Roma Street Parkland was opened to the public in April 2001, marking a new chapter from a varied and colourful past.
Prior to European settlement in 1825, local Aboriginal people had used the area for perhaps thousands of years for meetings and ceremonies.
It has since incorporated an early Brisbane park, the Albert Park and Recreation Ground gazetted in 1877, and the land has previously been used for an orphanage and a railway goods yard.
Adjacent areas (bound by Roma Street, Albert Street, Wickham Terrace, College Road and Countess Street) were used for the Brisbane Grammar School, the first Brisbane railway station, agricultural and produce markets, a power station and a gas works.
The belated arrival of the main western railway to Brisbane in 1875 was heralded by construction of a terminal station in Roma Street on land resumed from the Brisbane Grammar School. It was built to handle people and goods traveling between Brisbane, Ipswich and Toowoomba.
As the major goods yard for Brisbane, Roma Street was extensively redeveloped between 1911 and 1934.
The steep terrain required extensive excavation to provide a level area for the goods yard and was not completed until 1920. A total of 554,300 cubic meters of rock and earth were removed – the equivalent of 110 football fields one meter high – leaving an artificial escarpment at the boundary of Albert Park.
It’s still apparent today in the dramatic change of level between the Lake Precinct and the Upper Parkland.
Near the Wickham Terrace boundary, the Brisbane City Council built two concrete air raid shelters in what is now the Upper Parkland.
During World War II, Queensland Railways transported war materials and military personnel, becoming a busy hub during this period.
Despite further development in the 1960s and 1970s, the limitations of the site and the increasing mechanisation of freight handling and use of containers eventually led to the relocation of the rail freight facility to Acacia Ridge in 1991.
Roma Street Station was redeveloped to service a metropolitan and long-distance train network, vacating a significant portion of the Roma Street yards.
In 1999, the Queensland Government decided to integrate the former rail land with the existing Albert Park, and released plans to redevelop the area as a new parkland for Brisbane.
Development commenced in January 2000, and the new Roma Street Parkland opened in April 2001.
For more information:
» Download the History brochure
» Download the History e-book
During November 2008 Brisbane experienced some of the most violent storms for 25 years. Many suburbs of Brisbane experienced power loss and damage to property was extensive.
On November 20th Brisbane was hit by its second storm in a week.
Hurricane like winds and hail ripped through the Parkland during an evening concert, leaving the Parkland devastated in its wake.
Some areas of the Parkland lost up to 80 percent of plants and over 70 trees were lost, including 6 of the graceful weeping figs that had adorned weeping fig avenue in the Upper Parkland. The weeping figs were over 90 years old and were planted when the Upper Parkland, then Albert Park, was declared Parkland.
Between 20 and 30 other trees were blown over, these were salvaged safely by Parkland staff by being reinstated and tied with guide ropes. Many other trees were damaged badly in their canopies, with branches broken off completely. Damaged branches were pruned back to correct positions as per Australian Tree pruning standards.
The Parkland has endeavoured to replace trees mainly with identical species.
Last updated 09 April 2009