, but the crumbling buildings left behind stand to remind us of our heritage, and the number of early settlers who came unwillingly. Part of Australian heritage, and a must-see for anyone interested in history.
Tours to St Helena usually include a tour of the island and lunch.
True story of Brisbane scandal
"The Mayne Inheritance", written about the Brisbane Mayne family, deals with the allegations that the founding member, Patrick, murdered a man, and someone else was hanged for it. He is said to have made a deathbed confession in 1865, and there was rumour and unease about him during his life, due to suspicions about the murder, accusations of insanity, and his reputation as a depraved bully.
The poor Irish butcher, emigrated to Australia, and went on to become of the wealthiest men in the country during the 19th Century.
The story goes that a timber-getter named Cox drank at the Bull Inn pub, and was known to have money. 3 butchers, one of whom was Mayne, are said to have come to the pub in search of him one night - and were told he was drunk and gone home. Early the next morning, Cox's mutilated body was found on the banks of the river. His head had been severed from his body - and was placed propped up as if looking at the river. His "entrails" were later found adorning cheeses in a well at the back of the hotel! Mayne was never questioned about the murder, and the hotel cook was hanged for the evil deed.
I guess it was the cheese discovery that stitched him up!
By chance, Mayne turned up a year or so later, with exactly the amount of money known to have been stolen from the hapless Cox, and set up a butchery in Queen Street. Every 10 shillings profit was put into buying up CBD land, until he owned major holdings.
The family was always shunned, due to the rumours, and, despite good deeds by his youngest children, James and Emelia, as very generous benefactors, the family is largely not acknowledge or honoured for these subsequent acts. He had 6 children, and none married. They all suffered, at least socially, for the murder allegedly commited by their father, through their lives. Conscience may have been a reason for their generosity.
Land for the St Lucia University of QLD was later donated by the family, and Brisbane Arcade (separate tip) is another example of Mayne holdings, which were bequeathed.
What lurks within???
This innocent enough looking "shed" in the industrial suburb of Sumner Park is actually a brothel by night! It seems to be one of Brisbane's worst kept secrets - amongs the male population anyway!
It is said that, despite the industrial exterior, the interior of this establishment is quite exotic and rather unique as a place of male "entertainment and pleasure"! You can see the lighting on the front of the building, directing visitors to part discretely in the back of the shed. It is far enough away from residential areas to probably be a good choice of location - quite apart from the fact that it is a very much male dominated area!
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