8 things you didn't know about South Bank
South Bank is bursting with amazing secrets – from where the Streets Beach sand comes from to the history of the Arbour, here are eight things you never knew until now.
The Nepalese Peace Pagoda is actually very special – it’s one of only three Peace Pagodas in the world, located outside of Nepal, and the only international exhibit left in the South Bank Parklands from Expo. The people of Brisbane knew it was special back in 1988, which is why there was a fundraising campaign to keep it. The South Bank maintenance team take very good care of the Pagoda – being made of wood, some of the decorative carvings have aged and from time to time need to be replaced. When this happens, our maintenance team writes to a man in Nepal, who carves and posts back a replacement for the broken part! Looking after the Pagoda is a truly global effort.
Next time you perch on the seats or lie of the grass of the Liana Lounge, think about the 1.7 megalitre water tank buried under the grass! Opened in 2011, the tank is part of South Bank’s stormwater harvesting plant known as Rain Bank; which captures run-off and stormwater from all over South Brisbane and West End via the stormwater drain network; and funnels it into an onsite filtering and treatment plant. Rain Bank supplies up to 85 per cent of the Parkland’s water needs (not including the water in the swimming pools). Follow the Rainforest Walk from the corner of the Liana Lounge in the direction of the river and you can peek through the viewing window at the filtering tanks as they work.
A visit from The Queen
The Parklands has had its fair share of celebrities visit over the years – everyone from Roger Federer to Her Majesty the Queen. HRH Queen Elizabeth officially opened the Rain Bank facility in October 2011, as part of her official tour of Australian in October of that year.
The Arbour, now 16 years old, is one of the most iconic symbols of South Bank. It is made up of 403 curled posts that follow the path of an old stream that used to flow through the Parklands site, from its original landscape design in the 1990s. The Parklands horticulture team trim sections of the Park every month, so its stunning pink flowers bloom all year round.
Bring your best friend
South Bank welcomes your furry family to enjoy a stroll along the Promenade or be part of your picnic party. You will need to keep them on a leash at all times; and they can’t go for a swim in any of the pools. Keep an eye out for the water bubblers stationed all over the park to refill your bowls to rehydrate your pooch on a hot day, and make sure you have plastic bags on hand to pick up any mess.
A grain of salty sand
Streets Beach might be a man-made phenomenon, but it’s geographically accurate! The 4000 cubic metres of sand that make up the shoreline and base of the pool is sourced from the Rous Channel in nearby Moreton Bay, so is very like the sand you’d find on the ocean shores of other parts of Brisbane, like Wynnum and Sandgate.
You’ve probably never noticed, but there is a suitcase in the Cultural Forecourt. Sitting atop one of the concrete blocks near The Wheel of Brisbane, the suitcase is an artwork entitled One For All. It was created in 2009 by a group of young people from migrant and refugee backgrounds who worked with professional artists to exchange stories and experiences. Take a closer look at the images and text embossed onto the case next time you’re in the Forecourt.
The pub with old beer
When you have a pint at the Plough, you’re drinking in one of Brisbane’s oldest watering holes! Built in 1885, The Plough Inn was originally a hotel and eatery before becoming one of the two preferred drinking sites for the wharfies who worked on the docks (the other being The Ship Inn, at the southern end of the Parklands). The pub was retained during World Expo '88’s festivities and still operates as a prominent bar, restaurant and function space right in the heart of South Bank.
For a map of the above locations, check out the South Bank map page. To stay up to date on the latest news at South Bank, sign up to our Insider's Guide newsletter.
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