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Fortitude Valley, Queensland facts for kids

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Fortitude Valley
Looking through to St Patricks Catholic Church in Fortitude Valley with the Brisbane CBD in the background
Population 5,615 (2011 census)
 • Density 4,010/km2 (10,400/sq mi)
Established 1887
Postcode(s) 4006
Area 1.4 km2 (0.5 sq mi)
Location 1 km (1 mi) from Brisbane CBD
LGA(s) City of Brisbane
(Central Ward)
County Stanley
Parish North Brisbane
State electorate(s) Brisbane Central
Federal Division(s) Brisbane
Suburbs around Fortitude Valley:
Spring Hill Bowen Hills Newstead
Spring Hill Fortitude Valley Teneriffe
Brisbane CBD Brisbane River
Kangaroo Point
New Farm

Fortitude Valley (also known simply as "The Valley") is a suburb of central Brisbane, the state capital of Queensland, Australia. The suburb lies immediately northeast of the Brisbane central business district, and is one of the hubs of Brisbane's nightlife, renowned for its nightclubs, bars and adult entertainment. At the 2011 Australian Census Fortitude Valley recorded a population of 5,615. In the 1950s, the suburb was the largest shopping precinct outside of a central business district in Australia.


StateLibQld 1 100296
The Fortitude
Nla 45 portions in parish of north brisbane
19th century cadastral map showing land plots for sale in Fortitude Valley.
The Chinatown Mall was opened in 1987.

Scottish immigrants from the ship SS Fortitude arrived in Brisbane in 1849, enticed by Rev Dr John Dunmore Lang on the promise of free land grants. Denied land, the immigrants set up camp in York's Hollow waterholes in the vicinity of today's Victoria Park, Herston, Queensland. A number of the immigrants moved on and settled the suburb, naming it after the ship on which they arrived. A post office was established in 1887.

1891 saw the train line extended from the Brisbane central business district (the area around Queen Street) into Fortitude Valley, and Thomas Beirne opened a business on Brunswick Street. His business thrived and, after extension, he travelled to England in 1896, leaving his manager of two years, James McWhirter, in charge. Soon after his return, McWhirter established a competing drapery business opposite Beirne's in 1898. Beirne and McWhirter became keen rivals and are credited with establishing the Valley as a hub of commerce from the late 1890s.

In the late 19th century, commercial activities in Brisbane were divided along religious lines, with Protestant shopkeepers setting up along Queen and Adelaide Streets in the central business district, and shops operated by Roman Catholics in Stanley Street, South Brisbane. However, in the 1893 Brisbane flood (and again in 1897), major floods wiped out many shops in South Brisbane, and owners in that area decided to move and set up operations north of the river in an area free of flooding. The area they chose was Fortitude Valley. By that time Brisbane's horse-drawn tram system already centered on Fortitude Valley, making it the logical choice to establish a shopping precinct.

Fortitude Valley was also strongly advocated as the location of a new town hall in what became known as "the battle of the sites". Brisbane Town Council already purchased a piece of land in Fortitude Valley and supporters of the Fortitude Valley site pointed out that it would allow stronger foundations compared to the swampy site proposed at Adelaide Street in the existing commercial district. However, a petition was raised in support of the Adelaide Street site and with the support of Charles Moffatt Jenkinson, the mayor of Brisbane in 1914, it was chosen over the Fortitude Valley site. Jenkinson committed the council to that decision by selling the site in Fortitude Valley to the Catholic Church for the construction of the Holy Name Cathedral (a project that, although commenced, made little progress and was eventually abandoned).

From the early 1900s through to the 1960s, the thriving shopping precinct was dominated by McWhirters, Beirne's and, later, Overells' department stores. The Overells Building was completed in 1907. They were ultimately bought out by the Myer, David Jones and Waltons chains respectively with Overells being bought by Walton in 1956. Woolworths and Coles supermarkets and a host of smaller shops also flourished in the precinct during this period. Owing to its proximity to the central business district and the close concentration of public transport in the area, the Valley became the largest non-CBD shopping precinct in Australia through the 1950s and 1960s.

The rise of suburban shopping centres and the closure of the tram network in 1969 sounded the death knell for Fortitude Valley, with a gradual decrease in customers. David Jones closed its Valley store in the 1970s and Myer closed its doors in the early 1990s, and the once-thriving commercial centre devolved to dilapidation. In the 1970s and 1980s, the area fell into disrepute and, with the tacit support of police and government and illegal gambling houses set up shop.


Tracks and platforms at Fortitude Valley railway station

Brisbane Transport operates buses to, from and through Fortitude Valley. Fortitude Valley railway station serves all suburban and interurban lines, including Airtrain to the Brisbane Airport. The station has four platforms and is located in Zone 1 of the TransLink integrated public transport system.


Secure taxi ranks to enable patrons to catch a taxi home are set up at various strategic points and enable easy access without the need to hail a cab. Fortitude Valley has five locations with these ranks on Friday and Saturday night. Funding for this free service is provided by the Brisbane City Council, the Queensland State Government and the Taxi Council of Queensland. These secure ranks are manned by taxi supervisors and security guards to ensure commuters an orderly and safe environment whilst they wait for service. A 'Chaplain' service also operates where some people might be suffering the effects of excess drugs or alcohol and need some care and attention in a safe place rather than on a bench or footpath. The combination of these services have assisted to reduce the incidents of fights, disputes and arrests especially between the hours of midnight and 5 am on weekends.

Speed limits

On 24 August 2007, a 40 km/h (25 mph) speed limit was introduced to parts of Wickham Street, Ann Street, McLachlan Street and Warner Street. The speed limit applies between 10 pm and 6 am from Friday to Sunday night. The speed limit was introduced following safety audits of the Fortitude Valley identifying pedestrian-vehicle conflict as a major issue.

Population statistics

In the 2011 census, the population of Fortitude Valley was 5,615 people: 42.9% female and 57.1% male. The median age of the Fortitude Valley population was 31 years, 6 years below the Australian median. Children aged under 15 years made up 3.8% of the population and people aged 65 years and over made up 5.9% of the population. 50.1% of people living in Fortitude Valley were born in Australia, compared to the national average of 69.8%; the next most common countries of birth were New Zealand 4.5%, England 4.1%, China 2.2%, Ireland 1.8%, Republic of Korea 1.3%. 65.1% of people spoke only English at home; the next most popular languages were 2.4% Mandarin, 2.2% Cantonese, 2% Spanish, 1.1% Korean, 1.1% Japanese. The most common religious affiliation was "No Religion" (31.7%); the next most common responses were Catholic 22.7%, Anglican 8.8%, Buddhism 3.7% and Uniting Church 2.0%.

Heritage listings

Story Bridge, Brisbane (14964432888)
Story Bridge was constructed in 1940 to connect Fortitude Valley to Kangaroo Point.

Fortitude Valley has a number of heritage-listed sites, including:

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