History of Site

Northshore occupies land with a rich and significant history. The precinct was formerly home to Brisbane’s working wharves, which were established in 1923 and represented a landmark development in the story of the river city. Northshore is destined to play its part in that great story by revitalising the wharves as a symbol of Brisbane’s commitment to the future.

Hamilton and its wharves

The suburb of Hamilton is named after Gustavus Hamilton, first innkeeper of the nearby Breakfast Creek Hotel. European settlement dates from the mid 1800s with significant expansion taking place between the late 1800s and the 1920s. The wharves served the sugar and wool industries as Brisbane’s main port for over 50 years and in addition to the hundreds of ships that called Hamilton Reach home, it was also the base for several fleets of flying boats between 1938–53.

  • In 1923, the first Hamilton wharves were established
  • In 1925, a government cool store was added
  • As development of the Port of Brisbane continued, in the 1960s the Hamilton wharves became the main container shipping and general cargo centre
  • In the 1980s, the winds of change saw the construction of a deepwater port at Fisherman Islands and the gradual relocation of port operations
  • As the Port of Brisbane Corporation pursued its strategy to amalgamate port operations to its Fisherman Island headquarters, a unique opportunity arose to open up 2.5 kilometres of riverfront land for unprecedented urban renewal
  • In 2009, a new plan for development was approved that is driving the staged transformation of the Northshore precinct

The unusual history of Kingsford Smith Drive

Hamilton was developed when Brisbane was still a penal colony and the women’s prison was located on land that the Royal Queensland Golf Club now occupies. Hamilton Road (now known as Kingsford Smith Drive) was originally built by convict labour as an access road to the prison.

Source: Evolution’s Chapter 6.0 : Northshore Hamilton Cultural Heritage Assessment Report