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Story Bridge The History Behind Brisbane’s Longest Cantilever Bridge

Story Bridge: The History Behind Brisbane’s Longest Cantilever Bridge 

Filled with iconic landmarks at every corner, Brisbane is perfect for a good stroll! If you’re like me, it’s ideal for anybody that appreciates architecture.

One of the city’s most picturesque landmarks is Story Bridge, a bridge that connects Fortitude Valley and Kangaroo Point. Not only does it have an interesting story, but there’s plenty of things to do around the area!

What is Story Bridge?

Story Bridge is a cantilever bridge that spans the Brisbane River connecting the city’s northern and southern suburbs.

When it was inaugurated in 1940 in front of more than 37,000 people, Story Bridge immediately became Brisbane’s iconic landmark.

It also set the record for being the second largest bridge after the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the seventh largest cantilever bridge in the world.

Being part of the Bradfield Highway, Story Bridge has been servicing an average of 97,000 vehicles every day.

The History Behind Story Bridge

Image source: Wikipedia

Story Bridge came out of the need for a bridge that would connect the city center and Kangaroo Point, which had one of the earliest settlements in Brisbane.

While Victoria Bridge was already being built at the time, a lot of residents still wanted the government to build a second bridge that would connect the two areas.

After a meeting at the Brisbane Town Hall in 1888, the government decided that it was time to build the bridge.

The History Behind Story Bridge-2

Image source: The Courier Mail

Story Bridge wasn’t the first bridge to be constructed as part of a series of bridges that will help to divert traffic away from the city center.

But in 1926, the Brisbane City Council’s Cross River Commission recommended Kangaroo Point as the right area to start constructing a bridge.

Since this was during the Great Depression, Story Bridge was under a public works program due to limited funding.

The government commissioned 66-year old Dr. John Bradfield to take over the project together with Evans Deakin and Hornibrook Contractors.

Dr. Bradfield was also the chief consulting engineer for the Sydney Harbour Bridge, which explains its resemblance to Story Bridge.

In 1934, the government approved his suggestion to build a cantilever bridge with the design inspired by Montreal’s Jacques Cartier Bridge.

A year later, construction began and work sometimes lasted for an entire day since the bridge consisted of more than 1.25 million rivets. 

Workers faced a lot of challenges during the construction, especially in linking the two sides of the bridge together.

In fact, three men died on site, two of whom fell from the bridge and one being hit by a piece of equipment.

Story Bridge was originally named the Jubilee Bridge to honor King George V.

But when it was inaugurated five years after its construction began, Queensland’s Governor Sir Leslie Orme Wilson decided that it was more apt to name it Story Bridge.

This was to honor John Douglas Story, a prominent political figure in Brisbane and one of the strongest advocates for the construction of the bridge.

Story is considered the most selfless public servant in Brisbane’s history who served since he was 16 and retired at 69 years old, making him the city’s longest serving public servant.

The Role of Story Bridge in Contemporary Brisbane

Image source: Wikimedia Commons

When it was completed, Story Bridge became the longest cantilever bridge in Australia.

But more than its size, the bridge became a symbol of Australian architecture and a way for the people of Brisbane to commute between the city center and Kangaroo Point faster.

The bridge was designed to accommodate six lanes of traffic, which was considered ahead of its time since traffic wasn’t as congested at the time.

But that effort paid off because more than 80 years later, Story Bridge still plays an important role in the city’s traffic management.

Story Bridge is also a feat or architecture because you rarely see a cantilever bridge being built today due to the need for constant maintenance.

Unfortunately, Story Bridge also gained a negative reputation when in 2011 and 2012, it became the venue of two murder-suicides.

To stop these incidents, the mayor decided to install a three-meter high safety barrier and free telephones where people could call the suicide prevention hotline. 

Interesting Facts About Story Bridge

Image source: Joshua Willson on Unsplash

Story Bridge continues to be a symbol of Brisbane and a reminder of the city’s growth over the years. Here are more interesting facts about this iconic landmark:

  • Story Bridge was constructed using local materials, which was the difference between the bridge and Sydney Harbour Bridge that used British steel. 
  • The bridge was created using more than 12,000 tons of steel and most of its parts were assembled at a workshop to make sure that each piece fits properly before being sent on site.
  • More than 400 workers were involved in the construction, especially during the building of the bridge’s foundations. 
  • The bridge has  a total length of 777 meters and a span of 282 meters.
  • Story Bridge was given the Historic Engineering Marker from Engineers Australia in 1988 and in 1992, it was listed as part of the Queensland Heritage Register.
  • Story Bridge also became part of the Q150 Icons of Queensland in 2009 for being a feat of structure and engineering. 
  • Story Bridge is the highlight of the annual River festival with its  amazing fireworks display.
  • Story Bridge is painted every 7 years using more than 17,500 liters of paint to cover 105,000 square meters of steel surface.

Best Time to Go

You can enjoy Story Bridge any time of the day and all year round! But if you want to experience the best views, especially the sunset, it’s best to head out in the late afternoon.

A lot of tourists also explore the bridge at night, especially during the summer to avoid the sweltering heat.

Things to Know

There’s a lot that you can do in Story Bridge aside from just sightseeing. So, keep these tips in mind to make the most of your visit:

  • You can go on a morning jog or ride your bicycle on the bridge since it has a dedicated walking and cycling path.
  • You can book a guided tour that will take you across the bridge while learning about its history. This is a great option if you’re going as a group. 
  • If you’re up for an adventure, you can book the Story Bridge Adventure Climb. Here, you get to reach the top of the structure at 260 feet for the best views. 
  • There are several picnic areas around the bridge where you can hang out on a good day in Brisbane.

How to Get Around

Trains: If you prefer to ride the train, take the REDC or SHOR train line and stop at Central Station, which is a three-minute walk away from the bridge. 

Buses: Bus lines 199, 306, 310 and 322 all pass near Story Bridge. Stop at the Kemp PI bus station near Ivory Street. From here, the bridge is only 5 minutes away.

Taxis: Taking a taxi is still the fastest and most convenient way to get to Story Bridge and you can book a ride through Uber or hail a cab from anywhere you are in the city.

Car service: You can book private transfers through your hotel or travel agency if you want to ride your own chauffeured car to the bridge. 

What to Do in Story Bridge

Climb to the top of the bridge

Image source: Story Bridge Adventure Climb

While looking at the Story Bridge from afar is already a memorable experience, you can take things a notch higher by climbing the actual bridge.

If you don’t have any fear of heights, you can book a Story Bridge Adventure Climb that will take you to the top of the bridge.

On the viewing deck, you’ll get unparalleled 360-degree views of the city, which becomes extra stunning during sunset.

This bridge climb is a must-do for tourists who love adventure and you can take the entire family with you since the activity is suitable for guests at least 6 years old.

For two hours, you’ll climb this massive structure until you reach the summit at 80 meters above the ground.

Join a walking tour of the bridge

Image source: Ronstan Tensile Architecture

If you’d rather stay near ground, you can join a guided walking tour of the bridge that will allow you to learn about this superstructure as you appreciate its beauty.

Guided tours are perfect for families or big groups because it helps you maximize your time on the bridge by learning about its history.

See the Riverfire fireworks display

Image source: Alchemy Restaurant Brisbane

Every year in September, the city hosts the annual Brisbane Festival and the highlight of this event is the Brisbane Riverfire fireworks display. 

The iconic Story Bridge lights up in a stunning fireworks show that’s launched on the bridge, several barges and rooftops around the city.

You can watch this spectacular show in one of the restaurants and bars overlooking the bridge, in a hotel nearby or just by the bridge.

Where to Stay Near Story Bridge

Il Mondo Boutique Hotel

Address: 25/35 Rotherham Street – Kangaroo Point – Queensland 4169 – Australia

Phone: +61 7 3392 0111

Pricing: $$$

Book Now

Located right by the Brisbane River, Il Mondo Boutique Hotel gives you some of the most stunning views of Story Bridge and the rest of the city.

This four-star boutique hotel is fitted with modern amenities and the most comfortable rooms while also giving you access to Kangaroo Point’s top hotspots.

Address: 70 James Street – Fortitude Valley – Queensland 4006 – Australia

Phone: +61 7 3222 3111

Pricing: $$$

Book Now

Sage Hotel James Street is one of the newest accommodations built in Fortitude Valley, and it’s becoming a favorite among tourists visiting the city.

With 93 rooms to choose from, the hotel guarantees comfort and convenience, especially with amenities that will instantly make you feel at home.

Address: 37 Balfour Street – New Farm Queensland 4005 – Australia

Phone: +61 1300 597 540

Pricing: $$

Book Now

Just minutes away from Story Bridge is the iconic Spicers Balfour Hotel, one of the most highly recommended boutique hotels in Brisbane.

The perfect retreat for any traveler, the hotel welcomes you with the most relaxing ambiance, thanks to its stucco walls and pops of green everywhere.

Settling into your room means sleeping in a luxurious bed and waking up to stunning views of this part of the city.

You can also relax at the hotel’s garden courtyards or enjoy some drinks at the rooftop bar during sunset. 

The Calile Hotel

Address: 48 James Street – Fortitude Valley – Queensland 4006 – Australia

Phone: +61 7 3607 5888

Pricing: $$$

Book Now

A hotel that has everything you need and more, The Calile Hotel welcomes you to its stunning property filled with all the comforts and luxury that you could expect.

Be treated to the most stylishly appointed bedrooms, enjoy world-class amenities and be near some of the city’s top hotspots including the iconic Story Bridge. 

Where to Eat Near Story Bridge 

Address: Tenancy 5 – Howard Smith Wharves – 5 Boundary Street – Brisbane City – Queensland 4000 – Australia

Phone: +61 7 3236 6620

Pricing: $$$


The famous Betty’s Burgers from Noosa has found a new home underneath the iconic Story Bridge at the Howard Smith Wharves.

If you’re craving for a good burger, this is the place to be. From its cozy interiors to its delicious offerings,you can’t go wrong with Betty’s Burgers.

Address: 5 Boundary Street – Brisbane City – Queensland 4000 – Australia

Phone: +61 7 3188 9090

Pricing: $$$


Felon’s Brewing Company is one of the best spots in the city to enjoy a glass of cold beer and good food with views of Brisbane River and Story Bridge.

This corrugated iron shed offers veranda seating right under the bridge while you enjoy dishes including the Grilled Angus Short Rib, Grilled Whole Snapper and Felon’s Cheeseburger.

Yoko Dining

Address: ⅖ Boundary Street – Brisbane City – Queensland 4000 – Australia 

Phone: +61 7 3236 6582

Pricing: $$$


If your idea of a good meal involves Japanese Food, head to one of Brisbane’s top Japanese restaurants.

Yoko Dining takes you on a trip to Japan with its cozy interiors and authentic flavors. The restaurant’s open kitchen with its hibachi charcoal grill also adds to the experience.

You can start with the raw bar featuring Beef Tartare, Fresh Oysters and Ponzu and Cucumber.

Then, move on to mains like the Stuffed Calamari, Teriyaki Fish Collar and Spicy Rice Noodles with Chicken and Spring Onion. 

Where to Shop Near Story Bridge

Address: Queen Street – Brisbane City – Queensland 4000 – Australia

Phone: +61 7 3403 8888


Locals say that you’ve never truly been to Brisbane if you haven’t visited Queen Street Mall.

Known as the most iconic shopping destination in Brisbane, this massive shopping strip is home to seven shopping centers with the most popular ones being:

  • Queens Plaza

Are you looking for designer brands? Visit QueensPlaza where you’ll find luxury boutiques like Louis Vuitton, Bulgari, Dior, Chanel, Guccie and Burberry.

This mall is also home to the massive five-storey David Jones Department Store.

  • 170 Queen Street

170 Queen Street is a retail center that’s home to two known international clothing shops – Uniqlo and H&M. 

Once known as Broadway on the Mall, this three-storey shop also features different shops including Daiso and Jan Logan’s Elegant Jewelry.

  • Wintergarden

This space used to be The Wintergarden Theatre that opened in 1920 that was later converted to the Wintergarden shopping center in 1981.

Here, you’ll find a combination of local and international brands including Zara, Lululemon, Mecca Maxima, COS, Nine West and Veronika Maine.

  • MacArthur Central

If you’re looking to shop for groceries or just grab a bite to take back to your hotel, visit MacArthur Central where you’ll find one of the biggest supermarkets in Brisbane.

Aside from Woolworths, you’ll also find the Big W department store and other food shops around the mall.

What to Expect from Weather in Story Bridge

Summer: Summer in Brisbane runs from December to February where temperatures range from 21 – 29.8 degrees Celsius. 

This is also the season when the city experiences the highest rainfall.

Autumn: From March to May, Brisbane experiences autumn, which marks the end of summer. During this time, temperatures can range from 15 -25 degrees Celsius.

Winter: Winter in Brisbane runs from June to August where temperatures range from 11 – 21 degrees Celsius. 

It can also get extra cold during the nighttime with temperatures dropping to 9 degrees.

Spring: Spring runs from September to November in Brisbane with temperatures ranging from 15 – 25 degrees Celsius.

Here, you can enjoy the best weather when the sun is out but the air is cool. 

Apps to Download When Visiting Story Bridge

Go Brisbane: If you want to commute your way around Brisbane, make sure to download Go Brisbane to get information about the city’s public transport system.

iOs | Android

Brisbane Map and Walks: Brisbane is a city made for exploring on foot and this app is the perfect companion on your walking tours around this beautiful city.

iOs | Android

Airtrain: If you’re coming from the airport, you can take the Airtrain to the city and get all the information you need through this app.


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