Property boom forces nation’s hipsters to relocate to final frontier of Australian culture, Brisbane

Between 2010 and 2013, the average disposable income for Brisbane residents rose sharply as the city enjoyed the table scraps of the mining boom.

11 April, 2015. 13:30

ERROL PARKER | Editor-at-large | Contact

Caxton Street is the cultural artery of inner-western Brisbane. PHOTO: Brisbane Times
Caxton Street is the cultural artery of inner-western Brisbane. PHOTO: Brisbane Times

ONE NEWTOWN resident knew it was time to go when more local garages were being used to keep cars in than foster the local music scene.

“I agree wholeheartedly in gentrification, I just don’t understand why they had to come to my neighbourhood,” said Banjo Clementé.

In 2012, the annual combined household income for the Newtown rose to the current high-water mark of $150k.

“When I moved in to the area, it was a vibrant and breathing community that supported the arts but now it seems the golden age of Newtown is over,”

Mr Clementé humble rented terrace remains as one of the last unrenovated properties on his street, where cost of rent has risen almost 150% since 2000.

Former Credit Suisse CFO, Paul Brighton-Clarke, recently purchased a property in the area for an undisclosed, but record-breaking amount.

“To be frank, I wanted to move back to Watsons Bay but I unfortunately married a Labor sympathiser and she wanted to move to Newtown, so that’s that.”

The hostile manner in which the wealthy are moving in to progressive and edgy suburbs of the harbour is forcing the meek to find greener pastures.

Brisbane Lord Mayor, Graham Quirk, is optimistic about the future of the River City’s cultural scene, even with the current injection of social righteousness from around the nation.

“As long as they come up here to work, that’s fine. Our welfare system is already at capacity and there really isn’t much breathing space left to feed shitty artists who can’t cut it in Sydney” says Mr Quirk.

“I will not tear up perfectly good roads to put in bike lanes, either.”

Former East Surry Hills resident, Peta Smalls, has found her new home in a West End sharehouse.

“I think it’s great! My housemates are fly-in-fly-out workers so I get the place to myself for two-weeks at a time. It’s only $90 a week for my attic, too!”

Ms Smalls agrees that the Brisbane nightlife scene needs the Sydney touch to make it world-class and above all, safe.

“The last time my housemates came back from the mines, they dragged me to the GPO and when I refused to dance with this dodgy guy, he spat rum all over me. Lucky Serevi [housemate] was there to touch him up,”

“One time I ran in to Sam Thaiday at The Met and he gave me his last cigarette. He’s so nice in person.”

Between 2010 and 2013, the average disposable income for Brisbane residents rose sharply as the city enjoyed the table scraps of the mining boom.

The same period saw Brisbane introduced to niche markets from the capitals, such as coffee, organic food and the notion that a bicycle isn’t just a method of transport you use after a license suspension.

“I ride my bike to work everyday and to the shops, as well,” says new New Farm resident, Amanda Ashley.

Hipsters in Brisbane have been credited with reviving fedoras in the city. The Central American hat became seriously "uncool" when NRL great Gordon Tallis famous claimed that fedoras are "gay". PHOTO: The Face Book.
Hipsters in Brisbane have been credited with reviving fedoras in the city. The Central American hat became seriously “uncool” when NRL great Gordon Tallis famous claimed that fedoras are “gay”. PHOTO: The Face Book.

It’s a far cry from the mean streets of Lane Cove, where Ms Ashley spent her youth growing up.

“Drivers in Sydney are accustomed to sharing the roads now. When you ride on the road in Brisbane, there’s still that element of danger and animosity. It’s much more exciting.”

In a Neilson poll earlier this year, 73% of Brisbane residents openly fantasize about either running over or forcing cyclists off the road with their cars.

This figure is down on the 97% recorded in 2011 after a repeat broadcast of the 1987 State Of Origin decider was interrupted to report Cadel Evan’s Tour de France victory.

When asked if he’d consider a move “up north”, Mr Clementé said it was well and truly on the cards.

“Honestly, I was sold on the move to Brisbane until they replaced those awesome laminated licenses for the plastic smart cards. The new ones are lame.”

“But I’m starting to get into rugby league and I’ve always been pretty handy in a stink. So, I guess I’m good to go.”

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