Explore the history of Brisbane through the lens of crime and vice, from Captain Logan's punishing treadmill to the corruption of the Fitzgerald Inquiry. Our team of historians and archaeologists will bring to life stories of floggings, murders, riots, and good old-fashioned depravity that simmer beneath Brisbane’s sleepy backwater image.
Welcome to Brisbane’s underbelly.
Before Melbourne existed, Brisbane had been conceived for the key purpose of receiving the convict rejects of Sydney — the 'worst of the worst'. Your Brisbane tour will walk you through the city’s penal roots and dive into the more sinister history of the Sunshine State. You’ll navigate laneways and squares and major 'hidden' sites covering two centuries of Brisbane's criminal history.
Along your Brisbane walking tour, you’ll discover who the notorious Captain Patrick Logan was. This young, brilliant, and sadistic commandant of the Moreton Bay penal colony is said to have been killed by Aboriginal Australians who were angry over him entering their lands. Rumour has it that escaped convicts buried him alive — bashed and head first, to face the gates of hell where they felt he belonged.
We'll navigate the archaeological and architectural remains of the harshest penal outpost known in Australia and the relics left behind, from the old Windmill and the Commissariat Store to roadways and embankments. You’ll take a trip back in time to the Brisbane of the earliest encampment and the nascent city that grew surrounding the commandant’s cottage, military barracks, and the subsequent Frog's Hollow, which housed the capital's brothels and gambling dens for over a century
Find out where the early city farming plots were and learn about the initial 'first contacts' with Aboriginal people — which soon turned brutal as the foreign concepts of empire and colony led to natives being pushed from their lands, harsh punishments, and murderous altercations.
See where the public gallows and women's prison stood and hear the story of Dundalli, seen by many as an Aboriginal resistance figure, and by the then-authorities as a cold killer
Hear the story of Brisbane's infamous Mayne family and where the original butcher shop of Patrick Mayne is located as we take in the secrets of the Brisbane Arcade. Get an insider's perspective of the Fitzgerald Inquiry and the illegal casinos, brothels, and police corruption it sought to put an end to.
And you thought Brisbane was just surf and sunshine…