There are many reasons why you might want to enter a decaying building. You might discover newspapers from decades ago and photographs of those long gone. You might find it beautiful that plants and animals have so easily invaded spaces once occupied by people. You might feel moved by the fact that nothing lasts forever.
They "offer an escape from excessive order," said Tim Edensor, a professor of geography at Manchester Metropolitan University who studies the appeal of urban ruins to City Lab. "They're marginal spaces filled with old and obscure objects. You can see and feel things that you can't in the ordinary world."
Brisbane has a wealth of abandoned places that interest urban explorers. The Brisbane we know today was founded on a dark history: the Indigenous Jagera and Turrbal peoples solely inhabited the region until 1799, when European invaders established a penal colony for British convicts. It wasn't until 1924 that Brisbane was considered a metropolitan area, and since then, plenty of places have become abandoned due to fires, economic downfall and poorly managed institutions. In this article, we'll take a look at some abandoned locations in Brisbane.
If you're thinking of checking out any of these locations, make sure that you get permission from the owner of the land or you could be charged with breaking and entering.
5. The Broadway Hotel, Woolloongabba
Built in 1889, this hotel burnt down not once, but twice in 2010 and 2018. During its operation, it was a well-known landmark because of its imposing three-story structure. The Broadway Hotel was listed on the Queensland Heritage Resister in 1992. In early 2018, it was meant to be redeveloped into a 27-storey residential tower, but community objections halted the plans. The Broadway Hotel was made during a massive building boom in 19th century Brisbane, attracting accommodation for country visitors.
4. The Textile Factory
This eerie abandoned textile factory looks as if workers dropped their gear mid-shift and simply left. Fabric remains in the feeds of the machines and rolls of material were left on its timber floors. Its location is a well-kept secret, as visitors and urban explorers don't want too many people drawing attention to the site. One website claims it was shut down in 1992. Hidden somewhere in Brisbane's old industrial suburbs, you'll have to dig around if you want to find it.
3. Moira's House
In this abandoned house in Brisbane, visitors have found piano sheet music, old toys, party invitations, medicine and a TV set from the '80s. Many have found it chilling that the owners of the house left everything behind in such a rush.
Similarly to the Textile Factory, you'll have to immerse yourself in the urban explorer community before you learn of its location. Urbex explorers want the conditions of Moira's house to remain unaltered so that future explorers can enjoy what currently feels like a time capsule. It's believed that the house was owned by a couple who married in 1954, although this theory is unconfirmed. Moira's house is a mystery that remains unsolved.
2. Boggo Road Gaol, Dutton Park
Operating from 1883 to 1989, the Boggo Road Gaol was one of the most infamous Australian prisons of the 20th century. Queensland's main gaol during its time of operation, it became known for its hunger strikes, roof-top protests, and riots over the poor treatment of prisoners. Inmates also complained of paranormal experiences after the execution of Ernest Austin, a farm labourer who was the last inmate to be hanged in Queensland in 1922. While senior officers discredited the prison's ghost sightings, in 1970 a guard noted that he had witnessed a white mist hovering above the exercise yard at night.
Tourism companies now profit off of Boggo Road Gaol's history, as it's the last standing prison in Queensland that reflects Australia's punishment principles of the 19th century.
You can read more about Boggo Road Goal tours here.
1. Wolston Park Hospital, Wacol
Opening in 1865 and closing in 2001, the Wolston Park Hospital mental asylum garnered a reputation for sexually abusing its patients and giving electro-shock therapy to children. There's graffiti of the words 'still lost' painted on a bathroom panel. The asylum saw over 50,000 patients in its time.
According to a Daily Mail article, although many sought compensation for the abuses that took place at Wolston Park Hospital, they were never renumerated. Instead, nine years after the facility closed, the Queensland Government made a blanket apology. Some visitors claim the building is haunted and police say the abandoned building is dangerous – it's not advisable to enter this property.