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Title: History of the Colony of Queensland, Volume I.
Author: William Coote.
* A Project Gutenberg of Australia eBook *
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Language: English
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Production Notes:

Some of the text at the bottom of page 120 remains indecipherable across several copies of this work, as do several other small parts. A few inverted minutes and seconds symbols and unusual spellings have been retained. Mr. Canon in Chapter VI. is Mr. Carron.

Volume II of this work was never published. Read about William Coote at the Australian Dictionary of Biography website.











HISTORY

OF THE

COLONY OF QUEENSLAND



FROM 1770 TO THE CLOSE OF THE YEAR 1881

IN TWO VOLUMES.


BY WILLIAM COOTE.


VOLUME 1

FROM 1770 TO THE SEPARATION OF THE DISTRICT OF MORETON BAY
FROM NEW SOUTH WALES AND ITS CONSTITUTION AS A
SEPARATE COLONY IN DECEMBER 1859.




BRISBANE, QUEENSLAND:
PUBLISHED BY WILLIAM THORNE, EDWARD AND ADELAIDE STREETS.




MDCCCLXXXII.
(ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.)






TO THE MEMORY

OF HER

The Loss of whose Thoughtful Counsel and Loving Help
Is a Life-long Regret,


I DEDICATE THIS BOOK.









Map of Queensland
at the date of separation,
A.D. 1859

[Click on the map to enlarge it.]






CONTENTS TO VOLUME I.




PREFACE.


CHAPTER I.

1770-1824.

Connection of past with present History—Original cause of Settlement—Cook's Voyage to Eastern Australia—Flinders' first Voyage in 1799—His second Voyage and Examination of Moreton Bay in 1801—King's Voyage in 1820—Oxley's Search after a Site for a Penal Establishment—His alleged Discovery of the Brisbane River in Moreton Bay in 1823—Determination by the Government of New South Wales to form a Convict Settlement in the Bay


CHAPTER II.

1824-1839.

General Character of Penal Establishments—First Settlement of Convicts in 1821—Logan's Government—Allan Cunningham's Discovery of the Darling Downs in 1827—Logan's settlement of Ipswich—Cunningham's Discovery of the Route from the Coast over the Dividing Range to the Interior—Murder of Logan—Visit of the "Friends" Backhouse and Walker in 1835—Dr. Lang's Establishment of the Moravian Mission to the Aborigines—Withdrawal of the Prisoners and preparation for a Free Settlement


CHAPTER III.

1839-1843.

Brisbane at the termination of the Penal Era—Surveying Operations and Murder of Stapylton—Formation of Squatting Stations on the Downs—Stokes' Voyage to the Gulf of Carpentaria in 1840—Proclamation of the whole District as a Free Settlement in May, 1842—Governor Gipps' Visit in 1842, and Plans for Brisbane and Ipswich by his direction—Discouragement by him of the Moravians—The Roman Catholic Mission to the Aborigines—Failure of both Missions—First Land Sale in 1842—First Representative Institutions granted to New South Wales—First Election—Progress of Settlement—Poisoning of the Aborigines


CHAPTER IV.

1843-1846.

Passage of the Preferable Liens Act—Invention of the Boiling Down Process—Agitation for Exploring Journey to Port Essington—Refusal by Governor Gipps—Leichhardt Volunteers—Starts on his Journey in 1844—Arrives at Port Essington, 1845—Return to Sydney and Presentation of Testimonial—Establishment of The Brisbane Courier—Census of the Settlement—First Customs Officer Appointed—First Local Steamer


CHAPTER V.

1846-1847.

Proposed New Northern Colony for Reformed Convicts at Port Curtis—Failure in Disembarkation—Abandonment of the Undertaking—Recall of Sir George Gipps, and Arrival of Sir Charles Fitzroy—Origin of the Australian Crown Lands System, and the "Orders in Council"—The Transportation System, and influence of Scarcity of Labour in Gaining Support for it in the District—Attempt to procure Coolie Labour—First Suggestion of "Separation"—Social Progress and Condition—Sir Thomas Mitchell's Discoveries—Kennedy's First—Leichhardt's Last Expedition—Courts of Petty Sessions Established—Character of the Settlers Vindicated


CHAPTER VI.

1848-1850.

Earl Grey's. Despatch on the Proposed Constitution for New South Wales—The New Elections—Progress of the District—Troubles with the Blacks—Californian Gold Discovery—Dr. Lang and his Emigration Plans—The "Fortitude," "Chasely," and "Lima"—Dr. Lang's Character as affecting his Success—Paucity of other Immigration—Renewal of Modified Transportation and its Results—The Privy Council Scheme for Australian Constitutions—The Local Trade—Last Exploration and Death of Kennedy


CHAPTER VII.

1850-1851.

Arrival of more Convicts—Condemnation of the Transportation System by the New South Wales Legislature—The Second Australian Constitution—The Singapore Route—Establishment of Circuit Courts—Validity of "Calabashes"—Industrial and Social Progress—Ravages by the Blacks—Agitation on Transportation—Discovery of Gold in New South Wales—Effect on the District—Cotton Cultivation—Improvement of the Port of Brisbane—Further Ravages by the Blacks—Census of 1851—Export Trade


CHAPTER VIII.

1852.

Efforts at Gold Discovery and Cotton Cultivation—The Separation and Transportation Questions—Unanimous Abandonment of the Transportation Cause—Opposition of the New South Wales Government to Separation—Hely's Expedition in Search of Leichhardt—Social Progress—The Natives—Local Industries—Moreton Bay Steam Navigation Company—Rainfall and Temperature


CHAPTER IX.

1853-1854.

Contemptuous Treatment of the District in the New South Wales Legislative Council—Curious Election—Progress of the New Constitution Bill—Trade and Industry—Swindling Auriferous Speculation—Disputes as to the Capital—Export Trade—Immigration—The Rev. W. B. Clarke's Geological Tour—Public Land Sales and Estimates—Earl Grey on the Land Laws—Administration and Crime—Progress of Industry in 1854—Murder of Mr. Strange


CHAPTER X.

1855.

Local Animosities—Sir C. Fitzroy's Recall and Appointment of Sir William Denison—Opening of the Legislative Council—Opposition to Separation in New South Wales—Exertions of Mr. Wilkes in its behalf—Immigration—Ecclesiastical Progress—Crimean Patriotic Fund—The Blacks and the Native Police—Port Curtis—Bridge over the Brisbane—Survey of the Port—Legal Delays—First Direct Shipment to London—Brisbane Botanic Gardens—Public Land Sales and Official Commissions—Local Movements—Wool Sales Charges—Exports—Starting of A. C. Gregory's First Expedition


CHAPTER XI.

1856.

Initiation of Parliamentary Government in New South Wales—First Responsible Ministry in Australia—Ministerial Changes—The Separation Movement—Sir William Denison's Adverse Report—Mr. Labouchere and Mr. Hodgson—Mr. Darvall's Intemperate Language—Imperial Determination in favour of Separation—Attempt in New South Wales to retain the Clarence and Richmond River Districts—Mr. E. Deas Thompson's Recantation—Industrial Progress—Harbour Improvement—Captain Towns and Decency of Burial—A. C. Gregory's First Expedition


CHAPTER XII.

1857-1859.

Delays in the Final Adjustment of Separation—Constitution of a Branch of the Supreme Court at Moreton Bay—Transfer of Judge Milford and Appointment of Judge Lutwyche—Elections under the new Electoral Act—Assessment Act and Opposition thereto—Formation of Municipalities—Mr. Robertson's Introduction of Free Selection into his Land Policy—The Cunoona Goldfield—Its Failure—Rockhampton Proclaimed a Township—Industrial Progress—Social Movement—Journalistic Changes—A. C. Gregory's Search for Tracks of Leichhardt—Overland Journey to Adelaide—Dalrymple's Examination of the Burdekin Country—Rumoured Act of Parliament to Legalize Separation—Order in Council Creating the New Colony of Queensland—The Boundaries Unsatisfactory—Settlement of Debt and Form of Government—Initiatory Measures for Formation of the Legislature—Inequitable Apportionment of the Electorates—Preparation for the Reception of the New Governor


CHAPTER XIII.

RECAPITULATION AND REVIEW.

Area and Population—Increase in Numbers from 1846 to 1860—Wealth—Pastoral, Municipal, Agricultural, and Landed Properly—State of Agriculture—Growth of Trade from 1849 to 1859, inclusive—State of Manufactures—Banking Establishments and Transactions—Civil Government: Its Form, Departments, and Numbers Employed—Public Expenditure—Social Condition: Public Institutions, Difficulty of Intercourse, the Press, Amusements, Crime—Educational System—General Ecclesiastical Statistics and Systems—Laws in Force as to State Aid to Religion—The Respective Churches and Denominations: Anglican, Roman Catholic, Presbyterian, Wesleyan, Independent, Baptist, and others—General Observations and Conclusions






{Page ix}

PREFACE.


Fifteen years form a long space in a man's lifetime; and during so many I have been from time to time collecting and collating materials, and endeavouring to accomplish the publication of the history which is now submitted to the public. Four years since a portion was published in one of our local journals; but failing health, and inability to use my right hand, prevented its completion at the time;—a circumstance which, however I may have suffered from its causes, I cannot say that I regret. Time has been afforded for revision, for additional information, and for the correction of conclusions which, although not hastily formed, prove to have been arrived at upon insufficient basis. Nevertheless, the diligence with which facts had been sought out, and the care with which their alleged authenticity was sifted, were, at the time I allude to, admitted by those most entitled to express an opinion on such matters;—the few who, having taken an active part in the foundation of the colony, survived to witness the changes which more than a quarter of a century has effected in its position, and a growth flattering enough to the people, but owing more to the beneficence of Providence than the foresight or wisdom of man.

The division of the history into two parts was not decided upon without careful consideration. Necessarily the growth of the colony before and since its separation from New South Wales differs in essential points;—a difference not so much due to mere alteration in the administration of government as is sometimes supposed. The changes wrought by the development of material science within the last few years, have greatly intensified those which might have been looked for in the ordinary onward march of civilisation; and we have less to create than to follow and grasp the benefits flowing from the succession of discoveries. Since the year 1859 what marvellous applications of science have we seen; and we can scarcely appreciate their influence, unless we ask ourselves what, had they not been made, would most probably have been the position of the colony at the present hour. But we ought not to be blinded by the glare, however dazzling, of scientific light, to the value of the unobtrusive material which in other respects the earlier history of the one time infant settlement offers to us. Men wrought, toiled, suffered, were misgoverned, and endured; and after many years, apparently, gained the independence that was the desire of their hearts. And the student who watches the political discussions which have now most interest to us will be amused by finding how much of value in them was initiated in those early days. Our schemes of government, our theories of finance, our land legislation, our plans of settlement, seem the echoes, too often faint and feeble, of the voices of those, not in reality so remote, but yet which seem to us, far off years: and when we are most proud of novelty we are often most certain to have been anticipated in our inventions.

There are, moreover, some features in the early history of Moreton Bay which cannot be repeated in any attempt at further colonisation;—not likely to be fettered by such troubles as beset the foundation of the colony in the obstacles presented by the expiring struggles of the transportation system. It may be suggested that the narration of those struggles imparts less of dignity than degradation in the retrospect; but they left their traces long after they ended, and they were so much mixed up with the twin contest for representative institutions that it is necessary to go into detail to some extent with respect to its incidents. Nor will the successive changes which the formation of parliamentary government underwent, from the time that a fragmentary sort of self rule was first granted, until the final embodiment of 'William 'Wentworth's most practical views of the Constitution of New South Wales—the parent of our own—be without interest to the thoughtful observer: and we shall find that, had the suggestive recommendations fostered by the late Earl Grey been given the weight due to them, we might have been spared the trouble of discussing federal systems, and local administration would have long since passed from the region of experiment to complete fulfilment. These difficulties and fluctuations indicate how important a revolution in the character of the relations of the mother country with her Australian colonies was, almost without observation, slowly and surely making its way; and thus they became of historic value to ourselves. Age and transition leave an authoritative stamp upon many circumstances which, from a commercial or presently social point of view, seem comparatively worthless; or those researches, which occupy so much of modern industry and speculation, would be only so many proofs of the perversion of intellectual power: he who ignores the past simply deprecates the value of his own existence to the future. And, apart from the philosophic interest of the facts presented, there must be the local feeling, connected with places and persons, incorporated in the recollections of many of our people,—with the associations and fortunes of the majority,—the preservation of which, in a permanent form, cannot but be gratifying to them, of whatever use it may be in educating the rising generation. Of the few thousands of native Queenslanders living amongst us in 1881, how many may be supposed to know anything of the history of the country of their birth? Yet, surely, if it be essential that they should be certain how much remains of the old Saxon laws in the British constitution, and be familiar with the origin of the British nation, it is, at least, equally so that they should not be left in ignorance—fruitful parent of prejudice—as to the origin of what may be called their own laws, of the growth of their own people, and of the foundation of their native land.

Again, there is much in the history of Australian geographical exploration which belongs to the time before Moreton Bay expanded into Queensland. The discoveries of Allan Cunningham, the adventurous journey of Leichhardt, the patient perseverance and mournful death of Kennedy, the keen logical induction and special insight of Clarke, the unruffled endurance of Gregory:—all belong to those early days. In whatever of triumph is due to the foundation of the colony science surely has her share: whether that is sufficiently vindicated in this history the reader must judge. If it is not interesting it will not be from the absence of eminent labourers or worthy achievement. The fault will rest with the narrative, not with the work recorded.

I believe that, both in the old country and in the neighboring colonies, as well as in Queensland, the early incidents of our origin and growth will furnish a by no means useless contribution to the great store of facts which concern the general progress of humanity. Unfortunately, few amongst us have time or opportunity to collect that portion which elucidates either; while day by day the sources of information are decreasing, and those who could either furnish it, or indicate where it could be found, are silently passing away. Thus believing, and thus regretfully observing, I have collected the material for the first volume, and wrought as I have been enabled in its arrangement and distribution.

The period since the separation of Moreton Bay from New South Wales has been one of self-government, and necessarily presenting a species of facts differing from those found in its predecessor, requires a different kind of record. We have reached, although few in numbers, a position in the colonies sufficiently marked to justify more of analysis and less of narrative than was thought desirable in the first instance. We have had twenty-one years of the mimicry of politics, and of the reality of class and personal interests and strife; we have arrived at the dignity of a public debt equal to that of some sovereign states of almost secondary eminence,—larger in proportion to our numbers than that of our own neighbours,—and the questionable distinction of being by far the most heavily taxed community in Australia. We have constructed great public works; we have manufactured a statute book which, after two successive purgations, offers the reader four goodly volumes as the result of a third revision, which, within a very moderate period, will require revising itself; we have had three or four systems of land law, each at first deemed perfection, each in its turn decried and condemned; and are now casting about for another; and we have still to discern a plan of immigration which will meet the wants, not only of labor but of that class of employers having moderate means which forms the most substantial buttress to the State. And we are on the eve of great changes. Up to a very recent date, the independence of this colony was, in some important respects, as I have before suggested, more apparent than real. It labored, and other men entered into its labors. It had the slightest direct actual commercial status in the mother country; its trade was filtered through New South Wales; its leading exports found no recognition as from itself in the European markets; and its financial concerns were in the hands of banks and agencies, most of them having preponderating engagements and connections elsewhere, and looking on our local interests as proportionately subordinate and subsidiary. The first stroke at the fetters thus imposed, was the establishment of a local bank; the second, the securing of a direct steam service with Great Britain. The effect of the freedom thus opened to us should be seen in insistence on the quotation of our product as our own on the London market, and in the initiation of a steady and efficient and, while continuous, a self regulatory system of immigration. We are brought into fair contact with the world of commerce, and of culture as well, and it will be our own fault if we do not avail ourselves of the opportunity thus presented.

And further, in that extraordinary impetus given to enterprise, in one direction by the unexpected and simultaneous disclosure in districts widely apart of enormous mineral wealth—indeed offering "the potentiality of wealth beyond the dreams of avarice,"—and in another, by the almost sudden awakening to the possible magnitude of the sugar industry, there is sufficient indication that we are emerging from the condition in which weak and childish localisms can be allowed to interfere with the general progress and the general good. More, perhaps than either, the discovery of a process which opens an ever growing market for our flocks and herds, has infused new life into a pastoral industry which otherwise seemed likely to be suffocated by its own luxuriance of production. The far seeing judgment of that excellent man, the late Thomas S. Mort, has been vindicated, if not in the kind of process, amply in the results an efficient one is bringing about: it being in his case, as in others, that "wisdom is justified in her children," although they may not be permitted to see the fruition of their labour. I speak then but the language of truth and soberness, when I say there is no country on this earth—

"Whatever clime the sun's bright circle warms"

more certain, by the prudent use and husbandry of its resources, by bold and high principled statesmanship, by wise and just legislation, to become the fair and fruitful and happy home of teeming millions, than this colony of Queensland. Let me add that there is no country whose future may be more marred by the greed of classes, or of individuals, who cloak an insatiable avarice of power or wealth beneath the ample folds of an ostensible patriotism; that there is no country in which it is more necessary to cast class and even national prejudices on one side, and to remember that if the earth was created for man to replenish and subdue, the present inheritors of this vast territory are not all mankind; nor are the interests of all others of God's creatures to be subordinated to what a few thousand souls, scattered over nearly seven hundred thousand square miles, may be pleased to consider their own.

Bearing in mind these considerations, I have adopted, in the second volume, a different distribution of matter from that employed in the first. Instead of carrying on the narrative generally I divide it under the separate heads under which, for each subject to be thoroughly understood, it should naturally fall. Our social progress, our great public works, our state finance, our land legislation, our agricultural failures, and the advance in the three great industries which furnish our staple exports, require to be dealt with from the beginning as, so to speak, separate wholes. The parliamentary history I include in the ordinary narrative; because, when the legislative procedure which relates to the other subjects is eliminated from the general record, there is not much to be noticed, and what there is runs easily enough along with the general current of the history.

I am not unaware of the difficulties and dangers which may beset a writer who ventures to bring his narrative down, as it were, to the immediate present. I think it was old Fuller who remarked, that he who holds a candle to lighten posterity, may burn his fingers withal—a fate which might seem certainly to await one who has mingled not inactively in the disputes of the day. But as to this I must take my chance; being nevertheless of opinion that the historian who becomes a partizan, to the extent that he does so, discredits not only his judgment, but his accuracy. What facts are necessary for the elucidation and completeness of Queensland history, will be brought out with such clearness and vigor as I can exert; what is unnecessary to that main purpose, and would gratify only mere curiosity, or personal spite, will be as vigorously suppressed. That some conclusions should be deducted, some opinions expressed, is inevitable; but I trust to escape the censure passed by one of our most brilliant British critics upon a colonial author—in his day eminent and useful nevertheless—that his history was one of his own sayings and doings, with some references to the colony of which he professed to write. In the first volume, the object is to preserve what would be useful and interesting of what would otherwise be lost; in the second, to present, in a connected and available form, information enabling the reader, whether in the colony or in the mother country, to understand how we arrived at our present position; what that is; and what our possible future may be; what is required to rectify the errors of our early career, and to make even our failures contributory to our success. On the accuracy of the statements made in both volumes, I challenge the criticisms of my fellow colonists: as to the value of conclusions drawn from them, that must be left to public opinion to decide.

It would be ungrateful in me to close these remarks without expressing my thanks to the friends who have so kindly assisted me in the search after information. To the late Sir M. C. O'Connell, the late Mr. Charles Coxen, and the Late Mr. G. H. Davenport, I was largely indebted. To Mr. A. C. Gregory, Mr. C. Barton, of Maryborough, Mr. Landsborough, Mr. George Bourne, Mr. Wm. Thornton—I am under great obligations; and especially to the Hon. James Swan for assistance which no other person in the colony could have rendered. If I were to conclude by thanking Mr. Petrie, Mr. Walter Hill (the late curator of our Botanical Gardens), Mr. Warner, senr., Mr. P. Phillips, and the proprietors of the Queensland Times for the aid rendered me in the necessary researches into our earlier history, I trust I shall not be thought ungrateful to many, who, from time to time, supplied a fact or suggested a question which has been utilized, although, with a negligence common to authors, the source has been forgotten. To the President of the Legislative Council, and the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly, my thanks are due for the access afforded me to the Parliamentary Library; and to many of the Clergy—of whom particular mention will be found in the proper place, I am indebted for facts which they only could have given me the opportunity of tracing. The courtesy of the official departments whenever I have had occasion to refer to them, I gladly acknowledge. I can affirm for myself, that I have spared no pains in the collection of information, and in testing the accuracy of that which was obtained; and it only remains for me to ask the indulgence of the reader for the faults he may find in the use made of the material so kindly afforded.

South Brisbane,
     January 1, 1882
.






{Page 1}

CHAPTER I.

1770-1824.

Connection of past with present History—Original cause of Settlement—Cook's Voyage to Eastern Australia—Flinders' first Voyage in 1799—His second Voyage and Examination of Moreton Bay in 1801—King's Voyage in 1820—Oxley's Search after a Site for a Penal Establishment—His alleged Discovery of the Brisbane River in Moreton Bay in 1823—Determination by the Government of New South Wales to form a Convict Settlement in the Bay.


It is difficult to forecast the future of a colony which, possessing an area of 669,520 square miles, and a coast line of 2.250, presents so great a variety of climate, that in portions of its southern districts, it admits of the successful growth of almost all the European vegetable products, and in its central and northern territory, affords us facilities for semi-tropical and tropical cultivation of all kinds, while its geological formation is so abundantly prolific, as to include within it almost every species of valuable mineral—but which at the time I am writing, is estimated to possess a population of little more than 213,000 souls. That with such a population it raises an annual income of nearly two millions sterling; that its exports (which now include antimony, coal, gold, silver, tin, rum, sugar, tallow, timber, wool, and many minor, but rapidly developing articles of native produce) amounted in value in 1880 to £3,448,160, and its imports to £3,087,296; that the average deposits in the ordinary banks for that year amounted to £4,062,716; and in the savings bank, to £747,089; that its sheep numbered 6,935,967, and its cattle, 3,162,572;—these facts indicate a present which may be taken as foreshadowing, under wise legislation and well-devoted energy, a brilliant future. Nor am I inclined to look upon its public debt, incurred and authorized of some fourteen and a quarter millions, as likely to depress the energy of the people, or to interfere with the development of the colony, although its increase, unless under a widely different system from the existing one, would be much to be deplored. We shall have to count on 1.406 miles of railway in return for the nine millions of that debt expended upon them; and for the remainder, 5,768 miles of telegraph; costly and necessary, though sometimes experimental, improvements in our harbors and rivers; many public works; and an immigration expenditure of a million and a half: and although some portion of the loans have been applied to what public loans are too often required for—meeting the difference between current income and current outlay, the amount is comparatively small. When I add, that the colony possesses 345 public schools, employing 989 teachers of various grades in the instruction of 43,303 pupils, besides 5 grammar schools, and 71 private schools, it may be imagined that material requirements do not exclusively occupy the public attention.

The reader, who turns to the thirteenth chapter of this volume, will see what a comparatively humble place Queensland occupied on the list of British colonies in 1859 to that which the figures I have quoted show that she does now; but even that humble position had not been reached without much and persistent toil and effort, perhaps, considering the small population and their scanty facilities, more of both than has been shown in the noisier, and at times obtrusive, interval between the two periods. It is about a hundred and eleven years since the occurrence of the first incident which was in due time to be followed by the occupancy of Moreton Bay. Fifty-four years after that, the first convict settlement was planted at Brisbane. Eighteen years more elapsed before the district was proclaimed a free settlement; and seventeen years of growth and grumbling ended in 1859 by its creation into a colony. The history of these periods, so far as it concerns Queensland, and the fluctuations of condition, of effort, and of hope, which marked their later years, until at length the colonists congratulated each other that they were free to govern themselves, I have now to narrate.

Within a comparatively recent period, proofs have been brought forward which would give to the Portugese navigators a priority of discovery on the northern shores of Australia. But whatever might have been their success—of which but faint records have been left—the Dutch are entitled to the credit of being the first continuous explorers of the northern, western, and southern coasts of Australia. Their discoveries have been so often and so completely described, that it would seem something like book-making to repeat the description.* The right of Cook to be considered the first who made any definite investigation of the greater part of the eastern coast, has been almost universally conceded, although occasionally even his claims have been questioned. In a memoir on the Chago Islands ** by Mr. Dalrymple, a hydrographer of eminence at the commencement of the present century, he adverts to a manuscript in his possession, once belonging to Sir Joseph Banks, which, from internal evidence, he considered to be not later than of the year 1575.

[* See "Lang's History of New South Wales," vol. I., chap. i. London, 1832:—but more especially a series of articles in the Brisbane weekly newspaper, the Week, for 1872, well worthy of republication in a separate form.]

[** Royal Geographical Society's Journal, vol. II. (London, 1832).]

"This very curious manuscript is painted on parchment with the Dauphin's Arms and contains much lost knowledge. Kerguelen's Land seems plainly denoted, and the east coast of New Holland—as in name it is expressed—with some curious circumstances of correspondence to Captain Cook's narrative. What he names Bay of Inlets, is in the manuscript, called Bay Perdue: Bay of Isles, R. de beaucoup d'Iles, and where the Endeavour struck, Caste Dangereuse; so that we may say with Solomon, there is nothing new under the sun.'"

It would not be just to Cook to hastily accept, in its entirety, the conclusion here indicated. It is not impossible, however, that the Dauphin's map may have been shown by Banks, to whose exertions the sending of Cook was mainly due, to that navigator, although Hawkesworth's ignorance of its existence may have prevented its acknowledgement by him in his account of the voyage.—All that we know of Cook's character goes to negative the supposition that he would deliberately appropriate without acknowledgement the discoveries of a predecessor.

It is not necessary for me to recapitulate the circumstances which led to Cook's voyage, for they are over and over again detailed in a variety of publications readily accessible to the general reader. I therefore confine myself to such a reference to Hawkesworth's account of that expedition as may connect its discoveries with the general narrative of the exploration and settlement of the colony.

In May, 1770, Cook was on the east coast of Australia, sailing past "a bay or harbour in which there appeared to be good anchorage, and which I called Port Jackson," and on the 16th of that month, he was off Point Danger, the commencement of our present southern boundary. On the 17th, he was abreast Cape Moreton.

"From Cape Moreton the land trends away further than can be seen, for there is a small space where, at this time, no land is visible, and some on board, having also observed that the sea looked paler than usual, were of opinion that the bottom of Moreton Bay opened into a river: we had then thirty-four fathoms of water, and a fine sandy bottom; this alone would have produced the changes that had been observed in the colour of the water; and it was by no means necessary to suppose a river to account for the land at the bottom of the bay not being visible, for supposing the land there to be as low as we knew it to be in a hundred other parts of the coast, it would have been impossible to see it from the station of the ship. However, if any future navigator should be disposed to determine the question whether there is or is not a river in this place, which the wind would not permit us to do, the situation may always be found by three hills which lie to the northward of it, in latitude of 26° 53'. These hills lie but a little way inland, and not far from each other; they are remarkable for the singular form of their elevation, which very much resembles a glasshouse, and for which reason I called them the Glass Houses;' the northernmost of the three is the highest and largest. There are also several other peaked hills inland, to the northward of these, but they are not nearly so remarkable."

The mixture of accuracy and error in this extract is curious. Cook was right in supposing that a river did not flow in the direction which he named, and wrong in his conjecture as to the position of that which actually did open into Moreton Bay. It is quite possible that his suggestions may have influenced Flinders in his subsequent search, for his name stood then as high in geographical investigation as Nelson's afterwards did in war.

Leaving Moreton Bay, Cook ran along the north eastern coast of Australia. Hervey's Bay and Keppel Bay were successively discovered and named. The little intermediate inlet of Bustard Bay was named in honor of

"a species of bustard, one of which was shot, as large as a turkey, and weighing seventeen pounds and a half. We all agreed that this was the best bird we had eaten since we had left England."

Port Curtis he appears to have passed in the night. Broad Sound and Cape Palmerston owe their names to him, as do also Halifax Bay and Rockingham Bay, "where there appears to be good shelter and good anchorage, but I did not stay to examine it." Without much more than mere nautical examination he continued his voyage to the northern extremity of the coast, and left Booby Island on the 23rd of August, 1770, having, in the name of the King of Great Britain, claimed possession of "the entire eastern coast from latitude 33° to this place, latitude 10½° S." The territory thus taken he named New South Wales. The island upon which the ceremony was performed he named Possession Island.

The eighth chapter of the third volume of Hawkesworth's account is occupied with

"a particular description of the country, its products and people, a specimen of the language, and some observations on the currents and tides."

The curious in such matters may find it interesting to compare Cook's observations with the recorded experience of travellers and explorers in our own day. His speculations upon the habits of the aboriginal inhabitants and the natural character and produce of the country, seem to me to have shared the natural fate which befalls almost all early theories—supercession by conclusions that are derived from more recent and more detailed investigation.

After the voyage of Captain Cook no thoroughly organised attempt was made for nearly thirty years at further discovery on our coasts; but a combination of individual enterprise and public curiosity, led to an effort, in 1801, to find some river which should afford access to the interior of the vast island of Australia. Accordingly, on June 21, in that year, the Lords of the Admiralty issued their official instructions to

"Matthew Flinders, Esq., commander of His Majesty's sloop Investigator, at Spithead," to "proceed in her to the coast of New Holland for the purpose of making a complete examination and survey of the said coast, on the eastern side of which His Majesty's colony of New South Wales is situated."

The circumstances which led to this step are interesting, and their record can scarcely fail to be instructive.

Shortly after the first settlement of criminals at Port Jackson, in 1788, Captain Hunter, who had accompanied Phillip, the first Governor of New South Wales, made a survey of Botany and Broken Bays and Port Jackson, with most of the rivers falling into them. In 1795, Hunter returned to New South Wales, as Governor. He brought with him two vessels of war, the Reliance and the Supply, and arrived at Sydney in December of that year. Flinders was then a midshipman, and Bass, a navigator equally intrepid, was surgeon in the Reliance. The two joined in various expeditions—sometimes in an open boat, sometimes in a vessel hardly better, and together made their explorations along the coast. In this way they discovered that Van Diemen's Land, as it was then termed, was an island; and made the passage of the straits, between it and Australia, named after Bass by Governor Hunter, at Flinders' express desire. Shortly after this, and upon Bass's return to England, Flinders, on his own proposition, was sent on the eastern coast in the Norfolk, a colonial sloop, of twenty-four tons. His principal object was

"to explore the Glass House and Hervey's Bays, two large openings to the northward, of which the entrances only were known. He had some hope of finding some river discharging itself at one of these openings, and of being able by its means to penetrate further into the interior of the country than had been before effected."

It is this voyage that first connects Flinders with the history of Queensland. We have two accounts of it written at different periods by him, by collating which we are enabled to gain a tolerably clear sight into the facilities he obtained and the difficulties he encountered. On his return to Sydney he gave his journal to Governor King, and its substance was published in 1802, by Collins, in his "Account of the English Colony in New South Wales, from its first settlement in January, 1788, to August, 1801."

In Flinders' own "Introduction" to the narrative of his second voyage, he only briefly and technically refers to this one. I have there, fore adopted the journal as most useful to my purpose.

Flinders sailed from Sydney on July 8, 1799, and, on the 11th, discovered, but cannot be said to have explored, Shoal Bay, inasmuch as he saw nothing of the Clarence River. On the evening of the 16th, he dropped anchor in Moreton, which he terms Glass House, Bay—"about two miles from a low sandy shore on the west side." The next day he landed with a Port Jackson native named "Bong-ree," or, as we should now spell it, "Bungaree," and endeavoured to enter into amicable communication with some of the natives, who were watching their procedure; but, unfortunately, the overture on both sides ended in a skirmish, in which one or two of the aborigines were wounded. From this circumstance Flinders gave the place the name of Point Skirmish, it being in fact the southernmost point of Bribie Island. Leaving that point, he moved up the opening between Bribie Island and the mainland, which he mistook for a river, and from the quantity of pumice stone found at high water, called it the Pumice Stone River. The sloop, which had sprung a leak on he 10th, was examined in the meantime, and a temporary stoppage having been effected, he again made sail on the 17th, anchoring off a point which, front the redness of its cliffs, he called Redcliff Point. He then pulled over to a "green headland about two miles to the westward," but found nothing noticeable save a native fishing net. Returning thence, he combined endeavouring to get further up the bay, and landed on an island thirty-four miles from Cape Moreton, in latitude 27° 33' 59" S. This he found to be two or three miles in circumference, the central part higher than the rest, and covered with a coat of fine vegetable mould of a reddish colour.

"The trees upon it, among which was the new pine, were large and luxuriant; beyond this island the bay was contracted into a river of considerable width indeed, but it appeared to be so shoal, or, if there was any deep channel, so difficult of access, that Mr. Flinders gave up all idea of pursuing it further—especially as the winds were obstinately adverse."

He, therefore, returned to Point Skirmish. It was probably the island of St. Helena on which he landed.

On July 22, he got his sloop into the Pumice Stone. Here he had her laid on shore and her cargo removed. By the 25th, he had stopped the leak, reshipped the supplies, and made ready for sailing again. Out of the six weeks allotted to him, one was entirely lost through the defects of the Norfolk.

This necessary work being effected, he landed and started for the Glass House Peaks, and, ascending one of the smaller ones, took a view of the bay. He seems to have derived little benefit from his fatigues in the way of discovery; and he returned to the Norfolk on the 28th. He was detained by bad weather two more days, and then sailed for Hervey's Bay.

"Having passed fifteen days in Glass House Bay, Mr. Flinders was enabled to form his judgment of it. It was so full of shoals that he could not attempt to point out any passage that would lead a ship into it without danger. The east side of the bay had not been sounded—if any existed, it would probably be found on that side."

His visit to Hervey's Bay at this time was so cursory, that it is scarcely worth referring to; and, after a hurried inspection, he sailed for Sydney, where he arrived on August 20.

Fifteen years elapsed between this voyage and the publication of Flinders' narrative of his second exploration. It is a curious instance of the fallibility of human observation and memory, however keen and tried they may be, that we find this experienced navigator, when recalling his impression of so many years back, in the epitome of his first voyage prefixed to his "narrative" thus concluding:—

"I must acknowledge myself to have been disappointed in not being able to penetrate into the interior of New South Wales by either of the openings examined in this expedition; but, however mortifying the conviction might be, it was then an ascertained fact, that no river of importance intersected the east coast between the 24th and 39th degrees of south latitude."

The language of his journal, written on the spot, is much less positive, and in fact, leaves the question favorably open as regards the shores of Moreton Bay. Some censure has been visited on Flinders for a presumed negligence in his search; but in this it does not seem just to concur. His sloop was leaky, and unfit for the dangers which so intricate a navigation as that of the entrance to the Brisbane must have involved. His crew was small—only eight men—his time limited to six weeks, of which one was lost in the necessary repairs to his crazy craft, and the winds were adverse. Looking to his orders and his means, he had not the time or the power for the exploration required. What is, however, to be regretted, is, that the habit of acquiescence in the directions of his superiors, seems to have led him to consider them as comprehending all that it was desirable he should do. What means he had he used well, but it did not follow that those means were adequate; had they been so, and had he been less restricted, the "ascertained fact" might have been the River Brisbane—not the absence of any river on a thousand miles of coast.

Shortly after Flinders returned to Sydney, the Reliance was ordered home, and on her arrival in England, in 1800,

"the charts of the new discoveries were published, and a plan was proposed to the Right Honorable Sir Joseph Banks, for completing the investigation of the coast of Terra Australis; the plan was approved by that distinguished patron of science and useful enterprise; it was laid before Earl Spencer, then First Lord Commissioner of the Admiralty, and finally received the sanction of His Majesty, who was graciously pleased to direct that the voyage should be undertaken; and I had the honor of being appointed to the command." *

[* Introduction to narrative, p. 204.]

On June 21, as I have before said, the Admiralty instructions were issued to Flinders. They were a strange jumble of inconsistencies. He was to use his best endeavours to discover harbors, and in case he found any "creek or opening" likely to lead to an inland sea, he was left at liberty to examine it, or not, as he should judge expedient or as opportunity might serve. Much solicitude was expressed touching a plant cabin for the purpose of sheltering boxes of earth in which were to be placed "during the survey, such plants, trees, shrubs, etc., as might be thought suitable for the Royal Gardens at Kew." An ancient sloop, the Xenophon, crazy and unsound, became the Investigator for the purpose of the voyage, and was, without doubt, deemed quite good enough for the employment to which it was devoted; and the Lady Nelson tender, then at Sydney, a vessel of similar character, was to be placed under Flinders' command. An astronomer, a naturalist, a natural history painter, a landscape painter, a gardener, and a miner, were amongst the party who accompanied Flinders; but, considering the official piety of those days, I am somewhat surprised at not finding a chaplain. William Westall, an artist of no mean note, was the landscape painter, and some of the illustrations to the narrative do not detract from either his reputation, or that of Woolnoth, the engraver. The whole number on board was eighty-eight. Flinders, with a forethought, whose motive must excite a smile at the present day, took "salt meat for eighteen months, knowing how little reliance could be placed on the colony of New South Wales for that article;" and, to guard against any contingencies, he left an application to the Admiralty for a twelve month's general supply, "to be sent after me, and lodged in the store-houses at Port Jackson for our own use."

On July 18, 1801, the Investigator sailed from Spithead, and on December 7, was off Cape Leeuwin. Flinders then leisurely surveyed the southern and eastern coasts—just missing the honor of being the discoverer of Port Phillip—until he dropped anchor in Sydney Cove on Sunday, May 9, 1802. Here he found the Lady Nelson waiting for him. His preparations for the remainder of his voyage occupied some time, and such amusement as was to be enjoyed he and his scientific friends participated in. He records with decorous gravity, that on June 4, being His Majesty's Birthday, Governor King gave "a splendid dinner to the colony, and the number of ladies, and civil, military, and naval officers was not less than forty." But he seems to have neglected none of the more necessary details of his preliminary work. Some deficiencies in his own crew were made up by probably "old salts," who were promised conditional pardon should the report of their behaviour be favourable. The crew of the Lady Nelson was composed almost entirely of prisoners. The re-victualling of his ship occasioned him some perplexity.

"The price of fresh meat at Port Jackson was so exorbitant, it was impossible to think of purchasing it on the public account. I obtained one quarter of beef for the ship's company in exchange for salt meat, and the Governor furnished us with some baskets of vegetables from his garden. . . In purchasing a sea stock for the cabin. I paid £3 a-head for sheep, weighing from thirty to fifty pounds each when dressed. Pigs were bought at 9d. per pound, weighed alive; geese at 10s. each, and fowls at 3s.: and Indian corn for the stock cost 5s. a bushel. . . . From two American vessels which arrived, I purchased 1,483 gallons of rum at 6s. 6d. per gallon, which, with what remained of our former stock was a proportion for twelve months."

And thus provided and recruited, he set sail from Sydney for the northern coast, on July 22, 1802, appointing Hervey's Bay as a port of rendezvous for the Lady Nelson.

Acting upon his impression that no rivers debouched into either Shoal Bay or Moreton Bay, he sailed past those openings, and reached Hervey's Bay in nine days. Port Curtis was his first noticeable discovery, and with some pains he explored the channel between that harbor and Keppel Bay. Of the soil in the neighbourhood he gave a cautious approval. Occasionally the explorers had communications with the natives, of whom Flinders speaks in friendly and almost flattering terms. He spent a short time at Port Bowen, of which Westall gives a spirited drawing; but was of opinion that not much could be said in praise of the country around it. Shoal Water Bay met with little higher appreciation; but Broad Sound he examined with more care. He appears to have considered the neighbourhood between the sound and the bay as worth attention:—

"There seems, indeed, to be a considerable extent of land about Broad Sound, and on the peninsula between it and Shoal Water Bay, which, if not calculated to give a rich return to the cultivator in wheat, would support much cattle, and produce maize, sugar, and tobacco; and cotton and coffee would grow upon the more rocky sides of the hills—and, probably, even on Long Island."

He discusses, at some length, the best site for docks, the value of the timber, and the probability of metallic production, with a terse directness that contrasts favorably with the flowing platitudes of the bulk of exploratory descriptions. Having finished his examination, he sailed for Torres Straits—thus missing the Fitzroy and the fine country to the north—in order to commence the survey of the now well-known Gulf of Carpentaria. When he reached the Cumberland Isles, he was compelled to send the Lady Nelson back to Sydney.

"Instead of saving the crew of the Investigator in case of accident, which was one of the principal objects of her attendance, it was too probable we might be called upon to render that assistance."

There is something odd in the comparison of craziness in these vessels which such a remark suggests.

Sailing round Cape York, Flinders coasted down the Gulf, and on November 22, anchored in the channel between Bentinck's and Sweer's Islands, which he named Investigator Roads. Here he had his ship examined, when to his alarm and vexation, he found her rotten from stem to stern. The master and the carpenter reported

"as their joint opinion, that in less than twelve months, there will scarcely be a sound timber in her, but that if she remain in fine weather, and happen no accident, she may run six months without much risk."

It is impossible not to sympathise with the enthusiastic navigator in his annoyance.

"I cannot," he says, "express the surprise and sorrow which this statement occasioned me. According to it, a return to Port Jackson was almost immediately necessary, as well to secure the journals and charts of the examinations already made as to preserve the lives of the ship's company; and my hopes of ascertaining, completely the exterior form of this immense and, in many points, interesting country, it not destroyed, would at least be deferred to an unknown period."

But reflection brought back that determination which formed so prominent a feature in Flinders' character. He resolved to finish, if possible, his survey of the Gulf of Carpentaria, and "when the fair wind should come to proceed by the west to Port Jackson, if the ship should prove capable of a winter's passage along the south coast; and if not, to make for the nearest port in the East Indies." He therefore coasted past the Groote Eylandte and Cape Arnheim, examining the bays as he passed, and exploring and naming Arnheim Bay, of which he speaks slightingly; and then, driven by sickness and fear of his vessel, he sailed for Timor on March 6, 1803, to recruit his health and refit, so far as refitment might avail. On the 10th of the following June he arrived in Port Jackson, when, on a survey of the Investigator she was pronounced to be "not worth repairing in any country, and impossible to be made fit for sea."

His first purpose was to renew his voyage, but unable to obtain a fitting ship, he took passage for England. The vessel in which he sailed was wrecked, and he escaped with some difficulty, reaching Sydney in September. Here he obtained a small brig—the Cumberland—and proceeded on his homeward voyage through Torres Straits. He was compelled to put into the Mauritius by the leaky condition of his ship, and anchored on December 17, 1803, in Port Louis. There he found ir command one of the obnoxious products thrown up from the depths by the French Revolution—a man of coarse manners, narrow mind, and ignorant assumption, named De Caen. He, at once availing himself of the pretext that the pass given by the French Government was for the Investigator, and not for the Cumberland, professed to doubt Flinders' identity, treated him with great harshness, and detained him as a prisons] for nearly seven years, taking possession of the Cumberland, and appropriating his papers as well. It was not till towards the end of October, 1810, that Flinders reached home, having been released in the previous June. Various circumstances so hindered him, that his narrative was not published till May, 1814.

Here, so far as Queensland is concerned, the immediate interest of that narrative terminates; but his connection with the early surveys of our colony, the accuracy of his charts, and the value of his investigation as data for succeeding navigators and explorers on the coast of Australia secure for Flinders a very high place in the list of those from whose labors we have benefited. His remarks upon the nature of the country and upon the natives with whom he came in contact, are interesting in themselves, but not sufficiently important to warrant quotation, especially as his conjectures have long been superseded by the knowledge and experience of the explorers and settlers of our own day.

After the termination, in 1815, of the long war which followed the French Revolution, the attention of the British Government was again turned to the examination of the Australian coasts, and Lieutenant Phillip Parker King was chosen for the work. He was directed to proceed to Sydney, where the then Governor, Major-General Macquarie, was to provide him with a vessel and crew; and the well-known Allan Cunningham, the botanist and explorer, was sent with him. The old notion of discovering some river likely to lead to an interior navigation of Australia, seems, from the instructions given to King, to have strongly impressed itself on the Admiralty. King sailed from Sydney in the Mermaid on December 22, 1817, to survey Bass' Straits and the western coast. Returning, he started for the eastern coast in May, 1820, Rodd's Bay seems the only special discovery made by him on this voyage. On a third survey he simply amplified and corrected his preceding work, finishing his cruise on April, 25, 1822. His painstaking diligence and accuracy of observation, have secured him a high reputation among our best hydrographers, and a considerable mass of valuable material was collected by him and Cunningham. One result of these voyages was the attempt to form a British settlement at Port Essington on the northern coast, which, after much outlay and trouble, was abandoned. Beyond casual mention, its history scarcely deserves connection with that of Queensland; although of late years, and in connection with South Australia, it has acquired some notoriety as Port Darwin.

After King's voyage the desirability of further exploration on our eastern and northern coast—except as it presented itself to a few enthusiastic geographers—seems to have faded away. What, however, the love of science or the demands of curiosity could not obtain, was at length granted to the necessities of a penal settlement. Twenty-one years after Flinders entered Port Curtis, the existing establishments under the Government of New South Wales proving inadequate to the demands created by the increasing shipment of criminals from the home country, his discoveries were turned to, in the hope of finding a suitable spot towards the north for a new penal depôt. He had spoken not unfavourably of the country in that neighbourhood, and after some consideration, the then Surveyor-General of New South Wales, Lieutenant Oxley was despatched in the old Mermaid, repaired and fitted for the purpose, in quest of an available site. He left Sydney on October 23, 1823, and anchored in Port Curtis on the 5th of the following November. There he occupied sixteen days in "a minute examination of the south-west coast of this port, extending from the north head of Bustard Bay to Mount Lawson." South from Gatcombe Head he "discovered a rapid mountain stream, which received the name of the Boyne, and then examined the country around;" but as the result of his minute researches, he came to the opinion that Part Curtis afforded no site eligible for a settlement.* The country in the vicinity of Road's Bay, he viewed with like disapproval, and disappointed and discontented, sailed for Moreton Bay, where he anchored on November 25. Here an unexpected consolation awaited him.

[* The value of Oxley's opinion on such points is questionable. On another occasion he is found saying, "We had demonstrated beyond a doubt that no river could fall into the sea between Cape Otway and Spencer's Gulf—at least none deriving its waters from the eastern coast—and that the country south of the parallel of 34° and west of the meridian 141° 30' east was uninhabitable and useless for the purposes of civilised man." The country thus condemned by wholesale, comprises one of the finest portions of the present colony of Victoria, including Gippsland and its lakes.]

"Early on the 2nd of December following," says his report, "when examining Moreton Bay, we had the satisfaction to find the tide sweeping us up a considerable inlet between the first mangrove island and the mainland. The muddiness and the taste of the water, together with the abundance of fresh water molluscs, assured us we were entering a large river, and a few hours ended our anxiety on that point by the water becoming quite fresh, while no diminution had taken place in the size of the river after passing what I called 'Sea Roach.' "

The river thus entered was the Brisbane.

But there was a good deal of disingenuousness, and almost dishonesty, in this report. The first fresh water molluscæ appear to me to have been two poor fishermen named Pamphlet and Finnigan, who had left Sydney with two others in the previous March, to fetch cedar from the Five Islands, to the south of Port Jackson. A gale of wind drove them out to sea; and after suffering great hardships—one of the party dying of thirst—the survivors were cast upon Bribie Island. One of them started to find his way to New South Wales, and was never more heard of, and the two named were compelled to stay with the blacks. From these men Oxley received intelligence of a large river falling into the south end of the bay which they had crossed. He immediately acted upon it, and taking Finnigan with him, met with the fresh water molluscæ, and the usual phenomenon of fresh water, also in the Brisbane itself, only twenty miles from its mouth.** It would not have detracted from Mr. Oxley's reputation had he frankly admitted the value of the information gained from Pamphlet and Finnigan, and been content with the merit of perseveringly following up their accidental discovery. His report was silent upon that portion of the business; and he returned to Sydney to receive the thanks of the Government, and the congratulations of his friends. Whether the two poor fishermen ever even knew the value of the service they had rendered, has not, that I can find, been recorded.

[** See Narrative of Oxley's Expedition, by Uniacke in "New South Wales." London 1820.]

Oxley's report—exaggerated and incorrect as it was—produced considerable sensation, not only in the colony, but on its publication at home, in much wider and better informed circles. He told the world of a noble river—not subject to floods, probably navigable for vessels of burden fifty miles beyond the termination of his journey, and that termination seventy miles from Bribie Island. The width of the river at the point where he commenced his return, he reported as half-a-mile, and its depth at eight fathoms. Exaggerations like these render it difficult to determine how far he really did ascend the Brisbane, or whether he reached its first large tributary—the Bremer—as subsequently supposed by Major Lockyer. The Brisbane is a noble and beautiful stream without being able to lay claim to all the attributes with which Mr. Oxley's imagination invested it. His theory as to its source, being based upon the assumption that it did not take its rise in mountainous country, need not be further alluded to.

But upon all these points, no contradiction could be, or at all events was, at the time given to him: nor did it much matter to the then Governor of New South Wales, whether the river was a mile or a quarter of a mile wide sixty miles from its mouth. Sir Thomas Brisbane was relieved from a difficulty by the discovery of a suitable locality for his new penal settlement, and probably not displeased that the newly-discovered river was named in his honor. So Moreton Bay was fixed upon as a fit position for a fresh prison, and the process of civilisation, according to the custom of those days, began. Fifty-five years had passed since Cook first saw and named Cape Moreton; sixteen years of miserable occupancy by a wretched population were to come.






{Page 15}

CHAPTER II.

1824-1839.

General Character of Penal Establishments—First Settlement of Convicts in 1821—Logan's Government—Allan Cunningham's Discovery of the Darling Downs in 1827—Logan's settlement of Ipswich—Cunningham's Discovery of the Route from the Coast over the Dividing Range to the Interior—Murder of Logan—Visit of the "Friends" Backhouse and Walker in 1835—Dr. Lang's Establishment of the Moravian Mission to the Aborigines—Withdrawal of the Prisoners and preparation for a Free Settlement.


To a great extent, the history of one penal settlement is the history of all penal settlements. The line of demarkation between keeper and criminal was strong and distinct, and it became gradually a settled thing that, whether a convict might or might not be occasionally right, the master could never be wrong. The result was natural. The consciousness of impunity for the governor, and of degradation in the governed, could not but tend to lessen the care with which authority was exercised, and the perception of just cause for its exertion. The beginning of wrong, as much as of strife, is like the pouring forth of water; and when the personal feeling which, in a small community, and more in such a community, must result from every punishment, whether inflicted justly or unjustly, was once roused, every repetition of offence and its consequent suffering, not only widened the distance between the judge and the offender, but deadened the sense of justice and appreciation of guilt; and thus, by insensible degrees, a hardness of feeling has been found to spring up in all these settlements, equally in the gaoler as in the prisoners. They became "stern to inflict and stubborn to endure," without much reference to anything but facility of infliction and capacity of endurance. The authorities drifted into cruelty, and the criminals deepened in crime.

Looking at such influences as almost inseparable from the system upon which the penal settlement of Moreton Bay was governed, I am not so much inclined to consider the successive commandants as either naturally or consciously the tyrants they have been described, and possibly in some cases were; or all the prisoners as the refuse of human kind. What a different discipline might have resulted in, it is useless now to speculate upon. The Christian virtues are not. I presume, supposed to grow naturally in any purgatory, or the moral perceptions to be quickened by an enforced abstinence from every ostensible kind of mental occupation. That, from 1824 to 1839, Moreton Bay must have been a place of torment to every conscientious man of right feeling in it, can scarcely be doubted, when we consider the facts as to either Government or conduct which have been allowed to escape from the dark secrecy at first enforced to conceal still darker deeds, and since acquiesced in from a sense of common disgrace.

It may be admitted, without offence to the feelings of those who remain of the advocates or opponents of transportation during the long struggle which preceded its abolition, that the general raault of that system was deteriorative of the moral sense of the colonies in the same manner as the existence of slavery, while oppressive and degrading to the slave, was gradually lowering the moral perceptions of the slave-holder. In the newspapers of Moreton Bay, for instance, subsequent to the cessation of transportation to New South Wales. I see more than one record of meetings held in favor of the introduction of exiles, as it was called, at which that introduction was enforced wholly from a presumed necessity for cheap labor.* And I am quite sure that, whatever might be the fashionable phraseology in the then colonial circles, where full publicity obtained, the advocacy of transportation as a secondary punishment arose more from a belief in its value as furnishing a supply of cheap labor than from any other cause. A species, if not of contempt, at least of disregard, for the feelings and rights of their servants, naturally are among those accustomed to the enforced labor of prisoners. On the other hand, the servitude thus compiled was, in the great majority of instances, a series of deceptions and shifts to avoid the labour imposed, When a harsh employer resorted to extreme measures, so did his servants; the one appealed to the magistrates for vengeance, the other ran away. This state of relation between employer and employed was a sad contrast to the freedom of engagement and reciprocity of obligation which prevails in a free community, and it is quite impossible that it could have existed so long without a mischievous influence on both classes. It is fortunate that the absolute isolation of Moreton Bay during the penal portion of its existence, and the cessation of the penal transportation system prior to its being thrown open as a free settlement, greatly mitigated the effects of that system to this colony.

[* I take from a report in the Moreton Bay Courier of February 27, 1847, the following in illustration:—It was absolutely that labourers should be introduced into this district. It was only those who resided in the squatting districts who felt severely the present deficiency of labor: it was the great expense to which they were subjected in procuring that, had induced him, and others with energetic measures for facilitating the introduction of laborers from North Australia or Van Dieman's Land into this district."—Speech at a meeting held at Ipswich, February 22, 1847. North Australia was the name proposed for an intended new penal settlement.]

But that isolation, while it lasted, led to great cruelty. I have heard narratives of punishment so ingenious in their refinement of torture, that I am almost disinclined to give credence to the facts they embodied; and yet, from the general concurrence of testimony, can hardly refuse assent And, moreover, statements of the kind involve the citation of authority—a citation in most cases from the evidence of sufferers, and, therefore, it these days, almost as grievous as the original infliction, It seems almost indispensable to abstain from particular instances, although the general conclusions I have derived are exceedingly unfavourable to the commandants of the day. Only, therefore, when proved by independent evidence of the neglect or cruelty of officials, will either be alluded to.

As I have said, Oxley's report of his discoveries met with high admiration; but whether from the superior weight attached to the authority of Flinders, or from his own misgivings, the first settlement was ordered to be not on the shores of the Brisbane, but on the land named by Flinders, Redcliff Point. The brig Amity was sent from Sydney in September, 1824, having on board Mr. Oxley and Lieutenant Millar, with detachment of the 40th, having in charge thirty prisoners, to make the necessary preparations. But the site being found objectionable, a party was sent up the Brisbane to find a more eligible spot. They landed some where in what we now call Petrie's Bight, and found what they were it search of. The establishment was accordingly removed, and the first stet towards the foundation of the City of Brisbane was thus taken. Governor Sir Thomas Brisbane shortly after visited the infant settlement and approved of the new site, ordering, however, that the buildings already erected at Redcliff Point—such as they were—should be left for the use of the natives. The natives showed their matter-of-fact appreciation of the legacy by naming the abandoned place "Humpy Bong," which may be freely translated "the dead houses;" and in process of time the "dead houses" disappeared: I believe but few traces of them remain.

For little more than a year the settlement went on in the usual slow process of receiving additional drafts of convicts, and settling them to the useless and monotonous employments of the day: but in 1825, Captain Logan, of the 57th regiment, was sent to take charge. He seems to have been a man of great energy and indomitable will, but, as is often the case with men thus endowed, of irritable temperament, and when excited, of ungovernable passion. During his government most of the old convict buildings were erected. The prisoners' barracks—the inscrutable looking structure we call our observatory, then used as a windmill—a treadmill in close proximity, an hospital, a receiving store, and four separate convict stations, were all due to his energetic activity. He first discovered the river named after him on the south-eastern side of the bay, on the banks of which we have now a considerable and thriving population. I am sorry to have to record, that on his return from this discovery, wearied and hungry, some breach of discipline being reported to him, his success inspired no feeling of lenity towards the unhappy prisoners. A few years ago there was still in South Brisbane an old pine stump, the remnants of a tree to which, on this occasion, all who were complained of were tied, and suffered the unsparing infliction of the lash.

Logan's energy was not well seconded, nor indeed, was his own zeal always according to knowledge. Valueless land was cleared because the overseers, being rewarded in proportion to quantity, chose the worst and most lightly wooded, and sometimes useful timber was destroyed to obtain worthless land, for, as in our pine forests, the two are often found together. There are well-established anecdotes of one of his superintendents sowing the dressed rice of commerce on Eagle Farm in full expectancy of a crop; and of another, on being asked for a saw-set, referring the applicant to the grindstone. With such assistants, it is not to be wondered at, that jetties were built where they were unapproachable by vessels, and vessels completed where it was impossible to launch them. There was much in all this, in accordance with the practice of all penal colonies, which seems to have been to find employment for the convicts; how, or upon what, being quite a secondary question.

In the first year of Logan's commandantship, he was visited by Major Lockyer, an officer of his own regiment. During his stay in the settlement, Lockyer explored the Brisbane to its junction with one of its principal tributaries, although which, seems uncertain. The creek now named after him can scarcely have been the one, for he represents the Brisbane and the Lockyer as navigable for a whale boat for one hundred and thirty miles from the mouth of the former, the last fifty miles being upon the Lockyer itself. Only in very rainy seasons would the Lockyer be navigable one mile continuously, and, at these times, the strength of the flood would be such as to render the passage of a boat up it altogether impossible. It is not improbable that he rowed up the Bremer, and mistook it for the higher tributary. But, accuracy was by no means a necessary attribute of the narratives of some of the travellers of those early days.

While Logan was alternately exploring and botanising, and flogging, in the Moreton Bay district, Allan Cunningham penetrated the interior from another direction, and discovered the Darling Downs. Previously to the year 1827, the large tract of country "lying on the western side of the Great Dividing Range, between Hunter's River, in latitude 32°. and Moreton Bay, latitude 27° south," was unknown. Oxley had, at one time, contemplated an expedition in that direction, but sickness and infirmity had gained upon him apace, and prevented his active participation in the work. The Government of New South Wales, seeing the possible advantages that might result, furnished an adequate equipment for five months, and placed the expedition under the direction of Cunningham. On April 20, 1827, he started from a station on the Upper Hunter. New South Wales, thence skirting the Liverpool Plains, and crossing a river which he at first thought the Peel River of Oxley, but subsequently named the Gwydir, he continued in a northerly, and afterwards in a north-easterly, direction through a country parched by drought, until he reached a second river, which he named the Dumaresq. Thence being driven by the sterility of the district in a more easterly direction, he reached, on June 5,—

"the confines of a superior country. It was exceedingly cheering to my people, after they had traversed a waste, oftentimes of the most forbiddingly arid character, for a space more or less of eighty miles, and had borne with no ordinary patience a degree of privation to which I had well nigh sacrificed the weaker of my horses, to observe from a ridge which lay on our course, that they were within a day's march of open clowns of unknown extent, which stretched easterly to the base of a lofty range of mountains, distant apparently about twenty-five miles. On the 6th and following day, we travelled throughout the whole extent of these plains to the following of the mountains extending along their eastern side, and the following is the substance of my observation on their extent, soil, and capability.

"These extensive tracts of clear pastoral country, which were subsequently named Darling Downs, in honor of His Excellency the Governor, are situated on or about the mean parallel of 28° S., along which they stretch east eighteen statute miles to the meridian of 152°. Deep ponds, supported by streams from the high lands immediately to the eastward, extend along their central lower flats, and these, when united in a wet season, become an auxiliary to the Condamine river, a stream which winds its course along the south-western margin. The downs, we remarked, varied in breadth in different parts of their lengthened surface; at their western extremity they appeared not to exceed a mile and a half, while towards their eastern limits their width might be estimated at three miles. The lower ground, thus permanently watered, presents flats which furnish an almost inexhaustible range of cattle pasture at all seasons of the year: the grasses and herbage generally exhibiting, in the depth of winter, an extraordinary luxuriance of growth. From these central grounds, rise downs of a rich black and dry soil, and of very ample surface; and as they furnish an abundance of grass, and are conveniently watered, yet perfectly beyond the reach of those floods which take place on the flats in a season of rains, they constitute a valuable and sound sheep pasture. We soon reached the base of some hills connected laterally with that stupendous chain of mountains, the bold outline of which we had beheld with so much interest during the three preceding days. These hills we found clothed from their foot upwards with an underwood of the densest description, in the midst of which, and especially on the ridges, appeared a pine which I immediately discovered to be the same species as that observed in 1842, on the Brisbane river. Encamping, I ascended a remarkable square-topped mount, which formed the termination of one of these ridges, and from its summit had a very extensive view of the country lying between north and south towards the west. At N. and N.N.W., we observed a succession of heavily timbered ridges extending laterally from the more elevated chain of mountains immediately to the east, which evidently forms the great dividing range in this part of the country, whilst from the north-west to west and thence to south, within a range of twenty miles, a most beautifully diversified landscape, made up of hill and dale, woodland and plain, appeared before us.

"Large patches of land, perfectly clear of trees, lying to the north of Darling Downs, were named Peel's Plains, whilst others, bearing to the south and south-east, and which presented an undulated surface, with a few scattered trees, were named after the late Mr. Canning. Directing our view beyond Peel's Plains to the north-west, an expanse of flooded country met the eye, evidently a continuation of those vast levels which we had frequently observed in the progress of our journey, extending to the westward of our line of route, and which, it was now perceived, were continued northerly, at least to the parallel of 27°.

"In a valley which led to the immediate base of the mountain barrier, I fixed my northernmost encampment, determining, as I had not the means of advancing further in consequence of the state of my provisions, and the low condition of my horses, to employ a short period in a partial examination of the principal range, to the western base of which we had penetrated from the southward through a considerable portion of barren interior. In exploring the mountains immediately above our tents, with a view more especially of ascertaining how far a passage could be effected over them to the shores of Moreton Bay, a remarkable excavated part of the Main Range was discovered, which appeared likely to prove a very practicable pass through these mountains to the eastward.*

[* Interior discovery of New South Wales, by Allan Cunningham, Esq., Journal of Royal Geographical Society, vol. ii., p. 3.—The "excavated part," mentioned in the text, is the remarkable one in the Main Range, visible from Windmill Hill, Brisbane, and now very properly named "Cunningham's Gap."]

I have been thus copious in extracting Cunningham's description of the Darling Downs, although it has been frequently quoted before, not only because its unassuming accuracy contrasts so remarkably with the inflated glorification of so many other explorers, but also because his discovery exerted a far greater influence upon the progress of the colony than any made by his contemporaries, or almost by his successors. In fact, I know of none in Australia that can be compared to it in that respect, save, perhaps, the finding of gold upon the advance of Victoria. It was really the opening of that vast expanse of territory which, running northerly and to the west of the Dividing Range, now supports its sheep in millions, and is yet in the infancy of development. I am not aware whether the gentlemen whose stations spread over the Downs have paid the fitting tribute to Cunningham's memory of a memorial on the spot where his northernmost camp was fixed; but, if not, it is to be presumed that want of the requisite information has alone prevented this being done. That such an obstacle shall exist no longer, I notice that the site of that camp was determined by Cunningham to be latitude 28° 10" 45' S.; longitude 152° 7" 45' E.; variation of the compass 8° 18" E.

On June 16, Cunningham put his people in motion on his return homeward. He attempted to shape a more easterly course than that he had arrived by, but soon became involved in a mountainous and frightful region from which he had some difficulty in extricating his party. At length, attaining a lower level, he was enabled to pursue his journey, and reached his point of departure, thirteen weeks after leaving it. On reporting his discoveries to the Government, they directed their attention to a search for some communication between the new country and the coast, and an expedition to test its practicability was resolved upon, the conduct of which was again committed to Cunningham.

In the meantime Logan had not been idle. He traced the Bremer River from its junction with the Brisbane to the site of the present town of Ipswich, which, from the nature of the hills in its vicinity, he designated the Limestone Hills. To utilise the limestone was the next step, and a kiln was built, and lime-burning commenced. These operations were disturbed by the aborigines, to protect the burners from whom a few soldiers were stationed at the place. Logan found the lime useful in his building operations, and Cunningham narrates, that from 300 to 400 bushels were burned weekly at the station, and conveyed to Brisbane by boats. Coal was also found, both above and below the homestead station, and on the banks of creeks dipping to the Bremer, as well as in the bed of the river itself.

In 1828, Cunningham left Port Jackson for Moreton Bay, to ascertain the possibility of connecting the coast with the interior. Immediately on his arrival, Logan and himself attempted to reach the Gap by following up the course of the Logan River, and by Mount Lindsay. In this they were foiled; but, after a short interval of rest, Cunningham again started—this time alone—following up the line of the Bremer, and its main tributary, in a westerly direction. He left the settlement on August 18, and in a week reached the Gap.

"The summit of the pass appeared before us, bounded on each side by most stupendous heads, towering at least 2,000 feet above it. Here the difficulties of the passage commenced. We had now penetrated to the actual foot of the pass without the smallest difficulty; it now remained to ascend by a steep slope to the level of its entrance. This slope is occupied by a very close wood in which red cedar, sassafras, palms, and other ornamental intertropical trees are frequent. Through this shaded wood we penetrated, climbing up a steep bank of very rich loose earth in which large fragments of a very compact rock (a whinstone) are bedded. At length we gained the foot of a wall of bare rock which we found stretching from the southward into the pass. This face of naked rock we perceived (by tracing its base northerly) gradually to fall to the common level, so that, without the smallest difficulty, and to my utmost surprise, we found ourselves on the highest part of the pass, having fully ascertained the extent of the difficult part from the entrance into the wood to this point not to exceed 400 yards. We now pushed our way through this extraordinary defile, and in less than half a mile of level surface, clothed with a thick brush of plants common to the Brisbane River, reached the opposite side of the Main Range, when I observed the water fall westerly to Miller's Valley beneath us. Climbing the northern summit of Mount Mitchell, which bounds the pass on the south, it was with no small pleasure that I passed my eye over the beautiful tract of country at which my labors of last year had closed." *

[* M.S. report to His Excellency Governor Darling, in the archives of the Colonial Secretary's Office, Sydney, New South Wales, as quoted by Dr. Lang, in his "Cooksland,", p. 71.]

Having thus established the practicability of communication from the Downs to the sea-board, Cunningham returned to Sydney, and laid the journal of his expedition before the Governor, Sir Ralph Darling. In the following year he again made a voyage to Moreton Bay, botanical research being the main object of his journey; but he—

"found a short period of his leisure to devote to geographical enquiry; and accordingly, in an excursion to the north-west, I explored that stream (the Brisbane) far towards its source, through an irregular country, which presented much diversity of surface to interest the geographer. During that short journey, in which I employed a small party about six weeks, I traced the principal branch of the river as far as latitude 26° 52', until the channel assumed the character of a chain of very shallow stagnant pools. In this excursion I made such observations as fully established two facts, viz.—That the Brisbane River, at one period supposed ** to be the outlet of the marshes of the Macquarie, &c., originates on the eastern side of the Dividing Range, its chief sources being in elevated lands lying almost on the coast line between the parallels of 26° and 27°; and that the main ranges which separate the coast waters from those that flow inland continue to the north in one unbroken chain as far as the eye could discern from a commanding station near my most distant encampment up the river, and present no opening or hollow part in their elevated ridge through which to admit of a road being made to the interior beyond them. My pass, therefore, through those lofty mountains—the mean elevation of which above the shores of Moreton Bay, cannot be less than 4,000 feet—seems thus the only opening to the interior country, from the coast, between the parallels of 26° and 29° south." ***

[** By Oxley.]

[*** Interior discovery in New South Wales, R.G.S. Journal, vol. ii., pp. 117, 118.]

In this last journey of Cunningham in the Moreton Bay district, he had three collisions with the natives, seemingly without the slightest provocation on his side. His humanity was as conspicuous as his courage in these encounters, which resulted in no great damage to the explorers or their assailants. His opinion as to the impracticability of reaching the Downs from the seaward, except by the "Gap," has been refuted by subsequent experience, which will be narrated in its proper place. But I am not surprised that he arrived at that erroneous conclusion, for, from the peculiar overlapping of the spurs which project eastward from the Main Range—in some cases for many miles—there is not, that I am aware, a single break perceptible from the plains below, except the "Gap" in the mountain wall, between the parallels he mentions.

When Cunningham had completed his task, in the discovery of a line of communication between Brisbane and the Downs, and thus increased a hundredfold the value of that great pastoral interior, the zeal of the Government seems to have cooled, and nothing was done till long afterwards to improve the natural facilities, or reduce the natural difficulties of the route. The principal object of the local authorities appears to have been the perfect isolation of the settlement (approach to which, within fifty miles, was strictly prohibited), and this so far as they could they vigorously maintained. Captain Logan continued his botanical and exploratory surveys, and his iron severity until October, 1830, when he was murdered while absent on a short expedition. He had left his camp in the morning, and, not returning, the men attached to his party, searching without effect, returned and reported his loss. Captain Clunie, the next in command, sent a party out, who, on the fifth day of their search, came upon the dead body of Logan, pierced with a spear, and beaten with waddies. Much indignation has been levelled at the "cruel and ferocious blacks," who were assumed to have been the murderers; but there seems reason to suppose that the contemporary rumours of participation in the murder, by some of the white criminals, were not altogether unfounded. So far as I have been able to ascertain, that impression still remains among the few survivors of that period. Logan's body was conveyed to Sydney and received the honor of a public funeral.

After Logan's death, Captain Clunie (of the 17th) succeeded to the commandantship, which he held about four years, during which time the course of events in the settlement proper, presented nothing but its ordinary monotonous round. On his removal in 1835, he was succeeded by Captain Fyans (of the 4th), who remained only two years. Some of the most interesting memoranda I have been able to collect touching the penal period, I have derived from the journal of a visit to Moreton Bay during his tenure of office, published in London in 1843. The writer, James Backhouse, a benevolent Quaker, accompanied by his friend George Washington Walker, who afterwards settled in Tasmania, left England in 1831, and spent nearly seven years in travelling through the known Australian settlements of the day. Actuated, in the quaint language of the recommendatory letters of the society, by an apprehension of religions duty resting on their minds to visit in the love of the Gospel some of the inhabitants of the British colonies of New Holland, Van Diemen's Land, and South Africa, these benevolent minded men did not spare themselves in the execution of their design. At some risk, and with some personal fatigue they travelled during nearly seven years through New South Wales and Tasmania, and visited Norfolk Island, and the result of their impressions, while not wanting in shrewdness, is singularly free from acrimonious or unnecessary censure. In the fourth year of their journeyings, they obtained permission from Sir Richard Bourke, at the time Governor of the colony, to visit Moreton Bay, where they arrived in 1836, and were received by Captain Fyans with "all the attention and accommodation our circumstances required." Their attention was first directed to the settlement, and I extract their description of Brisbane as it appeared to them.

"3rd month, 29th day:—After making a hearty breakfast, we set out to inspect the settlement of what is called Brisbane Town: it consists of the houses of the Commandant and other officers, the barracks for the military, and those for the male prisoners, a treadmill, stores, &c. It is prettily situated on the north bank of the River Brisbane, which is navigable fifty miles further up for small sloops, and has some fine cleared and cultivated land on the south side bank opposite the town. Adjacent to the Government House, are the Commandant's garden, and twenty-two acres of Government gardens for the growth of sweet potatoes, cabbages, and other vegetables for the prisoners. Bananas, grapes, guavas, pine apples, citrons, lemons, shaddocks, etc., thrive luxuriantly in the open ground. The climate being nearly tropical, sugar canes are grown for fencing, and there are a few thriving coffee plants, but not old enough to bear fruit. The bamboo and Spanish reed have been introduced. . . Coffee and sugar will probably at some time be cultivated as crops. The surrounding country is undulating and covered with trees. To the west there is a range of high woody hills distant, in a direct line, four miles. . . . The treadmill is generally worked by twenty-five prisoners at a time, but when it is used as a special punishment, sixteen are kept upon it fourteen hours, with only the interval of release afforded by four being off at a time in succession. They feel this extremely irksome at first, but, notwithstanding the warmth of the climate, they become so far accustomed to the labour by long practice as to bear the treadmill with comparatively little disgust, after working upon it for a considerable number of days. Many of the prisoners were occupied in landing cargoes of maize or Indian corn from a field down the river, and others in divesting it of the husks. To our regret, we heard an officer swearing at the men, and using other improper and exasperating language. The practice is forbidden by the Commandant; but it is not uncommon, and, in its effects, is, perhaps, equally hardening to those who are guilty of it, and those who are under them. . . . We visited the prisoners' barracks—a large stone building, calculated to accommodate 1,000 men, but now occupied by 311. We also visited the penitentiary for female prisoners, seventy-one of whom are here. Most of them, as well as of the men, have seen re-transported for crimes that have been nurtured by strong drink. The women were employed in washing, needlework, picking oakum, and nursing. A few of them were very young. Many of them seemed far from sensible of their miserable condition." *

[* Narrative of a visit to the Australian Colonies, by James Backhouse. London, 1843.]

We read at this day, with some surprise, not unmixed with pity, that at the Eagle Farm establishment there were forty females employed in field labor. They were kept in close confinement during the night, and strictly watched in the day time; yet it was found very difficult to maintain order. Some wore chains to keep them from absconding. What the life must have been that rendered association with the blacks of Moreton Bay preferable to its endurance, must be left to those who choose to dwell upon the subject to conceive. Any reformatory effect must have been equally beyond expectation and possibility; and to say the truth, there seems to have been little effort in that direction. Backhouse nowhere mentions an official religious instructor as resident on the settlement.

"4th month, 1st day, being the day called Good Friday,' no work was exacted from the prisoners, but they, with the military and civil officers, whether Protestant or Roman Catholic, assembled as on First days in the chapel,** when the prayers and lessons of the Episcopal Church, with a few omissions in deference to the Roman Catholics, were read in a becoming manner by the superintendent of convicts." And, "at Eagle Farm, we again visited the female prisoners, for whom a selection of tracts were left with their superintendent; they expressed thankfulness for them, being very destitute of books—even of Bibles, which the prisoners generally have not access to even on First days."

[** For many years used as a Supreme Court House, and for other official purposes, but now (1881) pulled down and the site sold.]

When leaving the settlement Messrs. Backhouse and Walker were detained at the Pilot Station by contrary winds, and they landed at Amity Point for change, as well as for the performance of their self-imposed duties. This occurring in April, the weather was hot, and the travellers gave some handkerchiefs to the boat's crew in acknowledgment of their services.

"Though prisoners, they may be allowed to wipe the perspiration from their faces with them; but so strict is the discipline, that they would not be allowed to tie them round their necks Some of the soldiers and prisoners applied for tracts, which they received gratefully along with a few books—including a Testament. They are very destitute of books, the only Bible I heard of at the station belonging to the pilot." *

[* "While in Moreton Bay we were surprised by hearing the blacks call biscuits 'five islands'; this, we learned, arose from some men who, several years ago, were driven from the part of the Illawarra coast, called the Five Islands, having held up biscuit to the blacks, and sail 'five islands,' in the hope of learning from them the direction of their lost home. The blacks, however, mistook this for the name of the biscuits, and hence have continued to call them by that name."—Narrative, page 377. These men were, no doubt, Pamphlet Finnegan, and Parsons, before referred to in connection with the discovery of the Brisbane.]

Messrs. Backhouse and Walker left the shores of Moreton Bay on April 17, 1836; after their departure, as far as I can find, the settlement remained, with one exception, unvisited until the opening of the district for immigration, save by prisoners and officials and small vessels bringing the necessary supplies; and, at a later period, a favoured few who obtained permission to reside for purposes of trade.

From the time of Messrs. Backhouse and Walker's visit, the district seems for a time to have slept the dead sleep of inane criminality. No improvement was made in its material condition, and no labour was entered upon tending towards it. At the time the convict establishment was formally broken up, every record that might have thrown light upon the procedure of the preceding sixteen years, was carefully removed, and the miserable dilapidation of the buildings left, was the sole testimony that remained of the indolent apathy with which the resources of a dying-out system were employed in the latter days of its existence. I have seen one book of memoranda, by which it would seem, from the kind and quantity of tailoring and cobbling recorded, that the higher class of officials were not unmindful of the value of an economically supplied wardrobe. In fact, from all I can learn, the prisoners when not employed on such cultivation as was indispensable, were generally engaged in the most useless possible avocations. As to moral improvement, we may judge of the effort made towards it by the good Quakers' narrative. When even the formality of an official religious instruction was omitted, books almost unknown, and all labour reduced to a mere mechanical routine of the simplest and dullest kind, it is not to be wondered at, that the criminal became desperately wicked, the simple idiotic, and the active mad. They who emerged from that slough fit for association with the ordinary society of a civilised community, deserve far greater credit than most of their one-time gaolers; for such an escape must be rewarded as in direct opposition to the inevitable influences of the system those gaolers were appointed to, and did, encourage and enforce.

What, however, was denied to the criminal population, the enthusiasm of some German missionaries, aided by a man whose name is identified with the history of Australia—the late Rev. Dr. Lang—attempted to supply to the aborigines.

"Two regularly ordained ministers, both married, and ten lay missionaries, most of whom were also married, and all of whom had been for some time in training for the work of missionaries to the heathen," *

[* Lang's Cooksland, p. 465.]

formed a party, who arrived in Moreton Bay in 1838. £450 was obtained from the Imperial Government towards their expenses, and by an arrangement made by Dr. Lang with a relative, another £150 became available under the then immigration laws of New South Wales. A moderate quantity of land was set aside for the purposes of the mission, about seven miles from the settlement, and there, under circumstances of much hardship, and sometimes of absolute privation, the German mission commenced its work.

During all this time the general tendency of circumstances was towards the opening of the district as a free settlement. The rapid increase in the flocks and herds of the New South Wales squatters drove them to enlarge their borders, and the discoveries of Cunningham were turned to with longing eyes. The vigorous efforts made in England, as well as in the colonies, for the abolition of transportation to New South Wales, were fast reaching the wished for end, and it became evident that this result being arrived at, the occupation of the Darling Downs, and their connection with Moreton Bay, must necessarily compel the cessation of the system there as much as at Port Jackson. To those, and they are not a few, amongst us, who are apt to depreciate the labours of science, I may commend the fact, that to the exertions of a single explorer, is primarily due the contemporaneous deliverance of this district with that of the parent colony, from the evils of the convict system. Had no overland route been found by Cunningham between the Upper Hunter River and Moreton Bay, the isolation of the Brisbane district would have left it open to the importation of criminals, just as Van Diemen's Land was left, and in all probability for as long a period.

Captain Fyans left in the year 1837, and was succeeded by Major Cotton, who, during his two years' stay, did, and left, nothing worthy of record. After him a three months command was held by Lieutenant Gravatt, and in 1839 the last commandant, Lieutenant Gorman (of the 80th), commenced the task of gradually clearing away the remnants of a convict condition. The vessel which came for the remaining prisoners brought the officials to whom were entrusted the task of regularly surveying the country and laying out the future City of Brisbane. A good deal had been done towards the exploration of the surrounding districts by the late Mr. A. Petrie, who was sent in 1837 to take charge of the Government buildings, and to whom this colony is indebted for valuable information which, although not always well employed, tended to the promotion of its ultimate settlement. And thus the ground was gradually clearing for that opening of the district to a population which the first abolition of transportation to New South Wales in 1840 necessitated. No criminals were sent to Moreton Bay for penal punishment after 1839, and on May 5, in that year, every convict, save such as were thought indispensable for the settlement, and to make up the surveyors' parties, was withdrawn. I am therefore inclined to consider 1839 as the real termination of the penal era in this district, and the period between that year and the formal proclamation of Moreton Bay as a free settlement in 1842, as one of preparation for the requirements which the new state of things would involve. The grub had passed into the chrysalis condition. What the full development would result in remained to be seen.






{Page 29}

CHAPTER III.

1839-1843.

Brisbane at the termination of the Penal Era—Surveying Operations and Murder of Stapylton—Formation of Squatting Stations on the Downs—Stokes' Voyage to the Gulf of Carpentaria in 1840—Proclamation of the whole District as a Free Settlement in May, 1842—Governor Gipps' Visit in 1842, and Plans for Brisbane and Ipswich by his direction—Discouragement by him of the Moravians—The Roman Catholic Mission to the Aborigines—Failure of both Missions—First Land Sale in 1842—First Representative Institutions granted to New South Wales—First Election—Progress of Settlement—Poisoning of the Aborigines.


We now arrive at a period of the narrative whose interest, not, perhaps immediately apparent, grows upon us as it proceeds. The process of free settlement commenced under no small difficulties, arising partly from previous conditions of existence, partly from remoteness of position, and partly from misconception of the probable future of the district—a misconception which sometimes by the arts of speculators unduly anticipated a rapid growth and early prosperity: but most persons understood Moreton Bay as destined to remain, except as a profitable appanage to the parent colony, a mere outpost of a not very refined civilisation. The actual state of the place afforded little to contradict the more depreciating supposition.

At the time when the convict rule was supposed to be nigh its end, Brisbane existed almost only in name. There were no streets, and nothing that could by any stretch of the imagination, be tortured into a town. Fronting the river, adjoining what is now called William Street, stood the modest wooden residence of the Commandant.* In its rear was a long row of old rubble buildings for the minor officials and servants immediately attached to him; some of these rooms are still remaining behind an hotel in George Street, close to Telegraph Lane. At some distance further up the river, were the commissariat quarters, now the office of the Colonial Secretary, and next to them the military barracks, at present occupied by the Colonial Treasurer and a host of the Civil Service. The hospital, transformed into a police barracks, has recently been removed for our new Law Courts. The old prisoners' barracks, which successively accommodated our legislature, our law courts, and I know not what besides, were as, until recently, we saw them—odd-looking and ugly. The wind-mill usefully occupied the building now called the Observatory, and on another and slighter eminence, stood the female factory, until of late the Police Court and Lock-up, now removed to make way for the Telegraph Office. Farther on the road to Breakfast Creek—for Fortitude Valley then had no name—was the house of the clerk of the works. Beyond these and a few temporary huts, there was nothing to indicate a town; and with the exception of the garden and cultivated ground mentioned in "Backhouse's Journal," all was "bush."

[* This, with much of the wood work of the old hospital was prepared in Sydney, and sent to Moreton Bay to be fixed, although timber a ply suited for the purpose was growing all around. The only advantage resulting from this—if it could be so called—was an entomological one. A peculiarly large venomous spider, a native of Ceylon, came in the timber, part of which was teak and took up its quarters in the old hospital, where the species long flourished, to the annoyance of the inmates.]

Three surveyors, Messrs. Dixon, Stapylton, and Warner, were sent to survey the country round the bay, prior to active measures being taken for its settlement; but the course adopted under the direction of the Sydney Government was marked by vacillation and inutility. The first attempt made, in July, 1840, was to survey the coast, in order to connect Moreton Bay with the Richmond River, a work whose immediate value it is difficult to perceive. Messrs. Dickson and Warner were to commence at the Bay, while Mr. Stapylton was to go overland, and run the Richmond down to an agreed point of junction. It is exceedingly doubtful whether at the time, Stapylton could have penetrated the frightful country into which this useless work would have led him; he and his party were, however, unfortunately surprised by the blacks near Mount Lindsay, and, with the exception of one man, cruelly murdered. The survivor had been left apparently dead on the coals used to destroy the rest, on the remains of which he was found, but was recovered by care and attention, and, a few years since, I believe, was still living. This misfortune terminated the survey of the coast. The next proceeding was to measure off a base line on Normanby Plains, a few miles west of Ipswich, for a trigonometrical survey, which was persevered in for some time; and then a similar work was commenced near Brisbane. Meanwhile, Mr. Dixon was recalled, and a Mr. Wade sent in his stead; the plans and records of the work done being forwarded to New South Wales, and, so far as the district of Moreton Bay was concerned, never more heard of. An expenditure of time, skill, and money, so little calculated to advantage the settlement, was thus fitly concluded.

During this time the prohibition of approach within fifty miles of Brisbane remained in force, although occasional permissions were obtained from the New South Wales Government for its suspension. The absence of surveys for the town rendered it impossible for any intending trader to secure a permanent site, and those who came, had to take their chance, while, in fact, considerable hesitancy was shown in permitting free settlers to come at all. A small schooner called the John, commenced trading between Sydney and Brisbane in 1840, but, when we know that it was only of sixty tons burthen, we may imagine the limited extent of the traffic.

While the course of change, slow but sure, was thus advancing in the immediate district of Moreton Bay, the progress of pastoral settlement on the Darling Downs was more rapid. The Messrs. Leslie, two enterprising settlers of position and means, formed the station of Canning Downs, in 1840. Shortly afterwards, that of Rosenthal was settled upon for the Peel River Company, and the sound of occupying footsteps fell continuously upon the ear of the dismayed savage, until he had no longer a spot on all those fertile plains which he could look upon as his own.

It was impossible that this rapid work of settlement should be effected without dispute and conflict with the native tribes. Robbery and murder by the blacks, and retaliatory indiscriminate slaughter by the whites, followed in quick succession. Station after station was formed, and every new occupancy drove the aborigines backwards, or might, perhaps, more truly be said to have hastened their extermination. In the mass of conflicting statements, it is difficult to determine with whom actual hostilities began; but it seems consistent with probability that the natives of the Darling Downs had long before been warned by the gossip of the tribes of the unfriendly nature of the white's occupation; and looking upon it at the very commencement as an aggression, acted, according to their light, in self-defence, when they killed his flocks and assailed himself. When did civilization and barbarism come into contact without such a result? It is more easy to deplore the evils of the collision than to see how they might have been prevented. That they were incalculably increased by the unreasoning and wicked course pursued by some of the settlers, it seems to me impossible to doubt.

Whatever may be thought of the conduct of the settlers towards the blacks, there can be no question as to their energy in making the most of the opportunities presented for their own immediate purposes. The facilities of passage through Cunningham's Gap were examined, when it was found that the difficulties were far greater than his memoir left reason to expect, although it is but right to say that the oldest surveyor we have in this colony (Mr. Warner) has expressed strong doubts to me whether the precise line of Cunningham's real route has ever yet been found. But however great the difficulty might be, yet, in the judgment of the pioneers of settlement, it was thought better to encounter it than the dangers and distance of an overland journey from Sydney. In 1840, the first drays passed through Cunningham's Gap, and early in 1841, Mr. Patrick Leslie, made the first family journey from Brisbane to the Darling Downs. By this time the trade had so far increased, as to justify the occasional despatch of a steamer from Sydney by the then Hunter River Steam Navigation Company, and Mr. Leslie and his family came in the Shamrock.

When Mr. Leslie and his party arrived at Brisbane, his first care was accommodation for the night, which, when hotels as yet were not, was a matter of some moment. The hospitality of the Commandant, due probably as well to the respectability of his visitors as to the claims of a stranger, provided for them in various ways. My informant, with some of his companions, found their quarters in the outbuildings of the modest Residence, the blankets they carried with them forming couch and coverlet on the boarded floors. The following day they swam their stock across the Brisbane, with the exception of one valuable horse which had been purchased for stud purposes. There was no punt available for his passage, and one had to be obtained from the station at Woogaroo. Once fairly across the river, they went on to Limestone (now Ipswich), and found quarters with one of the officials in charge, at a place half barn half barracks, in which he was permitted to entertain the few who came his way. In those primitive days the master was almost invariably his own ostler, happy if he was not as well his own cook and laundress; and the young traveller seeing a tall good humoured looking man busy in the primitive stables, asked him who he might be. The answer was a little enigmatical, and a good deal jocose; and a sort of general conversation followed, in which the past of the one, and the expectations of the other, were freely communicated. A little surprise was felt by the new comer when entering the place appropriated for meals, he saw his recently gained friend take the head of the table, and, in a strong Yorkshire accent, bid the travellers make themselves at home. The embarrassment did not, however, affect his appetite or his rest. The next day the travellers continued their route across Normanby Plains towards the almost unknown interior, when they began their upward toil. The progress was naturally slow, and camping out at night—no unpleasant experience in a climate like that of Queensland when the weather is favourable—was the rule. On one occasion the horse of which I have spoken, was left in charge of the youth to whom he was accustomed, while the remainder of the party went their different ways to provide the necessary contingencies to the night's rest. Wearied by his day's toil, and lulled by the dreamy solitude by which he was surrounded, he fell asleep. The pawing and snorting of the beast awoke him to an unaccustomed sight—that of three tall sinewy savages; their heads wreathed with feathers, and their bodies striped with the yellow earth in which they delighted—all armed with spears and other weapons, strange enough in the eyes of him whom they had surprised. He was unsuspicious of danger, and a parley, such as could be maintained, began. They made him understand they wanted "bread," "bacca," and "five allan." *. The two former he had not with him, the last demand he did not understand. He was beginning to get a little embarrassed, when, to his great relief, Mr. Walter Leslie returned; and, at sight of an armed man, the blacks fled. The full extent of the youth's danger was then explained to him, and the whole party put upon their guard. As night came on, one of their number, without experience in bush travel, and seeing lights flickering in the thick scrub, became greatly alarmed, fancying them the signals of an army of natives. One of more travel, after enjoying the joke, dispelled his fears by quietly informing him that what he saw was nothing more dreadful than the flashing of the fire-flies. Still they were sufficiently prudent to keep strict watch till daylight came.

[* "Five allan," see note, Chapter ii., p. 26.]

With the light came hunger, and darkness and fear departing together, one of the Messrs. Leslie took the youth with him in search of game. They fell in with a bustard—similar, I suppose, to that which delighted the hearts of Cook and his companions seventy-one years before—which, having to carry for four miles, naturally still occurs to the bearer as one of the largest, if not the largest, he has ever met with. The flavor was equal in its way to its size; and cheered and strengthened by the meal and a subsequent rest, they commenced the main ascent. What Cunningham thought easy, they, if they really hit upon his track, found difficult; and not without much hard work—for the toil of twelve bullocks during fourteen hours, brought a light dray only six miles further on the way—did they overcome the last "pinch." From that to Canning Downs was easy travelling, and eight days after leaving Brisbane, they found themselves settled to their respective avocations.

While the pastoral settlement of the western interior was thus progressing, and the Government of New South Wales becoming more alive to the value of the district, the progress of discovery was not unimportant in other directions. The discoveries and surveys of Flinders and King had left many portions of our northern coast yet unknown. Those able navigators, not less than their cotemporaries and many of their followers, were firm in believing that the deep bays known to indent a large portion of the north-western shores, received the waters of extensive rivers, the discovery of which would not only open a route to the interior, but afford facilities for colonizing a part of Australia so near to India, as to render its occupation a matter of evident importance. The English Government determined therefore to despatch another expedition to survey and explore those parts of our shores which were wholly or in part unknown to Flinders and King. For this purpose, early in July, 1837, they despatched the Beagle, sloop of war, under the command of Captain Wickham. Lieutenant Stokes, whose history I have before me, accompanying him in the first instance as first lieutenant and assistant surveyor. The little importance attached to Moreton Bay at that time, is evidenced by the circumstance, that I do not find any allusion to it as a settlement throughout the narrative, although the Beagle's first visit to our shores was in June, 1838, in which month she was off Breaksea Spit. There is, indeed, little of Stokes' narrative of special value in this history, until it brings us to his discoveries in the Gulf of Carpentaria, where the Beagle arrived in June, 1841; the now rapid spread of settlement and flow of enterprise invest them with such interest as to justify somewhat extended quotation.

After some casual surveying, the voyagers determined to ascertain if the supply of water found by Flinders on Sweer's Island continued available, and with that view they sailed for the island, where they arrived on July 8, in the same year.

"The Investigator's old well was discovered half-a-mile eastward of the point, on the SE. extreme of the island, to which I gave the name of Point Inscription, from a very interesting discovery we made of the name of Flinders' ship cut in a tree near the well, and still perfectly legible, although nearly forty years old. . . . On the opposite side of the trunk the Beagle's name and the date of our visit was cut. . . . I forthwith resolved that the first river we discovered in the Gulf should be named the Flinders, as the tribute to his memory which it was best becoming in his humble follower to bestow, and that which would most successfully serve the purpose of recording his services on this side of the continent." *

[* Stokes' Discoveries in Australia, vol. ii., p. 271.]

I hope rather than expect, that those who may have followed Lieutenant Stokes, have displayed equal good feeling, and spared the old tree which records the visits of the Beagle and Investigator.

Stokes dug another well at what he thought a more convenient spot, and, at the extreme of Point Inscription, found excellent water at a depth of twenty-five feet,** "pouring through a rock of concreted sand, pebbles, and shells." His observations at this portion of his narrative are well worthy of extract.

[** Ibid., pp. 271 and 274.]

"This was a very important discovery, as Investigator Road is the only anchorage for vessels of all sizes at the head of the Gulf in either monsoon, and possesses an equal supply of wood, fish, and birds. . . . And lastly, I should observe, that in case of our being fortunate enough to find rivers or fertile country on the southern shores of the Gulf, we at once saw we might look forward to the time when Investigator Road (the road fully deserves the name of a good port, being four miles in length by one in breadth, with a depth of from four to six fathoms; and sheltered at all points, except from south to SSE., in which direction the shoalness of the shore prevents any sea from getting up), should be the port from which all the produce of the neighbouring parts of the continent must be shipped." *

[* Stokes' Discoveries in Australia, vol. ii., pp. 271 and 274.]

A careful and accurate survey was therefore made, and the results were in every respect satisfactory.

On the evening of July 28, the explorers discovered the mouth of the first river they found in the Gulf, and which they named the Flinders; and on August 1, they entered another river, which we know as the Albert. I regret that the demands on my space prevent my extraction of the whole of the very vivid account which Stokes gives of the two discoveries, but I cannot deny myself the pleasure of laying before my readers a few especially eloquent and suggestive passages. The opening of the Albert had seemed so favorable, that Stokes made up a party and left the Beagle with the gig and the whale boat on the evening of the day he returned from Flinders.

"The prospects that lay before us raised our spirits to the highest, and the weather clear, cool, and bracing, could not be more favourable, the temperature being 60°. The ripples rolled rapidly, expanding from the boat's bows over the smooth glassy surface of the water, whilst the men stretched out as if unconscious of the exertion of pulling, every one of them feeling his share of the excitement. From the western sky the last lingering rays of the sun shot athwart the way, turning it, as it were, by the alchemy of light into a flood of gold. Over head the cope of heaven was gradually growing soberer in hue from the withdrawal of these influences, which lately had warmed and brightened it; but in the west a brilliant halo encircled the decling [sic] ruler of the day. The sunset as brief as beautiful, night rapidly came on, and presently the masts of the ship could no longer be seen, and we were pursuing our way in darkness towards the mouth of the opening. After vainly endeavouring to get on the bank extending off the mouth, in the dark, we anchored the boats outside. The awnings were spread, and the kettle for our evening's meal was soon hissing over a blazing fire. Of all things tea is the most refreshing after a day's fatigue; there is nothing that so soon renovates the strength and cheers the spirits, and on this occasion, especially, we experienced a due portion of its invigorating effects. The grog was afterwards served out, pipes and cigars were lighted, the jest was uttered, and the tale went round; some fished, though with little success, and the officers busied themselves with preparations for the morrow's work. But all things must end.; the stories at length flagged; the fishermen grew tired, and getting into our blanket-bags, with a hearty good night we resigned ourselves with the exception of the look-out, to the arms of slumber The general direction we pursued was still south, for six miles by the windings of the stream, which was so reduced in breadth and volume, as to be scarcely a hundred yards wide, and not a fathom deep. There was now little hope that it would lead into fresh water, although, from the number of trials that were made, I am sure there was salt water enough drank, to have physicked a whole village. . . Nothing now remained but to retrace our steps and try the other branch. . . . At the end of three miles in a W. by S. direction, nearly doubled by the windings, we passed an island on the left, the depth at low water so far being nearly two fathoms, and the width about 250 yards, promised well. Water-tasting had now become nearly out of fashion; however, it so happened, that one of the whaler's crew put his hand over and gave us the delightful news that the stream was quite fresh! A general tasting followed, each being anxious to get the first draught of the water of our new found river; and the agreeable intelligence was confirmed. Of the importance of our discovery, there could now no longer be any doubt, and the exhilarating effect it produced on all was quite magical, every arm stretching out as if the fatigue they had experienced had suddenly passed away. . . . . The country was gradually becoming perceptibly higher, and the scenery extremely picturesque. Tall palm trees and bamboos were now to be seen among the rich foliage on the lower slope of the banks that rose here to an elevation of fifty feet, and were much intersected with water courses. Onwards we hurried, the influence of the tide being scarcely felt, and the river preserving its SW½S. direction, with a width of two hundred yards, and a depth of two fathoms and a-half. At the end of three miles no change was perceptible, and we began to congratulate ourselves on at last having found a stream that would carry the boats far towards the point it was always my ambition to reach—the centre of the continent. . . . It was in truth as glorious a prospect as could greet the eye. A magnificent sheet of water lay before us, one unbroken expanse, resembling a smooth translucent lake. Its gentle repose harmonised exquisitely with the slender motionless boughs of the drooping gums, palms, and acacias, that clustered on the banks, and dipped their feathery foliage in the limpid stream, that, like a polished mirror, bore within its bosom the image of the graceful vegetation by which it was bordered. The report of our guns as they dealt destruction among the quails that here abounded, rolled for the first time along the waters of the Albert, breaking in on the hush of stillness that appeared to reign over all like the presence of a spirit. The country that stretched away from either bank was an extensive plain, covered with long coarse grass, above which was occasionally seen the head of a kangaroo listening with his acute ear for our approach. . . . In our eagerness to proceed, we moved off rapidly up the river, after a hasty meal. All beyond was mystery, and it seemed that we were destined to remain in suspense: for the day soon closed in, leaving only the pale light of the moon to guide us. The depth continued regular at two and a-half fathoms, and the width two hundred yards. We hastened on, the night scenery being almost more beautiful than the day; the heavens seemed more deep, the water more glittering, the trees more graceful and feathery, and here and there a tall palm raised its thin and spectral form above the dense foliage through which the moonlight broke at intervals, and fell, as it were, in showers of silver on the placid waters." *

[* Stokes' Discoveries, vol. ii., p. 303.]

Seven miles of progress further, and they were obstructed by fallen timber, they then returned and took another branch, where they were again stopped by the same hindrance. Here they landed, it being now clear that all hope of water carriage to the interior was at an end.

"The boats were at this time above fifty miles from the entrance, and our provisions only admitting of the remainder of the day being spent in land exploration, a party was immediately selected for the purpose. Following up a short woody valley, and reaching the summit of the level, a view burst upon me. . . A vast boundless plain lay before us, here and there dotted with woodland isles. . The river could be traced to the southward by a waving line of green trees; the latter were larger at this spot than in any other part, and consisted of tall palms, and three kinds of gums. No trace of the western branch could be discovered. . . The line of verdure still pointed out the southerly course of the river across the endless plains, and it became natural to speculate on its source or origin; whether it was the drainage of a swamp, or the outlet of some lagoon fed by the Cordillera to the eastward. But to speculation alone was I reduced, it not being permitted to me to clear the point: all I could do, was to give one lingering look to the southward before I returned. In that direction, however, no curling smoke denoted the presence of the savage; all was lonely and still; and yet even in these deserted plains, equally wanting in the redundance of animal as in the luxuriance of vegetable life, I could discover the rudiments of future prosperity, and ample justification of the name which I had bestowed upon them.** I gazed around despite my personal disappointment, with feelings of hopeful gratitude to Him who had spared not so fair a dwelling place for his creatures, and could not help breathing a prayer, that ere long the now level horizon would be broken by a succession of tapering spires rising from the many Christian hamlets that must ultimately stud this country, and pointing through the calm depths of the intensely blue and gloriously bright skies of Imperial Australia, to a still calmer and brighter and more glorious region beyond, to which all our sublimest aspirations tend, and where all our holiest desires may be satisfied." ***

[** The "Plains of Promise," now a familiar enough name. But, as showing how strongly difference of season may affect the northern territory, Gregory, when passing over the Plains in 1858. found anything but a paradise. Still, the balance of experience now is in their favour.]

[*** Stokes' Discoveries, vol. ii., p. 316.]

Stokes ascertained his position to be in latitude 17° 58½' S., longitude 7° 12½' E. of Port Essington, or 129° 25' E. of Greenwich; and an admirable "point of departure" for exploratory expeditions to the interior. Thus terminated his exploration of the southern shores of the Gulf of Carpentaria, nearly two hundred miles of which had been minutely examined in the boats. Twenty-six inlets had been discovered, of which two proved to be rivers, whilst three more were nearly as promising.

After leaving the Gulf of Carpentaria, the Beagle proceeded on her way, and after touching at various points, arrived at Spithead on September 30, 1843, after an absence of more than six years. The additions made by this voyage to the geographical knowledge of our coasts, were of considerable importance, and the clear and sometimes eloquent language in which the discoveries made are described, places Stokes' narrative beyond the ordinary level of the "travels" of those days. More extraordinary is the continuously generous feeling which I find in all these narratives, from Flinders' downwards. The respect paid by Flinders to Cook, was reflected again upon him by King, and Stokes never fails to render the fitting tribute to the labours of his illustrious predecessors. Not what each might claim for himself, but what he might best learn was the rightful possession of those who went before him, seems to have been the principle observed by all. They were all men who wrought for the work's sake, and while not unconscious of the value of personal reputation, thought less of it than of the honest performance of duty by which it was necessarily followed. I do not doubt that the perceptible existence of this spirit amongst them has gone far to impart that authority to their investigations and narratives which they have long and deservedly possessed.

The discoveries of Stokes on the north-western coast were unknown to the little community struggling into existence on the shores of Moreton Bay; but the exertions of Cunningham were now to bear due fruit. The growth of the settlements on the Darling Downs, and the gradual extension to the seaward, together with the favourable reports from the officials of the locality, stimulated the New South Wales Government to a tardy recognition of its value. In May, 1842, the whole district was proclaimed open for free settlement. The proclamation was preceded by a visit from the then Governor, Sir George Gipps, who came to look at the new district himself, and to determine, from personal inspection, upon the plans preparing for the two towns of Brisbane and Ipswich—to which latter name that of Limestone was to be changed.

When the plans of the town of Brisbane were submitted to Sir George Gipps, he evidently looked at them as for simply an ordinary provincial settlement. That it should at any time become the capital of the district or its permanent port, seems never to have distinctly presented itself to his mind—or, indeed, at that time, to the mind of any one. Four or five years afterwards, Dr. Lang, in his "Cooksland," discussed the claims to that distinction of Cleveland, between the outlets of the Brisbane and the Logan, and Toorbal, in that passage between the main land and Bribie Island, which Flinders had called the Pumice Stone River—giving the preference to the latter. Even in 1860 the idea of making Cleveland the commercial port of the district had not been abandoned. I am, therefore, prepared to believe, that at the time of Sir George Gipps' visit, when, as yet, no town was, the attention of the few officials was directed more to the extraction of revenue from the site they had than to the investigation of its value as a port or capital. In fact, the natural thought of any one who merely casually considered the subject then would have been, that for a port, the settlement was too far up a river, supposed to be encumbered by shoals and bars like the Brisbane; and that where almost everything was in the future, the final selection of the harbor necessarily belonged to the future also.

The level ground available for the town was very small, and hence a difference arose as to the width of the streets, and the size of the allotments. Assuming that the population would always be inconsiderable, Governor Gipps wished for the ordinary arrangement of an Australian village—roads sixty-six feet wide, and allotments of a quarter of an acre each; but, ultimately, after some opposition from the local surveyors, the width of the principal street was increased to about eighty feet, and the general town allotments were diminished in size to admit of the change. A public quay was left on the north side, which, commencing where the natural facilities admitted, near to the end of Queen Street, was to be continued as time required—the necessary reserve being made—to Breakfast Creek. The open space in the centre of the town, on which the female factory stood, was left as a sort of place or square, which, either for health or effect, would have been of great value to its appearance. The cupidity of some prominent residents subsequently teased the New South Wales Government into the idea of abandoning the idea of the quay, and selling its site. In revenge for an electoral defeat, the first Queensland Ministry deprived the town of its central square, and divided most of the space into small and crowded allotments, to the permanent damage and discomfort of the whole city. The principal initiators of these several injuries still enjoy the reputation due to wisdom and disinterestedness, while very generally Sir George Gipps bears the blame of proceedings directly in the teeth of his own wishes and decisions.

The facility of water carriage from Limestone, as compared with the then difficulties of land transit, joined to the existence of a convict settlement there, led Sir George Gipps to examine the suitability of its position for an inland town. Other sites were suggested—one where the Bremer swells into a large kind of basin close to the present town, another at the debouchure of that river in the Brisbane. The last suggestion was considered inadvisable, for reasons which may have seemed good enough at the time; but, in the "Minute of Instructions" left by the Governor, the site now occupied by the town of Ipswich was evidently considered as an alternative one only.

"An accurate survey should first he made of all the country on the right bank of the Bremer, for about a mile above, and two or three miles below Mr. Thorn's house, and for about three miles along the high road in each direction—that is to say, towards Brisbane on the one side, and towards Darling Downs on the other. . . . The broken nature of the ground is the only difficulty which opposes itself to the selection of the site for the town. The plateau on which the shearing sheds stand, seems to be the best, and this must be adopted, unless Mr. Wade should find one lower down the river, to which a decided preference should be given." *

[* I am indebted to Mr. Warner for the use of his official copy of this minute, as well as for much general information.]

Special directions are given in the same minute, that the main road leading to Brisbane and to the Darling Downs, should be properly laid out, and the errors in their then direction rectified. Unfortunately these instructions met with the usual fate of even gubernatorial wishes when the central authority is remote. The district surveyor did not look for a site lower down the river, and did not lay out the roads; but local personal interests and influences were allowed by him to supersede the essential considerations suggested by the Governor's minute, and the present inferior site for the town was retained. It has been the fashion to lay all the blame of all the deficiences in the plans of both Brisbane and Ipswich upon the shoulders of Governor Gipps, but the most authentic information I could obtain leads me to very different conclusions. A careful inquiry into the facts would rather tend to the belief, that the stereotyped routine of the New South Wales Survey Office in such matters, and the influences, to which its subordinates were subject, were too powerful even for a Governor; a belief, strengthened by the fact, that in nineteen out of twenty, of the towns laid out since Gipps' time—and even since Separation—the very courses whose adoption led to the defects alleged to exist in Brisbane and Ipswich, have been continued, and their evils multiplied and perpetuated.

One procedure of Sir George Gipps at this time was certainly opposed to every dictate of sound policy, and even of common gratitude. I have before mentioned the establishment of the German mission to the aborigines within a few miles of Brisbane. It seems never to have been popular with the class who most easily found access to the higher official circles, or with the bulk of the debased population of Moreton Bay; and hostile suggestions were not wanting. And, moreover, the Governor looked upon the very moderate quantity of land allotted for its use with the eye rather of a rapacious landlord than of a philanthropist or statesman. It came within the boundary of what he thought might, at some time, be deemed suburban lands. So, without giving direct orders for the removal of the mission, he suggested to its head a journey to the interior, ostensibly for the discovery of a more useful, but really of a less permanent, and apparently less valuable location. It might have occurred to him, that even were the missionaries unsuccessful in their efforts to Christianise the aborigines, their services could have been well retained for the imported population; and that something was due to the self-denial which marked the attempt, even though the results had fallen below anticipation. I am the more surprised at this conduct, because a belief in the possibility of colonizing the aborigines now caused an effort towards that end in a very opposite quarter to that whence the first proceeded. Dr. Polding, the late Roman Catholic Archbishop of Sydney, endeavoured, in 1842, to establish a mission for the purpose at Dunwich, once a convict station, on Stradbroke Island. I do not, however, find that any beneficial results followed from it, and it was subsequently abandoned. And, to close the subject here, I may as well mention that the small external support which had been at first given by the New South Wales Government, having been about this time withdrawn from the Moravians, one of the clerical heads left the station sometime in 1843, and his colleague followed him a year afterwards. The lay missionaries, however, retained their position, and, being assisted by three new ones sent in 1844, made such effort as was practicable, either in their original enterprise or in visiting their white neighbours. In time a prosperous little settlement arose, known as the German Station, and some of our most useful colonists have descended from those pioneers of civilization. In the failure of both Roman Catholics and Moravians to carry out their original purpose, there is nothing to be surprised at. The enormous chasm between the complexity of faculty and the amount of knowledge of a savage of so low a type as the Australian aborigine, and those of his would-be civilizers, which has to be bridged before either can arrive at even a remote idea of the other's meaning in such matters as faith and worship, presents difficulties which, the more they are apprehended, the more insurmountable they become.

Shortly after Sir George Gipps' return to New South Wales, the map of Brisbane was sent to the Central Survey Office, and the sale of the first sections advertised at Sydney for December 7, 1842. The plans exhibited have been described to me by a looker-on as scarcely surpassed by those gorgeous and imaginative documents, which, in the wild days of the Victorian diggings, flaunted in the windows and doorways of speculative and alluring Melbourne auctioneers. There was a good deal of curiosity about the district, and, as is usual in the Australian colonies—and to an outside observer unaccountably so—when land in a new settlement, which not a single buyer has ever seen or known anything of, save in a meagre official account or a Government map, is offered for sale, there was a vigorous competition. Some years since I was much amused with a lively description by one of the ablest public men in Australia,* who was residing in Sydney at the time of the sale, of the imaginative values affixed by grave lawyers and money-wise merchants to the new town allotments of Moreton Bay; and of the zeal with which they bid against each other for land whose title deeds they, in time, and with equal judgment, treated almost as waste paper. One allotment has been pointed out to me, for which more money was paid in 1842 than it would have realized ten years ago. Some of us have witnessed more extravagant instances in our own time, for we have known a town allotment in one of our extreme northern possessions purchased at a Government land sale for nearly £100, and, three years afterwards, sold for £2. Nor in this case had either of the purchasers seen, or had even a chance of seeing, what he had bought, although it may be presumed that the last price was probably far higher the real value of the allotment than the first. Such was the influence on speculative investment of the puffery of Government despatches, in giving fictitious importance, nearly twenty years ago, to a solitary island, which may become a settlement some time during the next generation.

[* Sir Archibald Mitchie.]

While Sir George Gipps was thus unconsciously laying the foundations of a capital, the wisdom of the English Parliament—or rather that portion of it which took any interest in colonial affairs—was engaged on an experiment in government for the colony of which Moreton Bay then formed a very unimportant portion. For some years before, there had been more or less of agitation in New South Wales in favour of representative institutions, and the subject having been repeatedly brought before the home Government, Lord John Russell, in 1841, prepared a draft of an Act for its settlement. A change of ministry took place, and it then fell to the lot of Lord Stanley (the late Earl of Derby) in the session of 1842, to lay a bill for the purpose before the Parliament. There were some differences between that bill and the measure of Lord John Russell, which Lord Stanley stated he had been induced to make by the representations of Sir George Gipps and some other influential persons connected with the colony. The main provisions of the Act, as finally passed, prove the hesitancy with which the privileges it did confer, were granted, as it while embodying a principle, its application was falteringly and feebly made. By this instrument of government, a Legislative Council was created, consisting of fifty-four members, thirty-six of whom were elective, and eighteen nominees of the Crown. Five of the eighteen were the Colonial Treasurer, the Auditor-General, the Attorney-General, the Collector of Customs, and the Commander of the Forces. The elective qualification was fixed at the possession of a freehold of the value of £200, or occupancy at a rate of not less than £20 per annum, while the representative one was constituted by the ownership of freeholds worth at least £2,000, or an income of £100 per annum derivable from property. The duration of the Council was to be five years; all money bills were to originate with the Governor, and a civil list of £81,000 per annum, as well as the regulation of the Crown lands, was reserved from Legislative control. One remarkable provision was, that in the event of a new colony being formed to the northward of Sydney, no territory lower than 26° S. should be detached from New South Wales. The Act arrived in Sydney on January 1, 1843, and no time was lost in bringing it into active operation.

There was a large party who viewed the measure with little favour. The power of the purse remained with the Governor and his advisers, and responsibility in any shape seemed a mere assumption. The reservation of the Crown lands from the control of the Council met with special disapprobation; and the Act, which was intended as a peace offering by the Imperial authorities, became rather a text for the harangued of a very clever and not very scrupulous opposition. But, looking at the peculiar social condition of New South Wales at that time, it seems quite possible that, had Lord Stanley's Act been more liberal, it might have been productive of a very great deal of mischief. It was an experiment, and as an experiment, was necessarily limited and tentative. In the elections which followed its promulgation, Moreton Bay, joined to the electoral districts of the Macquarie and the Upper Hunter, had a very insignificant influence on he return of the successful candidate—Mr. Alexander Macleay—many years speaker of the old nominee Council, which, nominally as legislators, but really as a consultative body, assisted the Governors of New South Wales in their gubernatorial functions.

The people of Moreton Bay left the dissensions and controversies of Sydney, on these points, to take care of themselves. What was of far more immediate interest to them, was the quick following of the initiatory land sales at Sydney by others at Brisbane, the first being held there on August 9, 1843, and the second, for the sale of allotments at Ipswich, on October 11, in the same year. These sales were on the auction system, and conducted on the same plan as the primary sales under our present Crown Lands Alienation Acts. The districts were divided into town, suburban, and country allotments, the minimum price of the two former varying at the discretion of the Government, and of the latter being £1 per acre, to which, to the great discontent of the colonists, it had only recently been raised by the home authorities from twelve shillings. But prior to this, the attention excited by the proclamation of the district as free, and the Governor's visit, had led to a great increase in the progress of squatting settlement, and both sides of the Brisbane and its tributaries were rapidly occupied; the usual skirmishes between the pioneers and the natives accompanying the occupancy of every fresh station.

Government here, during this time, was gradually drifting into the ordinary quietude of a district administration. In March, 1842, the last of the penal Commandants—Lieutenant Gorman—had resigned his authority into the hands of the late Dr. Simpson, who had been previously sent as Crown Land Commissioner for the district, and in November of that year, Captain J. C. Wickham was appointed Police Magistrate. They had very little difficulty in the performance of their respective duties, for the population was small—properly impressed with the propriety of submission to those in authority over them, and disposed to take things easily. Their chief disquietude arose from the continuous conflicts between the squatters and the blacks, which, before the close of the year 1843, began to assume rather formidable proportions. In the districts bordering on the Wide Bay, in the neighbourhood of the Brisbane, and all along the passages over the Dividing Range, the attacks on the settlers were determined and vigorous. A carrier named Phipps discovered a practicable pass from the northern portion of the Darling Downs by way of the township of Drayton, then and long afterwards known as "The Springs." As this route reached the foot of the mountains, after it crossed the Upper Lockyer, it ran along a gorge, gradually narrowing, nowhere of great width, intersected by wide and very deep gullies imperceptible at a small distance, and bounded on both sides by an impenetrable scrub. A station was formed near it, called Helidon. In this small flat, a party escorting a number of drays with stores, were suddenly attacked by a considerable number of blacks, with such ferocious vigour, that the escort lost heart and fled, and the drays and their contents became the spoil of the savages. In revenge of this, a large party of squatters and their dependents made a general raid upon the blacks, a number of whom were driven into the singular isolated table mountain, named by Cunningham, Hay's Peak. Towards the summit this consists mainly of large basaltic boulders, and I was told by a friend, who was present at the fray, that when the natives were forced back to its ascent, they rolled the boulders down the precipitous slopes with great effect, and to the discomforture of their assailants. No small number of the savages were, however, shot at the time. Their hostility was not decreased, nor their readiness to show it, at length a small party of soldiers was permanently quartered at the entrance of the gorge I have described—thence named Soldiers' Flat. This step I presume to have been effectual, as I do not read of any general or preconcerted attack afterwards upon the soldiers, or upon parties travelling in that direction. In the year 1861 I was camped close to the spot, and the half-ruined hut and remains of the soldiers' little garden—then occasionally occupied by a care-taker from the neighbouring station—looked sad and solitary beneath the shadows of the mountains and the gloom of the surrounding forest. Now a township has been settled at a short distance from it, and the whistle of the locomotive and the rush of the railway trains mingle with the more pleasing notes of the ancient inhabitants of the woods.

But, prior to this ceaseless and indiscriminate hostility, one of those almost incredible crimes which disgrace our efforts at colonization, is said to have occurred at Kilcoy—a station on the north of the Brisbane—and to have had a marked effect in stimulating the revengeful passions of the aborigines, already sufficiently provoked by the outrages to which, in this as well as in adjoining districts, they had been exposed almost ever since penal settlements began. I allude to the poisoning of a considerable number of blacks by the admixture of arsenic with food given them for the purpose—a crime so atrocious in every aspect as to appear almost incredible. I am afraid that, to the disgrace of humanity, the accusation was in this, as in not a few other cases, too true.

In the few historical or semi-historical works relative to the colony that I have seen, the subject has been vigorously dealt with. Dr. Lang, in his "Cooksland," and subsequently in his "Queensland," accepts the murder as a fact, and discusses it with his customary indiscriminate vehemence. Mr. Clement Hodgkinson, at one time connected with the Survey Office of New South Wales, in a small work of his on the Macleay River and the northern settlements of New South Wales, treated the charge as one of "ridiculous improbability." Mr. Pugh, in his slight but valuable condensation, prefixed to his Almanac for 1859, does not refer to it. But, as bearing on an important question connected with that policy of precipitating settlement at all hazards which has formed the subject of so much administrative panegyric here, the whole matter is one of too great importance to be passed lightly by.

Nearly contemporaneously with the date of the alleged poisoning at Kilcoy in 1842, a similar instance, but on a larger scale,* occurred in the Clarence River district. The circumstances provoked such comment, that the presumed principal delinquent was, as I am informed by a member of our Legislature long resident here, with whom I have conversed on the subject, apprehended and sent to Sydney, where, after some detention, he was discharged from the want of available legal evidence against him. Now, in 1839, and not with reference to that case, "An Act to allow the aboriginal natives of New South Wales to be received as competent witnesses in criminal cases," ** was passed by the then Council during the government of Sir George Gipps *** This Act was disallowed by the Home Government; but surely no greater proof of the admitted prevalence of outrages upon the aborigines can be furnished than the enactment of such a statute. The provision of a remedy proves the existence of an evil. Again, in the evidence of an old settler and magistrate of the territory, when examined before a Select Committee of our Legislative Assembly, on the Native Police Force in 1861, I find a curious confirmation of the practice. In reply to the question:—

[* More than seventy of all sexes and ages are said to have been poisoned at once by the admixture of poison in cakes given to the unsuspecting victims.]

[** New South Wales Statutes, 3 Vic., No. 16.]

[*** In 1850, again the Attorney-General of that colony, in a debate upon a bill for legalizing aboriginal evidence, treated the fact of the poisoning as indisputable.]

"You have stated, that it is through fear that many of the cruelties are perpetrated upon the blacks, which appears to me rather inconsistent—will you explain your meaning more clearly?"

He answers:—

"I have known in former times on the Macintyre, where two or three men might be living at a station together, who would employ the blacks, and give them rations and tobacco—well these men would be frightened out of their lives by the blacks, and not being strong enough to go out and fight them, and being always in a state of fear, they would pop a gun through the slabs of the hut and fire upon them, and perhaps kill a blackfellow; at other times they would put poison in a damper and give it to the blacks. It was never the case when the stations were strongly manned, and therefore, as I said before, fear of the blacks was the chief cause of these murders." ****

[**** Votes and Proceedings of the Legislative Assembly of Queensland, 1861, p. 481.]

And many hundreds of miles from Moreton Bay, Mr. Robinson, the protector of aborigines for the district of Port Phillip, officially declared in 1845, that there was "reason to fear that the aborigines have been poisoned, and the ends of justice defeated for want of legal evidence." I might easily multiply proof on this head by the testimony of settlers of long standing and unexceptional character, but I prefer citation of notorious facts, and from official documents, and to extend this further would be a waste of time. What has been given at least disposes of the "ridiculous improbability" of the charge.

We now come to the facts peculiar to the case itself. When the Rev. Mr. Schmidt—at the time head of the German mission to the aborigines—in compliance with the wishes of Sir George Gipps, set out to visit the Bunya Bunya country to see how far the removal of the mission was practicable, he was accompanied by some natives of the tribe resident in the mission locality who acted as guides. Upon reaching a portion of the country inhabited by another tribe, he found his companions unwilling to proceed further, and, upon enquiry, they alleged as a reason, that a considerable number of the natives, through whose district they were going, had been poisoned at a station settled amongst them, and that, in revenge, the life of strangers, either white or black, coming in that direction, would be unsafe. Ultimately, the good offices of some of the aggrieved tribe were obtained, and the journey was prosecuted in safety. But in the official report of Mr. Schmidt to Dr. Lang—who was then secretary to the mission—the fact was alluded to, although in such a very quiet and off-hand manner, as to create an impression in the mind of the reader, that the circumstances were not so uncommon as to require detailed comment.

"There was also another reason which influenced greatly our natives against going any further—viz., a large number of natives (about fifty or sixty) having been poisoned at one of the squatter's stations. The neighbouring tribes are going, we are told, to attack and kill the whites whenever they meet with any."

Dr. Lang moreover states—and he has not been contradicted—that the same report had not only been brought to the mission by lay brethren who had received it from another and distinct tribe, but that Mr. Schmidt had himself heard it talked of by the residents in Brisbane. In consequence of the publication of Mr. Schmidt's report, and the comments it occasioned, Mr. Schmidt was officially interrogated on the subject, and reiterated his former statement. No further enquiry was entered into—it may be from the Government finding no legal evidence available; but an unexpected confirmation of Mr. Schmidt's truthfulness was afterwards afforded from widely different quarters. The late Mr. Andrew Petrie made, in 1842, an expedition to Wide Bay, in the course of which he rescued two runaway convicts, named Davis or Davies, and Bracefield, from the aborigines, with whom they had associated for some years. Their designations in the tribe were Darumboy and Wandie. Both these men and their black companions dissuaded Mr. Petrie from any attempt at interior exploration, urging that—

"the blacks were determined to attack us, as they would have revenge for the poisoning of their friends at some of the stations to the south."

The Wide Bay blacks at the same time told Wandie "that the white-fellows had poisoned a number of their tribe." Mr. Petrie's truthfulness has never been impugned, and inasmuch as his narrative has stood thus for more than thirty-seven years, it is impossible not to regard its concurrence with that of Mr. Schmidt as of great weight in establishing the fact that the poisoning did occur.

This concurrent testimony was unexpectedly, but most emphatically, supported in 1861, by the evidence taken before the Select Committee of the Legislative Assembly, to which I have before referred. One of the witnesses examined, who had been on the Kilcoy station at the time of the alleged poisoning, after informing the committee that the blacks had been troublesome, two of his hands having been killed during his stay, although neither he nor the owner, Sir Evan Mackenzie, came personally into collision with them, gave the following replies to the questions quoted:—

"During your residence there, were any of the blacks poisoned, or reported to be poisoned?—I heard something of that, but not until after we left. I first heard of it from Mr. Merewether. I travelled with him in the same steamer with Sir George Gipps. Mr. Merewether began talking with me about the blacks, and gave me all the particulars. I had not the slightest idea before, that such a thing had occurred at all, but it must have happened whilst I was there.

"Do you remember hearing of anything of the sort while you were at the station?—I remember the overseer saying to me one day, Don't you think it would be a good thing to give those fellows a dose?' Of course I expressed my abhorrence of the suggestion, and no more was said about it. I never heard anything further on the subject." *

[* Votes and Proceedings of the Assembly, 1861, p. 477. Evidence of John Ker Wilson, Esq.]

The enquiry of the overseer appears to me of great significance. It pointed not to an experiment, but a method—something already tried and found sufficient for the purpose, and intended to be repeated as occasion might seem to require. Taking the whole of the evidence in conjunction with the narratives of Schmidt and Petrie, it would be difficult, in the absence of stronger proof to the contrary, to doubt the truth of the charge brought.

Mr. Hodgkinson, indeed, suggests, that—

"according to the account of the squatters, it would appear that some sheep, diseased and scabby, had been dressed, as usual, with arsenic, which, with corrosive sublimate, is the ordinary remedy for scab. These sheep had been rushed by the blacks, and a number of them carried off, and it is supposed that the arsenic caused the death of some of the thieves."

Kilcoy station was not even formed at the time, and squatters do not usually want to take up new country with diseased and scabby sheep. The evidence from which I have quoted refers to no such circumstance. And the savages were always keen enough to distinguish between injuries caused by what they had stolen, and those resulting from what had been given them. The form of death was entirely new to them. Had they "rushed" the sheep—stolen them with violence—in the teeth of the shepherd's resistance—and some then died from eating them, the survivors would hardly have confounded such a consequence with death following from a gift, which was the essence of their statement. The intercourse of the particular tribe with white men was of very recent date—limited to a few occasions during a month or two, and the very fact, that they did so discover the mode of destruction may be taken to afford strong internal evidence of the fact.

I am by no means inclined to concur in Dr. Lang's sweeping and indiscriminate censure of the squatters as a class. I do not suppose that Sir Evan Mackenzie was at the time personally cognizant of the atrocity of his men, or that he would not always have forbidden its practice. But what every right-minded man must regret, is the determined opposition to any real enquiry by which every charge of the kind was met—the palliations offered on behalf of the accused, and the half-defiant and slighting manner with which the accusations were put by. From this sort of procedure the actual murderers derived encouragement. They concluded, that while their employers prohibited the crime, they had little anxiety to secure its detection, and less scruple in profiting by its commission. Had the squatters of Moreton Bay in 1842 been wise in their generation, they would have insisted on an investigation, which would have rendered impossible the suspicions which were not infrequently and ungenerously directed against them from hostile quarters. It might have been troublesome; but the convenient is one thing, the prudent and far-seeing another.

Long after this poisoning, rumours periodically arose of similar occurrences in the district, but apparently without tangible foundation. As time passed, and population increased, a better and more powerful public opinion arose, and he would he, indeed, a bold man who ventured now on—any such crime; although, until within the last few years, the slaughter of a native was too often looked upon, and is sometimes now—and by men who have been taught and ought to have known better—as of little more moment than that of his dog. The mischievous result of that crime was long apparent. The tribes did not lack means of rapid and correct communication. Their dialects may differ, as the dialect of uneducated Yorkshire differs from that of uneducated Kent, but there is always sufficient homogeneity in the language of contiguous districts, to enable their inhabitants to understand each other; * and from all that I have learned I can arrive at no other conclusion than that very many of the murders perpetrated by the blacks for years afterwards were more or less in consequence, or in revenge, of the wholesale poisoning at Kilcoy.

[* Thus, in 1841, Mr. Leslie's party, travelling to settle on Canning Downs, were asked by the blacks of Cunningham's Gap for "Five Allen,"—i.e., Five Islands, the name given to biscuits by the Bribie Island aborigines after Pamphlet and Finnigan's stay with them in 1823—eighteen years before.]






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CHAPTER IV

1843-1846

Passage of the Preferable Liens Act—Invention of the Boiling Down Process—Agitation for Exploring Journey to Port Essington—Refusal by Governor Gipps—Leichhardt Volunteers—Starts on his Journey in 1844—Arrives at Port Essington, 1845—Return to Sydney and Presentation of Testimonial—Establishment of The Brisbane Courier—Census of the Settlement—First Customs Officer Appointed—First Local Steamer.


I gladly turn from the enquiry in the preceding chapter—one, however, which could not have been omitted in any full and honest history of the colony—to matters of less gloomy aspect. After Sir George Gipps returned to Sydney, he soon found himself involved in disputes on a variety of subjects with his new Council, while the asperity of opposition was not softened by the monetary depression under which the colony of New South Wales then laboured.* One result of that time of trial, was the enactment of the "Preferable Liens Act, 7 Victoria, No. 3, of New South Wales," since modified in various ways, but still, in its main principle, the law in all the colonies. Its object was to facilitate the giving security upon stock and wool without actual delivery to the lender. As a measure of relief, its beneficial effect was soon felt, and its operation has been, on the whole, of great advantage to the squatting community, and the monetary establishments immediately connected with their interests. Another, and still more beneficial consequence, was the introduction of the "boiling down" process, by which unsaleable sheep and cattle were converted into saleable tallow, and a staple article of export at once created. In the advantages of both these improvements, the settlers of Moreton Bay necessarily participated; the political disputes concerned them little, and they cared for them in proportion.

[* See Lang's "New South Wales," vol. i.]

In the midst of political strife and monetary struggle, the desire for geographical discovery increased in vigour. The nature of the vast interior of this island-continent to the west and north of New South Wales, remained a problem which geographers were intent upon solving. Nor were there wanting men of considerable weight in New South Wales, who fully concurred in the opinions which had been repeatedly expressed in England, relative to the important benefits to the colonies, as well as to the empire, which a near connection between Australia and India would confer. The attempted settlement at Port Essington originated in such a conviction by the Imperial Government, which indeed, has seldom been wanting in colonial support from those who desired to improve their means or their position by a convenient acquiescence. It is pleasing to trace the first practical efforts towards penetrating Australia with the purpose of testing the practicability of the connection I have referred to, to a combination of parties in New South Wales, which, from the usually antagonistic nature of its elements, may reasonably be supposed to have been genuine. On October 3, 1843, and on the motion of Dr. (now Sir Charles) Nicholson, the following votes were carried in the Legislative Council:—

"That, whereas, the establishment of an overland route between the settled parts of New South Wales and Port Essington, will be attended with important additions to our geographical knowledge of the interior of Australia, and is an object the accomplishment of which is likely to be attended with great advantages to the commercial and other interests of this colony, by opening a direct line of communication with the islands of tile Eastern Archipelago, with India and other parts of Asia: Resolved, That a committee be appointed for the purpose of enquiring into the practicability of such a design, and the means whereby it may be carried into effect, and that they do report to the Council the result of such inquiry with as little delay as possible."

"Question put and passed, and committee, consisting of the following members, appointed:—Mr. Elwin, Dr. Lang, Mr. Suttor, Mr. Wentworth, Mr. Macarthur, and Dr. Nicholson."

As is usual before all Parliamentary committees, a good deal of evidence not directly bearing upon the question, although probably of value in other respects, was taken, but ultimately there seemed to be no reason to doubt the desirability of some such expedition as that suggested, although opinions were divided as to the exact route to be adopted. Sir Thomas Mitchell, the then Surveyor-General, whose previous success in exploration in the western and southern districts of the colony imparted considerable weight to his opinion—was decisive in his recommendation of Fort Bourke on the Darling River as a starting point. The only alternative suggested—that of Moreton Bay as a point of departure—the committee rejected, because of the "formidable difficulties" likely to attend such a commencement.

"The Dividing Range," the committee observed, "would have to be surmounted, occasioning to the cattle and horses at starting a degree fatigue and exhaustion, which would probably much impair their strength and usefulness in the subsequent part of the journey"—

an opinion which now can only occasion a smile. They recommended the route by Fort Bourke, and an expenditure of £1,000 by the Colonial Government in support of the undertaking. Sir George Gipps, with a hesitancy scarcely consistent with "Imperial interests," although concurring in the desirability of the attempt, referred the recommendation for the approval of the Secretary for the Colonies, alleging the "present circumstances" of the colony as justifying his doubts.

Dr. Lang describes the general feeling at this unexpected result as one of great disappointment, for which, however, a solace was not long in presenting itself. Dr. Ludwig Leichhardt—a name mournfully associated with much of disinterested enterprise, and of that kind of patient endurance under suffering which calls for qualities far beyond ordinary heroism—was then in Sydney awaiting the result of the committee's recommendation. He was desirous of attaching himself to the proposed expedition as a naturalist, and, finding himself deprived of that opportunity, he conceived the idea of leading one himself. He had previously spent some time in the district of Moreton Bay, to which he had travelled overland, and had been gratified and surprised by the novelties of its physical characteristics. His personal means were small; but this was more than compensated by an enthusiasm and a perseverance sometimes scarcely compatible with prudence. He proposed to start from Moreton Bay with a small party, and thence to push for the Gulf of Carpentaria, intending then to follow the coast to Port Essington. However great may have been the sorrows of the New South Wales public that the £1,000 was not forthcoming for Sir Thomas Mitchell's journey, they showed in the expression of a very limited sympathy, the extent of their assistance to Leichhardt. The help he received was paltry; and never having been connected with official circles, or with an influential clique of any kind, he seems to have been generally regarded as a singularly bold intruder on a work equally beyond his province and his powers.

Leichhardt had been educated as a physician, but, with a not unusual divergence of pursuit, extended his studies to other and kindred branches of physical science, somewhat to the neglect of his original profession. He was a good naturalist awl botanist, of temperate habits and well fitted to bear fatigue. A passion for exploration was combined in him with an intense and jealous avarice of fame to be derived from the accomplishment of supposed impossibilities. To state a difficulty or to suggest an obstruction was simply to stimulate him to effort. Writing to Professor Owen (from whom he had received a letter of introduction to Sir Thomas Mitchell), in 1844, he says:—

"Living here, as the bird lives, who flies from tree to tree, living on the kindness of a friend fond of my science, or on the hospitality of the settler and the squatter, with a little mare I travelled more than 2,500 miles zigzag from Newcastle to Wide Bay, being often groom and cook, washerwoman, geologist, and botanist at the same time; and I am delighted in this life, but I feel too deeply that ampler means would enable me to do more and do it better. When you next hear of me, it will be either that I am lost and dead, or that I have succeeded to penetrate through the interior to Port Essington."

I know nothing that could give a more graphic idea of the spirit that animated this, in many respects, extraordinary man.

With a slender equipment, which he somewhat hurriedly completed, Leichhardt left Sydney in August, 1844. He was accompanied by two young Englishmen, named Calvert and Roper, John Murphy (a lad sixteen years old), Phillips (a convict), and an aboriginal called Harry Brown. A rather protracted voyage in the old Sovereign steamer, impoverished his horses, and he was glad to rest on his arrival in Brisbane, where he was hospitably received by Sir Evan Mackenzie, the late Mr. Pemberton Hodgson, and others, who felt an interest in his intended journey. During the short delay thus occasioned, he sought opportunities of profiting by the greater knowledge possessed by his friends of the country through which the proposed commencement of his travel would lead. His first idea seems to have been to keep to the eastern slopes of the Dividing Range, as near to the coast as was compatible with heading the rivers taking their sources on that side. The result of many friendly discussions was that, with some reluctance, he abandoned that intention, and crossed the Range to Westbrook, and thus, while keeping to its west, but in a nearly parallel line to the coast, escaped a very difficult and dangerous country, which might have then presented obstacles insurmountable even to him. Some alterations, dictated by the experience of the settlers, were made in his equipment while resting at Westbrook, and the number of the party was increased by the addition of Mr. Pemberton Hodgson, Mr. Gilbert (a naturalist, who had been with Gould, the great ornithologist), a negro, and another aboriginal, named. Charley. Bullocks were substituted for pack horses for carrying the stores.

"Neither my companions nor myself knew much about bullocks, and it was a long time before we were reconciled to the dangerous vicinity of their horns. By means, however, of iron nose-rings, with ropes attached, we obtained a tolerable command over their movements, and at last, by dint of habit, became familiar with, and even got attached to, our blunt and often refractory compagni de voyage. *

[* "Leichhardt's Journal:" Introduction, p. 13. London, 1847.]

"By a present from Messrs. Campbell and Stephens of four young steers and one old bullock, and of a fat bullock from Mr. Isaacs, our stock of cattle consisted now of sixteen head. Of horses we had seventeen, and our party consisted of ten individuals. Of provisions we had 1,200 lbs. of flour, 200 lbs. of sugar, 80 lbs. of tea, 20 lbs. of gelatine, and other articles of less consideration, but adding much to our comfort during the first few weeks of our journey. Of ammunition we had about 30 lbs. of powder and eight bags of shot of different sizes, chiefly of No. 4 and No. I. Every one, at my desire, had provided himself with two pairs of strung trousers, three strong shirts, and two pairs of shoes, and I may further remark, that some of us were provided with ponchos, made of light, strong calico, saturated with oil, which proved very useful to us by keeping out the wet, and made us independent of the weather, so that we were well provided for seven months, which I was sanguine enough to think would be sufficient time for our journey. The result proved that our calculations as to the provisions were nearly correct; for even our flour, much of which was destroyed by accident, lasted to the end of May—the eighth month of our journey—but, as to the time it occupied, we were very much deceived."

By the end of September, 1844, the preparations of the party were completed, and on October 1, they left Jimbour, the then farthest occupied station, and "launched; buoyant with hope, into the wilderness of Australia." **

[** "Leichhardt's Journal:" Introduction, p. 6.]

Leichhardt himself divided his route into eight sections, justifying the division by the varying character of the country through which he travelled. The first was from the Darling Downs to the Peak Range, including the Dawson and Mackenzie Rivers (latitude 27° to 23°); the second, the plains of the Peak Range, including the rivers Isaacs and Suttor (between 23° and 23° 50'); the third, the Lower Suttor, the Burdekin, and its table land (21° to 18°); the fourth, the Lynd, the Mitchell, and the east coast of the Gulf of Carpentaria (between 18° and 10°); the fifth, the Plains of Promise, of Captain Stokes, at the head of the Gulf, with the Flinders. Albert, and Nicholson Rivers (in latitude 18°): the sixth, the west coast of the Gulf (between 18° and 15°); the seventh, the River Roper and Arnheim's Land (between 13° and 13° 50'); and the eighth, the Alligator River and Coburg Peninsula (13° 40' to 11° 21'). Adopting his own division, we shall be able to connect the narrative of his travels with the more condensed and systematic description given in the lectures which, after his return, he delivered at the School of Arts in Sydney, in August and September, 1846.

Starting from Jimbour on October 1, Leichhardt reached the Condamine River in six days, and, after following it a short time, left it trending to the west. On the 11th, in forcing their way through a scrub, the bullocks upset their loads, and tearing the bags, lost about 143 lbs. of flour, Still keeping in a north-westerly direction, he reached the Dawson on November 5; but two days before he had reduced the number of his party.

"It had now become painfully evident to me, that I had been too, sanguine in my calculations as to our finding sufficiency of game to furnish my party with animal food; and the want of it was impairing our strength.* We had also been compelled to use our flour to a greater extent than I wished; and I saw clearly that my party, which I had reluctantly increased on my arrival at Moreton Bay, was too large for our provisions. I therefore communicated to my companions the absolute necessity for reducing our number. All, however, appeared equally desirous to continue the journey, and it was therefore but just, that those who had joined last should leave. Mr. Gilbert, however, who would, under this arrangement, have had to retire, found a substitute in Mr. Hodgson, who had, perhaps, suffered most by additional fatigues; so, that he and Caleb, the American negro, prepared for their return to Moreton Ray. Previous, however, to their departure, they assisted in killing one of our steers, the meat of which we cut into thin slices and dried in the sun. This, our first experiment, on the favourable result of which our expedition entirely depended, kept us during the process in a state of great excitement. It succeeded, however, to our great joy, and inspired us with confidence for the future. . . . The daily ration of the party was now fixed at six pounds of flour per day, with three pounds of dried meat, which we found perfectly sufficient to keep up our strength."

[* Yet, at this time (1881), we are paying a bounty on poor kangaroo and wallaby heads. The extermination of natives and dingoes has resulted in a plague of marsupials.]

We shall see, that in a short time, this allowance was again lessened, as to flour, by one-half.

The party thus reduced, Leichhardt and his companions proceeded on their journey. On November 5, as I have said, they came upon the head waters of the Dawson, which river they followed until the 14th. Then striking in a northerly direction, they crossed a system of tributaries; naming Palm Tree Creek and Robinson's Creek; but falling into the very natural error of giving a westerly course to the latter. Leichhardt himself had considerable doubt as to the propriety of this decision, for he says:—

"I could not decide to my entire satisfaction whether my views were right, for the country was difficult for reconnoitring, and I was necessarily compelled to move quickly on to accomplish the object of my expedition; but it is a very interesting point for geographical research, and I hope, if not anticipated by other explorers, to ascertain at some future period, the course of these creeks and rivers."

Still pursuing their intended direction over a rather difficult country, they came in sight of Expedition Range on the 27th, having by this time become fully inured to the hardship and privation incidental to such a journey. Iguanas, opossums, and birds of all kinds they gladly consigned to the stew-pot as choice variations from the usual meal of dried beef or kangaroo. Some flour, accidentally spilled on the ground, was carefully scraped up with dry gum tree leaves, and a small quantity which became mixed with those natural spoons and an unavoidable portion of dust, was converted into porridge, which, with the addition of a little gelatine, the travellers considered they enjoyed. On the 28th they discovered the Boyd, another tributary of the Dawson, but which Leichhardt seems to have thought wended in the same westerly direction that he had assigned to Robinson's Creek. By December 7, they reached Zanica Creek, whose bed they found entirely dry, and here they had their first encounter with the blacks, which fortunately ended in no more mischief than the wounding of a horse. On the 10th, they crossed Expedition Lange, and travelling with varying incident, passed over Albinia Downs, and reached the Comet Creek on the 28th. On the banks of this they found "the remains of a hut, consisting of a ridge pole and two forked stakes about six feet high, both having been cut with a sharp tomahawk." This, they did not doubt, was the work of some unhappy runaway from Moreton Bay, but they do not seem to have observed or looked for any other sign of a white man's existence. Still following the creek, they came, on January 10, 1845, to its junction with a river which Leichhardt named the Mackenzie. This they travelled along for some time; and on the 14th, found in its broad and sandy bed the creeper which we now know as the Leichhardt or Mackenzie bean. The seeds of this they roasted and used as a substitute for coffee. On the 18th they left the Mackenzie flowing to the north-east, and pursued the course of the expedition.

Of the country thus travelled over, Leichhardt's impression was, upon the whole, favourable. The frequency and peculiarity of the scrubs through which he passed struck him as one of its most prominent characteristics. Geologically, he found it of sandstone, which, from its accompanying coal beds and other indications, he considered identical with the formation of the Lower Hunter District of New South Wales—although, in several localities it had been broken by basalt as in the spine of the Expedition Range. Generally speaking, he thought the country well-watered; and, unless where the brigalow scrub was more than usually thick, well calculated for pastoral settlement, more especially on the heads of the Dawson and its tributaries, and between Expedition Range and the Mackenzie River. This river he supposed to disembogue into Broad Sound; a very natural conjecture to anyone unaware of the coast range by which it is diverted into the Fitzroy. We must, moreover, not forget that the main object of Leichhardt was not the discovery of country for settlement, but the practicability of communication between the southern colonies and the north coast of Australia. That he effected so much in the way of what may be termed alongside exploration, beyond the mere line of his route, is as creditable to him as it was ultimately advantageous to the public.

I now return to his journey. Leaving his party engaged in the process of drying and packing the carcass of one of their bullocks, he proceeded on a reconnoitring expedition on January 18, accompanied by one of his blacks. In this he got entangled in the scrubs, and narrowly escaped losing his track—but the wonderful quickness and accuracy of observation which his companion possessed, in common with all the aborigines, was of great service in enabling him to regain his camp. They then went on their way through a country of alternate flats and scrub, varied by some rich plains. The wild marjoram which they found here they collected, adding it to their tea, as well as using it frequently as a condiment in their soup. On January 26, they crossed Newman's Creek—a tributary of the Mackenzie—and here Leichhardt planted his last peach stones, with some apprehension, however, that the frequent fires that overran the country would prevent them reaching maturity. On the same day he came on the magnificent downs, out of which rise the "succession of almost isolated gigantic conical and dome-topped mountains, seeming to rest with a flat unbroken base on the plains below," which last he named, and we know as, the Peak Downs. Unfortunately, the season was one of drought, and on a reconnoitring expedition on the 27th, both Leichhardt and Calvert suffered greatly from thirst, finding all the watercourses dried up. In another expedition, Gilbert, the botanist, found little water, but observed the sign of an anchor or broad arrow cut into a tree with a stone tomahawk. Keeping their camp stationary for about a week, but still exploring round the range, he met fresh objects of admiration every day. On February 6, they again started in a north-westerly direction, and got involved in a series of ranges, probably spurs from a secondary range connected with the Peak Mountains. Travelling across them, with their thick vegetation and deep valleys and ravines, was exceedingly difficult. "The bullocks upset their loads frequently in climbing up and down the rocky slope, and our progress was consequently slow." On the 10th he therefore altered his direction to NNE., and came to the head of Hughes' Creek in latitude 22° 23'. On the 13th, he reached a river, which he named the Isaacs, whose bed he found dry. Here he camped by a water hole on the bank, intending to examine the country in advance, and by this time he had reduced the six pounds of flour per diem, firstly, to three, and then to one and a-half. He had been troubled by the desertion of his two blacks, who had grown discontented and left him, but after a short interval, returned. Still reconnoitring the country as he went, he examined Coxen's Peak and Range, and after a short rest on the Isaacs, continued his journey along that river, his blacks occasionally insubordinate and troublesome. Now and then he met with the natives, with whom he seems to have kept on kindly terms. By March 7, he had come to the heads of the Suttor, down which he travelled for several days, passed its junction by the Cape or Belyando, until he reached the point, at which it ran into a large river which he named the Burdekin. This he considers to have formed the boundary of the second division of his journey, and here he found the most northern habitat of the black swan.

Of the country thus passed over, he formed a higher opinion than of the previous division. The basaltic character of the plains and open downs, thinly timbered with open forest, and the luxuriance of the grass excited his admiration. He, however, expressed fear that the supply of water would be inadequate to the wants of the settler. In his lecture, before alluded to, delivered at Sydney, on August 18, 1846, he said:—

"If, at a close examination, a sufficient quantity of water should be found, a wide extent of country will be opened to the squatter, who will travel with his herds without difficulty over the level country along the Isaacs and its tributaries, and will ascend on gentle ridges to the plains of Peak Range, and, probably, still further to the westward, beyond another range of peaks which we perceived in that direction. He will strike the beautiful country at the head of the Isaacs and the Suttor, over which at present numerous flocks of emus roam, and fill with animation that immense tract of country which spreads out round the foot of Coxen's Peaks."

How far and how beneficially these predictions have been realised, we shall by and by see.

His course was next up the Burdekin, through a hilly tract, and on April 5, he had reached Robey's Range. Porter's Range being visible, and the soil improving, until he came upon a large field of basalt, in latitude 19° 58'. Still following the course of the Burdekin, and through a country of very variable levels, but which he believed to be well adapted for grazing purposes, he arrived at the junction of the Clark on the 22nd of the same month, and of the Perry on the 24th. Crossing the Valley of Lagoons, and the heads of the Burdekin, he journeyed over the ranges which divide the heads of the Lynd from those of that river with no greater trouble than the loss of a horse, which, however, he turned to account by drying the flesh of the animal for eating. This he thought equal to that of a bullock, supposing both to be in equal condition but hunger may have had something to do with such an apposition. He suffered considerable privation in his reconnoitring, being on one occasion fifty hours without water, but the increasing prospect of success seems to have stimulated himself and his companions to renewed exertion; and they had now reached the end of what he considered his third stage, and were on the verge of the plains whose coast line is formed by the Gulf of Carpentaria. He considered this part of the country to be "characterised by its supply of running water, by its primitive rocks, its limestone, its numerous ranges, and its fine, open, well-grassed forest." If a settlement were established on the east coast, he thought it should be "at the mouth of the Burdekin, which I suppose to be at Cape Upstart on the southern extremity of Halifax Bay"—a supposition, unfortunately, not borne out by subsequent exploration. He noticed the difficulty of communication from the coast to the interior, but rightly suggested that "practicable roads will no doubt be found in the progress of colonization." The lapse of twenty-eight years has seen strange changes in the condition and prospects of the country traversed by Leichhardt.

Resting awhile, the travellers celebrated the 24th of May (the Queen's Birthday) with a "fat cake," made of four pounds of flour and some suet, and with a pot of sugared tea. Sugar they had been without, except for luxury or as a medicine, for a long time, and their salt was now exhausted. In a little while they became accustomed to relish their food without either. But privation increased upon them. They pursued their journey along the Lynd, past Kirchner's Range, over rugged country, and, with considerable difficulty, falling in with frequent native camping places, until, on June 18, they rested to kill and cure one of their cattle.

"Although," (says Leichhardt), "we were most willing to celebrate the anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo, and to revive our own ambitious feelings at the memory of the deeds of our illustrious heroes, we had nothing left but the saturated rags of our sugar bags, which, however, we kept for the purpose, and which we now boiled up with our tea; our last flour was consumed three weeks ago, and the enjoyment of fat cake therefore was not to be thought of."

The position was far from enviable, but they had not yet arrived at the worst. In the lower part of the Lynd they first met with the green tree ant, a spiteful insect, living in small societies in rude nests constructed between the green leaves of shady trees: and here they came across the tracks of an alligator. When they arrived at latitude 15° 51' 26", they determined to leave the Lynd and strike to the west, having first discovered and named its supposed tributary the Mitchell. After travelling a few days, they began to experience significant indications of the hostility of the natives, which, on the 28th, culminated in a night attack, in which Gilbert, the botanist, was killed, and Calvert and Roper severely wounded. After burying Gilbert, Leichhardt and the remainder of his party wearily continued their task, and on July 5, to their great joy, came in sight of the salt water of the Gulf of Carpentaria. A line of communication between the south-eastern coast of Australia and the Gulf was at length opened. Then, by slow stages, they reached the "Albert" of Stokes in about a month; crossed the Plains of Promise, and ascertained their extent, and on September 8, still keeping to the coast line, passed the line which now marks the western boundary of the colony of Queensland. They had thus traversed the fourth and fifth of the divisions in which Leichhardt arranged his journey.

His observations on these portions are clear and of considerable interest. He found—

"the same succession of rocks, granite, talc[s]histe, porphyry, and sandstone in descending to the Gulf which he found at the east coast in ascending to the table-land. But limestone was not to be met with on the west side of the York Peninsula, though it appeared extensively developed on the Burdekin. Basalt has broken through the various rocks, but the level country itself is formed of a clayey ironstone with grains of quartz, which extended all round the Gulf to Port Essington, and may be considered of a newer formation. The Lynd was joined by several running creeks, and was, in its whole course, well supplied with water. The country was openly timbered and well grassed."

Of the Plains of Promise, he remarks:—

"Should a harbour be found at the head of the Gulf of Carpentaria, which might allow ships to approach and moor in safety, it would not only open this fine country to colonization, but would allow the produce of the high land of the York Peninsula to be brought clown to the Gulf of Carpentaria, as well as to the east coast. Cattle and horses could be easily driven from coast to coast, and they would even fatten, as water and feed are everywhere abundant."

The Plains of Promise have been opened to colonization, and are now occupied by herds of cattle, and even the produce of the high land of York's Peninsula seems to be no longer problematical.

It is scarcely necessary in a history of Queensland, to extend the narrative of this remarkable journey. Its interest, from the point at which Leichhardt had arrived, is confined to mere personal adventure, for the character of the country did not vary much from that of the regions which he had recently passed, or, where it did, only repeated the features of other rugged country over which he had travelled. How far his party were harassed, may be conceived from their preserving only one of their bullocks, losing all their dogs, having been compelled to destroy many valuable ornithological specimens, and being almost indebted for the preservation of their lives to the offices of friendly natives, whom they met as they neared Port Essington. On December 17, they reached that settlement weary and worn, having travelled 3,000 miles over a previously unknown country, and been nearly fifteen months absent from every trace of civilised society. No overland explorer in Australia has achieved so much as Leichhardt, and many of them had far more ample means.

He stayed a month at Port Essington, when, a small schooner calling at the settlement, he embarked for Sydney, where his arrival was welcomed, first with surprise, and then with the enthusiasm which anticipated success is apt to generate. "All classes pressed forward to testify their joy at our re-appearance, which we found had been long despaired of, and to offer their aid in supplying our wants." The adventurer of 1844 was the hero of 1846. Rather more than £2,500—the joint contribution of the Government and of public subscriptions—was divided in suitable proportions between the party, and the gold medals of the Royal Geographical Societies of London and Paris were awarded to Leichhardt when the news reached Europe. Unhappily, he did not live to receive them. There was something of the spirit of Alexander in the man—conquests achieved only stimulated to enterprises of greater difficulty.

During all this time the progress of the infant settlement had not been slow. As I have said, the pressure of the times had compelled the squatters of New South Wales to turn their attention to fresh modes of utilizing their flocks and herds than the sale of wool, or of sheep and cattle for ordinary consumption. Accident had combined with experiment to perfect the process of boiling down carcases for the production of tallow, and an establishment for such a purpose was founded at Kangaroo Point, then a suburb of Brisbane, and now a ward of the municipality. A seam of coal was opened—although with no tangible result—at Red-bank, on the banks of the Bremer River, the mineral having been previously discovered, both by Allan Cunningham and Mr. Andrew Petrie, to extend over a large area of country from that locality in the direction of the Pine Mountain, about twelve miles north of Ipswich. There was, in fact, a good deal of general advancement, as well as a spasmodic sort of energy, which looked promising for the prospects of the district. And, in the fulness of time, that indispensable accessory of civilization—the newspaper, was to be established.

For some time, Mr. Arthur Sydney Lyon, a gentleman of good education, indomitable energy, and respectable connections, had contemplated commencing a newspaper in Moreton Bay. The want of such a convenience was beginning to be felt, inasmuch as, save in official reports or infrequent private correspondence, the condition, wants, and resources of the district were almost unnoticed in the parent colony, while its very existence was tacitly ignored or forgotten in the more distant ones. Many of the residents who had been accustomed elsewhere to the advantage which a public journal affords, began to talk of its necessity, and an active canvass for subscribers resulted in such encouragement to Mr. Lyon, that he entered into arrangements with Mr. James Swan, a printer, resident at that time in Sydney, for the printing and publication of the proposed newspaper. The inducements held out by him, however, seemed to Mr. Swan, when he arrived, little likely to be realised. There were but few houses in Brisbane, and the streets existed only in name. But the assurances of the settlers calmed his apprehensions. He was told that the interior would afford advertisements, subscribers, and cash. By degrees the faith necessary to enterprise was instilled into him, and the Moreton Bay Courier commenced its existence on June 20, 1846. It was a modest weekly sheet of four pages, about half the size of an ordinary newspaper, and was printed in the garrets of a brick building, afterwards occupied as an inn, and since burned down, at the north-west corner of Queen and Albert Streets, Brisbane. From such a small beginning it has grown with the growth of the colony into a valuable and important property, and in connection with the Queenslander, its worthy accompaniment, continues to hold what Johnson would have called a considerable position amongst the colonial press.*

[* I am indebted to Mr. Swan for the almost inestimable advantage of the perusal of a complete file of the Courier from its commencement, which I gratefully acknowledge.]

The motto chosen by the editor was: "I am in the place where I am demanded of conscience to speak the truth;" and in his first leading article be became somewhat grandiloquent.

"The Courier has been established, in compliance with the almost unanimous wish of every resident of character, property, and intelligence in this extensive district. The unfounded impressions that prevail elsewhere respecting the climate, capabilities, and resources of this portion of the colony, and the absence of those beneficial moral influences which have their origin in the press, have long rendered a local journal necessary. The commercial importance of the community indeed demands its introduction. Churches, schools, stores, shops, inns, dwelling, houses, and erections for various purposes, have rapidly risen; settlements have become villages, villages towns. Our staple articles of export—wool and tallow—have strikingly increased; and with their increase fresh incitement has been afforded to industry and enterprise. And, as the position of the grazing and trading classes, who form the bulk of our infant society, has improved, and population has augmented prosperity has placed requirements that can only appertain to an advanced state of society. Perhaps none is so urgent as that which we aim to supply."

A week afterwards the heading of the leading article is—"We want a Bank."

The statistics of Moreton Bay at this time will probably provoke a smile from the reader, if sought for to substantiate "the commercial importance of the community." The number of houses in the then County of Stanley—which comprised all the country east of the Great Dividing Range—was, according to a census taken in the preceding March, 255, of which 41 were of stone or brick, and 214 of wood. But of these, 50 were unfinished, although only 6 were uninhabited. The population of North Brisbane was 483; of South Brisbane, 346; of Ipswich, 103; of the squatting stations, 452; and the military and government establishments numbered 185. There was the usual disproportion of the sexes—1,122 males, and 477 females. 538 could not read, and 857 could read and write. There were 6 lawyers and 6 doctors, 14 clergymen, and 13 "other educated persons"—a rather ambiguous description. Only 23 were engaged in agriculture. On the Darling Downs 551 males and 107 females formed the population; 1 doctor served for the diseases of the people; and no lawyer being mentioned there, it is to be presumed that none existed at that time to vex the souls of clients with costs. Of "other professions"—a puzzling sort of nomenclature—there was 1; 147 out of the whole number could neither read nor write; and upon the whole, it does not seem to have been a very literate community. As to religion, the numbers of the various denominations stood thus:—Church of England, 1,110; Church of Scotland, 338; Roman Catholics, 575; Wesleyan Methodists, 24; other Protestants, 59; Jews, 10; Pagans and Mohammedans (coolies), 28; other persuasions, 13.

Official documents are not always the safest data to adopt. A letter in the Courier, of July 11, adverting to the number of clergymen supposed to be in the County of Stanley, affirms that there were only two ministering in the district, one a Roman Catholic, another of the Episcopal Church. The others had either left the colony, or abandoned their functions for more lucrative or less laborious pursuits. The Anglican minister seems to have had an active time of it, for it is said that he—

"not having any residence in town, and having to make frequent tours of duty among the squatting stations, can only come in occasionally on Saturday night, perform service on Sunday morning, and start off again to his labours in the bush either immediately after service or on Monday morning."

As a pendant to this description, I may add, that I do not find any schoolmaster or teacher specially mentioned in the census returns. Such persons were probably either non-existent or not thought worthy of mention. But the Darling Downs district even then had 14,000 cattle and 210,000 sheep grazing on its fertile plains.

As a natural consequent, the tax-gatherer came on the heels of the prosperity which the editor of the Courier depicted in his inaugural article. A Collector of Customs arrived on June 13, 1846, and his satellites soon followed. The establishment was not a very profitable one, the expenses of the first year amounting to more than the collections.

Contemporaneously with the new paper, a steamer called the Experiment was started to ply on the river between Brisbane and Ipswich, and a flour mill and a new saw mill were projected. The steamer fares between the two townships were, by the cabin, six shillings; by the fore-cabin, four shillings; freight, per ton, was seven shillings and sixpence, afterwards reduced to six shillings, and wool was charged at two shillings per bale. Considering the difficulties which beset the effort, the owner of the Experiment was singularly moderate, although the fares between Brisbane and Sydney at the time ranged from £2 to £4. Few of the older residents of the southern districts will fail to remember the energy and spirit, which, in a chequered and sorrowful struggle through life, marked every enterprise of poor Pearce. The greater part of his career in Moreton Bay may be fitly described as one of experiment. Towards the end of his life, pain and poverty imparted a querulous irritability to a temper naturally active and impatient, but it is not easy to appreciate the advantages which his spirit and example, displayed at a critical time, conferred upon a community far more willing to complain of defects than to recognise exertion.

And having thus seen the struggling settlement endowed with a newspaper, a custom house, and a steamer, I close the chapter.






{Page 66}

CHAPTER V.

1846-1849.

Proposed New Northern Colony for Reformed Convicts at Port Curtis—Failure in Disembarkation—Abandonment of the Undertaking—Recall of Sir George Gipps, and Arrival of Sir Charles Fitzroy—Origin of the Australian Crown Lands System, and the "Orders in Council"—The Transportation System, and influence of Scarcity of Labour in Gaining Support for it in the District—Attempt to procure Coolie Labour—First Suggestion of "Separation"—Social Progress and Condition—Sir Thomas Mitchell's Discoveries—Kennedy's First—Leichhardt's Last Expedition—Courts of Petty Sessions Established—Character of the Settlers Vindicated.


While the labours of explorers and the exertions of the settlers were thus extending the boundaries and disclosing the capabilities of the district of Moreton Bay, the Home Government were not unmindful of the facilities it offered to relieve them of one difficulty—that of dealing with their convicts. Lord Stanley, on March 3, 1846, describing the proposals of the Colonial Office, said, in the House of Lords—

"the Government to which he belonged had thought proper to appoint an additional colony to the north of the Colony of New South Wales, beyond the limits assigned to that colony, the new colony not being too near the tropics to prevent its being healthy. It was intended that a number of these convicts who had reached the most advanced—that was the lightest—stage of penal discipline, should go to that colony, where they would be furnished with provisions for a limited period, and also a portion of land. They would also be permitted, if they thought proper, after a certain interval, to emigrate to the adjoining colonies and become the servants of the outlying population of these colonies. The class of convicts who would be sent to the new colony, would be those, who, when they arrived there, would be in the position of having received a conditional pardon."

This proposal met with great favour in the district. The squatters saw, or thought they saw, a chance of obtaining an almost unlimited supply of that labour, from the want of which they had suffered severely, as well as in the new settlement an outlet for their surplus stock. But one part of the plan was strenuously objected to—the giving land to the convicts; thus, in the language of the Courier: "placing them in a much better position than the men of virtuous character." The inducement to the "exiles," as they were called, to stay in the new settlement, which such a gift presented, was, it appears to me, more appreciable by the employers of labour than any argument derived from merely moral considerations. But whatever might have been their opinion, the scheme once set on foot was prosecuted with vigour. The permanent Under Secretary for the Colonies laid a minute before the Lords of the Treasury, containing a summary of the principal points; and, "My Lords'" reply:

"The necessity of affording relief to Van Diemen's Land is so urgent, and the obligation upon the Government of finding for the better class of exiles who have made some progress in reform, a relief from that contamination to which the present state of Van Diemen's Land exposes them, is so imperative, that my Lords do not feel justified in refusing their acquiescence in the formation of the new settlement, as proposed by the Secretary of State for the Colonies—approved as it has also been by the Secretary of State for the Home Department."

And so the necessary measures were proceeded with.

By this plan the classes to be sent were two; all exiles (that is, convicts transported with pardons, to take effect immediately on their landing), and all pardoned convicts in Van Dieman's Land unable to earn an independent subsistence. Measures were also to be adopted to secure a proper proportion of the sexes. Rations, bedding, etc., were to be provided for the convicts for one year, after which they were to maintain themselves, professedly on land granted to them for cultivation. £10,000 was to be expended on public works, the settlers contributing labour. Free emigration was permitted but not encouraged. The staff by which this population was to be governed, was thus settled:—A superintendent, at £800 per annum; a colonial secretary, at £300; a clerk, at £200; a chairman of quarter sessions, at £300; a clerk of the peace, at £200; a sheriff, at £100; a chaplain, at £250; a land surveyor, at £300; and three magistrates, at £100 each. The cost would not have been great on the whole, while the relative importance attached to the offices, as indicated by the salaries, seems curiously at variance with common routine; but the plan contained within itself the elements of failure.

Lieutenant-Colonel Barney, of the Royal Engineers, was appointed superintendent, and arrived in Sydney in September, 1846. Early in the following November, he called in at Moreton Bay in the Cornubia steamer, having on board with him a surveying staff to assist in determining the locality of the new settlement. The New South Wales Government was in the mean time busy in selecting his subordinates. When he had chosen a site, in the vicinity of Port Curtis, the superintendent returned to Sydney, and in January, 1847, left for his Government in the Lord Auckland, which was to be followed by the Thomas Lowry with the remainder of the military stores and other necessaries. Sanguine anticipations were indulged in of success in the formation of the settlement, which, it was hoped, would terminate the perplexities of the squatters of Moreton Bay, and at once supply them with labour and furnish them with a market.

These anticipations were, perhaps happily, not realised. The first proceeding indicated the unfitness of the new Governor for his task. In order to strike terror into the solitude, cannon were brought on deck for a salute in honor of the special landing; and such pomp and circumstance as military and official uniforms, receptions, presentations, and the like could ensure, were enjoined. In the midst of these preparations, the ship struck on a sandbank off Fairy Island, and the whole ceremony was disarranged. The crew and passengers landed as best they might, and the arrival of two small vessels from Brisbane prevented any danger of starvation. After much irresolution, Colonel Barney got to the main land, was rowed up a creek, and is understood to have decided upon a site for the town he was not even to lay out; for here his authority ceased. While waiting in helpless uncertainty whether to stay, or to return to Sydney, a despatch was received from the Imperial Government announcing that the letters patent under which North Australia had been created into a separate colony, would be revoked, and directing that the establishment formed there should be immediately broken up. Colonel Barney and his officers were to be employed, as occasion might serve, in the Colony of New South Wales. There was nothing to be done but to comply with these directions; the philanthropic plan of converting "exiles" into agriculturists was abandoned, and, with that abandonment, the hopes which had been formed of the supply of labour, and the consumption of stock for Moreton Bay, faded away also. The only tangible result of the whole, was a bill for £20,000, the cost of the experiment.

Before Colonel Barney had arrived in Sydney, a change of Governors had taken place. Sir G. Gipps had become involved in acrimonious controversies with his new Council, which destroyed all hopes of amicable administration; his health began to give way, and at length, on July 11, 1846, he left for England. Very much of the acerbity which marked the disputes prevalent during the latter portion of his governorship, arose upon questions connected partially with the right of taxation, and prominently with the interests of the pastoral community. These questions, however, belong more immediately to the history of New South Wales, and having been discussed at length in the works of Dr. Lang and Mr. Flanagan, it is scarcely necessary here to repeat a twice-told tale. Sir George Gipps was succeeded by Sir Charles Augustus Fitzroy, a member of the ducal family of Grafton, who had previously filled appointments of a similar nature, and, as is usual under circumstances like those we have described, was credited with all the qualifications in which his predecessors had been supposed to be deficient. He landed in Sydney on August 3, being received with enthusiasm: his "manly and dignified deportment," according to the Sydney Morning Herald, of that day, "seeming to presage golden auguries of his future popularity among us." By way. I suppose, of enforcing this opinion, the same journal thus describes the subject of its prophecy:—

"In person, Sir Charles is dignified and commanding; his countenance agreeable and intelligent; while his manner and bearing eminently display that dignified courtesy and chastened affability which form the distinguishing characteristics of a high-born British gentleman."

Had the new Governor's qualifications for government been equal to the personal ones thus flatteringly attributed to him, he would have found full occupation for all. The whole colony was in a state of ferment, and its principal leaders were more or less in collision with the Colonial Office, on the subjects which provoked it, Foremost of these, was that of the land laws, which were, at that time, in a very chaotic condition, and on whose proper nature, then as now, the most contradictory opinions prevailed. Whether the upset price of land on alienation should be five shillings or twenty; whether of the two—total alienation or sale at a quit rent—would be most desirable: what sort of tenure should be given to the squatters, or whether any certain tenure should be given to them at all; what should be done with the land revenue, or who should have the disposal of it?—these were the questions on which the colonial mind was sorely exercised, and in which a very puzzling inconsistency was displayed by both the home authorities and colonial politicians.* Next to this question, came that of transportation, in which, from the nature of the community, disputes were constant and bitter, while the ill feeling thus engendered, was at times exasperated by the tantalizing course pursued by the Colonial Office, whose authorities clung with great tenacity to the idea of substituting for the penal system, which had been abandoned, a reformatory one, in which the colonies should complete the amendment—which Pentonville and Portland, it was hoped, had commenced. And behind the two, and soon to assume equal proportions, was the framing of the new Constitution, on which the colony was to be governed; on which as great a variety of opinion prevailed as there were politicians to express it. The position of an Australian Governor was, at that time, one of much greater weight and responsibility than it is now; and I can very well imagine that Sir Charles Fitzroy's, between the Colonial Office and the colony, was not one through whose difficulties a fine person and commanding deportment would prove sufficient guides.

[* Mr. Robert Lowe, then a barrister in Sydney, now haling a commanding position in the House of Commons, began by advocating the quit rent system. In a few months afterwards he was a warm defender of alienation by sale.]

In the question of dealing with the Crown lands, the district of Moreton Bay was seriously interested, and that its importance was thoroughly apprehended, may be gathered from the meetings and discussions which constantly took place. Not in the hope of supplying anything approaching to a complete view of the subject, but rather as an assistance to the reader in estimating its nature, I propose to devote some space to a review of the legislation connected with it.

Originally the lands of Australia seem to have been dealt with without reference to any sound or even deliberately arrived-at principle of distribution. In New South Wales they were evidently looked upon as constituting a fund from which to reward services—real or supposed—to subsidize a favourite, or to supply gratuities to convicts, who by their good behaviour, seemed to have merited encouragement. After the first establishment of the convict settlement, in 1788, Governor Phillip made grants to some free immigrants and a few convicts, on condition of residence and cultivation. His successors, Hunter and Macquarie, continued the system on a large scale. When Governor Brisbane was appointed in 1821, the Home Government desired to provide employment for the necessary number of convicts whom its own opportunities were not sufficient to find work for; and emigrants who could show that they had an available capital of from £500 upwards, were encouraged to go to the colony by the promise of grants of land—the grunts varying from one hundred acres to two thousand acres—the grantee undertaking to employ prisoners at the rate of one for every hundred acres that he received. While this system was in operation, the speculative mania of 1825 broke out in England, and one of its results was the formation of the Australian Agricultural Company, with a nominal capital of £1,000,000 sterling. To this company the Home Government granted a million of acres, with unrestricted right of selection; ** and the example they set was followed by not a few persons of influence in the old country who wanted an opening for spare capital or speculative energy. But the evils arising from the favouritism or corrupt practices, which such a system engendered, led to a change, when Sir Richard Bourke—one of the ablest governors that the colonies have yet seen—was appointed in 1831. Sale by auction was fixed upon as a method of alienation, the general', upset price being five shillings per acre. This was increased to twelve shillings in the administration of his successor, Sir George Gipps, and I believe, on his recommendation—that Governor having a somewhat exaggerated idea of the value of land as a revenue producing commodity, especially town allotments, on which the most absurdly high prices were fixed. The Wakefield theory of "the sufficient price," on which the colony of South Australia was founded, had, at this time, many supporters amongst the liberal philosophic economists of the old country, who almost alone turned their attention to colonial subjects; and, as that was fixed by its author at £1 per acre, the Government of the day, influenced by the reasonings of the school to which I have alluded, and the pertinacious representations of Sir George Gipps as well, increased the upset price to that amount—a maximum which may be considered to have acquired a species of historic tenure, after the passing of the 5 and 6 Victoria, c. 36, in 1842.

[** This, however, was moderate, having regard to the Western Australian precedent. On the settlement of that colony, enormous grants were made to individuals on very slight grounds—the Governor, Sir James Stirling, getting many thousands of acres, Some of the fortunate recipients afterwards hawked their territories amongst the London speculators, selling some at threepence and fourpence per acre. [Indistinct word] differences of a farthing per acre were not despised.]

But, contemporaneously with the settlement by alienation of land in the counties or districts which had been proclaimed within the limits of government in the colony of New South Wales, another species of occupation had grown up, which, at first permissive, gradually assumed something of the appearance of a vested interest, and led to the existence of a class between which and the ordinary settlers on the soil, and the inhabitants of the towns, there has been, for many years and throughout the Australias, a continuous and sometimes bitter hostility. These were the squatters, or in the more courteous designation adopted by themselves, the pastoral tenants of the Crown—a body whose industry has exerted a vast influence both on the settlement of the colonies and the trade and prosperity of the empire at large.

Its commencement was the result of an accident, or rather a combination of accidents, unexpectedly assisting the development of a premeditated plan. Captain Macarthur, an officer of the then 102nd regiment of the line—or New South Wales corps—was, in 1803, sent home from New South Wales by Governor King in punishment for his conduct in a duel with a brother officer. Before this he had paid considerable attention to the breeding of sheep, having obtained a few pure merinos, which he crossed with the ordinary coarse-wooled sheep of the colony, and by degrees formed what would now be considered a very small flock. Some of the wool from their fleeces he took home with him, and shortly after his arrival, memorialised the Government on the subject, simply asking leave to "occupy a sufficient tract of unoccupied lands to feed his flocks." His request might possibly have shared the fate of ninety-nine hundredths of similar applications, had it not been for a quarrel in England between the woolen manufacturers and their workmen, the latter objecting to the employment of anyone who had not been apprenticed to the trade, and relying on an old prohibitory statute of Queen Elizabeth's in their favour. Ultimately, the question turned on, whether wool was an article of limited—interpreting that as of local—production. Mr. Macarthur's specimens were submitted to the manufacturers, who, finding that they afforded the contradictory proof required, became instant and zealous in his support. In consequence of that, instead of a license to occupy, he received a grant of 5,000 acres of land, and a promise of 5,000 more if he succeeded in proving the possibility of the export of fine wool in quantity from New South Wales. He returned to that colony with some carefully selected sheep from the royal flocks, and continued his efforts, selling annually a moderate quantity of his produce to settlers who were desirous of following his example. But he had to bear the discouragement and ridicule which is the natural lot of pioneers who are venturesome enough to turn from the common path, and have much or all to learn. By 1820, his flock had reached about two thousand in number, three hundred of which were said to be pure merinos; the whole number of sheep at that time in New South Wales being about one hundred thousand. Into the difficulties resulting to him from his participation in the quarrels which unhappily occurred at the time of Governor Bligh's administration, and hindered his operations, it is not necessary for me to enter.*

[* See "Lang's History of New South Wales." Through the kindness of the late Mr. Fitz, Clerk of the Legislative Council, I have read the original report of Macarthur's trial in England for mutiny in the arrest of Bligh, and Lang's statement seems to me to be thoroughly borne out. The report gives one a curious notion of the state of Government and of morals in those days.]

Macarthur, however, was not, as has been generally claimed for him, and believed, entitled to claim the sole honor of founding the greatest industry in Australia. The late venerable Samuel Marsden, the first colonial chaplain in Australia, harassed by the difficulties of his situation, returned to England from New South Wales with a retiring Governor (Captain King) early in 1806.

"He had" (says his biographer), "discerned the wonderful capacities of Australia for sheep farming, and having brought home some wool and found it much approved of by the manufacturers, he therefore ventured to petition George III. for a couple of merino sheep from the Royal Farm at Windsor to improve the breed."

The king gave him five, which he carried with him on his return, and found all the resultant advantages he anticipated. The objects to which the royal gift was to be applied, are described at length in the thirteenth chapter of this volume; but that he is entitled to share with Macarthur all the honors of a pioneer in the growth of colonial wool for British manufacturers, there cannot be a shadow of a doubt.

When Macarthur and Marsden had demonstrated that wool of the required quality could be produced, they became prophets in the eyes of those who had derided them. The age of testimonials not having then arrived, their admirers desired to recognise their sagacity by participating in their success. The Government encouraged the pursuit by granting annual licenses for free occupation. One of the most ultra of the old squatting school thus summarises the progress it made, and the aims that progress suggested:—

"The lands were lying waste; the Government very wisely encouraged their occupation, and licensed any free and respectable person who wished to occupy them. Commissioners were appointed to manage these waste lands, and the occupants voluntarily paid an assessment to defray the Commissioners' expenses and that of the police under their direction, so that their occupation might not cost the Government anything. But in the course of time when nearly all the available lands within a practicable distance were occupied, great evils were experienced from the arbitrary acts of these functionaries, who assumed great power in defining the extent of runs by lessening one run to enlarge another. They were accused of receiving bribes, and of acting very unfairly between man and man. The occupants were powerless against the Government, as they had only an annual license—they could not be otherwise than dissatisfied—they required a better tenure to secure them against the irresponsible acts of an arbitrary Governor and his needy subordinates." **

[** The Crown Lands of Australia. By William Campbell, M.L.C. Blackwood, London and Edinburgh, 1855, p. 10. Campbell went to England as the representative of the Victorian squatters, to advocate their right to a "preferable right of purchase" over the whole or any part of their runs, and this book was part of his advocacy.]

The squatting license fee was £10 per annum. Sir George Gipps wished to compel the licensee, in addition to the payment of his fee and assessment, to buy annually 320 acres of his run, at a £1 per acre, the revenue thus raised to be applied to the increase of immigration. This was felt as a great grievance by the squatters, and was protested against as illegal and unconstitutional by many who had little general sympathy with them—foremost among whom was the Rev. Dr. Lang. When the squatters published their counter proposals, he, with equal vigour, contested their justice; they in turn resented his opposition and forgot his advocacy.

Whether their wishes were reasonable or not, the industry had grown to such dimensions by the period of which I am now writing, that direct legislation was acknowledged on all sides to be required. The export of wool, which had been under eighty thousand pounds weight in 1819, reached in 1845, 17,364,734 lbs., and the time had obviously arrived for dealing with tenure of the land, of which so large a production necessitated the occupation. After much petitioning, wrangling, and correspondence, the Act 9 and 10 Victoria, c. 104, was passed in 1846, and, under that Act, the celebrated orders in Council, which have been regarded as the Magna Charta of the squatters' tenure, were issued in March of the following year.

The orders were simple enough in arrangement, but not always clear in expression. By them the colony of New South Wales was divided into "settled," "intermediate," and "unsettled" districts. In Moreton Bay the settled districts comprised the then County of Stanley, and all lands lying within three miles from the sea "measured in a straight line;" it had no "intermediate" district, and therefore the great bulk of the land was treated as "unsettled." By the rules to be enforced in such a district, leases of runs for fourteen years were authorised to be granted for pastoral purposes, the lessee having permission to cultivate for his own use, but not for sale or barter. The minimum annual rent to be paid for any run was to be £10, the carrying capability not being allowed to be less than for four thousand sheep, or an equivalent number of cattle, according to a scale to be fixed by the Governor; and £2 10s. per annum was to be added for every additional thousand that the run might be estimated as able to carry. The mode of estimate and payment I need not trouble the reader with. During the continuance of the lease of a run, the land was not to be open to purchase by any other person than the lessee, and to him in quantities of not less than one hundred and sixty acres at a time, and at a minimum price of £1 per acre, the Governor having the power of increasing it if he saw fit. No lot thus sold was to have a water frontage of greater proportion than 440 yards, "reckoned in a straight line," to 160 acres in quantity. The ninth section of the second chapter reserved to the Government the power of granting or selling—

"any lands within the limits of the run, or lands comprised in such lease, for public purposes, or disposing of, in such other manner as far as the public interest may seem best, such lands as may be required for the sites of churches, schools, or parsonages, or for the construction of high roads, railways, and railway stations, or other internal communications, whether by land or water; or for the use or benefit of the aboriginal inhabitants of the country, or for public buildings, or as places for the interment of the dead, or places for the recreation and amusement of the inhabitants of any town or village, or as the sites of public quays, or landing-places on the sea coast or shores of navigable streams; or for the purpose of sinking shafts, and digging for coal, iron, copper, lead, or other minerals; or for any other purpose of public defence, safety, utility, convenience, or enjoyment, or for otherwise facilitating the improvement and settlement of the colony; but so that the quantity of land which may be granted er sold to any railway company shall not exceed in all the rate of one hundred acres for every mile thereof in length." *

[* Compare this with modern land grant schemes.]

In the case of a railway being made through an unsettled district, all lands within two miles of the line might be resumed, and sold "at the end" of each successive year "from the date of the lease. Occupants of Crown lands who had been in licensed occupation foe one year before the order in Council came into effect, and all who had been occupants for a shorter period were, at the expiration of twelve months from the date of their license, declared entitled to demand leases of their respective runs. There were several provisions for tenders for new runs, and for determination of the right as between competitors for a run, which it is not necessary to recount here; but one of those relating to forfeiture is worth quoting, as illustrative of the supposed, or, as some say, the real character of the times:—

"In the event of his (the lessee's) conviction by a justice of the district for any offence against the law, the case may be enquired into within three months after the conviction by two or more justices who, if they think fit, may judge the lease to be forfeited, with or without compensation for the value of the improvements, according to the nature of the offence."

It must have been consolatory to the possible subjects of such a regulation to know that any forfeiture thus decreed required the sanction of the Governor before it could be put in force. The fifteenth section was of more general importance. Upon the expiration of a lease, the lessee was to have the option of buying the run at a valuation of it in its unimproved state, starting with a minimum of twenty shillings per acre. If declined by the previous lessee, the improvements were to be valued and the upset price was to be calculated on the joint value of the land and improvements, the worth of the latter to be paid to the previous occupant. If no part of the run were sold, the lessee was entitled to a renewal at a rent estimated on its carrying capability in its improved state, but not to be increased by more than fifty per cent. on the old rent; if not more than one-fourth were sold, he was entitled to a renewal for the remainder on the same conditions, but nothing was said of what was to be done if more than one-fourth were alienated. In the intermediate districts the leases were to be for only eight years, power being reserved of resumption at any time on compensation for improvements, and sixty days' previous notice. In the settled districts the leases were to be from year to year.

Contemporaneously with giving effect to these orders within the colony, an Act to regulate the assessment on stock depastured outside the settled districts, was passed in the Legislative Council. The rate was fixed at a halfpenny for every sheep, three halfpence for every head of cattle, and threepence for every horse; the owners of runs being required to make returns of the numbers of each description depastured by them.

I have gone more into detail on this subject than may at first sight be interesting to the general reader; but it is to be remembered, that these orders formed the grounds for agitation and dispute up to the time that responsible Government was conceded to the colonies; that they were long after that time resorted to as a sort of text book of land legislation; and that a correct apprehension of their bearing is essential to a right understanding of the disputes which, for years, raged between the pastoral lessees and their opponents, as to the rights of run-holders, and the most just and expedient method of dealing with the public lands. I have not, however, thought it necessary to overload this history by any recapitulation of the numerous subsidiary regulations that were issued subsequently as to the detailed method of carrying the Orders and Assessment Act into effect.

Looking back at the orders, after a lapse of nearly thirty-five years, they seem to me to have been framed in a very indulgent spirit towards the class most interested. It had substantially what it asked—security of tenure until the public requirements called for the resumption of the land; and it had leases of a length which, to men who had been subject to a yearly and uncertain license—and in the colonies where the long terms, general in the old country, were then, and are even now, unknown—must have been more favourable than could reasonably have been, or, in fact, was, anticipated. Nevertheless, the orders were received with a good deal of grumbling in the district of Moreton Bay; but in some respects, on grounds directly opposite to those taken up by the class who had been most clamorous for the settlement, with which they now professed to be discontented. The restriction of the lease to a minimum,—which, as the carrying capacity of the land was then estimated, involved large areas on whose extension no limitation was set, and the prohibition of cultivation, were specially attacked.

"We had long indulged" (wrote the Courier, with great pertinency) "the hope, that some encouragement would have been given to agriculturists as well as sheep farmers. Why the two classes should not have been put on the same footing with respect to the licensed occupation of the land, we are at a loss to comprehend; or why the poor man, with his 500 or 1,000 sheep, should not have been permitted to occupy a portion of this vast territory, we are likewise unable to conjecture. The small farm system, which has found many able advocates in this colony and elsewhere, is thus effectually knocked on the head, and the poor, industrious man can never hope to rise to a higher grade than that of a labourer."

More weight than would otherwise attach to this objection, accrues from the fact, that it was urged by what was regarded as a squatter's advocate at the time. The forfeiture clause, which made the legally unimpeached moral character of a lessee—as determinable by, it might be, hostile Justices of the Peace, who could try him for "any offence," and on their own mere motion—an essential condition to the retention of a run, improved or not, was regarded as a covert insult to the whole class of squatters. What was most to be regretted, was the careless and blundering phraseology of the ninth or general reservation clause in the second chapter of the orders, which left an opening for those claims by lessees as against the public to the freehold of their runs, when the discovery of gold had enormously increased their value, which formed the subject of that lengthened controversy which has left behind it so much distrust and ill-feeling. Great outcry was made by the "Liberal" party against the fourteen years' leases, as what was called locking-up the country from settlement, but, perhaps, with insufficient reason. When the country was wanted, as in Victoria, it was taken. No one could at the time have anticipated the gold discoveries, and had not they occurred, it is questionable if the leases might not have been renewed in the majority of instances for another fourteen years without detriment to the public interest.

This, however, was the condition in which the new Governor found the land laws—a settlement like the conclusion of Rasselas—in which nothing was concluded, at least in the estimation of the public, who were supposed to be satisfied. They were displeased with the upset price, and discontented with the auction system; some thinking the land laws too liberal, and the great majority denouncing them as narrow in principle and unjust in operation. Earl Grey looked at his work with considerable complacency—he had, as he thought, got rid of a troublesome agitation, in reality he had laid the foundation for half a dozen, each still more troublesome.

On the transportation question, there was at this time, little outward difference of opinion in the district of Moreton Bay. The introduction of the convict, fresh from conviction and sentence, all agreed on objecting to; but the establishment of some scheme for the admission of prisoners who had served a portion of their time, and, by apparent good conduct, earned some remission of punishment, met with favour by the majority of the then scanty population. Transportation in its old form had been discontinued since 1840, and it was so well understood by the colonists that it was never to be renewed, that Mr. Gladstone, in opening the subject, did not care to controvert the reasonableness of the impression. But his successor, Earl Grey, had his own view on the subject, and most of the squatters and a considerable number of the population of New South Wales, headed by the celebrated William Charles Wentworth (a lawyer of extraordinary force of character and splendid oratorical powers), were not wanting in effort to assist him in carrying them into effect. Judging from the tone of the Courier of that day, I should judge, that in this part of the then colony, the friends of the "exiles," the mild term then in fashion, were in the ascendant.

That the want of labour had a principal effect in determining the course pursued by the settlers in the then outlying districts of New South Wales, I cannot, doubt. In their despair they turned to all quarters whence they had reason to suppose it might be obtained—to China, to the South Seas, to India; but while they were thus troubled, a despatch from Mr. Gladstone, dated April 30, 1846, to the Governor of New South Wales, gave a new direction to their efforts. In that letter, while disclaiming anything like a renewal of the old system of transportation, or suggesting any definite plan, he stated that—

"it would be acceptable to Her Majesty's Government if the members of the Legislative Council of the colony should show a disposition to concur in the opinion, that a modified and carefully regulated introduction of convict labour into New South Wales, or into some part of it, may, under present circumstances, be advisable."

The hint was sufficient to arouse the anxious squatters into immediate activity. The Legislative Council sittings commenced on October 8, and a select committee to enquire into and report upon the despatch was immediately appointed. The committee brought up their report on the 31st. In that document they recommended the annual importation of five thousand male and an equal number of female convicts of the milder kind; a simultaneous free immigration being carried out to a similar extent. A few days afterwards, and immediately before the Council was prorogued, the report was ordered to be printed for general information and discussion, a similar privilege being denied to a petition against transportation in any shape, which had been presented by Mr. Charles Cowper.

While the main matter was thus left in abeyance, the stockholders of the district held a meeting at Ipswich, at which it was resolved to petition the superintendent of the intended colony of North Australia to permit "the departure of a certain number of expirees from North Australia in search of work immediately on their arrival at the seat of your Government." A strong article appeared in the Courier, advocating the course recommended, but as the proposed settlement fell through, nothing came of the meeting, or of the dinner which followed, or of the article which may be supposed to have derived some vigour from that convivial termination. Disappointed so far, the squatters held another meeting at Brisbane on May 31, to consider a proposition made for the importation of labour—from Van Diemen's Land, and from the South Sea Islands, when resolutions approving the plan were carried, and subscriptions entered into, but I do not see that anything further was done in the matter. Subsequently an Imperial circular, prohibiting the transportation of criminals from one colony to another, was sent to the Government of New South Wales, and thus anything like the forced introduction of labour from the other colonies became impracticable. The importation, however, of "exiles" kept hold of the attention both of the home and colonial governments. When the Legislative Council re-assembled in Sydney in April, 1848, the subject was again alluded to in the Governor's speech, and a despatch of Earl Grey's, relative to it, was laid before the Council. His lordship, although not assenting to the views previously stated by that body in the report of their committee, yet adopted the principles it embodied, and the Council lost no time in meeting his wishes. On April 6, they passed a set of resolutions pledging themselves to co-operate with Her Majesty's Government in carrying out the policy recommended—unconscious that the Secretary for the Colonies had anticipated their resolve by despatching in the previous December a small detachment of "exiles" in the Mount Stuart Elphinstone, which reached Sydney, viâ Hobarton, on June 6. This does not, however, seem to have disturbed the friendly feeling now apparently established—and the renewal of this modified form of transportation seems to have been accepted as a certainty.

Contemporaneously, as I have said, great efforts were made to devise means for bringing free immigrants to the district, and constant complaints were made that its wants did not receive due attention from New South Wales. The complaints seem to me to have been louder than the efforts to remove their cause were genuine. Immigration to New South Wales, which had been for some time intermittent, was resumed in August, 1847, but the intelligence did not deter the stockholders and employers of labour from meeting in Brisbane in January, 1848, to form an association for the importation of labour from India. Between three and four hundred labourers were subscribed for, and the Governor was memorialised to assist in getting some of the restrictions which were in force in India on that sort of traffic removed. The Government, however, refused to interfere, on the ground that the proposed conjoint introduction of "exiles" and free immigrants rendered that of Indian Labour unnecessary—a conclusion which the deputation, charged with presenting the memorial, combatted, because "the Indian immigrant was more adapted than the European one for the purposes of shepherding"—an argument whose force the New South Wales Government declined to admit. Whether discouraged by this reception, or hopeful of the arrival of "exiles," I cannot say, but as far as practical results are concerned, the Indian Labour Association went the way of its predecessors. The station of Burrandowan, in the Burnett District, was, I am told on undoubted authority, formed during this year, by Mr. Gordon Sandeman, one of our oldest and most respected colonists, entirely with Coolie labour imported by himself. The experiment he regarded as altogether successful, and not the least noteworthy incident connected with it, is, that one of the Coolies marrying, is now in an independent position in business in Queensland, while two of his sons carried off prizes more than once at their school examination. Twenty-seven free immigrants arrived from Sydney in April, but although described as "decent and orderly," they do not seem to have been received as if their coming had been very anxiously looked for, and while the residents were pondering over the best means of getting a cheaper description of labour, the dissolution of the Legislative Council gave a new direction to their thoughts. But before it broke up, the Governor laid before it a despatch from Earl Grey, recommending a colonial loan for free immigration, not exceeding in the whole, £400,000, and re-payable by instalments in two or three years. The only interesting portion of that document to the historian of Queensland, is the following paragraph:—

"Bearing in mind the probability of a future separation of the northern from the southern districts of the colony, a separate account should be kept of the expenditure incurred for immigration into each, in order that the debt may eventually be divided between them in the same proportion."

This shows that even then an early division was not unfamiliar to his lordship's mind.

But before that question could assume any definite shape, that of the constitution under which both the parent colony and those separated from it were to be governed, called for settlement. It was quite evident that the system which prevailed at the time was one which could not last. The people were becoming more and more discontented with it; the leading politicians of the colony were dissatisfied with its partial exclusion of them from any higher function than that of mere assent or dissent; and they found every avenue to political power closed against them. In the Legislative Council they exercised the slightest possible control over either taxation or expenditure, and none whatever in the choice of the ministers of the day, by whom they were outvoted at will. All legislation on the most important matters affecting the public interest was denied to them, and their influence was in reality confined to the extent to which they might act upon public opinion—an opinion, whose expression found its way to the Home Government almost as, and when, the Governor and his advisers thought proper. But while few denied the grievance, there was scant agreement as to the precise form the remedy should assume. There were, of course, multitudinous and irreconcileable suggestions, and the Abbe Sieyes might have found work after his own heart in their incorporation into one or other of the constitutions, of which he was so prolific an author. Besides, the distribution of the population had very much changed since the establishment of the 1843 Council, and as it was understood that the new one now to be elected would have to deal, at least suggestively, with electoral legislation in all its branches, there was, in the centres of population, no small agitation and controversy on the main points at issue. To assist the colonists, Earl Grey transmitted a despatch to Governor Fitzroy, in July, 1847, in which, while announcing the intention of the Home Government to separate the Port Phillip District from the colony of New South Wales, he discussed at some length the leading principles upon which representative institutions should be carried into effect. Very few of his conclusions—to some of which more detailed reference will be required hereafter—were acted upon, but there is one paragraph which I think worth quotation, as the evils and complaints it describes, were very much like those with which, after an interval of nearly thirty years, we are familiar at the present time.

"Local self-government" (says Earl Grey), "if necessary for the good of the whole colony, is not less necessary for the good of the several districts of which it is composed. For this reason it was that Parliament provided for the erection throughout New South Wales of municipal corporations, which should, in various respects, balance and keep in check the powers of the Legislative Council. By this method it was supposed that the more remote districts would be able to exercise their fair share of power, and to enjoy their proper influence, in the general policy of the whole province. But the result has disappointed this expectation. The municipalities have only a nominal existence—the Legislative Council has absorbed all the other powers of the colonial state. The principle of self-government in the districts most remote from Sydney, is therefore acted upon almost as imperfectly as if the conduct of local affairs had remained under the same management and institutions as those which the existing system superseded. Members, it is true, are chosen to represent those districts in the Legislature; but it is shown that such of the inhabitants of Port Phillip as are really qualified for this trust, are unable to undertake it at the expense of abandoning their residences and their pursuits in the southern division of the colony. Thus the Port Philip representation has become an unreal and illusory, not a substantial, enjoyment of government." *

[* Earl Grey to Governor Fitzroy. Downing Street, July 21, 1847.]

It does not seem as if these observations, weighty and well-founded as they were, sank to any depth in the minds of colonial statesmen at the time, or ever bore much fruit afterwards.

If we turn from public topics general to the colony to those which specially concerned the district, we shall find something to interest us. In so small a community the local events would almost, as a matter of course, be comparatively unimportant, but, nevertheless, not to be passed without notice. One of the principal wants—a bank—from time to time engaged attention. A regulation agreed to by the Sydney institutions, that they would honour no cheque payable otherwise than to "bearer," or for a less sum than £2, and suggesting that, to prevent loss, all cheques should be crossed through some bank, excited great wrath in the district, especially the restriction to £2, which, it was alleged, would be productive of great inconvenience to employers and small storekeepers. Some mouths afterwards the limitation was lowered to £1. The absence of a bank and the want of silver, led to the adoption of a system of what were called "calabashes"—orders drawn upon some agent of the drawer, payable at various dates after presentation, and often for very small amounts. If the drawer were a squatter of anything approaching to established character, the order would remain in circulation for a long time; and I recollect that so late as 1860, I received in change at an hotel in Toowoomba an order for thirteen shillings and sixpence, drawn upon a Sydney firm by a late Colonial Treasurer—which order was then three rears old, and in the multitude of its endorsements, looked like a collection of autographs, not of the most intelligible kind. Considerable loss was sometimes sustained by the holders of these documents, who compensated themselves occasionally by high charges for discounting them for the first possessors; and the establishment of a branch bank was, from various motives, longingly looked for.

The want of one did not, however, abate the appetite or seem to cramp the means available of the residents for pleasure. Horse racing then, as now, was a leading amusement.; and in the first number of the Moreton Bay Courier the leading description is of the Moreton Bay annual races. Unfortunately, the account does not specify the total values of the prizes run for; but for the edification of the curious in such matters, I can give a list of the stakes at the Anniversary Meeting in May, 1847. The races lasted three days. On the first day there were the Brisbane Town Plate of £25, entrance, £2 10s.; the Maiden Plate of £20, entrance, £2; and the Welter Stakes of £20, entrance, £2. The second day offered a Hurdle Race for £20, entrance, £2; and a Hack Hurdle Race of £15, entrance, £1 10s. The third day seems to have been the busiest: there was the Publicans' Purse of £25, entrance, £2 10s.; the Ladies' Purse of £20, entrance, £2; the Tally-ho Stakes of £20, entrance, £2; the Beaten Stakes of £10; and the Hack Race of £5, entrance, 10s. The little community squeezed out £180 for prizes, although the Courier complains that Ipswich and the back country had held aloof.* About six months after these races, a regatta was carried out with great spirit, but although the Brisbane Race Committee have had a plentiful series of successors throughout the colony, aquatic sport seems to have been rather intermittently pursued.

[* In the evening the "boys" kept it up in North Brisbane in grand style, under the able leadership of a gent well-known to the sporting fraternity. It so happened on this particular night that a hogshead of beer was quietly reposing under the verandah of the Victoria Hotel, when it was observed by the boys aforesaid. The word was passed, and the cask was set in motion down Queen Street, as far as the corner of Albert Street. Finding the amusement highly exhilarating, our heroes commenced rolling it back again up the hill, and got it as far as the green opposite the Post Office (nearly to George Street). Here a council of war was held, and it was decided to make a manful attack upon the head, as being the most vulnerable part of the cask. This was soon accomplished, and a general invitation was given to imbibe the contents, which was accepted by numbers who had assembled to witness the fun. "Capital stuff, Ned, is it not?" said one. "Old Tooth is a brick," said another; and all agreed that it was an excellent remedy for cold. Suffice it to say, that nearly the whole was drunk by our Bacchanalian and their guests, without the slightest compunctious visitings or wry faces.—Moreton Bay Courier, May 29, 1847.]

Business and pleasure were subjected to a sad interruption in March, 1847, by the wreck of the Sovereign steamer, at the Southern Passage to Moreton Bay, when on her voyage to Sydney. In crossing the bar at that passage, her machinery, which appears to have been originally unfit for the work required of it, broke down, and the vessel drifted until it struck, breaking up, from the unsound condition of the timbers and planking, immediately it touched the ground. Out of fifty-four persons on board, only ten were saved; and of these, three were severely injured. Judging by the contemporary accounts, it is difficult to say where most blame was attached—to the culpable overloading of the steamer, or to the carelessness, or something worse, of the Hunter River Company in employing so crazy a vessel on such a service. Protest seems to have been of little avail, as, on more than one occasion subsequently, I find that overloading was compelled to be thrown overboard from the company's steamers, to save the vessels and the lives of the passengers. There were no Plimsolls in those days; but it resulted from the loss of the Sovereign, that an agitation was set on foot for the survey of Moreton Bay, in order that a safer entrance might be, if possible, discovered. The New South Wales Government were disinclined to defray the expense, or to undertake the work; but, as Captain Wickham was willing to superintend the survey,—they graciously permitted him to do what they were too parsimonious or too careless to attempt themselves.

In one thing the interest, or the patriotism, of New South Wales, was industrious. There was no slackness, since the success of Leichhardt, in forwarding exploration, although sometimes the zeal displayed was more conspicuous than discretion. Leichhardt himself was restless and eager, after the novelty of his welcome had worn off, to adventure once more into the unknown regions to the westward, but now with the intention of crossing the continent from the Moreton Bay District to Swan River. He pursued his design with characteristic energy. On September 21, 1846, he attended a meeting at Sydney to receive a testimonial there presented to him, and in less than a fortnight afterwards, was heard of as starting from Raymond Terrace in New South Wales, to join the other members of his company, who were to conic to Moreton Bay by sea, and meet him on the Darling Downs. His party and equipment were mustered at Oakey Creek, on November 21. He left on December 2 for Jimbour (then spelt Jimba, which is probably the correct orthography), which was to be his point of departure. He took with him Mr. John Mann, Mr. Hovenden Hely, Mr. Bunce (a well-known botanist), Mr. Turnbull, and a saddler and a tanner, and two aboriginals. His travelling stock were fourteen horses, sixteen mules, 270 goats, 90 sheep, and 40 head of cattle, as well as a moderate supply of stores. His intention was to follow on his old tracks until he reached the Peak Downs, and then to turn westward on his new exploration. Vague reports of his movements reached the settlement occasionally, but nothing definite was known until certain news came that he had returned with his party to the Condamine on July 31. From the narrative given in the Courier, I gather that all of the party, with the exception of Leichhardt himself and his blacks, had been attacked by fever at the Comet River, where they were detained by floods. When these had gone down, he pushed on for the Mackenzie, which the party crossed, and camped on the north bank. Here they turned their goats adrift, but persevered in reaching the Peak Downs, where they anticipated a bracing atmosphere and renewed health: but fresh misfortune befel them in the loss of most of their bullocks and a considerable number of their mules and horses. Discouraged by these repeated disappointments, Leichhardt determined to return to the Condamine, and, with new associates, attempt to discover some more favourable route; so they turned back, leaving behind a quantity of their stores, which might have encumbered them, and, after a miserable journey, arrived at Mr. Bligh's station in a very pitiable condition.

Sir Thomas Mitchell, then Surveyor-General, had started in November, 1845, on an expedition for the purpose of ascertaining the nature of the country to the west and north-west of Moreton Bay, and, skirting the centre of Australia, of reaching Port Essington, which last attempt was, however, abandoned. In the course of his journey he discovered the country which he named Fitzroy Downs, and the Maranoa River. Further on he found the sources of the Warrego, and thereafter followed down the bed of a river falling north-west, which he named the Victoria, and believed would find its estuary in the Gulf of Carpentaria. In portions of his journey he crossed the route which had been previously pursued by Leichhardt, although of course not aware of that at the time, and hence arose some confusion of names which for a time perplexed geographers. His descriptions were vivid, his language vigorous, his anticipations sanguine, especially as to the great river on which he lavished all his eloquence. But a subsequent exploration by Mr. Kennedy, who had been one of his assistants, proved Sir Thomas to have been premature in his conclusions. The Victoria was by no means a permanent stream, and, ultimately turning in a south-western direction, became dissipated in a number of small channels, and was finally lost in the sandy plains of the interior. Kennedy identified it with the Cooper's Creek of Captain Sturt, which had been discovered by that explorer in his South Australian Expedition. Sir Thomas's glowing descriptions induced the late Mr. Charles Coxen, accompanied by Mr. Pinnock and a native black, to venture on an explanatory tour to the Fitzroy Downs, which, however, they thought, did not justify Mitchell's eulogies, and their subsequent report seems to have deterred some who intended to form stations on that part of the country from making the attempt, at least, at that time.

But Sir Thomas Mitchell's narrative induced Leichhardt to start after a day or two's rest, on an expedition to the Fitzroy Downs to examine the nature of the country. It seems tolerably clear that he did not then find them, although more than once on the tracks of both Mitchell and Kennedy. He does not appear to have thought very highly of the country for settlement; and, having returned to the Condamine, hastened to Sydney to renew his preparations for a final start. Here, too, he met with a relative, a Mr. Classen, touching whose real fate there has been much painful uncertainty. The two left Sydney on December 4; arrived at Rosenthal on the Darling Downs about February 1, 1848; and, on the 13th, were in Brisbane, completing their equipment. On the 16th, they left on their last journey. Leichhardt had with him, besides Mr. Classen, a Mr. Entinck, formerly of the Hunter River District; a man named Donald Stuart, who had been in the service of the Messrs. Leslie at Canning Downs; another man named Kelly; and two aboriginals. The party had with them fifty fat bullocks, twenty mules and six horses, with what was described at the time as a complete equipment. He proposed to follow a river, called, by Mitchell, the Cogoon, to the Victoria River, following that explorer's tracks as far as might be necessary to enable him to discover the course of the northern waters, and then bearing off westerly for Swan River. The last heard from him was a letter to the Sydney Morning Herald, dated April 4, 1848, and written at a sheep station not far from Mount Abundance. A day or two afterwards, he left Mount Abundance with his party—and, thenceforward, was no more seen of his fellows, and became a memory and a name.

Some comments were made after his departure on the change in his associates, and Mr. Bunce vindicated himself as to his secession in a letter of some bitterness, on the ground that it was by Leichhardt's own wish that the connection was broken off. Mr. Classen, Leichhardt's relative, took Bunce's place; and, irrespective of what causes of dispute might have arisen in the first and abortive attempt. Leichhardt might have preferred a solitary friend, and beyond him only subordinates who were that and nothing more, to associates of sufficient standing and position to form and act upon their own opinions. Modest in bearing reputation, he seems to have been avaricious in engrossing it—a failing the more to be regretted in his case, because it is possible, that under different arrangements, his danger might have been lessened, and his fate more fortunate; but no one can deny his general disinterestedness, his indefatigable energy, his indifference to privation, and his zeal in the pursuit of that branch of knowledge of which he was so devoted a follower, and in which his fame stands second to none.

While Leichhardt was thus engaged in the task of scientific exploration, what may be called exploration for settlement, was being vigorously pushed on. Mr. Burnett, an assistant surveyor in the New South Wales survey department, left Brisbane for the Downs country, on March 1, 1841, with the intention of tracing the waters of the Boyne River, to its supposed mouth in Hervey's Bay. In this, however, he was prevented by the difficulties resulting from the nature of the country, and, after travelling as far as his means admitted, returned to Brisbane. He again left there on July 20, in his boat, with a crew of seven men, and reaching Hervey's Bay, proceeded up the "shallow inlets" of Flinders', which he found to be the openings he was in search of. Journeying up the river, he at length connected it with the point he had reached by land, and having, satisfactorily ascertained this, he examined Wide Bay, and the river debouching into it. Of the Boyne, or of the country on its banks, he thought little, but the Wide Bay River, as it was called, he considered the opening for some future important settlement. On receipt of his report, the Governor directed that the name of the River Boyne should be changed to the "Burnett," and of the Wide Bay River to the "Mary." Thus was the first step taken towards the location of the now important town of Maryborough.

While the work of exploration was thus going on, new roads and new settlements were following its tracks, and new stations forming. In May, 1847, a new road over the Range, and south of Cunningham's Gap, was found and marked; and, farther north, a road was traced from the head of the Mary River to a station about seventy miles farther inland. So far as their limited numbers permitted, the settlers were assiduous in the discovery and use of such facilities as by degrees opened upon them, and the condition of the district seems to have been, if not violently prosperous, at least progressive. Gradually it was provided with the usual means for the administration of the law. A Court of Petty Sessions was established at Brisbane, on March 1, 1847, and another at Ipswich, on July 5. Messrs. M'Connell's station, at Cressbrook; Cambooya, on the Darling Downs; and Canning Downs (near Warwick) had been appointed places for the same purpose, early in the year; but Cressbrook was soon abandoned. The Government of New South Wales dealt rather harshly with the residents in closing the old hospital, but an arrangement was soon come to by which the public subscriptions were to be supplemented by an annual grant from the revenue, and the buildings, now swept away for the new Law Courts, were granted as a hospital for the settlement. The provision of a decorous building for a church was also attended to, a visit from the Anglican Bishop of the diocese—then that of Newcastle, New South Wales—materially assisting in the work. The site now occupied by St. John's, Brisbane, was secured, and plans obtained by which what now partially forms the south side of the present building was afterwards erected. There was a slight agitation about the best locality for the permanent capital, some turning their faces towards Cleveland, some suggesting the present site of Maryborough; and there were the usual local and petty jealousies inseparable from small communities. It was seldom that any great crime startled them from the generally quiet though somewhat jovial tenor of their way; and the conduct of the people seems to have been at least as good as that of their elder neighbours. I should almost feel justified in considering it better, could I give the weight which may, nevertheless, be due to the testimony of Mr. Arthur Hodgson, then, as now, a large run-holder on the Darling Downs, in behalf of the settlers in the outlying districts, not usually considered the most straight-laced in their behaviour. When on a visit to England in 1848, he informed a meeting, held at the Shire Hall, Stafford, that—

"his experience led him to declare, that what was said respecting the vice and immorality which were represented as taking place there, was very incorrect. He assured them that he knew no well-conducted establishment where the master did not every Sunday assemble together his servants and read prayers to them, and also, in some instances, a sermon. This was done in every well-regulated establishment in the colony; and besides, that he had frequently seen men congregated under a gum tree, listening to the words of everlasting life."

Mr. Hodgson spoke from personal observation, and I am therefore compelled to believe that well-regulated establishments of the kind he described were not numerous, and that such gum trees, like the poppies in the old song, were rare,* although he might frequently have seen the few that did exist.

[* Poppies like these. I own, are rare;
But nightingales' songs like his, beware.

Old song.]






{Page 89}

CHAPTER VI.

1848-1850.

Earl Grey's. Despatch on the Proposed Constitution for New South Wales—The New Elections—Progress of the District—Troubles with the Blacks—Californian Gold Discovery—Dr. Lang and his Emigration Plans—The "Fortitude," "Chasely," and "Lima"—Dr. Lang's Character as affecting his Success—Paucity of other Immigration—Renewal of Modified Transportation and its Results—The Privy Council Scheme for Australian Constitutions—The Local Trade—Last Exploration and Death of Kennedy.


In tracing the history of the successive efforts at shaping a new constitution for the Australian Colonies, it is necessary to turn back to Earl Grey's despatch of July, 1847, which I have before mentioned. The scheme it embodied had at least the merit of consistency; and, as a mere theoretical effort, and considered without reference to the scanty and scattered population of the country and its dissimilarity of character to that of the older communities for which the system was suggested might have been suitable, had much to recommend it. His lordship proposed, in the first place, that the Legislatures should consist of two Chambers—one elective, the other of nominees of the Crown. In the next place, he recommended the establishment of district Councils, observing that "evils of a very serious kind result from committing the inclusive management of the affairs, both general and local, of a whole province to a central legislature, unaided and unbalanced by any description of local organization." And he then propounds the question, whether these councils might not "be made to bear to the House of Assembly—the relation of constituents and representatives." Not the least important proposition, was that of devising a method for "enabling the various Legislatures of the several Australian Colonies to co-operate with each other in the enactment of such laws as may be necessary for regulating the interests common to their possessions collectively," as, for instance, customs duties, postal procedure, roads, railways, and analogous matters.

It will be obvious that much of the value of the bicameral arrangement, and all of its acceptance with the people to be governed, would depend upon the conditions attached to the exercise of the nominatory power on which the second chamber was to be constituted; and as to these nothing was indicated. Again, it is by no means clear that such district councils as could have been obtained in New South Wales at that time, or could be now in Australia, would afford constituent bodies in any wise more qualified to select representatives than the general electorates in the ordinary manner. It is even very questionable whether the very different character of the duties to be performed by the two bodies would not so dissimilarize the qualifications of the members as to impair, if not prevent, that sort of transitional and gradual exaltation, a notion of which seemed to be floating in Earl Grey's mind. The worm—the grub—the butterfly—are pretty as illustrations; but, in the working of Governments, the supposedly analogous human subject does not always occupy the analogous situation. As to the federal suggestion made by his lordship, it is greatly to be regretted that his firmness in persevering in a provision for that was not equal to the foresight which dictated so wise a suggestion.

The reception with which the despatch met was by no means encouraging. The proposal for district councils was encountered by a storm of opposition from all parties. The country residents objected that they had not leisure to spend the time away from their homes that would be required for conciliar duties, or means to afford the expense of attendance. The members of the Legislature would have found their powers shorn in the most vital point to them—their use in the gratification of local wishes" and the corresponding maintenance of political position. And these feelings soon found expression. The Legislative Council of the colony met on March 21, when the Governor laid before them a despatch from Earl Grey, stating the terms on which the Home Government would send out "exiles and ticket-of-leave holders, to be subsequently followed by their wives and families, and by a number of free immigrants equal to the number of such exiles and ticket-of-leave holders at the expense of the British Government." The other despatch to which I have just referred, and which had been "published for general information," was also commended to their attention. On April 6, Mr. Wentworth moved the co-operation of the Council with the Home Government, in carrying out Earl Grey's emigration scheme, which was carried after a warm debate. On May 9, the same gentleman moved a series of resolutions condemnatory in almost violent terms of Earl Grey's proposal as to the form of the new constitution, but did not succeed in carrying them; the Council, on the suggestion of Mr. Charles Cowper—long a leading politician in New South Wales—determining to frame resolutions for themselves. When the time came for this, an animated discussion took place, when at length Mr. Wentworth moved, that the further consideration of the matter be postponed to that day six months, which motion was characteristically enough carried, and, for the time, the subject dropped.

There was, indeed, little opportunity for its renewal, except as a hustings topic. On June 21, the Council expired by effluxion of time, and the elections once more occupied the attention of the district. On that point all that need be said, is, that on Mr. M'Leay's resignation, from continued ill health, Colonel Snodgrass and Mr. A. Boyd contested the seat. The total number of electors for the three counties (Gloucester, Stanley, and Macquarie) constituting the electorate, was 301, of whom Brisbane contributed 83, and Ipswich 21. The local journal was complacent on the increased electoral importance of the district, which was not sufficient, however, to induce a visit from the candidates, of whom Colonel Snodgrass was elected on August 22.

The district itself continued to advance quietly but steadily, and, as a sign of the times, I may note, that at the commencement of 1848, the Courier had been enlarged to meet the public and advertising requirements of the improved order of things. In July, of the same year, the proprietorship passed from Mr. Lyon to Mr. Swan, and thereupon a change in the politics of the paper became every day more marked. From a mild advocacy of the exiles, it gradually altered to a very warm opposition of their introduction, and thus kept pace with the growing changes around it. And the old Anglo-Saxon tendency to association began to display itself amongst the people. The first Oddfellows' lodge was established in Brisbane on December 8, 1847, to be, in due time, followed by a temperance society, inaugurated at a public meeting held in May, 1849. Ever and anon, too, the necessity for a bank crops up in the reports of the times. On July 8, 1848, the inhabitants of the settlement memorialised the directors of the Union Bank of Australia, asking them to establish a branch in this "rapidly increasing town and district." Their statements in support possess an historic value in the history of the settlement, and I, therefore, quote some of them. They affirmed that the value of the exports for the year 1847, was £72,297, and that for the current year, they estimated the amount at £100,000. "The live stock on which our prosperity at present principally relies, consisted, on January 1, 1848, of 698,938 sheep, 48,267 cattle, and 2,189 horses." It is worth noting, that they suggest that the growth of cotton "would give an immense impetus to trade," in which, however, they were mistaken, and they were pathetic upon the distance all had to travel who had banking business to transact, and the inconvenience they sustained by their lengthened journey. But the memorialists addressed a board which seems fully to have realised Lord Stowell's description of such bodies—they never received the courtesy of an acknowledgment of their application. The want of roads and bridges seems to have excited a sort of spasmodic attempt at improvement in the means of transit, for I find a transit company announced, and much interest evinced in some plans for the construction of cheap bridges, apparently on the lattice principle, which, however, resulted in nothing practical. The scarcity of labour was also a sore trouble. Wages, indeed, seem to have been moderate, reckoning by present standards. Married couples received £30 a year and double rations, single men £20 and single rations; the wages of a domestic servant were £14 a year; shearers fared better in the season, 2s. 9d. per score, or £3 3s. per week being the current quotation. The absolute absence rather than the price of labour seems to have been the great cause of complaint; squatters, "magistrates withal," as the notice of the occurrence complains, having occasionally to drive their own bullock-teams. It may easily be conceived, therefore, that the arrival of fifty-six Chinese immigrants did not much mend the state of affairs; but that of the Artemesia, in December, 1848, with 210 male and female immigrants, gave the inhabitants some satisfaction. "The arrival of the first immigrant vessel direct from England, is an important event in the annals of Moreton Bay," observes the Courier of that date; "an epoch to be often reverted to by the future historians of the northern colony." I therefore note the fact with a good grace encouraged by such a prediction.

In other respects the colonists were tolerably active in the advancement of the district. An application was made to the central government, that Brisbane might be declared a free warehousing port, which received scant courtesy at the hands of the Colonial Secretary, and a peremptory refusal. Nothing daunted, the petitioners went to the Home Government, and, as a result, obtained a concession that the town should be made a warehousing, in distinction from a free warehousing, port. They followed this up by petitioning for the erection of a building for a Custom House, and in this, after an acrimonious dispute with the local authorities as to the best site, they were successful. The melancholy condition of the old Government garden—described as fast sinking into dilapidation and ruin—was a reflection upon the economy and taste of the New South Wales authorities, who would neither preserve it themselves—although the collection of plants is said to have been valuable—nor allow anyone else to preserve it for them. But the Roman Catholic body contributed a valuable addition to the attractions of the place in a church, small in dimensions, but marked by character and spirit of style, whose loss a later structure of infinitely more ambitious pretension will not prevent the architectural connoisseur from regretting. In the interior the progress of building foreshadowed the townships of Drayton and Warwick, and Mr. Bunce, making a successful journey to the Fitzroy Downs, found them, in his opinion, to justify Sir Thomas Mitchell's description, and reported accordingly. But the little growing settlement had its discouragements. A heavy fall in the price of wool "created in the large pastoral districts a death-like depression, and public opinion—flying, as usual, from one extreme to the other—already predicts the annihilation of the squatting interest." Over production was assigned by some as the cause of the fall, but more accurate observers traced it to the commercial depression in the old world, following upon the political disquietude of the times; and the squatters and their supporters took courage—perhaps because it was useless doing otherwise. The blacks added to the vexation of their souls, almost every number of the Courier containing some account of predatory aboriginal attacks. These, as a matter of course, were met by such retaliation as was possible. The whole squatting frontier became a line of perpetual conflict, in which it is to be feared no small cruelty was exercised on both sides. Why the hostile feelings, which found vent in such barbarities, should have been caused, is a question involving no great profundity of speculation. There is a selfishness in civilization as in savagery; each grasping enough in its own development, and certain to become bitter when the two are opposed—opposite as are their special wants, natures, and perceptions. I know of no better explanation of the foundation of such hostility than was given many years ago by a South Australian native, when asked why he killed the settlers' sheep—"White fellow kill black fellows' kangaroo; all same black fellow kill white fellows' kangaroo." The justification to his mind at least was complete.

The social difficulties of the residents were not altogether confined to the troubles arising from the natives. They had some experience of the conduct of the "exiles," who were the objects of Earl Grey's commiseratory sympathy, and thoroughly apprehended what might be the consequences of that increased immigration with which they were threatened, They therefore petitioned for the return of military protection, in which they were successful. On November 13, a detachment of the 11th regiment arrived, and took up their quarters in the old barracks, much to the content of the people. The next object of their request, was the appointment of a resident judge, or at least the establishment of a circuit of the Supreme Court. For this, however, they had yet to wait, and to endure the miscarriage or prevention of justice, which the reference to Sydney of all cases for trial could not but involve. In one respect they were not forgotten—a remembrance which, I suspect, the realisation of revenue had as much to do with as any higher motive. The extension of squatting occupancy rendered the subdivision of old, and the proclamation of new, pastoral districts necessary; and in November, 1848, those of Moreton, Darling Downs, Gwydir, Wide Bay, Burnett, and Maranoa, were proclaimed accordingly; the late President of our Queensland Legislative Council, Sir M. C. O'Connell, being appointed commissioner for the Burnett District. The probability of a township at Maryborough was spoken of, although influenced, it is said, by evil reports, there was a disinclination on the part of new arrivals to take employment in the district, with which, moreover, communication seems to have been of a very irregular kind. Early in the following year, a post office was established at the locality of the proposed town, the mails being carried by sailing vessel as opportunity offered.

The first number of the Courier in the year 1849, startled the quietude of what seemed to be sinking into a sort of sleepy-hollow, with the news of the Californian gold discoveries. They were received, at first, with a quiescent incredulity, which, by and by, changed into an active desire, on the part of some of the more adventurous spirits, to try their chance in the varying fortunes of a miner's life; but although, from time to time, the residents were amused or excited by the continuous reports of increasing yields, I find the influence exerted upon the district was comparatively small.

What was of far greater moment to the people of Moreton Bay, was the commencement and partial success of a scheme for comprehensive and systematic immigration, of which the late Rev. John Dunmore Lang was the author. That exceedingly energetic man had long before this time exerted himself very efficiently in the promotion of free, as distinguished from convict, colonization; and, in pursuing that course, had brought himself into ill-favour, not only with a large class in the colony whose feelings and prejudices were offended by hostility always open and exasperating, but with the Colonial Office in England, and with the New South Wales officials, who, with mare or less feebleness, reflected the opinions and endeavoured to serve the wishes of their employers. He had, to a great extent, identified himself with the public and social progress of the colony, and I remember very well the influence his "History of New South Wales" * exercised on its first publication on the commercial and emigrating public in the old country at a time when a great deal had been written upon, and something done in the way of colonization, and the merits of rival systems were discussed, sometimes with more temper than philosophy. I do not think it too much to say, speaking from my own recollection, that the exertions of Dr. Lang, at that time, in great measure, popularised the Eastern colonies of Australia with the British public. It sometimes belongs to men of great energy to misdirect it—of great determination of purpose to mistake the motives and underrate the integrity of their opponents. And the greater their appreciation of their object, the more impatient will they be of opposition, and intolerant of those by whom they are opposed. Any man of such qualities living and acting in the early times of these colonies, would, no doubt, find full exercise for their most extreme development. And I am not at all surprised, that in the eyes of those who profited, or wished to profit, by such a state of things as seems to have existed during many years prior to the separation of Port Phillip from New South Wales, Dr. Lang was a very unpopular man.

[* First edition published in 1839.]

And there were other antagonistic influences exerted by Dr. Lang's public career. He had visited this district in 1845, and had then formed a high opinion of its capabilities—so high as to induce him to consider that it would soon be as desirable to separate it from the parent colony as the district of Port Phillip; and he threw himself with characteristic energy into the advocacy of separation for both. This did not increase his popularity with the leading residents of New South Wales, but, on the contrary, added new intensity to their dislike. It appears to me, that he practically undervalued the effect all this might have upon his emigration schemes, and thus became involved in responsibilities, and exposed to insinuations, against which a more accurate estimate of the forces he had to contend with, and a consequently more cautious procedure on his own part, might have protected him; a judgment, however, which those who benefited in no small degree by an opposite line of conduct, can have no right to pronounce. But what was more unfortunate still, was the absolute intolerance and injustice which he at all times displayed, not only towards all ecclesiastical systems which differed from what might be his ideal at the time, but towards every person who could be supposed to be identified with them, or who refused to admit the value of his own. He did not scruple to denounce, with all the vigour of an infallible controversialist, Roman Catholicism as "the Beast" of prophecy, and what would now be regarded as a moderate high churchman, as "the image of the Beast;" the Wesleyan as lukewarm; and, almost as vigorously, the members of the elder Presbyterian body to which he once belonged, as "Erastians." And he carried into these disputes, and, in his later years, into too many of his political contests, an amount of personal vituperation, of insinuation as to motive, and suspicion as to dealing, which are hardly to be accounted for on any possible hypothesis; except, that in all his plans he could bear,

Like the Grand Turk, no rival near his throne.

Public men of integrity of purpose, equal to any that he could claim for himself, found themselves assailed with all the weapons employed against the most abandoned "emancipist" of ancient times, and with equal bitterness, until at last it almost seemed that an Anglican Bishop and a convict editor stood on the same level in his estimation. Unhappily, this grew upon him with time—as, when we compare his latest published works with the first history to which I have alluded, becomes painfully apparent. Undoubtedly, his influence on colonial progress was great—his exertions, such as no man without great force of character and strength of constitution, could have been equal to; but the effect would have been far greater had he admitted the rights of others to form and act upon their opinions, and not always declined any estimate but his own.

Different systems of emigration had been tried previously to this experiment. For a time the New South Wales Government adopted one of bounties—so much per adult for the immigrants imported—a plan which naturally led to great abuses in the efforts of holders of bounty orders—i.e., orders for the introduction of a given number of immigrants—to sell them to advantage, and of shippers, to recoup themselves by abridging as far as they could, the convenience and comfort of their passengers. Then the proceeds of the land sales were applied, sometimes directly, and sometimes in anticipation, by way of mortgage raised on the security of the land fund, for the payment of passages. And, in aid of either, the home Government occasionally paid the cost of chartering vessels and of provisions and other necessary equipment from the English Treasury. In addition to this, intending purchasers of colonial land acquired by a deposit of their money with the home authorities, a right to nominate emigrants for free passages in the Government vessels, at the rate of one adult or two children for every £20 so deposited. But in every case the approval of the emigrants and of the arrangements connected with their voyage, was subject to the control of a board, called the Land and Emigration Commissioners, sitting in London, whose notions of the actual wants and wishes of the colonists seem to have been not infrequently of a vague and shadowy nature.

At this time various efforts had been made to test the suitability of the soil and climate of Moreton Bay to the growth of cotton. Small samples submitted to Manchester manufacturers had obtained their approval, and it seemed probable, that could the plant he cultivated economically and profitably, there was an opening for a large trade, and for the settlement of a considerable and prosperous population. Dr. Lang was persuaded, or persuaded himself, that it could, and his enthusiasm was tired by the prospect. He thought that he saw the starving poor and anxious middle classes of the old country brought into remunerative competition with the slave holding cotton growers of the Southern United States, and a doubly philanthropic purpose carried out, not only without drawing upon, but in reality to the great assistance of, British commercial and manufacturing industry. We may assume that he was in error, but at that time, and afterwards, until experience supplied a refutation, the great majority of our people were of the like opinion. Estimates showing a more than average profit were given to him, and well-informed men of sanguine temperament vouched their correctness. To create a new industry, to form a new colony, to deal to slavery no slight blow, and to relieve his fellow-countrymen from poverty and suffering, were, singly, objects worthy of all the energy that could be thrown into the support of their combination, and assuredly, in the doctor's case, that energy was in nowise spared.

Dr. Lang, after his visit to the district in 1845, left New South Wales for England in the following year, and arrived there in December, when he immediately commenced what may be termed an emigration crusade; lecturing, writing in the public journals, corresponding and employing all the means that an enthusiast would be most likely to adopt in furtherance of his objects. After some time thus occupied, he attempted the formation of a company, called the "Cooksland Colonization Company," * and while engaged in that, applied to the Colonial Office for free passages for one hundred emigrants, to be selected by himself at Glasgow, and to be employed in the cultivation of cotton in Moreton Bay. On November 2, 1847, a reply to the application was given, to the effect, that—

[* Dr. Lang had previously published a volume, entitled "Cooksland," descriptive Of the district.]

"if an association shall be actually formed for trying the cultivation of cotton, and should agree to purchase land belonging to the Crown on such terms as would be compatible with the existing law on the subject, there would be every disposition on the part of Her Majesty's Government to meet the association in the selection and despatch of emigrants to that land, but that Earl Grey could not begin by promising to send out the people, leaving it to be afterwards settled whether the body upon whom they were to be dependent, would be organised and would acquire the land upon which they were to be employed."

He lost no time in answering this by a long letter, dated three days afterwards, in which he asked that the proposed association should be entitled to lease land, with liberty to select and purchase at the upset price, such as might be found most suitable for their purposes; the cost of carrying out the experiment, as well as the purchase money of the land bought, being allowed by the Government to go against the passages of the immigrants. To this proposal a flat negative was given by Mr. Hawes, the Under-Secretary for the Colonies. He persevered, however, in his efforts for the formation of a company, and for an arrangement with the Government, finding, as I infer, from a diligent perusal of the papers before me, great difficulty in providing such a return as would give a commercial profit to shareholders, and yet keep within the limits imposed by the imperial and Local Acts and Regulations touching the sale of Crown lands, and the selection and passage of emigrants. His first efforts at the formation of a company, met with many obstructions, and wore finally abortive, in the face of the difficulty I have referred to; but he nevertheless persevered, and chartered the Fortitude, ship, for the conveyance of passengers to Moreton Bay, committing most of the business arrangements to Mr. Arnold, a well-known and respectable London ship broker. In his own letters, and in his evidence before a Select Committee of the Queensland Legislative Assembly, in 1860, he states that, prior to the departure of the vessel, in September, 1846, he had a personal interview with Mr. Hawes, then Under-Secretary for the Colonies, and received from that gentleman, if not an assurance, at least what amounted to almost as much, that the local government would allow to immigrants sent out by him a quantity of land equal, in proportion, to that made in the case of those sent out by purchasers under the Land and Emigration Commissioners. Mr. Hawes did not, when called upon, recollect any conversation of the kind. These facts, however, are certain: Dr. Lang undertook the personal responsibility of sending out the emigrants, and was a heavy loser by the transaction; and he gave to them land orders at the rate of £16 for every £20 received from them, which orders he had no official authority—no authority that he could make legally available—to give. But I am unable to come to any other conclusion, than that he fully believed those orders would be duly honoured by the local government, unless I assume him to be something akin to an idiot; for it is in the evidence of some of the most respectable of the passengers themselves that in not a few cases only a portion—sometimes half, or not so much—of the passage-money was paid to him or to his agent. He himself asserts that his loss by the Fortitude was £1,300, most of which he had paid in London before his return. It is admitted now, on all sides, that he took great pains to promote both the physical and moral welfare of the emigrants while on board. One witness, before the committee I have mentioned, declared the accommodation in the Fortitude to have been quite equal to that given to what were termed intermediate passengers, the ordinary charge to whom at the time was £35; and I am unable to find any trace of complaint touching the vessel, or the provisions, or any other matter incidental to the voyage, Nor is there, in the local records of those days, anything that can be construed into a charge of wilful deception made by a single person who came out by the first vessel.

But when the Fortitude arrived in Moreton Bay, on January 20, 1849, the people on board found that no local preparation had been made to receive them, and that the gentleman to whom the vessel had been sent, repudiated the agency. The local authorities had received no warning, and the local newspaper complained that no previous notification of the precise nature of Dr. Lang's plans had been forwarded, or of the time when the first arrivals might be expected, and that he had committed the local charge of the whole matter "to a gentleman whom he had never consulted on the subject, who had never received, we believe, a line from the doctor since he left the colony;" and it trusted that he would be able to exonerate himself from the charge of indiscretion which it considered, under the circumstances, attached to him. The local authorities acted with promptitude and consideration, in which they were well seconded by the residents. On examination by the health officer, it was found that two cases of fever had occurred within one month of the arrival of the vessel, and she was placed in quarantine. The sickness could not have been formidable, for, in a week the removal of the passengers to Brisbane was ordered by the Police Magistrate. It does not appear, that on their arrival, they suffered any unexpected inconvenience. "We gather from the statements made, that no expectations were raised of an immediate possession of land, and that the passengers were fully aware that they must shift for themselves for the present." I quote from the Moreton Bay Courier of February 19, 1849, from which I also gather that the character and conduct of the immigrants and their value to the district were fully appreciated by the residents, who were not slow to express their satisfaction; while the immigrants, in their turn, seemed quite content with the prospects before them.

Dr. Lang had sent out by the vessel a statement of claims on behalf of the immigrants, and on his own account, which was forwarded to Sydney, and in the meantime, the new settlers were provided with accommodation in various ways. In a very short time almost all were engaged in business or in service, a few remaining to see when the promised land would be allotted to them, and they might commence their proposed agricultural pursuits. But in this their expectations were vain. The New South Wales Government gave prompt orders for the removal of such of them as remained on the Crown lands they had been permitted to occupy, and the right to obtain land at all was peremptorily repudiated. In fact, the immigrants were most unjustly made to feel the consequences of the almost vindictive animosity which Dr. Lang had excited in the minds of Earl Grey and the then Governor, Sir Charles Fitzroy; and I regret to be compelled to say, that the official correspondence connected with this immigration scheme, was not in any way creditable to the writers. For instance, in his statement of the circumstances attendant upon the arrival of the Fortitude, Sir Charles brought out the fact, that the vessel had been placed in quarantine; but he did not say, that within one week from the time this was done, the passengers were declared fit to be removed to Brisbane. Earl Grey caught with alacrity at the insinuated mischief, and, answering Sir Charles's letter, observes, "that they (the immigrants) arrived with fever prevailing in their ships, and that there had been several deaths an board. I cannot but fear," he sympathetically adds, "that this has arisen from the imperfect arrangements which had been made for the health and comfort of the passengers, as such an occurrence is so exceedingly rare in Australian emigration when properly conducted under the superintendence of the commissioners." The total number of deaths on board the Fortitude in a voyage of 123 days, were eight out of two hundred and fifty-six—three adults and five children, and only a single death from fever is stated to have occurred in the bay. It proved an odd commentary on the Earl's eulogium on the commissioners, that in the Courier of August 10, 1850, in which his despatch was published, the arrival of the first emigrant vessel, afterwards sent under their auspices to the district, was announced with this addendum:—"We believe that there were seventeen deaths on the passage from typhus fever; that fifteen of the immigrants were reported sick; and that a death occurred yesterday." Fourteen days afterwards, the vessel having been placed in quarantine, the surgeon's report was:—Sick, 56; convalescent, 63; and, ultimately, the number of deaths reached 10. I find no trace of official sympathy for the sufferers on this occasion; and not a word of rebuke to the commissioners or their agents. Earl Grey's animus towards the doctor was somewhat unworthily exhibited by what was practically a recommendation to Sir Charles, to encourage any disappointed immigrant to commence a criminal prosecution against him.

Scarcely had the Fortitude emigrants got settled in their places when the Chasely, bringing, in all, 225 passengers, arrived in the bay. The same negligence had been shown, and the same taking for granted that what was necessary would be done without preparation, just as if every possible precaution had been taken to secure it—as had characterised the want of arrangement in the case of the Fortitude. The passengers, therefore, had to pay for their own conveyance from the bay to Brisbane. The Government gave them no welcome beyond a temporary accommodation in the empty barracks, and what else they required they had to find for themselves; but no sickness occurred on this occasion to excite the humane suspicions of either Colonial or Imperial officials. The doctor forwarded a characteristic letter with the Chasely, addressed through the Courier to the inhabitants of Moreton Bay. Reverting to the Fortitude immigrants, he expresses misgivings as to their obtaining their lands, but as to those by the Chasely, he explicitly states:—

"I have succeeded, however, in making such an arrangement with the authorities here as will leave no uncertainty in regard to the acquisition of land for the immigrants per the Chasely, as was unavoidable iii the case of the Fortitude. We have already deposited a certain amount in the Bank of England to the credit of the Commissioners of Land and Emigration for the purchase of land in the colony for those emigrants; and we expect to deposit so much more as will be necessary when the decision of the Commissioners upon the emigrants by that vessel generally will be given. They were only examined this day (December 22) by Lieutenant Lean, on account of the Commissioners; and the result of that examination will be known in a few days. It will be transmitted by the mail packet to the local government at Sydney, and the matter will only be subject to the delays arising from the official routine in regard to land."

Lieutenant Lean expressed himself on board as highly satisfied with all he saw; and, on turning to the Commissioner's memorandum to Earl Grey, of November 30, 1849, I find that £500 was deposited on account of the Chasely with them. The Chasely left the Downs on December 27, 1848; and, as it was not till June, 1849, that they informed Dr. Lang that they would in future pass no emigrants for whom the deposit had not been previously paid, I infer that in the case of that vessel this prudent condition had not been enforced. It would follow, then, that the non-completion of the deposit was the cause of the non-availability of the promised land.

An explanation of this, satisfactory or not, may be supplied from the obstacles found in the way of establishing the proposed Cooksland Colonization Company. As far as I can gather from the published correspondence, that company was left by Dr. Lang, as stated by him, on some disagreement as to the locality of the management, and the exact status of the emigrants; but undoubtedly the disputes with the Colonial Office were not without effect. Another company was then initiated by him, of which the prospectus is before me, to be called the Port Phillip and Clarence River Colonization Company, and he signs the letter I have quoted from as secretary pro tem. to it. But I am unable to trace it any farther than a prospectus. No money seems to have been received on account of shares, and no payments made on account of the company. Actually, the whole arrangements seem to have been directed by Dr. Lang. His motive for associating the district of Port Phillip with his enterprise, I can readily understand; that was a portion of Australia then popular in England, and the climate believed to be pleasant and healthy, whereas Moreton Bay was generally looked upon as an almost tropical country, not easily endurable from its heat, while its connection with the "exile" question, prejudiced it with the general public. To unite the two in one enterprise, would, of course, benefit that which was least known; but the reason for adopting the Clarence River as the conjunctive name, is not so easily perceived. Be this as it may, I have no doubt that, with his sanguine temperament, Dr. Lang assumed the company as certain to be formed when he had drawn the prospectus, and the result was, that he had to bear all the consequences that followed from acting on such an assumption. The Chasely immigrants at all events got no land. Of the appropriation of the deposit acknowledged by the Commissioners. I am not aware.

A curious proof of the sanguine and impetuous nature of the man, will be found in connection with the Chasely. A Mr. Bowden, who had been a long time engaged in the management of sugar estates in Jamaica. A believed the cultivation of the cane to be practicable here. He agreed with the doctor to come to the district in that vessel with the purpose of forming a company for the growth of sugar, but being of limited means, Dr. Lang guaranteed a promissory note he gave in payment for the passage of himself and his family. In the letter forwarded by the Cha say, the doctor warmly urged upon the residents in Moreton Bay the formation of a company, with a capital of £10,000, in a thousand shares of £10 each, to carry on the project. He suggested that Mr. Bowden's expenses should be paid out of the first deposits, and that a call of £1 per share would be sufficient for preliminary operations. He deprecated any application for capital to New South Wales, and dilated upon the importance of purely local control, and waved before the eyes of the prosaic workers in the little settlement the glory of striking a blow at the slave-holders of Brazil and the United States, by the establishment of the sugar industry in Moreton Bey. The history of the attempt to form a company which followed, will be given in its proper place. What is more pertinent to my present purpose, is, that the doctor's responsibility seems to have been enforced, while the planters of Australia remained yet in the imaginative future, on which he loved to dwell.

Carrying on the history of this scheme, I next come to the arrival of the Lima, on November 3, 1849, bringing eighty-four passengers. In the letters which accompanied her, Dr. Lang did not allude to either land orders or emigration companies, but the passengers brought out with them orders to the value of about £900, which were, with but a trifling exception, honoured. There was some imputation made against him from transactions connected with the payment for the vessel, in which these orders were used for a time, but, as it appears to me, with but a very shadowy foundation. With the Lima, the introduction of immigrants on the proposed system, terminated here, and Dr. Lang found, in avocations involving less personal risk and pecuniary responsibility, full employment for the energy of which he had so superabundant a share.

His conduct in his colonization schemes, has been attacked and defended with extraordinary virulence. A portion of the Legislative Council of New South Wales censured him in strong terms; but, considering the party asperities of that day, and the nature of the majority against him, I attach little value to their condemnation. The constituency of Sydney were as warm in their eulogy; and, for similar reasons, I am inclined to give only its due weight to that. Earl Grey and others in his train, accused him of a greed of personal gain, and of a desire to aggrandise his friends by the proposed enterprise, but we must take the facts as we find them. Had every emigrant paid the intended company in full, if all the vessels employed had been as well fitted and found as the Fortitude and Chasely, competent judges have deliberately affirmed, that the margin would have been very small. In the draft charter, which was drawn up and submitted to the Board of Trade, the dividend was restricted to ten per cent., a return which, looking at the rate of colonial interest, and of dividends of colonial institutions, must be pronounced moderate. His friends, therefore, were not to be enriched. But as an individual, in the management of his immigration, he seems to have thrown profit and prudence alike to the winds. The Courier of the day, gave as a fact, derived from information supplied by the Fortitude immigrants themselves, that more than £2,000 had been paid by them to him, and, considering the source, we may suppose the amount was not understated. Equal to two hundred and two adults came out in her, and at the lowest calculation I do not think £15 per head could be below the cost. If the doctor received about £2,000, he would have been a heavy loser by that transaction, a loss that would be increased by his giving credit for portions of passage money to impecunious passengers. I see nothing extraordinary, under such circumstances, in his sinking £1,300 on the Fortitude alone, or losing £3,000 or £4,000 in the six ships sent by him to this district and to Port Phillip. It is not denied that all his obligations in England arising from the expenses incurred with them were discharged, nor that some who anticipated with eagerness a different conclusion, were not a little astonished at such a result.

On the precise nature of the understanding between Dr. Lang and the emigrants, as to the land orders, or their mutual misapprehensions, I presume not to judge. Both sides have made their own statement. Dr. Lang, in a letter in the Melbourne Argus, of May 14, affirms substantially that they had full value for their money in their passages, the land orders being a guarantee that they should receive certain portions of land in addition; and that they were told and knew that, although they might be put in occupation of the land, no deeds would be granted until the proposed company was fully formed, and a uniform system of allotment established. That no land at all was obtained for some of them, he blames the Colonial Office for. The immigrants, on the other hand, declared that they paid this money for the purchase of land, and received a "right to nominate for free passages themselves and families, or other eligible persons, in the proportion of one adult for every pound expended." * However this might be, as to those who paid in full, it could hardly apply to those who paid half, or less, or to those, who, with a wise precaution, did, in their own language, "advance deposits sufficient to cover the cost of their respective passages out; the remainder being stipulated to be paid on receiving the land for which they held an order." ** The reader, however, has both sides of the question. And there is one remarkable fact, with the parties principally concerned—with the great majority of the immigrants assumed to have been defrauded—Dr. Lang undoubtedly maintained a good opinion and friendly relations.

[* Resolutions at meeting held at Ipswich, June 4, 1849.]

[** Ibid.]

The conduct of the Colonial Office is another matter. If its authorities determined to adhere to their routine under any circumstances, they were right in abiding by their decision; but the wisdom of the decision itself may well be open to question. The austere autocracy which could listen to nothing that involved a chance of profit to associations engaged in an enterprise that—as experience of what was substantially the same system has abundantly proved—must even, without the successful cultivation of cotton, have materially assisted the settlement and industry of the colonies, and with them the trade of the mother country, melted into a gushing compassion when it proposed to give to probationary "exiles" a three years' lease of land rent free, and, at the termination of that, a pre-emptive right of purchase at the upset price. Dr. Lang asked for respectable industrious associations one year's lease, to enable them to select and settle their people, and was, in effect, told, by the peremptory refusal he met with, that in the eyes of the Colonial Office of that day, the promotion of free industry was of infinitely less importance than the reward of a probation for which an opportunity had been made by previous crime.

If, in thus entering at length into the particulars of an immigration which exerted a very marked influence upon the character and course of the district, and of Dr. Lang's connection with it, I appear to the reader to have dwelt too minutely or too long upon the various points, I have only to say, that in the space occupied is condensed the pith of a most voluminous correspondence, of many debates, of reports, resolutions, pamphlets, leading articles, and every form of controversy, extending over more than twelve years. And it was due to the memory of the eminent man, now no more, whose character has been impugned, but whose services to the colony of Queensland cannot be denied—if the value of independent government, free from the convict taint which beset the parent colony, be admitted—and were formally recognised by its first, and to him, undoubtedly hostile Parliament—that his conduct should be placed in as clear a light as it was in my power to throw upon it. Not less was it due to the large body of our population who are connected directly or indirectly, with the immigrants he was the means of introducing, whose beneficial influence, at a critical time, upon the moral and social future of the colony, is beyond dispute. I am neither his defender nor his apologist—dissent very strongly from many of his expressed opinions; have no sympathy with his prejudices, religious or political—and in his life time had but the slightest possible communication with him: and in the course of this inquiry, have been guided by published documentary evidence—admitted by all parties—bearing upon the case, and by that alone. If there had been one reason wanting to induce me to enter upon it, I should have found it in the fact, that at last his great age, not only left the services of his vigorous manhood behind the recollection of the great majority of those who are now engaged in the ever changing hurry of colonial life, but enfeebled his own perceptions of self-respect, and called for an indulgence—not always extended to him—which the best of us may well pray may never be required for ourselves. Few who saw him only in the late years of his life, would have imagined him the competitor of Donaldson, of Manning, of the towering and vehement Wentworth, of the acute and brilliant Lowe. When we remember what he effected, and what he underwent, something may be conceded even by enmity—something forgiven for what appears the pertinacity of an expiring egotism. Is it wonderful, that when we persistently discharge our memories of the past services of public men, they do now and then remember them: if the reminder sounds like a reproach, whose fault is it but our own?

Whatever may have been the defects of Dr. Lang's emigration schemes, little vas done to supplement his efforts or remedy their defects. The total number of immigrants sent out by the Commissioners, and landed in Brisbane, during the year 1849, was 104. In addition to these, 43 orphan girls, who formed part of a number shipped to Australia by a philanthropic committee, and mostly, I believe, from Ireland, were forwarded from Sydney. To counterbalance these, 306 prisoners were sent to complete their term of punishment, or, as Lord Grey expressed it, of probationary reform. It is not surprising that the free residents began to agitate for the total cessation of transportation, even though, at the close of the year, I find very bitter discontent expressed at the scarcity of labour, and the consequent hindrance to the industries of the district. That discontent was aggravated by the conduct of the Sydney Government in doling out a miserable and fractional portion of the Large immigration to New South Wales since its resumption in 1848. From that time to the middle of May, fifty-four ships, bringing out 13,601 souls, had arrived, and of the whole number this district appears to have received only about 400.

That Earl Grey was resolutely bent on the continuance of Eastern Australia as a reformatory colony in some shape or other, I gather from his despatch of September 8, 1848—published here in March, 1849—in which he informed Sir Charles Fitzroy that the Order in Council, by which New South Wales was made no longer a place for receiving convicts under sentence for transportation, would be revoked. As, he wrote, it seemed improbable that funds would be available from the British Treasury for the conveyance of a number of free immigrants, equal to that of the male convicts, he requested the concurrence of the colonists to the permanent establishment of the proposed system, irrespective of free immigration; believing that they "would prefer, to the entire abandonment of the measure proposed, receiving a moderate number of convicts;" that there would be "no difficulty in disposing of all the convicts, for whom it is necessary to provide;" and that it would be of so "much advantage to the several British colonies, where there is a great demand for labour, as to induce them gladly to receive all the convicts that can be sent to them." Having wrought up his convictions to that pitch, he concluded the despatch by saying, that he should immediately commence carrying out his plan, and continue to do so until he received an answer; if that were unfavourable, he should fall back upon the system of equal immigration. The delusion under which he seems to have laboured, as to the real feeling of the colonists, must have been soon dispelled. The inhabitants of Port Phillip became so violent in their opposition, that the Governor was induced to promise, that all prison ships sent there, should be ordered on to Sydney, at which the wrath of the Sydney population blazed vehemently out. They were not soothed by Sir Charles Fitzroy's assurance, that should the Legislative Council decline to concur with Earl Grey in the matter, the new scheme would be abandoned. A meeting of upwards of 4,000 persons was held in Sydney, when a strong protest against the renewal of transportation, supported by Mr. Robert Lowe, was carried unanimously, as well as resolutions requesting that the first convict ship—the Hashemy, just arrived—should be at once sent back to London at the Home Government's expense.

The protest in due time bore fruit—the resolutions floated away. The cargo of the Hashemy was discharged, and fifty-four of her convict passengers were sent to Moreton Bay, where their arrival was acknowledged by a petition to the Queen for the abolition of transportation. A sort of grim merriment was caused by the mixture of economy and discipline exhibited by another despatch from the Secretary of State, in which it was ordered that none of the ticket-of-leave holders should receive a conditional pardon, however apparently exemplary might be their lives, unless they re-paid the cost of their involuntary passage, fixed at £20. And when, on November 1, the Mount Stuart Elphinstone arrived with 225 male supposed candidates for their purchased pardons, there was fresh food for cynicism furnished by a new regulation, that employers desirous to get their services, should engage them on board, whereby the Government saved the cost of passage from the bay, and of housing and feeding them the day longer, which, placing them in barracks, would have involved. Immediately upon the ship's arrival being notified, a notice was published, calling a meeting of the residents to consider "the best means of receiving exiles." and to petition the Government to send out a "fair proportion of free immigrants;" but under this appeared another advertisement, entreating the attendance of the inhabitants, that a full expression of public opinion on the whole subject might be obtained. A meeting was accordingly held in Brisbane on November 13, when a resolution was proposed, preferring a request to the Home Government for adequate military and police protection, as the district was to become a convict colony, and for the "fair" proportion of free immigrants to be sent as well. On this, an amendment was moved, embodying a protest against the renewal of transportation in any form, and carried with scarcely any dissent. The majority at once prepared for a larger and more authoritative meeting, which was held four days afterwards—when resolutions were unanimously carried objecting to transportation in any form; protesting against the unnecessary delays to which immigrants were subjected in the acquisition of land, and against any scheme which might tend to discourage the immigration of capital and labour. A memorial, in an argumentative form, embodying the resolutions, and, in vigorous language, depicting the unvarying evil conduct of the recently-arrived convicts, was adopted on the motion of Mr. Robert Little, a well-known colonist of moderate views (who has been Crown Solicitor to this colony ever since it became one), and directed to be forwarded to the Home Government. The close of the year brought with it an intended consolatory despatch from Earl Grey, to the effect that, in future, it was the intention of Her Majesty's Government to send out a number of free immigrants equal to that of the male convicts shipped to the colony—but the residents manifested little joy on this assurance, qualified as it was by a notification, that the wives and families of the convicts would be counted as part of the free emigration. The pro-transportation party, however, mustered at Ipswich, as a meeting of squatters and other employers of labour—but resolutions submitted in favour of convict immigration were decidedly rejected. Some of the leading proprietors of stations on the Darling Downs, however, volunteered a solitary drop of comfort to the Minister, and memorialised him for the importation of "exiles," assuring him that from 1,000 to 1,500 could be absorbed; "and by none more readily" than the memorialists, said to be employers of more than 500 men. They were especially severe upon the new arrivals in Dr. Lang's ships, who had, in reality, given life and strength to the opponents of the system sought to be enforced.

The boon of Separation from New South Wales had, indeed, been insinuated as a sort of sop for the conversion of the district into a penal colony, or rather of a colony for the reception of persons supposed to have reached the half-way house to reformation. It would be idle to attempt to conceal that at first, to the established men of business and the large—employers of labour, the prospect had not its bright side. "Highly respectable individuals declare," (said the Courier) "that if Moreton Bay is to be the capital of a colony, it is immaterial to consider the elements from which the colony is to be formed; and many persons maintain that some of the first colonies have arisen from the seeds of criminal transportation." The tactics of the anti-transportationists, as we have seen, pledged the district as such against the reception of convicts; and, so far, a step was gained to the promoters of a free, as distinguished from a semi-penal, independence. As to the extended constitution for New South Wales and Victoria, nothing was done; the bill introduced by Lord John Russell in the House of Commons being postponed and ultimately abandoned. The measure was based upon a Report from a Committee of the Privy Council—an able and statesmanlike paper—whose recommendations, had they been carried into effect, would have been of the very greatest benefit to all Australia. The citation of some of them appears so apposite to the discussions which are now every-day day matters with the self-elected patrons of the colonies in the old country, and to the philosophic discoveries of our own local world, that it would be inexcusable to omit the reference.

In dealing with the functions proposed to be given to what may be termed the Colonial Legislature, the suggestions as to their power of altering the local constitutions, or modifying the reserved monetary appropriations, were precautionary and yet liberal; but it was in consideration of questions that might concern all the Australian colonies, that a wise and legislative spirit was most displayed. After disposing of the minor subjects, the report went on to deal with the possibility of different tariffs in different colonies—a difference even then existing between South Australia and New South Wales—which, as the number of provinces increased, might be supposed to multiply also; and assuming that such would be the case, it continues:—

"So great indeed would be the evil, and such the obstruction of the intercolonial trade, and so great the check to the development of the resources of each of these colonies, that it seems to us necessary that there should be one tariff common to them all, so that goods might be carried from the one into the other with the same absolute freedom as between any two adjacent counties in England."

Adopting the primary principle involved in this position, the committee recommended that one of the Australian governors should be constituted Governor-General of Australia; that he should have power to convene a body, to be called the General Assembly of Australia, who should be enabled to legislate in the matters thereafter enumerated, but that the first meeting should not be convoked until at least two of the Australian Legislatures had requested the Governor-General to exercise his powers of convocation. The Assembly was to consist of delegates elected by the several Legislatures, and premising that the first tariff—an uniform one—was to be fixed by the Imperial Parliament, it was to have power to deal with—(1) the imputation of duties on imports and exports; (2) postage; (3) internal communication, roads, railways, etc.; (4) coast lights and beacons; (5) shipping and harbour dues; (6) the establishment of a general Supreme Court, either as an original one or of appeal from the courts of separate colonies; (7) the determination of jurisdiction and procedure in each Supreme Court; (8) weights and measures; (9) such other subjects as they might be asked to consider by address from the Legislatures of separate colonies; and (10) the appropriation, by equal levy upon all the colonies, of the sums necessary to carry its enactments into effect. When Lord John Russell moved the second reading of the bill, he further proposed to leave to the Assembly the initiation of the uniform tariff and—a point of equal importance—the regulation of the price of Crown lands. It is exceedingly to be regretted, that any cause should have operated to the abandonment of a scheme so comprehensive in outline, and so just in its general principle. Yet, that regret may be qualified by the reflection that, had it been adopted, what trickling rills of wise suggestions would have been dried up; what volumes of indignant eloquence at their permitted sterility would have been neither spoken nor thought of. A metropolis is the grave of small reputations—equally so is retrospection the executioner of mediocre originality; and we need not, therefore, feel so very much surprise that almost all the best points in multitudinous later schemes for Customs unions, and federal association, were anticipated more than a quarter of a century ago. More singular to me is the mean and stunted dimensions into which—from what influence I cannot learn—the effective measure for conferring constitutions on these colonies ultimately shrunk.

The transition from tariffs to trade is natural. The first detailed table of exports that I find, is on April 7, 1849, and it gives the values for the six months ending March 31 of that year, as £58,480, of which all but about £500 worth, was pastoral produce. Among the smaller items was 210 tons of coal, value, £94 10s. For the three months ending June 30, the total export was £32,651; for the next quarter, £14,281, and for the last quarter of 1849, £34,888—the whole for fifteen months being £140,103. The estimate of the applicants for a branch bank was more than confirmed by the results of the year's industry. The stock in the district was estimated to have increased during the year 1848, by 1,069 horses, 27,768 cattle, and 410,874 sheep—cattle, 58 per cent., and sheep, 62. In other industries I am unable to rind any success. Mr. Bowden's efforts at the establishment of a sugar company, met with a good deal of expressed, but hardly the shadow of any practical, sympathy, although the capital required was fixed at the modest sum of £3,000, to be subscribed in two or three years; and partial ordinary cultivation was promised to assure the shareholders from loss. On trying Sydney, he met with a little better reception at first, but the ultimate result was the same, and in his letter announcing his failure, he complained bitterly of the apathy with which his exertions had been encountered. Some canes, obtained at Tahiti, were distributed, but nothing practical followed from the growth of the few planted. The cultivation of cotton was discussed with some energy, and estimates were given of great profits to be realised, and the readers having congratulated themselves on the promising aspect of the industry, left others to realise it. A company for running steamboats on the Brisbane was announced, and there seems to have died out; but the enterprise of two residents, Messrs. Reid and Boyland, was shown in the employment of Mr. Winship in the construction of the Hawk, a steamer of seventy tons burden, which ran for many years with varying success. "Awfully short of cash," according to the local journal, was the great complaint. It is, therefore, creditable to the people that local subscriptions were entered into for the building of a Presbyterian Church, the Rev. C. Stewart, who had arrived in the Chasely, taking an active part in promoting the design. The Brisbane School of Arts was also started on September 24 of this year, and the first discussion opened on October 11, following. There was much advance in interior settlement, as distinguished from mere occupation. Although Drayton was proclaimed a township in the same month, and vague rumours came of fine pastoral country behind Port Curtis, wistful glances were now and then thrown towards the slopes of the Dividing Range, and even northwards, where gold was supposed to await the miner, but no one seemed inclined to face the dangers of the search. The fate of poor Kennedy had thrown great discouragement on exploration.

Kennedy, who was an assistant surveyor under the New South Wales Government, and, although a young man of moderate experience, had distinguished himself under Sir Thomas Mitchell, and, as we have seen in verifying that officer's discoveries, was landed at Rockingham Bay on May 24, 1848, with instructions to penetrate thence to Albany Island, off Cape York, where he was to be met by a schooner from Sydney, with supplies. He was then to make his way back on the western side of the peninsula, and return to Sydney. The probable obstacles seem to have been overlooked, and some of the men sent with him—eleven, and an aboriginal named "Jacky Jacky"—were utterly unfit for such an enterprise; one was nearly an idiot, and another (the storekeeper), a vagabond and a thief. The country was mountainous, and for the most part, covered with dense scrub, and the blacks numerous and savage. From their starting from the landing place, to November 10, they travelled painfully and wearily over 450 miles of the country I have characterised, when they reached the neighbourhood of Weymouth Bay, having been compelled to leave their carts and a portion of their stores behind them. During the whole of this journey they were harassed by the natives, and, towards its end, suffered sorely from both hunger and thirst, and yet were compelled to cut great part of their way through dense scrubs. On reaching Weymouth Bay (in latitude about 13° 40'), Kennedy determined to push on the remaining 150 miles to Cape York with three men and the aboriginal, leaving his second—Mr. Canon—with the remaining seven, to "spell" at the camp. The miseries he endured on this journey, up to the time of his death, were, as narrated by Jacky Jacky, extreme. About three weeks after leaving Weymouth Bay, one of his party accidentally shot himself near Shelbourne Bay, and Kennedy decided to leave him with the other two men, both in a state of considerable weakness, while he travelled, as rapidly as possible, over the remaining eighty or ninety miles to meet the schooner, and bring her back to take them on board. He took Jacky Jacky with him. On the evening of the seventh day from leaving them, and having reached a point near Escape River, at which they could see Albany, their destination, they were surrounded by natives, who had tracked them on their journey. Kennedy, who was exhausted by hunger and fatigue, had been left for a few seconds by Jacky Jacky, who was intent on getting at the back of the tribe, to scare them with his gun, but, before he could accomplish what he intended, the unfortunate explorer was pierced by three spears, and his watch and other articles taken from him. Jacky cut out the weapons and carried him into the scrub, where, faint and dying, he asked for paper and pencil that he might scrawl a few lines to the captain of the schooner, and, in the effort to use them, fell back into his companion's arms and expired. Jacky Jacky stayed, stupified with grief, for about an hour, "until I got well," and then buried the body, with the rude means he had—digging the earth with his tomahawk, and covering it with logs, his own shirt and trousers, and earth and leaves. Then, starting in the dark, and often driven to conceal himself in the creeks he waded along, he, after thirteen days, reached Albany in a wretched plight, and was taken on board the Ariel, schooner, lying there expecting the traveller. The schooner set sail for Shelbourne Bay, but on arrival there, the seamen refused to attempt the rescue of the three men left; little doubt, however, exists as to their fate, the blacks being seen with part of their clothing. The trousers in which Jacky Jacky had buried his master were found in a canoe. The Ariel then went on to Weymouth Bay, near where, after reaching the camp at the hazard of their lives, Captain Dobson, Dr. Vallagh, a seaman named Barrett, and Jacky Jacky, found Mr. Canon and one companion named Goddard, mere skeletons, from starvation and anxiety, sole survivors of the party. The rest had one by one sunk under their sufferings. All that was gained by so much misery and sacrifice of life, was the confirmation of what had been before supposed—the impracticable nature of the country, and a verbose panegyric on the survivors in the Government Gazette. It is questionable how much the passion for exploration may outrun necessity, or a just regard for even common humanity. Leichhardt, Kennedy, Cunningham, remind us of the cost of its indulgence.






{Page 113}

CHAPTER VII.

1850-1851.

Arrival of more Convicts—Condemnation of the Transportation System by the New South Wales Legislature—The Second Australian Constitution—The Singapore Route—Establishment of Circuit Courts—Validity of "Calabashes"—Industrial and Social Progress—Ravages by the Blacks—Agitation on Transportation—Discovery of Gold in New South Wales—Effect on the District—Cotton Cultivation—Improvement of the Port of Brisbane—Further Ravages by the Blacks—Census of 1851—Export Trade.


I have so far endeavoured to narrate, with, perhaps, greater minuteness than their apparent importance would demand, the incidents which may be said to have decided for a long time the character of the district; but because they did so decide it I was thus minute. What followed up to the discovery of gold in New South Wales, and subsequently in Victoria, was what might have been anticipated in the history of such a settlement. The immigration during the year 1850 was small. In January "fifty orphans and thirty other immigrants" were sent from Sydney, and in March ten more females. In August, the Emigrant, to which vessel I have before referred, arrived direct from England, having on board, when she left Plymouth, 272 souls, bringing with her typhus fever, of which sixty-four cases had occurred since May 12. These are all of which I have found record. It transpired, however, that some of the leading squatters had not been idle, on a recent visit to London, in representing to the Home Government the difficulties which the want of labour interposed in the way of industrial progress, and in strengthening Earl Grey's hands by applications for the shipment of "exiles," a course which, however distasteful it might have been to the majority in 1850, was certainly not at variance with the current of public opinion as it ran in 1848. They and their friends may therefore be supposed to have been not ungratified by the arrival of the Bangalore, in May, with 292 convicts and 104 free meet, women, and children, including the guard of twenty-nine pensioners, their wives and relatives, and some of those of previous probationers. Of the reforming passengers, it is written "with few exceptions there was much less sorrow and repentance for past offences than was more to seize future opportunities of repeating them." Forty-five were shipped to Wide Bay, in nowise to their discontent, there being no constables there. Having thus incurred the necessity for increased protection, the Secretary of State directed the removal of the small military force then in the district, to the great dissatisfaction of the residents, who memorialised the New South Wales Government against the step, but without effect. On the general question of transportation, resolutions condemnatory of the system were carried in the Legislative Council, early in October, the then Attorney-General—the late Mr. Plunkett—making a vigorous speech in their favour. Dr. Lang, who had returned to New South Wales, and been elected for Sydney, had the satisfaction of voting in the majority.

The Separation Question gradually strengthened, and began to occupy the leading columns of the newspapers; and the intelligence, that a clause had been embodied in the new Constitution Bill, authorising the Queen to create a new colony northward of the 30th degree of south latitude, which would have included the Clarence and Richmond Rivers district, served to quicken the attention of the residents to the subject. At a meeting of the reading squatters, at Drayton, it was recommended, amongst other things, that accounts of the revenue and expenditure in the district should be moved for in the Legislative Council, and that an effort should be made to secure direct shipment of produce to England, instead of by way of Sydney. But when the resignation by Colonel Snodgrass of his seat in the Legislative Council necessitated an election, there was little energy displayed in the gloved contest that ensued. The one point looked to was Separation, and as a means towards it, the securing a due share of representation in any new Council when the electoral districts were extended. Not one-third of the electors recorded their votes, but sufficient were polled to return Mr. Robert Jones, a resident of Brisbane, in opposition to Mr. Robert Campbell, of Sydney. While the election was still pending, a public meeting was held at Brisbane to adopt a petition to the Queen, praying for Separation, at which it appeared plainly enough that, however strongly the feeling in favour of that object might be, it was not sufficiently so to induce any lasting compromise between the friends and opponents of the reception of prisoners. The petition made no reference to that question, and was adopted by a large majority; but both sides were preparing for a vigorous struggle. Mr. Lyon, who had always defended the introduction of "exiles" as necessary for the supply of labour, had been assisted by the great employers, and those whom they could influence, to the establishment of a second newspaper to advocate their own views. His connection with the Moreton Bay Free Press, as it was called, seems to have been short, and a succession of editors followed one another, equally zealous in the same cause.* The whole question was soon debated with no small virulence, both by the journals and the two sections into which the public were divided.

[* I may mention here, that the Free Press was continued up to the time of Separation, and during the period of its existence, is said to have displayed in its leading columns, ability of no ordinary kind, At that time, I believe, Mr. Watts, afterwards for some mouths editor of the Melbourne Argus, was connected with the Press in a similar capacity. I regret, that having male diligent search, I have not been able to find a single copy of the Free Press in the colony—a fact, however, not to be taken in derogation of its value. Few colonial newspapers seem to be looked upon with any very affectionate regard except by their own proprietors. I doubt if I should have been able to find a file of the Courier, but for the conservative forethought of it, first published, Mr. Swan.]

Along with this the probable form of the new Australian constitution was discussed with some keenness. In opening the Legislative Council on June 4, the Governor informed them, that it was the intention of the Home Government to press the proposed measure through Parliament; and a bill, based in great measure upon the report I have described in the preceding chapter, was early in the session once more brought in by Lord John Russell. In the course of its passage it suffered cruel curtailment, and some able English statesmen protested energetically against the emasculated product, Mr. Roebuck deriving consolation from the "hope, that when the bill arrived in the colony, it would create such a degree of discontent, that Parliament would be obliged to reconsider the whole subject"—a hope in the nature of a prophecy, and one of which its author soon saw the fulfilment.

The Act in its final shape provided for the separation of the district of Port Phillip from New South Wales, and its erection into the colony of Victoria. As respected New South Wales, it continued a Legislative Council, one third being nominees of the Crown. It lowered the minimum franchise, which had been the £20 householder, to one of £10, and extended the right of voting to the squatters (described by Lord John Russell as a wealthy and most respectable body) in virtue of their leases. After provisions respecting the Australian Colonies generally, not necessary to be here noticed, it conferred on the Legislature of New South Wales the power of creating new electoral districts and increasing the numbers of the members, providing, however, that the relative proportions of nominated and elected members should be preserved. The Council were to impose taxes, and direct appropriation, but a civil list of £72,000 was reserved from their control, and the management and sale of the Crown lands, and their revenues were still retained by the Crown; while the provision for the payment of the police by assessment was abolished, and the cost directed to be defrayed out of the general revenue. What was of infinitely greater importance, the Act left the construction of new constitutions, whenever any of the colonies grew tired of that now given them, with their own legislatures, subject to approval by the Imperial Parliament; and it provided, as I have said, for separation by the Queen in Council, of any territory lying northward of the 30th degree of south Latitude from New South Wales, conditionally upon the petition for such a severance from the resident householders of the territory. So far as it went, it was a step in advance; but in entrusting to each of the local legislatures the power of forming a constitution for its own colony, it afforded encouragement to that notion of diverse conditions and interests which has worked so much mischief throughout Australia. Had the suggestions of the committee of the Privy Council been carried out in their entirety, there might at this day have been a united Australia, instead of a collection of disputatious and jealous communities, with their different tariffs, their conflicting legislation, and their apparent incapacity of acting in concert for any purpose tending towards the common welfare. Such as it was, however, it was to be acted upon. The principal anxiety of the Moreton Bay people, was to secure a just proportion of power in the new electoral distribution, and they awaited the meeting of the Legislative Council, by whom the adjustment was to be made, with some anxiety.

The Act did not arrive in time for the Council to carry out its provisions during the year, but while it did sit some motions were adopted, in which the district was more or less interested. In September, Mr. Donaldson obtained a committee to inquire into the expediency of establishing steam mail communication with Europe by way of Singapore, which, as I find no further trace of it, must have lapsed by the prorogation. It is worth noting, as showing how strongly the idea of northern colonization and connection with the East was impressed upon the colonial mind before the goldfields drove every other topic from public attention—an idea which found further expression in the confidence repeatedly shown in the annexation and colonization of New Guinea. Some further matters, mostly of temporary interest, were mooted by the same gentleman, who seems to have acted for the then retiring local member, incapacitated by age and infirmity, and some returns were obtained bearing upon the Separation Question. The Moreton Bay people were very sanguine as to the early erection of the district into a separate colony, and began to dispute as to whom the principal merit of bringing about such a consummation was due, and as to the form it should assume. They did not imagine that they would have nine years delay in which they might have time to arrive at conclusions on both points.

But in one thing the residents had occasion to congratulate themselves. On February 12, in this year, a notice appeared in the Gazette, of the establishment of a circuit of the Supreme Court for Moreton Bay; and on the 13th of the following May, it was opened by the late Mr. Justice Therry, in the chapel of the old convict barracks. There could have been little of dignity in the room or its surroundings, but the judge addressed a preliminary charge which made a great impression at the time, and was afterwards reprinted and published. He rapidly traced the progress of the district, and then went on to point out very lucidly, the principles which should guide jurors and witnesses in the discharge of their obligations. One illustration which he gave of the evils that may follow from the negligence or incapacity of a witness, appears worthy of preservation, and I append it in a note.* And it is a fact, more suggestive than remarkable, that after twenty-three years of experience in the criminal practice of the Courts, he gave it as his deliberate judgment, that in the colonies emphatically intoxication was the hot bed of crime; "directly or indirectly, all crime is traceable to it—the exceptions being so few as to establish the general rule." It was a significant comment on the habits of the times amongst the classes usually most productive of criminals, that there were none but criminal cases for trial at the sitting. One was of two men for a murder in the Wide Bay District. They were both convicted, and executed on the 8th of July following, protesting their innocence up to the last moment. Only four executions had previously occurred in Moreton Bay—one, of two natives for aiding in the murder of Mr. Stapleton, the surveyor—who were hanged at the old windmill; and the second, of two convicts, who suffered death behind the barracks, for the murder of two fellow prisoners. These were in the penal times; but after them and prior to the establishment of the Circuit Court, offenders were tried at Sydney, and the gaol there was the place of execution, from which, on this occasion, the executioner's apparatus had to be procured.

[* "About the year 1835. when I happened to hold the office of Assistant Crown Prosecutor, it was allotted to sue to conduct a prosecution against several persons, servants on an estate near Berrima, charged with the murder of a man in the same employment. The trial lasted the whole day, and the evidence variously affected the prisoners; but there was one of them—John Lynch, on whom it had fixed a more prominent part in the perpetration of the deed than the others. Towards the close of the trial a very material witness, and one who was to have proved that Lynch had been seen on the day of the murder within a short distance of the spot on which an attempt had been made to consume the body by fire, and on other points, to bring guilt completely home to him, appeared in the witness box in such a state of intemperance, that his testimony was valueless. Owing to that incident I attributed—and did not hesitate at the time to avow it—the prosecution failed, and Lynch, with the others, was acquitted. The presiding judge (the present Sir William Burton) most deservedly imposed a fine of £50 on the delinquent witness, who was the overseer of the estate, on which the prisoners were convicts. This occurred in 1835, and six years afterwards, during the absence of the present respected Attorney-General in England, his office devolved on me, and it became my duty at the Berrima assizes of that year, to prosecute this same Lynch for a murder perpetrated under circumstances of great enormity. For that murder he was tried, convicted, and executed. But the worst respecting him remains to be told. In the interval between his acquittal in 1835, and his conviction in 1842, he committed nine distinct murders, making the sum of Iris terrible guilt to amount to eleven murders, to which he confessed previous to his execution; and in this admitted catalogue of his crimes, he acknowledged that the murder of his fellow servant on the estate near Berrima, was one in which he had a principal share. To all the greater guilt to deeds so horrible, these deeds were perpetrated under circumstances of atrocity to which, from his own narrative taken down from his lips, which I have read, the records of crime in this or any other country, furnish no parallel. A memorable and dreadful example of the calamity that may befal a community when a man, charged with a serious crime, of which he is guilty, is tried and acquitted, and let loose again upon society—a far inure dangerous pest than before—emboldened by impunity with fresh desperation and augmented hardihood to enter anew upon a career of crime, and calculating upon the difficulty of the proof of guilt, of which his experience of the ordeal through which he has lately passed, inspires a natural assurance."—Charge of Mr. Justice Therry, at the opening of the Moreton Bay Circuit of the Supreme Court, May 23, 1859.]

Another and somewhat remarkable trial, was that of three soldiers of the 11th regiment of the line (a detachment of which was quartered here at the time), for wounding a native. A false alarm was given one night that the blacks were spearing cattle close to Brisbane, and rumour and fright, as usual, exaggerating the danger, the military were called out, and marched in pursuit, the officer in command directing his men not to fire without orders. When they came to the place where the blacks were camped, they found no signs of marauding, but there seems to have been same unnecessary outcry, on which three or four hasty shots were fired, and some of the natives hurt, and with this offence the men were charged. One of them was found guilty, and sentenced to six months' imprisonment. Some blame appears to have attached to the police, and the chief constable was dismissed: I mention the matter simply as showing that justice was not invariably withheld in the case of wrong done to the aborigines.

Out of one of the minor trials arose a point as to the legality of the "calabashes," which I have before described. Two orders for insignificant amounts had been stolen, whereupon the question of value was started, the indictment having been so framed as to charge the accused with the theft of property of value equal to the amount which the orders nominally represented. The judge was of opinion, that the documents being illegal under the Act forbidding the making of notes or bills for amounts under twenty shillings—the prisoner might be acquitted, but reserved the point: the Attorney-General thought the makers of all such orders liable to prosecution. At the final judgment of the full court, in the following July, the orders were declared to be valueless—whether their issue was criminal, the judges declined to say, that question not being before them. The Act (5 Geo. IV., No. 1) then in force, imposed a penalty of not less than £5 or more than £10 upon the maker for every order or note he might issue. Nevertheless they continued to be made long after the time I am now referring to, and, in fact, in the interior, formed almost all the small currency of the country. The old adage, that necessity has no law, may be supposed to be thus illustrated.

One practical result from this trial, was an increased desire for the facilities and protection afforded by a bank. A request to the Bank of Australasia for the establishment of a branch, was courteously acknowledged, and promised to be laid before the directors, but before their reply could be obtained, the Bank of New South Wales cheered the hearts of the residents by opening a branch in Brisbane, on November 14, and have since had no reason to regret the step thus taken; the trade of the district, indeed, justified it. Comparing the exports from Moreton Bay for the year 1830, with those of the preceding year, they exhibited a very satisfactory increase—that on the last quarter of the year being £15,033 over the amount of the corresponding quarter in 1849, the year showing a total of £149,819. A very curious coincidence of figures occurs in the comparison—the advance in the year over its predecessor being exactly the same as that of the last quarter of 1850 over the last quarter of 1849. The export was, as beforetime, almost wholly confined to pastoral produce. In other industries there was some talk, but not much real progress. I notice that a bale of cotton was shipped from Sydney in January by Mr. Stuart A. Donaldson, and the news of this seems to have somewhat stimulated the Moreton Bay people. That the plant would grow was established clearly enough, and much industry was evinced in calculations to prove that it might be cultivated profitably. The estimates varied, but gave as a tolerably certain permanent return about £15 per acre. The few samples which had reached the old country, had been highly spoken of, and Mr. Donaldson, who took considerable interest in the experiment, procured seed from America, and sent a small quantity for distribution among the settlers of Moreton Bay. Dr. Lang had, I believe, preceded him in rendering, that kind of assistance. There was plenty of hope, not much enterprise, and, as usual, a great deal of doubt, latent if not expressed.

In its social progress the district kept steadily on. In Brisbane, the School of Arts had so far advanced that plans for a new building were called for—lectures and entertainments of various kinds showing the spirit of its supporters. The Roman Catholic Church was finished; the Anglican Church commenced; and other religious denominations began to house themselves. The hospital was well managed, and appreciated as a valuable institution. A new Custom House, which still forms part of the modest looking structure which shrinks from notice in the hollow between Queen Street and the river near Petrie's Bight, was built; and the people began then to grumble at the deficient supply of pure water.. The education question, even in those early days, supplied topic of debate, and lectures were delivered by the advocates of the then rival systems, "denominational" and "national," the more cosmopolitan comprehensiveness of the "secular" not having been yet attained to. But in the fervour of their intellectual dissipation, the residents showed that they retained "a frugal mind," and established a building society; and they, moreover, had the advantage of an extension of legal blessings in the shape of the establishment of a branch of the Insolvent Court, the Police Magistrate acting as local Commissioner. In the interior, and towards the north, the process of settlement was quietly carried on, and Government sales were held at Ipswich, Drayton, and Warwick, of the lands in their respective vicinities. A township was established, at least in name, at Cleveland; and clerks of petty session were appointed for the districts of Wide Bay, and the Maranoa, and at Gayndah. Wide Bay was gradually creeping into some importance as an outlet for the pastoral districts of the same name and for the Burnett, and some impatience was manifested for the survey of a township and the sale of allotments.

The great trouble of the residents—especially in the interior—was the blacks; and the native police—a force of natives who have undergone a certain amount of training for the purpose, and are officered by Europeans—were in pretty constant requisition. At Mr. Dangar's station, on the Condamine, a concerted attack was made, the hut-keeper killed, and damage inflicted to the extent of £250 in value. The whole district was described by the Commandant of the Police as in a most disturbed state, several stations having been abandoned and twelve men killed. The condition of the frontier was, in fact, one of war, and we read of set encounters between the police and the aborigines, much as of those between the troops and the Basutos in the Cape Colony. Mr. Frederick Walker, the then Commandant, writes:—"I am convinced, that if properly officered by white persons, the natives of the colony would make as good troops as the natives of India. I know that as long as their officers stood none of the Native Police would stir." He had little difficulty in establishing a more quiet state of things than he found—though at what cost I see no record of—and established his head quarters at Callandoon, on the Macintyre River. But from the Wide Bay and Burnett, there arose wailing and protest. Sheep were driven off, and shepherds murdered, [missing ~nine indecipherable words], some of the sheep were recovered, and the blacks were reported as, under their vigorous regime, becoming "more tractable:" there needs no interpreter to explain what that means. Farther north, an adventurous traveller appears to have taken advantage of this ameliorated condition. A Mr. G. Francis, then recently from Port Phillip, reached a distance of about ninety miles north of the Burnett fiver, and seems to have discovered the Fitzroy.

There was grievance, too, in the higher walks of civilization. A New South Wales Postal Act had imposed a charge of one penny for the carriage of a newspaper, at which the wrath of the press was excited. But the proprietor of the Courier derived consolation from an unusual source. He informed his subscribers that, "as some inducement to them to pay up their accounts before they become deeply stricken in years, the postage will be deducted from all accounts with this journal that are not suffered to run more than six months"—which suggests a halcyon period when credit and impecuniosity were twins. The editor fell foul of the authorities because, although £35 had been voted for the salary of a letter carrier, none had been appointed—to the great discomfort of the mercantile and trading community; and protest and representation were suggested. In due time the required official was appointed, and a ray of peace shone upon the editorial and mercantile mind.

The year 1851 commenced in heat, meteorologically and politically: the thermometer on New Year's Day stood at 101° within doors; and the friends and opponents of convict labour took up their respective sides in undisguised hostility. A meeting of stockholders and others in favour of separation with "exiles," was called for January 11; and the notice was immediately followed by another from the opposite party, for a second or rather contemporaneous meeting, to protest against such an accompaniment of the main object. The followers of each were numerous, and I confess that I find some names on the list of the advocates of "exile" labour, which I should almost as readily expect at the present day, to see in a committee for the introduction of Kanakas. These went to work in a business-like way; formed themselves at their meeting into what they termed the Moreton Bay and Northern Districts Separation Association: adopted a petition to the Queen in furtherance of their object; and resolved upon a canvass of the district, to raise subscriptions towards the expenses they incurred. But, prohibiting all dissent from their resolutions, and refusing admission at their meeting to any one opposed to their views, they gave a colouring to their procedure which it would have shown better tactics to have avoided. "The high price and extreme scarcity of labour," was the burden of their cry. Their opponents assembled in public meeting, and adopted a petition in which, setting forth the claims and prospects of the districts, they "humbly but solemnly protest against the resumption of transportation in any form, or upon any condition whatever." In this course they were stimulated and encouraged by the success with which the Victorians were combating against what they considered a great evil. But the advocates of forced labour were united and persevering. While a new Electoral Bill was passing through the Legislative Council, which met early in April, they were canvassing and collecting, and preparing for an election campaign. When that bill was laid on the table, it appeared that the Council was to consist of forty-eight members, sixteen of whom were to be nominees of the Crown. Three members were to be given to the Moreton Bay districts; one to the County Stanley; one for the united districts of Clarence and Darling Downs; and one for the united districts of Moreton, Wide Bay, Burnett, and Maranoa. As the bill passed through the House, additions were made, bringing up the total number of elective members to thirty-six; and Moreton Bay secured one of these for an electorate called the Stanley Boroughs, comprising North and South Brisbane, Kangaroo Point, and Ipswich—an addition opposed oddly enough by Dr. Lang, on the supposition that it would give another member to the squatting party in the House. And it is curious to read how not the bases of electoral right—whether of population or of property—were considered in the discussion, but simply the use that might be made of it if granted. That the boroughs were constituted an electorate only made the exile separationists more eager; and, on May 17—less than a month after the passage of the electoral bill—the Northern Districts Association held another meeting in Brisbane, at which they passed a resolution affirming that the majority of the people concurred in their views, and appointed two delegates—the Hon. Louis Hope and Mr. Colin Mackenzie—to wait upon Earl Grey with copies of the resolutions adopted. Mr. A. Hodgson, who had taken an active part in the formation and advocacy of the association, with considerable energy avowed his attachment to, and interest in, the district which was his home; and soon after, with some complacency, published a letter from Earl Grey, in reality a reply to one addressed to the Earl by that gentleman, his lordship suggesting, that if the Legislature of New South Wales proved obdurate, the district residents could apply for separation, and so get the labour of which they stood in need. But some of the electors of the Stanley Boroughs thought otherwise, and, at a public meeting, unanimously nominated Mr. R. Jones, who had been member for the former county, as their candidate, he being distinctly pledged as a strong anti-transportationist. The association put forward Mr. Hughes, of Gowrie—a station on the Darling Downs—in opposition to Mr. Jones, and Mr. W. Wilson, of the Peak Mountain Station, as their nominee for the county. This was followed up by a meeting at Ipswich, at which resolutions in favour of both gentlemen were carried. To meet Mr. Wilson, Mr. John Richardson, a merchant of Brisbane, was induced to enter the field. In the Darling Downs and Wide Bay electorates, it was known that there would be no contest—the purely pastoral character of the district, and the small number of votes, leaving the choice in fact in the hands of the station proprietors. Dr. Lang, in a letter addressed to the residents in Moreton Bay, suggested, that practically, the discovery of the goldfields had destroyed all prospect of any portion of Eastern or Southern Australia becoming in any shape a convict colony, and that separation was the principal object for which to fight; but the people thought that they could appreciate the work to be done, and declined to abandon either of the grounds on which they had based their selection of members. There is no doubt, that the abandonment of the pro-transportation party by Mr. Wentworth, and the weight thrown by his great ability and high reputation into the opposite scale, was no small encouragement to them in their course, although the discovery of gold was alleged by him as the sole ground for his change of opinion. A powerful argument was afforded them by a notice in the Government Gazette, that no less than a hundred and thirty-seven ticket-of-leave holders, in Moreton Bay, had had their tickets cancelled, for absence from their allotted districts, a fact which spoke volumes, both as to the value and certainty of the labour, which the system contended for, was likely to supply. Both sides put forward their utmost strength, and the result was that, at the election in September, Mr. Jones and Mr. Richardson were both elected. Whether or not, it was from a conviction that the transportation cause had become hopeless, that the other two members—Messrs. Bigge and Leslie—remained quietly at home, I cannot say, but their two colleagues formed part of a majority which, in the new Legislative Council of New South Wales, passed strong resolutions against "the continuance of transportation, in any form whatever, to any of Her Majesty's Australasian possessions." Before this, the Order-in-Council for its revival had been revoked by the Home Government; but, in November, a despatch was received from Earl Grey, in reply to the petitions of the stockholders, which I have before described, in which his lordship referred to the impossibility of the Home Government acting in such a matter, in opposition to the wishes expressed by the local Legislature, and almost despairingly suggested that if the—

"Legislature, which must be regarded as authorised to express the wishes of the community it represents, should think it right to reconsider the opinion it has declared, and to request that convicts should again be sent, in limited numbers, to the above-mentioned district only, I am not aware of any reason why this should not be done."—

Seed thrown by a skilful hand, but on barren ground.

Dr. Lang, who had during the year, involved himself in proceedings for libel by some ill-advised remarks upon the supposed conduct of a member of the old Legislative Council, who had concurred in a vote of censure on himself for his procedure in his immigration scheme, and been visited with fine and imprisonment, as a consequent punishment, emerged from his confinement to be placed, at the general election, at the head of the poll as one of the three members for the City of Sydney. It was not long before he visited the Moreton Bay District, where his first political step was to deliver a characteristic lecture on separation, proposing that the northern boundary of the colony should be kept at the Tropic of Capricorn; * the southern one remaining, as it was understood it would be, at the 30th parallel of south latitude. A public meeting was held at Brisbane, a few days afterwards, when a temperate and argumentative petition for separation was adopted, and Dr. Lang was requested to take charge of it, and to act as delegate on behalf of the district. A set of resolutions, affirming practicability of the profitable growth of cotton at Moreton Bay, and recommending a scheme of immigration on the same plan as that employed by Dr. Lang, was carried without dissent, and committed to his care to lay before the Secretary of State for the Colonies, the Manchester Chamber of Commerce, and such other parties in Great Britain as might be likely to aid in carrying out the system proposed. The doctor then addressed the meeting, and is recorded to have met with unanimous applause, both at the commencement and conclusion of his speech. At Ipswich, the proceedings took a more business-like shape. The petition adopted by the Brisbane people was somewhat altered, on the motion of Mr. Macalister, then emerging into public life, so as to ask specifically for semi-representative institutions analogous to those of New South Wales. The thanks of the meeting were voted to the doctor for his past efforts, and about £100 subscribed towards the expenses of his journey to England. It was understood that he declined further pecuniary connection with emigration schemes, the last one having, as he reiterated—and he was not contradicted—involved him in heavy monetary loss; and he returned to Sydney, sanguine of being able to influence a large and continuous stream of immigration to the district for the cultivation of cotton, and the planting a new industrial colony, prosperous in itself, and a source of prosperity to the empire of which it formed a part.

[* This was on the assumption, that the Clarence and Richmond Rivers districts were included in the colony, whose coast line would then have been less than 500 miles.]

But the discovery of gold, to which I have before incidentally referred, not only did more than any other circumstance or agency could have effected in terminating transportation to the eastern and southern Australian: Colonies, but exerted an effect scarcely dreamed of by Dr. Lang and his friends at the time: it, so to speak, snuffed out the claims of the non-auriferous colonies in the eyes of the emigrating British public, who rushed with one accord to those where the precious metal was to be found. The Eagle, steamer, brought the news of Hargreaves' discovery on May 23, and "it seemed," (says the Courier). "to have made the Sydney people half mad, which only shows how excitable they are." In another week, there were symptoms of the lunacy having extended when the news was confirmed, and the extent and value of the discovery found to be beyond all expectations. It was remembered that the Dividing or "Main" Range, as it was called, was a continuation of that near which the gold had been found at Bathurst, and exploration was forthwith exhorted, while speculation was rife and hope strong, as to the investment of fortunate diggers from the south of their new capital and remaining energies in a field so favourable as the northern districts for all industrial enterprises. There was some present drawback to these pleasurable imaginings, in the immediate rise in the prices of flour and bread, whereby the bakers fell on troublous times, and combinations to import for private use were threatened and not formed. The labouring portion of the community spoke of an increased wage, on the unreasonableness of which, they were lectured, both orally and in leading articles, but to no purpose. The fever was not allayed by the continuous tidings of new "finds," which crowded the columns of the journals; and I notice that sixty-six steerage passengers left Moreton Bay, for Sydney, on June 19. A party was formed in Ipswich to prospect the range at once—a judicious step if the condition of the town were as forlorn as described. "Business is at a complete stand-still" (writes a correspondent): "the auctioneer's bell is often heard, but it is perfect labour in vain. Not a single buyer can be found, for all are sellers." [The italics are not mine.] The discoveries of gold are daily increasing" (wrote the Bathurst Free Press); and one consequence was, that in Sydney, great distress arose among the wives and families of absent diggers, on which the Herald is reported in the Courier of June 26, to have advocated an Act of Council "to compel those worthless men to return to their families." They, who, in Moreton Bay, were, in their own Language, "firmly impressed with the opinion, that the goldfield of New South Wales extends to the districts of Stanley and Darling. Downs," gave expression to it in the shape of promised subscriptions, to the extent of about £900, towards a reward to be paid to the finder of a field equal to that of Bathurst. Then came news that Sydney had become dull at a temporary cessation of mining activity; and in another fortnight, that the people of Bathurst were wild with delight at new discoveries, in which the find of a hundred weight of gold by one fortunate prospector, stood prominently out. The excitement here rose high, at the end of July, at intelligence that the Government had received information of the finding of gold on the Darling Downs, and that the Herald reported "that there was no doubt of a goldfield being discovered in that locality." Men went to bed at night dreaming of glittering sands and nuggetty ravines, and rose in the morning to calculate their possible gains if those dreams were realised. We sometimes go afar to learn news of home, and the Moreton Bay people were edified in August by what was news to them, that a fine specimen of auriferous quartz, sent from their district, had reached Sydney. The Courier of the 9th of that month was radiant with "finds." A specimen had been brought in from a spot near Brisbane—possibly one of the gullies running easterly from Taylor's Range. Another was affirmed to have been picked up on the banks of the river, at a place to which, being easy of access, a miscellaneous "rush" on a small scale, took place, with an odd assortment of digging tools, which included a colander and a baby's cradle, but nothing was found. What looked more serious was information—apparently authoritative—that gold had been found on Canning Downs, and specimens sent to the late Rev. W. B. Clarke, the celebrated geologist, and that the finder intended to claim the reward. To wind up the week, the discoverer of the quartz turned up, and declared himself to be sanguine that there was more where that came from. A Government surveyor found gold at Thanes Creek, on the Darling Downs, and it was next reported, that it had been discovered in quantity, in the Wide Bay District: but Gympie was reserved for a future and more exigent period. Amidst the alternate exultation and depression which rumour and contradiction excited, the extraordinary richness of the newly-opened fields in Victoria added to the excitement, and gave cause for despondency to those residents who were compelled to remain to deplore a possible exodus, which realised, would to them be ruin. They plucked up spirit again at reported fresh discoveries at Mount Brisbane and Widgee Widgee, but the reports did not prevent a continuous migration—especially from the localities nearest the port—and I read of an unfortunate station holder on the Logan commencing shearing, himself and one shearer being the total available amount of labour. The rumours did not abate up to the end of the year, but with no tangible result, except that their multiplicity awakened the attention of the New South Wales Government, who, to the gratification of the residents proposed to send Mr. Hargreaves to Moreton Bay, early in 1852. Nobody had the slightest doubt of there being plenty of gold in the district, but most people wanted faith in those who were looking for it. Here was the right man coming to unlock the treasures which only awaited a discerning eye and skilful hand to be thrown open to the people.

But all was not neglected for gold. The cultivation of cotton was pursued, but with a caution which must have seemed cold to the enthusiasm of Dr. Lang. The bale which had been sent to England from Sydney by Mr. Donaldson, in the preceding year, was reported upon favourably by Mr. Boothman, the secretary to the Manchester Chamber of Commerce; but one point was dwelt upon which seems scarcely to have received sufficient attention by the cotton growers of this colony; the importance of avoiding mixture of staple. Another matter referred to, was the evident desire to rival the Sea Island variety of the United States, which was strongly deprecated as not required by the nature of the home demand; not more than thirty thousand bags of that particular kind being consumed in England out of the whole vast import. The suggestiveness of this latter advice was, I fear, suffered to pass unnoticed, for, in our first Land Act after Separation, the bonus authorised to be paid on the export of Sea Island cotton, was just twice that for the export of the more common varieties. The Government of New South Wales threw out a little encouragement. They offered premiums of £50 for the best fifty pounds weight of cotton wool, and of £25 for the same quantity of the next best. Dr. Hobbs was amongst our foremost experimentalists, and produced good samples from some of the seed which had been forwarded by Mr. Donaldson for distribution. Mr. Robert Douglas was similarly hopeful, and similarly successful; and while their efforts indicated faith, news came to inspire hope. Mr. Poole, of Brisbane, had sent samples to Messrs. Young and Co., of London, who, in reply, stated their value at 9d. to 1s. per lb., and authorised immediate purchases to the amount of £1000, if they could be made. On this, it was proposed to form a cotton-growing company, on the principle on which building societies are founded; but I do not see that anything came of the proposition. The first really commercial transaction that I find recorded, was the purchase by Mr. Poole, from Mr. Douglas, of about half a ton of cotton, which was shipped in September, although, from the difficulty of ginning in the seed, the practical result of Mr. Douglas' experiment was not very encouraging, the profit on the unginned cotton from an acre of ground being reported as under £5; had facilities for proper ginning existed, the profit would have been greater. Another agricultural product, which now receives the attention it deserves at the hands of cultivators, also crept into no rice. Mr. Childs, of Breakfast Creek, had turned his attention to arrowroot, at his farm there, and this year had half a ton of roots in the ground. The samples of the previous year's produce sent to Sydney were liked, and readily disposed of, but in this, as in most new industries, want of experience and paucity of capital were hindrances in the way of that success which entitles them to be considered national. Mining for coal was struggling to assert itself as a profitable pursuit. Mr. John Williams, who had been a Chartist of some note, at a time when the once celebrated "five points" were not in such favour as, in the guise of liberal principles, they have since been, opened the first mine in Moreton Bay, on the south side of the river Brisbane, about four miles from Wolston. The mine was worked four years, and then, by the rising of the river, flooded out, the seam dipping as it was opened. Williams then commenced another pit at Moggill, on the north side of the river, about sixteen miles from Brisbane by the read which he worked with sufficient success to induce him this year to establish a depôt for the sale of his coal in the town. Another coal mine on the western bank of the Bremer, and a short distance front Ipswich, is also noticed as having been opened by Messrs. Heed and Boyland, and with promising prospects.

In other matters, the residents worked tolerably well together. A School of Arts building was completed in Brisbane. The simple accommodation it afforded was sufficient for some years for the wants of the members: but its nondescript style of architecture could have exerted but a perverse influence on artistic education. A market was proclaimed and trustees chosen; a new Evangelical chapel was completed and opened, as well as a Wesleyan chapel and a Presbyterian church at South Brisbane. Ipswich was not behind hand in effort towards the establishment of a literary institution of a more permanent character titan the library and reading room. Nor were pleasure and health neglected: the capabilities of the bay coast, near Cabbage Tree Creek, were examined, and the first step taken towards the settlement of Sandgate. In the outlying districts, the progress was moderate. Maryborough was proclaimed a township, and the settlers had at length the luxury of bidding against each other for town allotments.

While in matters that savoured of speculation, there was little of co-operative spirit in the people of Brisbane, they united readily enough where the benefit to be secured was tangible and certain, and in nothing were they more anxious—except for the discovery of gold—than for the improvement of the port. £100 had been voted by the Legislative Council towards a survey of the obstructions at the mouth of the river, in aid of which some subscriptions were invited, but, not mind to the credit of the up-country inhabitants, the invitation was responded to by the residents of Brisbane only. A committee was organised to superintend the expenditure, and Mr. Donaldson, on their application, sent them a civil engineer—Mr. Debenham—to make the necessary surveys and reports. By the end of June that gentleman had completed his task. I am unable to quote his report at length, but it was of sufficient merit to deserve analysis, if only for purposes of reference hereafter. His first question was, whether the formation of a channel across the bar was practicable; his second, the best method of effecting that object. The first he answered affirmatively; and, as to the second, recommended dredging—but he was emphatic in insistence on the necessity for a preliminary improvement of the river navigation by damming up the boat and other channels, and, as far as possible, contracting the bed of the river to a uniform width. This done, he considered the dredging of the bar would be greatly facilitated, and the maintenance of the channel easy. The cost he estimated at £30,000; and the time required, six years. The late Mr. A. Petrie, upon the publication of this report, suggested marking the line of channel by beacons, and the use of a simple machine to break up the bottom surface, leaving the disturbed matter to be carried off by the current. And with that, for a time, the matter dropped.

The circuit courts sat twice in the year—an application for a resident judge having been refused—and the calendar was heavy in both instances. At the May assize, thirty-one prisoners were in gaol awaiting their trials; and of these two were for murder, one for a mail robbery, and a considerable number for crimes of a grave character. At the November sittings, a Chinese and an aboriginal were both found guilty of murder. There seems to have been a good deal of minor criminality in the district—and of a kind which might have been expected from the class from which the criminals principally came. The additions to the population by immigration were small. On February 8, the Duchess of Northumberland brought 227 immigrants, some of whom immediately left to join relatives in New South Wales. Some discussion took place on a proposed introduction of Germans, and a more angry one on the results of the Chinese importations which had been made by some of the larger employers, with results that led to a general condemnation of that kind of labour. The settlers were sorely straightened, and the policy of the Colonial Office, equally with that of the New South Wales Government towards them, was not of a kind to afford them aid, or induce their respect.

The blacks continued a source of annoyance, and loss of both life and property. A party of between four and five hundred attacked an outstation on M'Encroe's run, in the Maranoa District, drove off a mob of cattle, and tried to fire the hut, so as a get at the overseer—an attempt which cost four of them their lives. They were afterwards followed, and a number of the cattle recovered, after a fight, in which nine blacks were killed. In the Burnett District they were again unremitting in their attacks, and the life of the outlying settler must have been one of continuous anxiety and alarm. It is not surprising that squatting settlement was not, under such circumstances, much extended, or exploration attempted. Rumours came in that Leichhardt and his party had been murdered before they had quite got through the Maranoa District; but nothing of a definite nature could be arrived at, and, at length, it was determined to send a party in search of him in charge of Mr. Hovenden Hely, who had been with Leichhardt in the abortive attempt which terminated at the Peak Downs.

I have now arrived at a period when a halting place may well be marked in the progress of this history. On March 1, 1851, the census of the colony of New South Wales was taken: on April 3, 1881, the last one of the colony of Queensland was collected; thirty years separating the two dates. It will not be uninteresting or uninstructive to note, with more than usual detail, the numbers, conditions, and avocations of the people of, what we may call, our own country at the earlier time. I omit the district of Clarence, then included in the northern districts.

The total area of those districts as proclaimed, was 58,860 square miles. On that area there were living 8,575 souls, divided into 6,012 males, and 2,563 females, of whom 1,558 males and 1,180 females were more than twenty-one years of age, and only 68 above sixty; 1,169 of the males were set down as married, and 1,026 of the females, being an exceedingly small proportion. As to their civil condition, 3,895 males had arrived free or were natives of the colony, and 3,656 females; 1,469 males and 105 females had become free, and there were 473 ticket-of-leave holders—males; and two females of the same class. I scarcely attach much value to some of the statistics as to religion; but the analysis would not be complete without them, and the large numbers of Mohammedans and Pagans possess a certain significance. The numbers stand thus:—Professing, members of the Church of England, 3,639; of the Church of Scotland, 930; Wesleyans, 293; other Protestants, 522; Roman Catholics, 2,318; Jews, 13; Mohammedans and Pagans, 571; and other persuasions—including, I suppose, those of no persuasion at all—24. The educational return was a melancholy one—3,678 males could read and write, and 1,251 females—in all, 4,929, not much more than half the entire population, 1,322, could read; the rest were destitute of any semblance of education. The nationalities of the inhabitants are worth glancing at: 1,847 were born in the colony of New South Wales; 3,075 were English; 38 Welsh; 1,939 Irish; 793 Scotch; 145 came from other British possessions; and the remainder, almost wholly males, from foreign countries. For convenience sake, I tabulate the occupations in which they were said to be engaged:—

Commerce, Trade, and Manufactures 455
Agriculture 165
Shepherds and Sheep Managers 1,846
Stockmen and Cattle Managers 359
Horticulturists 50
Other Labourers 869
Mechanics and Artizans 550
Male Domestic Servants 263
Female Domestic Servants 371
Clerical Profession 15
Lawyers 8
Doctors 24
Other Educated Persons 72
Pensioners and Paupers 9
All other Occupations 170
Residue of Population 2,249

The preponderance of residents employed in connection with pastoral pursuits, was in accordance with the then character of the local industries; but I confess I am puzzled by the number of horticulturists and of educated persons with no special avocation. The returns as to houses will afford opportunity for some curious contrasts. There were 1,021 in all the northern districts, 718 of which were in the county of Stanley, I presume mostly in Brisbane and Ipswich. Of the whole number, 111 were of stone or brick, and not one had a slated roof. The town populations comprised, at that time, more than half the grand total. In Brisbane and the suburbs there were 2,543; in Ipswich, 932; in Maryborough, 299; in Warwick, 267; in Drayton, 200; and in Gayndah, 92. All the legal fraternity, and seventeen of the medical men, were collected in Brisbane and Ipswich. It may possibly be, that the entire absence of legal aid was conducive to that peace of mind which tends so much to the promotion of physical health, and so, in the interior, medical assistance was less required.

The progress since 1846 had been great, the population had been nearly doubled in every one of the old districts, and new ones had been added; but the preponderance of the towns was not a healthy sign, and the continued restriction to a solitary staple was no subject for congratulation. The value of the exports for the year was £181,038, an increase of £31,219 on those of 1850, the items still showing but a small amount attributable to other than pastoral pursuits, timber being the principal, and a by no means remarkable, exception. So far, figures afforded encouragement, yet, at the close of the year, the editor of the Courier declared—despite the abolition of the newspaper postages, and removal to better quarters,* that "times were dull." What will the historian of the future collect from the statistics and the journalistic opinions of 1881?

[* The office was now removed to the corner of George and Charlotte Streets, a site which may, as history here goes, be called historical.]






{Page 133}

CHAPTER VIII.

1852.

Efforts at Gold Discovery and Cotton Cultivation—The Separation and Transportation Questions—Unanimous Abandonment of the Transportation Cause—Opposition of the New South Wales Government to Separation—Hely's Expedition in Search of Leichhardt—Social Progress—The Natives—Local Industries—Moreton Bay Steam Navigation Company—Rainfall and Temperature.


With the year 1852 the desire for gold increased, and the wish took practical expression in finding funds by public subscription for the equipment of prospecting parties in various directions, whose researches invariably resulted in failure. It may be doubted whether any of the efforts made were of a kind to determine the gold-bearing qualities of the districts tried with anything like certainty, but at the time, either from want of money or from absolute despair, the conclusions arrived at were generally accepted. There was one enquiry which had been looked to with considerable hope, and whose futility therefore caused more than ordinary vexation. Mr. Hargreaves came with all the prestige of past discovery, and of Government authority, and assistance, but the promised examination can scarcely be considered other than a flying visit of the most cursory description. It was, in fact, little more than an ordinary journey by the routes to the principal townships on the Downs, and then through Cunningham's Gap to Ipswich, thence to Mount Brisbane and back, and so to Brisbane itself. For all useful purposes the trip might well be regarded as valueless, and his report, when published, met with not a little uncomplimentary criticism. Later in the year the settlement was agitated by a rumour that an extensive goldfield had been found at Bingara Creek, a tributary of the Gwydir River, and not very far west of the township of Warialda. As this was within the boundary understood to be determined upon whenever Separation should take place, no small excitement followed the intelligence, and it was not long before parties were formed and travelled from Brisbane, Ipswich, and other localities, towards the supposed golden region. So strong was the belief in its importance, that those who did not go themselves, experienced its influence in a variety of forms. Employers found the possibility of high wages staring them in the face, and labourers gleefully anticipated that contingency. The police applied for an increase of their pay and allowances. Unfortunately all their hopes and fears were premature. It was soon discovered that there was no field—that the gold was insignificant in quantity and uncertain in deposit, and the wayfarers having seen the nakedness of the land, returned weary, disappointed, and angry. The sole consolatory fact that I find in the hopeful predictions and hopeless failures of the year, is that a former resident, who had been successful in his mining adventures, realised the suggestion to which I have before referred, and showed his faith in the district by sending money to purchase land for future occupation.

The cotton industry languished for want, as some said, of enterprise, or, as others said, of labour. If reports on quality and price could stimulate, those received from time to time, should have made men sanguine, but the reporters seem in all cases to have confined themselves to approval, and to have turned a deaf ear to any suggestions as to aid in capital or machinery. Dr. Hobbs, an old colonist, and long a member of our Legislative Council, sent samples to the editor of the Economist, who, in his turn, submitted them to a Manchester cotton spinner, who was "delighted" with them, and valued them at 19d. per lb., further bestowing such encouragement as might be derived from his opinion, that "the Board of Trade and the Colonial Office should know the important fact that Moreton Bay can produce very superior and truly beautiful cotton wool." Other samples forwarded to different quarters were appraised at about the same value, but I am unaware of the precise extent of eulogy which their merits elicited. However, the cultivation began to assume a definite appearance—about twenty-seven acres of Land being spoken of as preparing for the purpose in August. Dr. Lang, who had arrived in England, busied himself with characteristic energy in submitting samples, obtaining estimates and reports, and pressing the suitability of the soil and climate of Moreton Bay upon the attention of the British public. Towards the close of the year, the hearts of the experimentalists were cheered by a final and elaborate report, obtained at his instance, from the Manchester Chamber of Commerce, in which the secretary wound up by saying, "I believe the cultivation of cotton in Moreton Bay—if that cultivation be pushed with energy—stands a better chance of success than any new industry of which I have heard or read." Could encouragement be more direct, except, perhaps, the accompaniment of a moderate amount of capital, to lay the foundation of so profitable an enterprise? And while on the subject of local industries, I may notice that Dr. Hobbs also commenced the trial of coffee growing on a small scale this year. There seems all through these trials to have been an ignorance of what had been effected under the old convict regime by some of the most intelligent of the officers, which can only be accounted for on the supposition that there was so much of the bad in the work to be forgotten, that what was really good perished in the general disinclination to recollect.

At the commencement of the year, the residents had enough to trouble them as to labour. During the previous twelve months the supply had been, as we have seen, scanty, to the suspension of all but indispensable work, and the squatter contemplated his chances rather sadly; but as time rolled on, their long continued remonstrances and petitions began to bear fruit, the more grateful since the Chinese importations had become nuisances; and, while adding slightly to the effective industrial power, lengthened beyond all reasonable proportion the calendar of crime. The Maria Soames, the Argyle, the Meridian, and Rajah Gopaul, immigrant vessels, brought 1,119 souls, the greater number from Ireland, to add to the population of the district, at which the people were glad; but the Gopaul brought, also, typhus fever, the discovery of which led to quite an opposite feeling, and to the very proper visitation of the captain and surgeon with severe penalties. Sixty-four German immigrants came by way of Sydney, and, by their quiet industry, gave general satisfaction. The relief afforded was perceptible; but Dr. Lang's assiduous exertions appear to have been none the less appreciated. At this period, too, the attention of the Colonial Legislature was directed, with no little perseverance, to the consideration of the whole system of immigration, and various schemes were suggested, which may generally be dismissed with the remark that their complex details, elaborated with much ingenuity, could have only resulted in proportionate failure. The principal recommendation of a select committee, that immigrants to whom a free passage had been granted, should re-pay the colony at the rate of £13 per head, exhibited about as little policy as justice, and more of faith than precaution.

Neither the want of labour, nor its ultimate supply, diverted the attention of the people from the two questions of separation and the renewal of transportation. The annual revenue derivable from the whole of the northern districts, directly and indirectly, was not more than about £30,000; but the advocates of separation urged that the public income of Western Australia was considerably less: and the long withholding of a fair proportion of the immigrants sent to the colony generally, was a standing grievance; while it was alleged that this district gut by no means its just share of the colonial outlay. And, as the injustice complained of led to discontent, so the perpetual fluctuations of report engendered anxiety. One day the people were told that separation only wanted some legal technicalities to be formally proclaimed; on another, that, not only would transportation be continued in its most objectionable form to Van Diemen's Land, but, that Earl Grey had told Mr. King, the Victorian anti-transportation delegate, that "nearly every respectable man in the Moreton Bay District had signed the petition for separation—of course, with the coveted exile accompaniment. The Northern Districts Association, to promote separation with "exiles," sprang into renewed activity, and on May 19, held a meeting of their supporters, at which Mr. Arthur Hodgson moved the adoption of a petition to the Queen for separation, "on the terms proposed"—I presume in the former memorial—and Mr. T. L. M. Prior, a resolution that a letter should be sent to the Secretary of State, deprecating any further delay. The interference of the Australasian Anti-Transportation League in the question was strongly censured, and it was affirmed that the non-discovery of gold here having resulted in a draft of labour to the more fortunate districts, the introduction of exiles was absolutely necessary. All the resolutions were carried without dissent, and it was supposed that the Association had achieved a success; but a few weeks after, the flattering notion was dispelled. In June a despatch from Earl Grey to Sir Charles Fitzroy was published, acknowledging the receipt of the two petitions described in my last chapter, and replying in detail to the requests embodied in each. Admitting, that Her Majesty would have been justified from them in at once dividing the colony, his lordship urged that separation would be best deferred until the inhabitants of Moreton Bay had been able to test, by experience, the value of the increased representation which they had in the newly-elected Legislative Council; but he distinctly gave as his opinion that, if after that, they continued dissatisfied, he should feel justified in advising that the division should take place. As respected transportation, he stated, that if the colony were divided, and the representatives of the new province—not the Legislative Council of New South Wales, as Sir Charles Fitzroy's Executive had assumed—asked for the continuance or revival of that system, the request might be granted, although some of the conditions mentioned in the petition for it already sent were inadmissible. Earl Grey ended by reminding the Governor, that the Executive minute which accompanied the petitions, and was adverse to their prayer, was in error in confining the estimate of the probable Customs revenue of the new settlement to the amount actually received at the existing ports, as that was manifestly open to increase by the sums received in Sydney on dutiable goods consumed in the Moreton Bay District. It was tolerably clear from this, that there was little chance of a renewal in any shape of transportation to the district, and that most certainly it would not be considered a condition precedent to the granting of separation. After some mutual remonstrance and explanation, a meeting of the inhabitants was called to petition the Queen at once for separation, without any condition, and the feeling that prompt action was required, was strengthened by a misapprehension of a speech at Sydney, by a member of the Stanley Boroughs, Mr. B. Jones, in which he was supposed to have said, that if transportation were definitely abolished, his constituents would not so much press for separation. When the meeting was held in August, it was apparent that two dulcifying influences had been at work—one, the despatch I have alluded to, which showed that the hope of "exiles" had become an evanescent one—the other, that the arrival of the immigrant vessels had rendered them less immediately necessary. Mr. Hodgson's capacity of spontaneous conversion was powerfully developed, and the late Mr. St. George Gore found himself moving a resolution for separation, which was to be seconded by one of the most ardent anti-transportationists of the day, Mr. W. Munro Smith. Dr. Cannan and Mr. R. Cribb were at accord in supporting a petition to Her Majesty for separation, in which—no doubt, to the great content of the latter—neither exiles, military, police establishments, or compensating immigration, found mention. There was at last unanimity, no doubt, promoted by the unusual presence of ladies at the meeting, even in adopting the practical suggestion of Mr. Little, that funds should be subscribed to provide for the expenses attendant upon, and of publishing what had been done, and of procuring the necessary signatures to, the petition. Everybody seemed in good humour, but everybody was not. There were a few who either could not or would not understand the true bearing of Earl Grey's despatch, and protested against the absence of stipulations against "convictism" in the petition, not seeing that any such stipulation would be fatal to its reception. But they had their growl, and so the controversy ended. Henceforth the contest was to be for separation alone.

A fair consideration of the difficulties and nature of the subject will, I think, exonerate both parties to that protracted and sometimes bitter dispute from much of the blame of opposite kinds that each has sustained. I do not think that the squatters alone desired the renewal of transportation. The names which appear of its advocates prove the contrary—although, as the largest employers of labour, they naturally attracted the most attention. Custom deadens sensitiveness, and necessity suggests excuses. Those who, in the old country in advertising for a groom, would have made it a condition, that u[n]exceptionable references "should be given, became familiarised by use with the attendance upon their friends of servants whose sole reference was their ticket-of-leave. And when men, who had become tolerant by that kind of saw their credit, and even their profitable chance of living, gradually melting away from the want of labour, it is not wonderful that they exerted themselves to get that kind which appeared to be most easily retained and controlled. As to the philanthropic claim of becoming reformatory instruments which some paraded, as I never saw the effort in action I need not discuss its validity. The hostility shown to, and the abuse lavished on, the anti-transportation party, seems to have been exceedingly indefensible. Not so directly interested in the question, their prosperity depended upon that of the great staple industry of the settlement, for if that failed, their customers were gone. This they perilled, and they had at least an intelligent principle upon which to take a stand. Their suspicion of the squatters was, however, unpalatable to those who had nothing but the instincts of self-preservation or the desire of wealth at the bottom of their procedure, as well as to those who felt it really unjust; still they saw, that under the old Orders-in-Council, the possibility of legal offence by some of them was treated as a not improbable contingency, and that only recently had a squatting license conferred a vote, so that whatever might be the characters of some leading stockowners, there might be little reason to respect the rank and file. Not having seen that prisoners might be employed without danger, they retained dislikes which, in a colony termed prejudices, in the society they had left were simply so natural as not even to be discussed. It is creditable to both sides, that when the final and wise determination of Earl Grey was given, both forgot their dissensions, and heartily co-operated in a cause of whose justice neither could entertain a doubt.

After the first congratulations on the settlement of the question were over, there was, as usual, some discussion as to whom it was to be really attributed. Making every allowance for the weight attached to local opinion, we are not to forget the great influence exercised by the united and energetic remonstrances of the gold-producing colonies upon the final determination of the Colonial Office. Whether Moreton Bay were a Crown colony or a representative one, it was clear that great and general discontent would be excited throughout Australia, were convicts sent there. The effect of the new discoveries upon the public feeling of the old country upon this question—at one time very languid—was rapid and strong; and, pressed by these converging furces, without in form abandoning his own conviction, Earl Grey adopted a constitutional opening for its practical disappearance. Thus many causes tended to the same end; although, and in no wise detracting from the good service of what had before time been a forlorn hope, there is no doubt that, so far as the expression of opinion in the district itself was concerned, the settlers who came out in Dr. Lang's ships turned the scale.

It was soon evident, that on the remaining question of separation, both exertion and unanimity would be required. The minute of the New South Wales Executive Council forwarded to Earl Grey upon the petitions for the erection of the district into a separate colony had, as I have before implied, been hostile in tone, and not very fair in statement. There was now to be added to the opposition already experienced, that of the leading press and of the Legislature of the parent colony. The Sydney Morning Herald, of August 18, referring to the meeting I have described, observes:—"It is difficult to mete out the portions of laughter, pity, and contempt which must be awarded to our misguided fellow-colonists lying to the northward of the 30th degree of latitude;" and Mr. Wentworth, in the new Constitution Bill, which he introduced this year, with characteristic dexterity, inserted a clause, which, if adopted, would have left the Imperial Government no discretion as to the boundaries to be fixed whenever separation did take place. For that clause declared that those "of the colony of New South Wales shall not be curtailed on the north side within the 26th degree of south latitude." He would thus have included all the most populous portion of the district—the proposed line being east and west to the north of Gympie, and half-way between that goldfield and Maryborough. The influence and character of the man caused this attempt to be viewed with considerable alarm, not lessened by the discovery that some Sydney residents interested in the Clarence River Districts had been endeavouring to get up a petition there against separation. On November 2, a meeting was held in Brisbane, at which a short, but well-argued, petition to the Council was unanimously adopted. It pointed out, that it was in fact, an attempt to override the Imperial Act, 13 and 14 Vic., chap. 5, by which the Council itself was constituted, and to abrogate the rights conferred by that Act upon the petitioners, in which they had now a vested interest. Some strong terms were made use of with reference to the conduct of the Sydney press, and a hope was expressed that the appeal to the justice of the Council would not be in vain—a hope whose futility experience soon demonstrated. The adjournment of the Council left the petitioners unanswered till the following year. As to the general legislation of the colony, I find nothing worth notice, except that the control and expenditure of its gold revenues were conceded to it by the Crown. The end of the year found Moreton Bay at the beginning of a contested election for the Stanley Boroughs, Mr. R. Jones, their representative, dying on November G. Mr. Jones had been in the colony altogether thirty-three years, and had reached the seventieth year of his age, and was much regretted in the district in which the later period of his life had been spent. Dr. Lang and Mr. H. Stewart Russell, a respectable squatter of "liberal" tendencies, were spoken of as candidates for the vacancy thus created, and ultimately, Dr. Lang being in England, his name was withdrawn, and Mr. Russell elected.

There had been, from time to time, much anxiety expressed, and probably some felt, as to the fate of Leichhardt. Rumours of various kinds had reached the boundaries of the settlement, all tending to show that the intrepid explorer had died either from privation or violence, but none sufficiently reliable to call for serious attention. To arrive, however, at some conclusion on the subject, as I have before said, the New South Wales Government determined to send an expedition on the route he had indicated, and Mr. Hovenden Hely left Sydney on January 1 of this year, with a party for that purpose. The bulk of his supplies were sent to Brisbane by sea, to meet him on the Darling Downs, he travelling overland from the Hunter. He had with him six white companions, the usual labour, and Brown, the aboriginal, who accompanied Leichhardt on his first expedition. They arrived at Westbrook on March 2, and thence proceeded to Surat, where they found rumours, that about a hundred miles to the north-west of Mount Abundance, Leichhardt and his associates had been murdered. These rested on no better authority than the statements of the natives, but their particularity extending to a pretending power of identifying the spot of the catastrophe where the bones and other relics of the party might be found, gave them some force. Mr. Hely therefore resolved to proceed, taking with him six weeks' provisions, leaving some of his party behind him to ascertain, if possible, in the locality itself, the correctness of the rumour. He reached Mount Bindango with some difficulty, more from want of water than from any other circumstance, and was then compelled to return. He again started upon what may be called the main expedition, taking with him a black of the district, named "Billy," as an interpreter, and now and then picking up a native or two, from whom only indefinite information could be extracted. All, however, concurred in the assertion, that Leichhardt had been murdered, and in their description of the circumstances attendant upon his death. The limit of Mr. Hely's journey was a chain of water holes, apparently on the Warrego or one of its tributaries, situated in latitude 25° 30' S., and longitude 146° 35' E., where he fixed his twenty-second camp. From this and his preceding camp as centres, he states that he explored the country for forty-five miles north, east, and west, finding no tracks of Leichhardt but the site of two camps, whose positions appear to have been correctly indicated to him by the natives, and at short distances from his own route. At the first were still—

"the tent poles and forks, the heavy saplings upon which he had placed his packs (showing that the ground must have been very wet and damp), and even the forked sticks and cross pieces in front of the fire at which they had most probably roasted part of a kangaroo, the bones of which were lying about. There was also in one place a large quantity of cattle dung, showing where the bullocks had been bedded, but though Brown and Billy, who were also with me, looked carefully for tracks coming to or departing from, this camp, they could find no new the soil being, as I have found it ever since we reached the Maranoa, loose and sandy. The most probable reason for our never having seen any of his camps before, is, that at the time he left Mount Abundance, the whole country was in a state of inundation, consequently he could travel in any direction, always sure of plenty of water; whereas, it has been so scarce since I have been out, that we have been compelled to follow water courses, and even then had to encamp more than once without any."

In the second camp he found very much the same kind of marks, but an equal absence of tracks; both were distinguished by a tree marked XXA in the lower part of a capital L. In the course of his last exploratory excursions from the camp, he was deserted by his interpreter "Billy" (who found his way safely back); and his provisions falling short, one of his companions being ill, and the information as to the actual scene of the supposed murder, at least uncertain, he resolved to re-trace his steps, and arrived at Surat on July 20, having achieved nothing beyond ascertaining the direction in which Leichhardt had actually gone, and a repetition of the rumours upon which the expedition had been originally determined What might have been done at that time by a man of greater resolution and resource, is another question.

The life of the district (apart from political matters and natural accident) must have been what is generally called humdrum." There was now and then a spurt of excitement at the supposed practicability of discovering a goldfield; there were meetings at the School of Arts, and there wag a debating or discussion class, whose subjects and whose eloquence were of the usual kind. There seems, moreover, to have been already a sort of nascent rivalry between the township at "the head of navigation," and that which was the port—a rivalry not extinguished by a flood at Ipswich characterised at the time as the highest known there for eight or nine years, the Bremer rising twenty-five feet. Brisbane was, of course, not left unvisited, and the damage on the western tracks was considerable. A proposal to blow up the Seventeen Mile Rocks, on the river Brisbane, was one of the forms in which the natural resultant grumbling found vent But both townships had their dignity increased—Ipswich actually, and Brisbane in prospect—for a Police Magistrate was appointed to the former, while Captain Wickham, it was understood, was to be promoted to the higher title of Government Resident, thus giving to the latter, besides its advantages of situation, the character of a provincial metropolis, The Brisbane Hospital went on its useful and unostentatious way, and, as now, afforded considerable accommodation to patients from all parts of the country, without receiving a corresponding support. The general traffic on the then main roads I should imagine to have been small, from the prices realised at the annual sale of the ferries across the Brisbane. There were but two, and the principal one—that whose approaches from Queen Street so long vexed horsemen and drivers, was sold in April for £113; the other to Kangaroo Point for £19. The Circuit Courts gave a relief to, the general monotony. There were forty-eight prisoners in gaol for trial at the May circuit—a considerable number being Chinese, and that nationality was, to use a diplomatic phrase of modern invention, "adequately represented" at the second court held in November; but the residents no longer looked upon the court as the benevolent novelty it was when originally given to them, and wanted a resident judge for themselves, for which higher blessing they had to wait—a bill for the purpose being rejected in the Legislative Council by nineteen to sixteen. There was a little jealousy of Cleveland; and Cabbage Tree Creek began to assume a position of some importance. The value of the anchorage at a moderate distance from the shore, and the consequent rapidity with which news might be brought to Brisbane from vessels newly-arrived in the bay, being insisted upon, as well as the probability that masters of whalers would avail themselves of the facilities thus presented, to secure supplies from Brisbane, rather than run the risk of losing their men by calling at Sydney. I have read worse reasons in behalf of better places—but Sandgate is not yet the Sandridge of Brisbane.

The natives, as usual, were fertile sources of complaint, and soon became equally so of controversy. In and close to the towns they stole what they could; in the outside districts they both stole and murdered. In the Burnett District, a Mr. Trevethan, an extensive stockholder, was killed by them, and many of his sheep driven off. Station after station is reported as having been attacked with similar results, and on the Pine their depredations were frequent, and murder sometimes followed. But in what may be called the reverse side to that which I have had to present, it is stated, that at one station on the Burnett, that of the Messrs. Strathden, the natives were employed as shepherds, and that not a single sheep was lost; and in the Courier of June 15, in the communication from its Burnett correspondent I find the following:—

"The inhabitants were lately indulged with an aboriginal fight, when several were killed, and their bodies roasted and eaten inside of the town; Mr. Wilmot, the storekeeper, being the only gentleman whose stomach was strong enough to bear the spectacle of this disgusting feast."

It is difficult to say, in this case, who were the greater barbarians, nor should I insert an anecdote of such revolting barbarity on all sides, but that I find its truth no where challenged. Additional native police was called for, and in the same breath their utility was dialled. In the mass of conflicting statement—inference and opinion, he would be a bold man who presumed to pronounce any certain judgment as to the truth or value of either.

There is not much to record in the way of the establishment of new industries. It will be a surprise to some of my readers to be told that, in this year (1852), Mr. D. M'Connell attempted the cultivation of wheat at Bulimba, to the extent of about twenty acres, and, it is stated in the local journals, got twenty bushels to the acre. Mr. Lumsden, of Moggill Creek, placed in the same year a small quantity of similar grain of good quality in the hands of Mr. Robert Cribb, of Brisbane. And, in this year, Mr. Pettigrew is recorded as being engaged in the erection of premises for the saw mills which first occupied the site of the present establishment. I read that some news had arrived of the possibility of establishing an Australian company for making Australian preserved meats, and that the Admiralty looked favourably upon the notion; moreover, the Torres Straits route was warmly advocated as essential to the interests of this portion of the then colony. And as, perhaps, a prophetic example, both of enterprise and failure, a Moreton Bay Steam Navigation Company was started in April, to run a boat between Brisbane and Sydney. A meeting was held in May at the old Sovereign Hotel, when resolutions affirmatory both of the desirability and practicability of the company were carried. The capital was to be £15,000, in shares of £10 each, no one to hold more than fifty shares, a half to be paid on allocation, the other half in twelve months from that time. It was stated then, that the required boat could be got, for £10,000, and that £6,000 had already been subscribed, and a committee was forthwith appointed to carry the project out. Ipswich followed the example of Brisbane in the way of resolution and subscription. By the end of August, more than two-thirds of the required capital were subscribed for, and it was resolved to proceed at once to allotment. In October a further meeting was held, when a call of £4 10s. per share was made, estimates produced, and the usual preliminaries to definite action gone through. I regret to add, that as became so respectable a predecessor in the way of local communication—for this company was initiated under the most satisfactory auspices—very early in the following year a meeting being called, it was resolved to proceed no further, except to pay necessary expenses. The failure was another weapon in the hands of the Sydney opponents of separation.

Such an ignominious break-down may have resulted, as was suggested at the time, from the dissensions between the country and town shareholders, or it may have been that subscription was more easy than payment. I am inclined to think that the latter had something to do with it, for the export for the year showed a very poor increase on that of 1851, the total being £185,183, and the advance only £4,146. I am now able to give the export for the six months ending December 31, 1852—from the Clarence River, £23,850; the Richmond, £16,[blank]; the Tweed, £960; and the Mary, £10,568. Statistics are valuable sometimes, as indicating motion, and it is not wonderful that Mr. Wentworth treated Wide Bay with such indifference—or that when separation became inevitable, the New South Wales interests, considering half a loaf better than no bread, contrived to get the original boundaries between the two colonies altered, and so kept the Clarence and Richmond for themselves.

There is one important topic upon which I have been most inexcusably silent. It is said that whenever two Englishmen meet, and are at a loss for a subject, they invariably find one in the weather, and on that I have said nothing. In its first magistrate and resident, Captain Wickham, the district was fortunate in having a man of scientific and observant mind; and I find, that for some time he was in the habit of contributing what he termed a "weather journal," to the Courier with regularity—such omissions as occur not being, I think, attributable to him. His observations comprise the period from 1840 to April, 1850 inclusive, at which last date they, for unexplained reasons, ceased to be communicated, and I have tabulated them mostly in an abridged form, as perpetuating a valuable contribution to meteorological facts, and in the hope that some generous man of science may fill up the interval between April, 1850. and the time when meteorological observations were officially and regularly taken, I believe, by the late Dr. Barton in 1859 or '60.

I first give the rainfall during each month in inches:—

1840. 1841. 1842. 1843.
January 3.675 19.911 1.500 4.350
February 3.762 3.244 3.550 8.650
March 1.730 5.064 7.450 2.500
April 1.815 0.920 2.340 5.550
May 2.031 5.279 0.340 5.550
June 0.259 1.125 0.250 4.794
July 0.518 0.000 5.200 6.221
August 0.299 0.200 0.200 2.926
September 3.004 2.212 2.000 2.699
October 2.455 0.779 0.250 1.691
November 4.799 4.861 0.000 1.399
December 4.971 5.714 5.730 5.341

1844. 1845. 1846. 1847.
January 10.947 2.474 2.018 8.900
February 9.125 4.238 1.609 4.958
March 1.923 2.770 1.036 0.693
April 3.169 4.517 0.150 3.239
May 7.603 2.435 0.000 wanting
June 1.696 0.433 0.428 0.000
July 2.736 1.242 1.481 0.779
August 6.643 1.644 2.443 wanting
September 3.985 1.020 3.702 1.054
October 5.007 1.523 2.772 wanting
November 5.804 2.884 10.426 3.539
December 4.573 13.913 5.363 1.339

  1848. 1849. 1850.
January   13.192 3.299 3.014
February   5.455 0.580 4.276
March   8.602 0.000 1.179
April   1.992 2.218 3.410
May   0.519 wanting *   
June   1.819 wanting *   
July   0.968 3.178 *   
August   1.160 3.712 *   
September   1.230 1.332 *   
October   1.160 2.104 *   
November   3.150 1.460 *   
December   3.341 wanting *   

[* cætera desunt.]

The average temperature, as explained by Captain Wickham himself, he intended to imply "the register of the thermometer at 9 a.m. in the shade, which is taken to be a near approximate to the mean temperature of each day." The thermometrical observations, it is to be regretted, do not commence until January, 1847:—

1847. 1848. 1849. 1850.
January 80.2 77.3 80.0 80.0
February 78.4 76.2 77.6 76.6
March 74.3 76.0 75.9 75.3
April 69.1 71.0 69.5 71.60
May wanting 63.7 wanting *   
June 52.1 55.3 wanting *   
July 54.1 56.4 58.0 *   
August wanting 55.7 59.4 *   
September 57.7 63.0 62.1 *   
October wanting 73.6 72.3 *   
November 75.4 76.7 75.0 *   
December 76.7 79.2 wanting *   

[* cætera desunt.]

From these records we are able to see that, between 1839 and April 1850, in three years, 1841, 1843 and 1844, a more than usual downpour took place, that in 1844 being extraordinary; and we are not surprised to find it remembered, that a great flood took place in Ipswich in January of that year, and that the country was continuously flooded for a long time, when the rainfall in December, 1843, and January and February, 1844, was more than equal to that of all 1840, and 1842, and nearly equal to the fall of 1846. I trust to be able to connect these observations with those of Dr. Barton, as we shall then have a table of the rainfall in the district for a period of thirty-six years, and the deductions to be collected will be of great value to the colonists in the East and West Moretons, and the Darling Downs. Further north or west, I fear no records exist up to the time when the official ones began to be taken.






{Page 147}

CHAPTER IX.

1853-1854.

Contemptuous Treatment of the District in the New South Wales Legislative Council—Curious Election—Progress of the New Constitution Bill—Trade and Industry—Swindling Auriferous Speculation—Disputes as to the Capital—Export Trade—Immigration—The Rev. W. B. Clarke's Geological Tour—Public Land Sales and Estimates—Earl Grey on the Land Laws—Administration and Crime—Progress of Industry in 1854—Murder of Mr. Strange.


The petition of the residents of Moreton Bay against the separation clause in Mr. Wentworth's new Constitution Bill, met with very contemptuous treatment at the hands of that gentleman and his supporters, On the motion for its being printed, in the Legislative Council, on December 10, 1852, Mr. Wentworth, in the scornful and haughty tone he could so well employ—

"had no hesitation in stating that the express object of the clause alluded to, was to prevent the separation of Moreton Bay and the erection of that insignificant depôt into an entrepôt for the convicts of the mother country. He did not suppose there could be any question as to the policy of preventing a few individuals from becoming the tools of the Colonial Minister, and thereby aiding the stealthy introduction to this colony of that class of persons."

Even great talents cannot cover inconsistency like that thus shown by a politician who had been one of the most prominent advocates of transportation during the best years of his life. Whether his oratory or other feelings prevailed most, cannot be even conjectured now, but the language generally used towards the petitioners can scarcely be described as other than most insulting, and the printing of the petition was negatived on a miserable technicality by a vote of twenty-six to six. As soon as information of these proceedings reached Brisbane, a meeting was held, and another petition adopted on the same subject, to be presented when the Council should meet again.

There were in those days subjects of mirth, as well as of grave consideration to be derived from politics. The resignation of Mr. F. E. Bigge having left the electoral districts of Wide Bay, the Burnett, and Maranoa, unrepresented, a nomination meeting was called, to be held at Ipswich, and on the day appointed, the returning officer and three electors are said to have attended, who were assisted by the counsel of two legal gentlemen. Mr. R. J. Smith, happening to come that way, held a conversation with one elector and one lawyer, and the result of their deliberations was, that Mr. Cameron proposed, and Mr. Douyere seconded that gentleman as a fit and proper person to represent the constituency. Mr. W. B. Tooth then nominated Mr. Foster, of Wide Bay, but, as there were only two electors present besides himself, and both were pledged to the first nominee, he failed to find a seconder. Mr. R. J. Smith was therefore declared duly elected. That gentleman, in returning thanks, expressed himself as determined to perform the duties of a representative faithfully and assiduously, and said that he only came forward at the eleventh hour to rescue the electorate from non-representation. It is reported that those present gave three cheers for him. It would not, I imagine, in so small an assembly, be difficult to secure unanimity, but how they could maintain the necessary gravity, it is not so easy to conceive. The whole procedure, coupled with the failure of the steam company, was made good use of thereafter, in Sydney, against the district and its claims. What sort of feeling there was as to the position and duties of a member of Parliament, may be gathered from the fact, that the journals deplored that at the impending meeting of the Council, on May 10, only two out of the five members for the district, were likely to attend the opening.

This paucity of attendance was the more to be regretted, inasmuch as it was known that, in that coming session, the New South Wales Constitution would, in all probability, be finally settled for submission to the Imperial Parliament, and the publication of some very important despatches from the Colonial Office rendered the settlement of its terms a matter of more than ordinary care. One from Sir John Pakington, in answer to the petition for separation, intimated that the Government "did not, at present, see any sufficient reason for separation." The second, in reply to a memorial from the Legislative Council of New South Wales, proposed to concede to the local Government the power of dealing with the waste lands of the Crown, denying any absolute right in those lands, on the part of the inhabitants of a colony, but treating the matter as one of expediency. With reference to the constitution of the Legislature, the desirability of a nominee Council and an elective Assembly, was admitted—"assuming that this is a change as to the expediency of which general agreement prevails." Suggestions were made as to the kind of civil list which it would be necessary to preserve, and the despatch concluded by expressing a hope with reference to the colony, that the proposed measure would "cement and perpetuate the ties of kindred, affection, and mutual confidence which connect its people with those of the United Kingdom." A subsequent despatch from the Duke of Newcastle, who, when the Derby Ministry went out, succeeded to the Colonial Office, in general terms confirmed that of his predecessor.

Somewhat in limitation of the complaints I have mentioned, Mr. J. Smith took the oaths and his seat about a fortnight after the opening of the Legislature, and in time for the discussions on the new Constitution Bill, for the framing of which a Committee of the Council had been appointed on the motion of Mr. Wentworth. As the Act, resulting from the Bill, is that by which practically the colony is now governed, its reception and progress may be of some interest. In its proper place, an abstract of our actual constitution will be given, and I do not propose to anticipate that, but simply to describe the changes which occurred in the measure during its progress, and on its final submission to the Imperial Parliament, as illustrative of the temper which prevailed in most men's minds, and of the judgment that was applied to such subjects, at the time.

Mr. Wentworth still persisted in the clause which absolutely fixed the boundary I have before described, and which had so disquited the people of Moreton Bay. But in the bill, as originally laid before the Sydney Council, was a proposal which, as a curiosity in its way, it may be as well to particularize. The fourth, fifth, and sixth clauses ran, in their abstracted form, thus:—4. Power to vest in Her Majesty of appointing Legislative Councils, provided that no minister of religion or judge of the Supreme Court shall be eligible. 5. Hereditary titles may have a seat awarded them for life in the Legislative Council. 6. When the holders of such hereditary titles amount in number to fifty or upwards, the present Legislative Council to cease, and a Council composed of patentees for life, and of a certain number of elected persons holding such titles, to be thenceforward the Legislative Council. There were the usual provisions as to absence, resignation, insolvency, and other causes by which a seat could be vacated.

It might be difficult now to find any one courageous enough to bring forward such a proposal. Mr. Wentworth and his committee—at least some of them—were theorists of no mean order, and did not lack argument in support of their legislation.

"Your committee," they say, "are not prepared to recommend the introduction into this colony of a right by descent to a seat in the Upper House; but are of opinion that the erection of hereditary titles, leaving it to the option of the Crown to annex to the title of the first patentee a seat in the Upper House, and conferring on the original patentees and their descendants, inheritors of their titles, a power to elect a certain number of their order, to form in conjunction with the original patentees then living, the Upper House of Parliament, would be a great improvement upon any form of Government hitherto tried or recommended in any British colony. They conceive that an Upper House, framed on this principle, whilst it would be free from the objections which have been urged against the House of Lords, on the ground of the hereditary right of legislation which they exercise, would lay the foundation of an aristocracy which, from their fortune, birth, leisure, and the superior education their advantages would superinduce, would soon supply elements for the formation of an Upper House, modelled, as far as circumstances will admit, upon the analogies of the British Constitution. Such a House would be a close imitation of the elective portion of the House of Lords, which is supplied from the Irish and Scottish peerage. Nor is it the least of the advantages which would arise from the creation of a titled order, that it would necessarily form one of the strongest inducements not only to respectable families to remain in the colony, but to the upper classes of the United Kingdom and other countries who are desirous to emigrate, to choose it for their future home."

I can scarcely think that, had the authors of this proposal read the speeches delivered in the House of Lords in the discussion on the Canadian Constitution, they could seriously have thought that it would ever pass the Imperial Parliament; but Mr. Wentworth was a man of imperious character; and there is something which strongly warps the perceptions of men in the intoxication of merely local success. That able politician is not the only one who, despite of really great powers, finds in a strange audience the fate of Æsop's musician.

The suggestion to give another representative for the Stanley Boroughs, and a resident judge for the district, did not reconcile the settlers to the proposed extinction of their hopes of separate government, or to the quasi territorial aristocracy which it was intended to make. A nominee Council in any shape was indeed highly unpopular throughout New South Wales, and especially so in Sydney, and delay was asked for an expression of public opinion before the bill was read a second time. All that could be obtained, however, was a consent, that were the second reading agreed to, so that the desirability of two chambers could be affirmed, the discussion in committee might be postponed for a moderate period. The feeling in this district against the bill and its author, was in nowise allayed by his language on the presentation of the renewed petition for the omission of the boundaries clause.

"The result of the miserable policy of separation would be the creation of a federal government, and would inevitably end in the overthrow of the British throne. If the people of Moreton Bay had a surplus revenue now, how long had they been a drag to the Sydney Government? The first thing they should do with their surplus revenue would be to pay their just debts before they set up for themselves. The clause in 13 and 14 Vic. he considered to be a degradation of the rights of the colony and it was the manifest duty of the House to restore the old boundaries."

It is hardly possible to conceive anger more unreasoning, or argument more illogical. The debate on the second reading of the Constitution Bill itself took place on August 31, when Mr. Wentworth closed it with the last of his great efforts—a speech which is said to have drawn cheers from all parts of the House, the strangers in the gallery included. The second reading was carried by a majority of twenty-five to a minority of eight, and the Council soon afterwards adjourned.

About this time news was received in the district, that the Home Government had received the unanimous petition at whose adoption the advocacy of transportation had been finally abandoned, and that no decision had been arrived at. A public meeting to consider of further representations to the Home Government, was then proposed; and, accordingly, on November 5, one described as the largest that had yet been seen in the district, was held in Brisbane, when men of all classes were unanimous in their resolutions, and another and lengthy petition to the Queen was adopted. In support of its prayer, it set forth that, in all, the revenue derivable from the northern districts was not less than £70,000 per annum; that the market value of the stock in them was nearly £2,000,000; that the freehold interest of the inhabitants was valued at £700,000; that the mineral wealth was ascertained to be extensively distributed, and only needed population for its development, and that for this a system of local self-government was indispensable. This was the eighth meeting in favour of separation. At a subsequent stage of the proceedings, a petition against a nominee Council was adopted, but destined to have little effect.

The New South Wales Council resumed their sittings in December, when the Constitution Bill was committed. Acting, I suppose, upon more mature consideration of the law and of the course that would probably be pursued by the Imperial Parliament; the hereditary titles clauses were struck out, and the one fixing thd boundaries of the colony in the event of separation brought into conformity with the Imperial Act under which the Council was then sitting. A clause disqualifying ministers of religion was inserted, and finally the bill, thus amended, passed by a large majority. It is not to be denied, that the measure thus arrived at after so much debate and controversy was drawn in a very able manner. Some few alterations were made in its passage through the Imperial Parliament, and portions of it have since been repealed, especially those relating to the suffrage, but in the main it is, as I have said, the basis of our own Constitution, a short analysis of its principal provisions may now therefore be advisable,

In place of the one Legislative Council then existing, it substituted two chambers, the members of the first or Council, being nominated by the Crown, and of the second, or Assembly, elected by the constituencies created by the bill. The electoral qualification was either the possession of a freehold worth £100, or a household of an annual value of £10, or a leasehold of like annual value, or a grazing license, or a salary of £100 per annum, or the payment of £40 per annum for board and lodging, or of £10 per annum for lodging only; and the payment of all rates and taxes, or license fees, that might attach to the property qualification was made a condition precedent to the exercise of a vote. The members of the first Legislative Council were to hold their seats for five years only from the date of appointment, but all future members summoned after the expiration of the first five years, were to be members for life, subject to the ordinary provision for the regulation of vacancies. Any one qualified to vote in the election of members of the Assembly, was declared eligible for choice to that body. The President of the Council was to be appointed by the Crown, the Speaker of the Assembly being elected by the members. No person occupying a place of profit under the Crown was to be deemed capable of holding a seat in the Assembly, unless he were one of the five responsible Ministers authorised by the Act, or of such additional members not being more than five as the Governor-in-Council might declare qualified. The sittings of the Parliament were to be held, at least, once in each year, and more than twelve months was not to intervene between any two sittings. The duration of the Legislative Assembly was to be five years, subject to prorogation or dissolution by the Governor. The minimum number of the Council was fixed at twenty-one, one-third of the whole forming a quorum. The Legislative Assembly was to consist of fifty-four members, twenty forming a quorum. Power was given to both Chambers to prepare and adopt such standing orders and regulations as might seem advisable, and to alter or re-construct the Legislature itself upon the vote of a majority of the Council, and of two-thirds of the Assembly. The control of the Crown lands and revenues derivable from them was vested in the Legislature thus created, and all duties and revenues were to form a consolidated fund, out of which the expenditure of the colony was to be provided, a civil list of £64,300 being reserved, including £28,000 for public worship. All taxation was to originate in the Assembly upon message from the Governor, and all payments on public account were directed to be made by Governor's warrant to the Treasurer of the colony for the time being. There were limitations as to the amount of pensions to be granted, and provisions as to the Courts of Law, with which, as possessing no special Interest for us at the present time. I shall not trouble the reader. The Act itself was to come into force one month after receipt in the colony of the Royal assent to it, and the first Parliament was to be called within six months from the proclamation of the measure as law. There was one remarkable point in the bill. Before that time the land revenues of the colony had been in great measure specially reserved for purposes of immigration: thenceforward they would be mingled with the rest of the public income, and so, gradually, their proceeds passed into the general routine of appropriation, as the deficiency in taxation or the temporary exigencies of the public service might seem to require. That such a plan might be a great relief to a hard-pressed Treasurer, there can be little doubt. The equal value of its operation either on the land laws or the financial administration of the colony, may be more open to question.

The Act once passed, the interest in the new constitution died out. It went to the mother country, where, after a rather long interval, it was confirmed by the Imperial Parliament in July, 1855, in the meantime, the attention of the residents in the northern districts was concentrated more and more upon their own local matters. The want of labour was still sorely felt, although six immigrant vessels arrived in the year, and added rather more than two thousand souls to the population. There was some talk of obtaining labour from Victoria, but it resulted in nothing; meantime, wages were high, and the trade of the settlement seems to have been improving. A new Immigration Act, which was passed during the session, was expected to effect a great deal in the way of initiating a self-supporting stem; but it was harsh in spirit and stringent in regulation. It enacted that every assisted, or free, immigrant, who should not, within fourteen days after arrival in the colony, have re-paid in full the cost of his or her passage out, might be indented to any competent employer, for the period of two years, whether such immigrant consented to the arrangement or not. The employer was to pay half the cost of the passage at the time of hiring, and the other half at the expiration of twelve months; the servant was not allowed to cancel the engagement until a year's service had been rendered, and then only if the amount due for the passage had been fully paid-up. The system soon failed, very few of the immigrants paying the money, and the forced indenting being highly unpopular with them—as was indeed only to be expected. The regulations of the Colonial Office did, to some extent, neutralize the bad impressions thus created, purchasers of land in the colony being entitled to have eighty per cent. of their purchase money applied towards the passage of such emigrants as they might nominate, provided that the rules as to eligibility in other respects were observed. As to those who had arrived in the district, there was a deficiency in the number of single male adults, and some difficulty being temporarily experienced in placing out the families and single females, it was suggested that the latter should be transhipped to Sydney where there was a great demand for domestic servants. Captain Wickham, however, was able to dispense with this assistance. There was considerable reluctance on the part of New South Wales to admit the labour absorbing power of the district, and the representations of the Government had an influence with the land and emigration commissioners, which all the exertions of Mr. Hope and Mr. Leslie, although vigorously and persistently made, could not quite overcome.

There were still longing eyes cast towards the goldfields of the neighbouring colonies, and much hope was entertained that the visits of the Rev. W. B. Clarke and Mr. Stutchbury, the Government geologist, would result in some discovery of note, but the hope proved a vain one. To stimulate exertion, a number of the residents subscribed towards a reward fund, amounting in the whole to more than £2,800, to any one who could produce proof of the existence of a payable gold mining district. Now and then a strong rumour quickened the public attention—Pikedale, Cunningham's Gap, and the Burnett, all furnished their quota of report, but in report it ended. In the steady pursuit of less sensational industries, the settlers found some consolation. The yield of cotton increased; agriculture began to assume something like a definite position, the late Mr. Donald Coutts, who had purchased Bulimba from Mr. McConnell, being recorded as a successful cultivator, and raising at the rate of thirty bushels of wheat to the acre on his farm there. A horticultural society was formed, and a horticultural show held, which is reported as successful. The saw mills got into working order. Lemonade and soda water had hitherto been imported from Sydney, but this year a machine was brought to Brisbane, and a manufactory established; soap boiling, candle-making, and brewing were added to the industries of the place; and Mr. T. B. Stephens saw his way to the establishment of a local fellmongery; while ever and anon I note the triumphant tone with which the local journals record the rise in the value of town property, and of stations in the interior. The fine station of Westbrook changed hands this year, having been purchased from Mr. Hughes by the late Mr. J. D. M'Lean, for £15,000—the rate per sheep being about fifteen shillings. For Canning Downs £50,000 is said to have been offered and refused. The then restless activity of Dr. Hobbs brought the dugong oil into notice as a curative agent in consumption, and with some share of success. Whatever might be the opinion entertained of them by the Sydney people, the residents showed their faith in their own district by a ready purchase of Crown lands whenever an opportunity offered. At one sale I read of £15,000 being invested in that direction—no small sum for so limited a population. Nor did the capitalists of the parent colony neglect the opportunities opening to them. The Joint Stock Bank, the Union Bank of Australia, and the Bank of Australasia, all found their way here, and that it paid them to do so. Moreton Bay began to figure conspicuously upon the Government estimates; the total vote for the year was nearly £25,000 for local purposes, including £3,000 towards the erection of a lighthouse at Cape Moreton—a vote indicative of the increased importance of the port. Less satisfactory was the appropriation of £9,139 to the native police. The blacks seem to have been upon the whole less troublesome. One of them, confined in Brisbane gaol, on a charge of murder, contrived to escape, and made his way to the Maranoa, where he was again caught and brought back. More alarming to the district, was the news of a desperate gang of convicts who had escaped in an open boat from Norfolk Island, having landed in the bay and commenced a new career of robbery and violence. Immediate and energetic measures were adopted for their capture, which, after some delay, was effected; and they were tried at the Circuit Court and sentenced to what must have been, in effect, a life-long imprisonment. What that class of men attempted by open violence, others, and on a much larger scale, did by fraud; and what is, perhaps, one of the most impudent deceptions on record, is exposed in the newspapers of the day. When the gold discoveries in New South Wales had sufficiently stirred the English public, a Sydney speculator prepared to take advantage of the excitement. Assuming to be the owner of a large extent of auriferous country, which had twenty miles frontage to the Hunter River, and was exceedingly rich in the precious metal, he issued a prospectus of a company, with, I think, 100,000 shares of £1 each, to work the favoured locality. He found no difficulty in disposing of seventy-five thousand shares, and made a bargain that he should be credited with twenty-five thousand fully paid-up as in purchase of his interest. Of these he realised £11,000 worth, and depositing £4,000 worth of scrip with the directors, borrowed £2,000 more. He then returned to New South Wales, to which colony he was followed by two representatives of the company, who were sent out to protect its interests. They soon found that they were appointed to a sinecure. There was no gold on the Hunter River, and no twenty miles of frontage available. What they did find, was an unprofitable equity suit, and a great deal of sympathy, which did not restore the lost capital, and merely left them to bewail their own and their friends' credulity.

The comparative merits of Cleveland and Brisbane were still debated, the Ipswich people and the Darling Downs squatters taking most interest in Cleveland. At this day we look back upon the bitterness with which the question was disputed with something like wonder, but the controversy was waged with great heat then, and as if the existence of the older township was really endangered. Town allotments at Cleveland found a ready sale, as indeed did land of every description, and the disposition to buy was helped by the facilities which the establishment of local land offices afforded. There was some discontent felt at the refusal of the Government to hold the Port Curtis land sales at Brisbane, instead of at Sydney, a great deal of interest being felt in that portion of the country at the time. Intending squatters pushed out; the Fitzroy was explored for some distance, and the country declared good, while the beauties of the harbour at Gladstone were highly eulogised. The reports of the Government surveyors were more than usually favourable, even as to the capabilities of the soil for cultivation. Some curiosity was excited by Mr. W. B. Tooth's bringing into Brisbane samples of wheat grown by him at Widgee Widgee, and Woonga, in the Wide Bay District—the next to the Port Curtis one—of whose qualities the local journal speaks well; but I do not learn that the experiment was followed up. It is, nevertheless, now that the country in that direction is being rapidly occupied by selectors, worth recording; for what has been done once might be done again. Westward the township of Dalby was proclaimed, and the little village of Gayndah began to hold up its head and talk of its central position. Cabbage Tree Creek had now become Sandgate; but improvement had its perils in those days. Mr. Thos. Dowse and his sons, camping there preliminary to more permanent occupation, were attacked by the blacks, and compelled, after some sharp fighting, in which Mr. Dowse was much hurt, to leave the place.

Altogether, there was no little activity in the settlement about this time, and promise of what it might, under good government, become. The exports for the year more than realised the anticipations of the Separation Committee, who had estimated them at £400,000, the summary being as follows:—

Brisbane River £265,494
Clarence ditto 62,559
Richmond ditto 29,864
Mary ditto 50,796
Tweed ditto 7,503
—————
Total £416,221

The increase in the export from Brisbane was more than £80,000, but the bulk of all the trade was still pastoral produce; the number of bales of wool from this port alone being 7,968 in the year whose history I am writing. With so growing a trade the impediments in the two rivers—the Bremer and the Brisbane—began to be felt as serious hindrances, and meetings were held, and petitions to the Sydney Government signed, for a grant of money for their removal. This was refused, but a survey was promised to obtain data for estimating what the cost would really be.

I have said that the little town of Gayndah began to put forth it pretensions, but the fact would be hardly worth mentioning, were it not that one of our foremost public men of the present day, Mr. W. H. Walsh, made the first entry into his public life, which I find on record, at the meeting held there to protest against the claims of Brisbane to be the metropolis. Those of Port Curtis were insisted upon with considerable vehemence—a vehemence which redoubled when the demerits of Moreton Bay were descanted upon. A petition was addressed to Her Majesty praying that Port Curtis might be the capital, which, seeing that Separation itself was at yet far distant, was, at least, taking time by the forelock It is amusing to read the grave statement in that petition, that "the site of the town of Brisbane is universally allowed to have been so ill-chosen as to forbid its ever rising into a city of any importance." Politicians and historians may well be wary of prediction. Mr. Walsh and his co-adjutors had been preceded by much more rash prophets. In the Gentleman's Magazine for September, 1786, I read:—

"It has been seen in the public prints, that a plan for forming a settlement in New Holland, for the restriction of transported criminals, is actually to be carried into execution, but the plan is so wild and extravagant, that we can hardly believe it would be countenanced by any professional man after a moment's reflection. Not the distance only, but the almost impracticability of crossing the line with a number of male and female criminals, who, in their cleanliest state, and as much at large as can with safety be allowed them in prison and with frost, are hardly to be kept from putrid disorders, must for ever render such a plan abortive. The rains, tornadoes, and heats that accompany these tempests near and under the line, are often fatal to the hardiest navigator, besides the mountainous seas that are almost always to be encountered in passing the Cape and in the latitude which the transports must pursue their course to New Holland. No man, surely, who had a life to lose, of a relative or a friend that he wished ever again to see, would engage in so hazardous an undertaking. . . . Add to these objections that the natives are the most savage and ferocious that Captain Cook met with in exploring the coast of New Holland!"

And yet the Gentleman's Magazine was wont to be considered sedate, scholarly, and trustworthy periodical.

The year 1854 was not an eventful one in the history of the district Complaints of a deficiency of labour became rife once more, and the usual consequences of such a condition followed. Land was bought only to remain idle on the hands of the purchaser. Houses were scarce and rents exorbitant, while skilled mechanics were in great request, and in some localities not to be obtained. Hope was entertained of an introduction of Germans, through the exertions of Mr. Lord, of Drayton, who went to Europe with the intention of initiating a regular emigration from the German States, but the ultimate result remained to be disclosed. Some interest, therefore, was felt in the possible success of Dr. Lang's Moreton Bay Land and Emigration Company, which he once more pushed forward with his usual vigour, and with more than his usual discretion. While in England, from which he had not long returned, he had corresponded and talked with all classes of intending emigrants, and he brought with him petitions to the Legislative Council of New South Wales, from a variety of associated bodies, who, having been informed by him that a fund, arising from the sales of Crown lands, was available for the assistance of emigrants, desired to benefit by it in payment of the cost of their passages. He now proposed specially, in the interest of the district, the establishment of the company I have named, with a capital of £250,000—capable of increase, as circumstances might seem to justify—in shares of £25 each, one half being reserved for allotment in the mother country, the remaining half to be sold in the colony. Taking advantage of the land regulations I have before described, the capital was to be applied to the purchase of land, so that eighty per cent., at least, of the purchase money should be appropriated to the introduction of immigrants. The profit of the company, would, it was supposed, accrue from the gradual increase in the value of the land thus bought. Reputable emigrants, he suggested, should be allowed to buy land at an advance of twenty-five per cent. on the price paid by the Company to the Government, but the shareholders were to be allowed, if they thought proper, to take up land to the amount of their shares at the cost price. There was a good deal of sound sense and thorough security in the plan; and it met with general approval here. He found no difficulty in organising a provisional committee, of which Mr. James Gibbon, now a member of our Legislative Council, was secretary; Mr. Macalister, lately Premier, and afterwards Agent-General of the colony, solicitor; and Mr. R. D. Somerset, treasurer. He addressed large audiences both at Brisbane and Ipswich, in speeches in which strong common sense and vigorous argument were mixed up with, and damaged by, much unnecessary virulence and sarcasm, but still with great success. The company seems to have got, so far as preliminaries were concerned, into something like a workable shape, and in due time a bill for its incorporation was brought into the Legislative Council, when a warm debate took place, which, unfortunately, resulted in its rejection by a majority of two. Nine elective members—amongst them the late Sir C. Cowper, Sir James Martin, and Mr. Parkes—voted for it; the majority was composed, with the exception of two, of members of the Government and nominees. Dr. Lang informed the people of Moreton Bay of the result in a characteristic letter, more angry than usual in its terms, and therefore more mischievous in its results.

But in his first election for the County of Stanley, he had had to sustain a struggle which, if experienced by many, would have caused them to exclaim, in the language of the prophet, of old, "I do well to be angry." Mr. John Richardson, who had, from the commencement, represented the county, having resigned his seat, the most ardent advocates of separation nominated Dr. Lang, while the squatters and their friends put forward Mr. Arthur Hodgson in opposition to him. Dr. Lang left the district before the nomination on April 24, and Mr. Hodgson had the hustings to himself. At the polling, the opposition between Brisbane and Ipswich, which had been for some time increasing, became more strongly marked, the doctor, who had a large majority in Brisbane, obtaining only one vote in Ipswich. The result gave him a majority of nine; but, at a later period, it was discovered that Drayton, on the Darling Downs, had been made a polling place, although it was outside the electoral boundary; and, by some extraordinary process, votes were ordered to be taken there on May 23—the day appointed for the election in the writ being April 28. As was expected, Mr. Hodgson obtained the greater number, and the votes became equal, upon which the returning officer gave his casting vote in favour of that gentleman. The whole procedure gives one an odd notion of what could be done in those days.

Dr. Lang petitioned the Council against the return, and the result was, that Mr. Hodgson was unseated. At the nomination which preceded the consequent fresh election in August, both candidates were present, and both spoke at length; Mr. Hodgson complaining of Dr. Lang's coarse vituperation in language still more coarse, and Dr. Lang retorting with more vigour than grace. At the poll, finally, Dr. Lang was returned by a majority of one. There was some talk of petitioning against the election, but it died out; what the doctor complained most of, and I think with justice, was, that after he had been successful in his petition to annul the first return, he had been mulct in £121 for costs—which was the penalty, I presume, for an unpalatable success.

He was not long in exerting himself on behalf of separation. On September 18, he moved for an address of the Legislative Council to Her Majesty, praying for the immediate separation of the Moreton Bay District from the colony of New South Wales. Mr. Stuart Russell seconded the motion, but Mr. Leslie opposed it, and Mr. R. J. Smith moved the previous question. On a division, the doctor was defeated by a majority of twenty-three to seven.

Reverting to the subject of immigration, some slight relief to the demand for labour was afforded by the arrival, in August, of two immigrant ships in the bay—the Monsoon, with 304, and the Genghis Kahn, with 474, immigrants. They were soon all engaged, with little perceptible diminution in the requirements of the district. In December, another vessel, the General Hewitt arrived with 331 more, who were rapidly absorbed in the general population. These were all "assisted" immigrants, liable to engagement on the terms I have before described, and were not so well contented with the new system as were its framers, which is not much to be wondered at. In his speech at the opening of the Council in June, Sir Charles Fitzroy stated that the Emigration Commissioners in London found such great difficulty in carrying that system out, that the old one would have to be returned to. What was of more present value to the residents, was an allusion, in the same speech, to the wants of the district, and a recommendation of a provision for at least some of them.

Such a reference, no doubt, sprang from a visit paid to Moreton Bay by the Governor in the preceding March. On the 20th of that month he arrived in the bay in the Calliope, man-of-war; landed at Newstead, the then residence of Captain Wickham, and rode next day into Brisbane, where he received deputations, made quiet and guarded speeches, and went through the tribulations incidental to Governors' progresses. Thence he travelled on horseback, by way of Drayton, to the Darling Downs, returning through Warwick and by Cunningham's Gap to Brisbane, where he was entertained at what is described as "the first public dinner given in Moreton Bay," and waited upon by the earnest advocates of separation, and upon both occasions managed to steer clear of embarrassing promises. After nearly three weeks' stay in the district, he left for Port Curtis, and, after a short inspection, returned to Sydney. One good result of his visit, was the restoration of the old botanic garden to its former use, and the commencement for it of a career of utility which has gone on increasing till the present time.

Visitors of lower station, but of greater service, came to the district. Mr. Moore, the director of the Botanic Gardens. Sydney, visited Brisbane, both to extend his own knowledge and to determine what was required to restore the gardens here. The Rev. W. B. Clarke, the celebrated geologist, made an exploratory tour through the Darling Downs, down the range, and on the lower part of the route to Brisbane. Primarily, his visit was to ascertain the probability of a payable goldfield being found. On that head he reports:—

"Nothing but the overlying deposits of the carboniferous formation and the trappean alluvia, which cover nearly the whole of the Darling Downs District, and, as before stated, the country beyond, about the heads of the waters falling into the Fitzroy Downs, &c., prevent the occurrence of a goldfield in the parallel of 28°. . . . As respects the lower regions in the Downs, it is possible for gold to be found here and there, but, if it is ever obtained in more than inconsiderable quantity, it will require far more energy and determination than the talkers about it have yet exhibited."

There should be encouragement to the old deep-sinking miners in these observations. On the existence of tin ore Mr. Clarke was far more decided:—

"I may, however, remark, that though gold be wanting, there are gems and tin ore in many localities, of which little account is taken; but which may, perhaps, be one day as valuable as gold. Respecting the tin ore, I may state that I found it in almost every mass of drift in every portion of the country I have explored for gold, and that it is frequently abundant where gold is wanting. It exists in all the western streams, from the Peel to the Condamine, and it was equally common in the southern districts."

It seems odd, that seventeen years should have been allowed to elapse before the value of this opinion was tested; and even then, only to a partial extent.

The land sales went on with unabated vigour. When the Port Curtis lots were sold in Sydney, there was the usual furore to buy on rumour what few or none of the purchasers had seen. The prices realised were very large, many of the town lots selling for £200 each. One lot of twenty-two perches brought £270; another of thirty-three perches, £370; and another, a little larger, £455. It was calculated that the aggregate upset price of all the land offered at the first day's sale, was about £340, but the total proceeds that day were £9,368. On the second day the amount realised was £3,497, making a total of £12,865. Cleveland, the other possible rival of Brisbane, as it was once deemed, seems to have commenced its decline—a mercantile firm, which had established itself there, leaving the place, and the bonded store being removed. In the district itself, land was always a marketable commodity. In Brisbane, for instance, on one day at a sale of town and suburban lots at that town and at Sandgate—land to the value of £5,136 was purchased. There were several suburban lots at Bulimba advertised, but withdrawn on a report from Mr. Stutchbury, the Government Geologist, that coal existed there. Land seems, indeed, to have been nearly the only opening for the investment of savings. In 1854, there were no theatres, no musical or public entertainments, no cabs, but few hotels, and, apparently, little or no extravagance. The surplus earnings of the industrious went into the purchase of property, and if, from the want of labour, they could not utilize that property as rapidly as some of them wished, they at least escaped the risk of over expenditure, and enjoyed the pleasure of accumulation.

The efforts at what may be called local improvement, now began to take a more decided and definite shape than they had hitherto done, and the criticisms on local and Governmental management became more precise and stringent. After many applications a road surveyor—Mr. Vigors—was appointed for the district by the Government. A Savings Bank Bill was introduced into the Council and passed, and the estimates bore token that the northern country, as it was then called, was gradually improving in the esteem of the Central Government, as they rose from about £25,000 in the preceding year to nearly £33,000 in this. A superintendent for the floating light at the northern entrance of the bay—it is said to have been a discarded vessel, which had been used for a similar purpose in Port Jackson—and four light keepers are among the items. The expenses of the Native Police bore a large proportion to the total, more than £16,000 being voted for them from the Clarence River to Port Curtis. But, excepting £500 for improving the town of Brisbane, there was little or nothing for what might be called public works. These were in anticipation, especially for the bay and the river. A memorial was sent, praying for a grant of £10,000 towards clearing the bar, and £5,000 for a dredge,—and on November 7, the Governor, by message, recommended that £15,000 should be so appropriated. In a reference to the requirements of the harbour, in a report of the committee of the Legislative Council upon the state of the public works of the colony, I find the deepening of the channel described as of "such importance as to demand the most favourable consideration." The Government Resident here recommended a further survey, and it was suggested that £1,000 should be placed on the estimates, in order that that might be first completed. A jetty at Cleveland had been commenced, and to this the committee also turned their attention. They found that £1.000 had already been voted for the work, and that £5,197 more would be required. They, therefore, proposed a suspension of the undertaking until it had been ascertained that the jetty would afford to the public advantages commensurate with its large cost. Although of more general interest, still as having a local application, I may refer to another, although merely a progress report, from a committee appointed to enquire into the operation of the laws and regulations respecting the Crown lands of the colony, in which they embody and approve of the opinions held by Earl Grey in 1846. In the perusal of that extract, I can almost imagine myself to be reading a leading article in a Queensland journal, or a report of the speech of a Queensland member of Parliament of the present day.

"It is obvious," says his Lordship, "that if those who now employ the Large runs which are required for the support of considerable flocks and herds, while the country remains in a state of Nature, were allowed to acquire a permanent property in those vast tracts of land, there would very soon indeed be no land of moderately easy access available for new settlers. I am aware that, under existing, regulations, complaints have been made, and not without much apparent foundation, that a difficulty is experienced by persons, who have accumulated small capitals, in finding means of purchasing allotments of land of size suitable to their circumstances, owing to the manner in which the extensive tracts have been appropriated by large capitalists. In justice, therefore, to the poorer class of settlers, I consider it of vital importance, that in allowing wild lands to be occupied for pasturage, the property of the Crown in those lands should be effectually protected, so that as they are wanted for settlement, they may be sold at a price which, while it is too high to admit of large tracts being obtained possession of by grasping speculators, is yet sufficiently moderate to throw no difficulty in the way of the industrious settler, who desires to purchase and to improve a farm of moderate extent."

I have said that criticism was becoming more precise and stringent, but it was not so one day before it was required. Two men in the Harbour Master's Department were sent down the bay in a boat, manned by six blacks of a tribe known to be hostile to the whites. They took with them a keg of spirits. All that was found thereafter was the signs of a sanguinary struggle near Sandgate, and the men were no more seen. Although large sums of money had been spent in the purchase of land there, no one dare build or improve for fear of assaults from the aborigines—Mr. Dowse, as I have related, having been compelled to abandon the attempt. Roads there were none, and the inhabitants of the two principal towns were unable to obtain leave to place their streets in a passable condition, while anything in the shape of assistance from Government was denied them, or, if promised, never forthcoming. They derived little consolation from the discovery that, however small the profit derived from the land they bought, those who sold had the privilege of skimming the cream from what they paid. The commissions paid to the Government officers, holding positions somewhat analogous to those of the Crown Lands Commissioners of our own time, were so large, as at last to attract the attention of the Executive Council. Between January 1, and December 19, 1854, Captain Wickham received £973 6s. 8d.—£473 more than his salary as Government Resident; and Colonel Gray, at Ipswich, between June 13, 1853, and June 31, 1854, £236 1s. 10d. The public justly thought that those gentlemen would have been well remunerated by much less sums for attending two or three hours half a dozen times in the year, and that the balance might have been devoted to some of the local wants which pressed so heavily upon them. I forbear multiplying instances, but I am constrained to say, that in most of the official appointments of those days, the indirect emolument was often more than the direct salary, and the public service suffered accordingly. The liberality of the Government to its officials at length became limited to a commission of five per cent. on all sales below £5,000 in one year, and two and a-half per cent. on all sales beyond that sum. It was worth while being a Crown Lands Commissioner, in addition to other official functions, in the colony of New South Wales in those days, the Land sales in 1854 having reached more than £211,000.

The remnant of the exile element and the aboriginal criminality combined to disturb the generally uniform social quietude of the place. A brutal murder was committed at Kangaroo Point, in January, by a man named Hanley, the victim being known as Stevie Swords. There had been some drinking, and Swords had left the hut in which it occurred, when Hanley followed him, felled him to the ground with a heavy paling, and was seen to strike him afterwards several heavy blows upon the head. The blows penetrated to the brain. Hanley then went for the police, and accused one of his companions, who was helplessly drunk, of the murder. The proof was perfect at the trial, but the presiding judge, Mr. Justice Dickenson, suggested that "it might be a matter for the jury how far Irishmen, accustomed to using sticks in their quarrels, might be supposed to strike a person about the head without intending to cause death or grievous bodily harm." The jury did not seem to appreciate the suggestion, and found Hanley guilty. He was accordingly sentenced to death; but the Sydney Executive commuted the punishment to five years' labour on the roads. Perhaps they gave more weight to the assumption of that well-intentioned kind of beating, suggested by Judge Dickenson, than the jury could be induced to do. Whether they did, of not I have thought the case worth noting as one of the most singular of those old eccentricities of justice with which the historian of those times gradually becomes familiar; and which, in equally grotesque form, do occasionally startle us now.

A more satisfactory instance of the ultimate triumph of the law was shown in the capture and conviction of a notorious aboriginal of great strength and cunning, named Dundalli, who, for years past, had been the terror of the district. In 1845, he had assisted in robbing the Rev. Mr. Hausmann at Noogan Creek, and in burning his hut down with the charitable purpose of burning the inmate as well. He was identified as the murderer of Mr. Gregor, at Caboolture Creek, as one concerned in the murder at the same time of a woman named Mary Shannon, and as the actual murderer of two persons, named Waller and Boller, on the Pine River. His connection with many other outrages was more than suspected, but the evidence was difficult to collect. He was tried at the Circuit Court on November 25, found guilty, and condemned to death At his execution, in the early part of the ensuing year, a number of blacks congregated on the Windmill Hill (overlooking the then town of Brisbane), to whom he called in his own language with great vehemence, and, as was subsequently found, exhorted them to revenge his own death. It seems to have been as if a great burden had been removed from the residents when it was known that he was really dead. One "Davy," another aboriginal identified as the murderer of Mr. Trevethan, whose death I have before mentioned, was also found guilty, sentenced to death, and hung. There were at that time, two paid chaplains to the gaol, and other ministers of religion in the town; but it is related, with the exception of one visit from a Roman Catholic clergyman, he was left unattended and uncared for, "pushed up the ladder by the hangman, and precipitated into death," as men would hang a noisome beast of which they wished to get rid. The occurrence caused much comment at the time, and deservedly so. These executions did not deter the blacks from—perhaps stimulated them to—further crime. I find two more murders by them, recorded during the year.

I turn from these gloomy records, which, however, could not, as characterizing a particular period, have been well omitted, to more cheerful topics. The Horticultural Society of Brisbane held another show, which is said to have been successful; and an attempt was made towards the establishment of an Agricultural and Pastoral Association. The Ipswich Library and Reading Room took a more definite shape, and subscriptions were readily forthcoming in its support; and, as if the genii of joint stock companies had been propitiated to the infusion of fresh energy by Dr. Lang's emigration scheme, the Moreton Coal Company was started at Ipswich, to commence with a capital of £25,000, in shares of £25 each. The provisional committee was strong in local celebrities, and Mr. Macalister was secretary, but no locality of operation was indicated in the prospectus, which seems to have been rather vague in its tenor. Another company was attempted to be formed, for the purpose of working the mines opened by Mr. Williams, and a few land owners co-operated to try the strata asserted by Mr. Stutchbury to be coal-bearing at Bulimba. Coal seems for a time to have been as much thought of as gold; unfortunately the working of the first was for a long time attended with as little permanent result as the search for the second. Occasional notices of cotton are met with, mostly in the way of experiment and report, but about twenty-five bales in all were exported, and some samples of Moreton Bay cotton, having won the prizes offered by the New South Wales Government, received the further approval of the Manchester manufacturers; but, as yet, the industry remained within its usual limits. There were great speculations as to what it might result in, but that was a speculative period—in theory. I am sorry to have to deprive any of our local politicians of the least possible claim to originality, and it is with some regret that I record finding the really first idea of a railway to the Gulf of Carpentaria in the Australian and New Zealand Gazette of July 1, 1854—the proposers having the usual incorrect notions of our geographical positions, for they speak of a short line from Carpentaria to Port Curtis.

The ecclesiastical organisations were getting into active systematic work. After long delays, the Anglican Church of St. John was consecrated by the Bishop of Newcastle on October 29, and a district association was formed to co-operate with the central one at Newcastle for church objects. The Rev. E. Griffith arrived to take charge of the Independent Church at Ipswich; there was a movement made towards the establishment of a Baptist congregation; the Wesleyan had their usual church and missionary meetings; and the Rev. Mr. M'Ginty went on the usual tenor of his way in earning the good will of his Roman Catholic flock in Ipswich, and in initiating subscriptions towards a new chapel for their accommodation. Turning to more temporal matters, I find that the first Moreton Bay Building Society ended very satisfactorily, and the shareholders having received their final cheques, forthwith proceeded to prepare for the formation of a second.

In the way of exploration nothing was done. The fate of Leichhardt created some speculation, but no effort. The closing speech of Sir Charles Fitzroy on the prorogation of the Legislative Council referred to some scheme for exploring the interior of this island-continent by an expedition under the Imperial Government, and he expressed a hope that, with that, a search for the lost traveller would be combined. What, perhaps, more interested the residents of Moreton Bay, was the announcement, that with reference to the examination of the Moreton Bay bar, and other public works, he, having received notice of his recall, left their initiation to his successors.

It is to be regretted, that with the quarter ending March 30, 1854, the usual table of exports ceased for a time, and there exist no official documents in this colony relating to the years prior to separation. I gather from the returns published for that quarter, that from the five districts the totals were as follows:—

Brisbane £64,621
Mary 14,429
Clarence 9,243
Richmond 9,182
Ipswich 477

Making a total of nearly ninety-eight thousand pounds, in addition to which there were the cargoes of two ships in the Brisbane, loaded, and waiting to sail for London, valued at about £50,000. The calculation was, that the total export in the year would exceed in value half a million sterling. The general character remained the same as in preceding years. Of the pastoral wealth of the district in 1853, I am able to give a more authoritative account from the New South Wales statistics, which were available at that time about seven months after the termination of the year to which they related. The total live stock in the districts generally considered as the probable new northern colony, was as follows:—

Horses. Cattle. Sheep.
Stanley 2,475 21,629 84,404
Burnett 1,352 18,789 575,815
Clarence 2,304 115,812 100,533
Darling Downs 3,060 62,500 1,005,200
Maranoa 394 27,094 16,700
Moreton 1,434 32,560 400,300
Port Curtis 293 277 7,800
Wide Bay 771 19,259 117,000

From the then newly-formed pastoral district of the Leichhardt, no returns had been received; but the eight districts enumerated contained a little more than one-fourth of the whole number of sheep in the entire colony.

Not as directly belonging to the history of this colony, but as connected with it, I refer to the disastrous result of a scientific expedition, in which Mr. Strange, formerly a resident in Moreton Bay, and Mr. Walter Hill, the Superintendent of our Botanic Gardens, were engaged. On September 12, the ketch Vision, of fifty tons burden, left Brisbane, having been chartered by Mr. Strange, who had recently returned from England,

"for the purpose of searching to the northward for specimens of natural history. . . . The party consists in all of ten persons, and it is proposed at present to proceed as far as Cape York, returning, probably, in three or four months. Should they be sufficiently adventurous, we shall not be at all surprised to hear of some rich gold discoveries as the result of their expedition."

Thus far the Courier of the 16th of the same month. The vessel arrived at the Percy Islands on October 14, and the next day Mr. Strange, with Mr. Hill, a Moreton Island black named Deliapy, Mr. Shenks, an assistant, the mate Spurling, and the cook Gittings, landed to get water. There they met the natives, and had some apparently friendly intercourse. Fortunately for himself, Mr. Hill left the party on a solitary excursion, and was absent about an hour. On his return, he found a naked body amongst the mangroves, which turned out to be that of Spurling, who was quite dead; he next came upon Deliapy, who was hidden in a cleft of the rocks, and who, by degrees, managed to inform him that the others had been murdered. Mr. Strange having in the struggle shot one of them. Only that gentleman, as I gather, was armed at the time. The two managed to get to the boat, and pulled to the vessel. On proposing a further search, none but the master would venture, and, after lying off the island four days, without seeing any sign either of the natives or of their late companions, they made sail for Brisbane, where they arrived on November 14, to narrate their melancholy tale.






{Page 169}

CHAPTER X.

1855.

Local Animosities—Sir C. Fitzroy's Recall and Appointment of Sir William Denison—Opening of the Legislative Council—Opposition to Separation in New South Wales—Exertions of Mr. Wilkes in its behalf—Immigration—Ecclesiastical Progress—Crimean Patriotic Fund—The Blacks and the Native Police—Port Curtis—Bridge over the Brisbane—Survey of the Port—Legal Delays—First Direct Shipment to London—Brisbane Botanic Gardens—Public Land Sales and Official Commissions—Local Movements—Wool Sales Charges—Exports—Starting of A. C. Gregory's First Expedition.


The year 1855 was, in some respects, a memorable one in the history of Moreton Bay. During its progress the local animosities, which had for some time past been smouldering, broke out into an open flame, heightened by the efforts of some who hoped to reap their own profit from the dissension; by others in the narrow-mindedness that can see no world beyond the limits of its own circle, and no praise worthier than the little adulation that it can offer for a short hour; and by some who, in pure ignorance, followed the guidance of those who should have read them a better lesson. In the face of a formidable opposition to the separation which all professed to wish for—an opposition which was certain to tax their united energies, they began to squabble over the distribution of the good which, when it did come, it might bring. In their mutual depreciatory vituperation, the common opponent found argument against their common interest, and I do not doubt that the accomplishment of the desired end was delayed at least a year by these unfortunate dissensions. They were, in some respects, the natural result of the old system of government, in which the central authorities were not only the dispensers of all patronage, but teachers of the people to hug their dependence in the hope of getting their full share of what was to be dispensed; the nearer the capital, and the more closely connected with it, the greater the chance of a satisfactory participation. The combatants for that distinction did not see that it would take long years, even after separation might be granted, to finally determine the point in dispute, and that the course of trade and its ultimate development would have far more influence in fixing the permanent site of the metropolis than the new locality of political administration. They had not read the manly and sagacious reply of an old Lord Mayor of London to James I., when, in a fit of ill-humour at the absence of an expected subsidy, the king threatened to remove the capital. "Your Majesty," said the stout old dignitary, "will at least please to leave us the river Thames."

Sir William Denison who had been Governor of Tasmania, landed in Sydney in January, to take the place of Sir Charles Fitzroy, who had been recalled. Sir Charles left Sydney by the Madras on the 28th. Little or no manifestation of feeling is said to have greeted him the last time he traversed the city, where he had represented the Sovereign of Great Britain for nearly eight years; and the adulation which, as I have related in a former chapter, broke forth on his arrival, no longer swelled from the lips of would-be parasites, impatient for the good things to come. Something has been written, and more insinuated, as to his personal character and conduct, which might have been partially induced by a weak indulgence to his own family, and was said to have had some weight with the Imperial authorities from whom, consequently, he received no further employment. But it would be unjust to draw too authoritative an inference of that kind, for there were others of higher capacity and stainless reputation—Sir Richard Bourke, for instance—upon whom the same fate fell.

Sir William Thomas Denison was a man of a very different character. Conscientious to the extent of thoroughly carrying out what he believed to be his duty, not equally accurate in his perception of what that duty was, or nice in the choice of means to secure its performance, he was quick in arriving at a decision, dogged in maintaining it when made—unless a superior authority supplied him with the instructions that stood to him in the place of knowledge—and impatient both of opposition and opponents. An indefatigable worker, he meddled with almost every conceivable branch of government, and sometimes—as in his suggestions as to taxation—with little benefit to himself or to his Ministers. From engineering to political science—from political science to theology—from theology back to the details of administration, his mind was busy, his pen fluent; but his industry in mastering a subject was less apparent than his confidence in deciding upon it. These were qualities sure to bring him into collision with those who were entrusted with office in what is called responsible Government, who, with equally strong convictions, had not only to consider the expediency of forcing, but to question their right to force, their own views on a people as free to judge as themselves. He had never appreciated the condition, so pithily expressed by Sir Henry Barkley, that, in the face of Parliamentary institutions, he reigned, but did not govern. In demeanour, he was somewhat abrupt, kindly to his dependents, staunch to his supporters, but severe and almost vindictive to those who questioned his course. Ostensibly almost radical in his political principles, he was thoroughly autocratic in his colonial tendencies. Temperate, moral, and strict in the observance of his religious duties, and charitable to the poor, his example was, perhaps, more felt than followed; but his virtues stood him in good stead with those who looked only on the surface. The mischiefs that resulted from his defects we shall trace as this history goes on.

The inhabitants of the district, however, seemed content to anticipate good things from his administration. Addresses of congratulation upon his accession to office, were the order of the day. In that from Brisbane, the inhabitants congratulated themselves on his arrival, dilated on the importance of the district, and solicited an early visit. Those of the country localities generally followed the example thus set, but the Ipswich one was more demonstrative. It assumed that "superhuman qualifications" would be required to "steer between the Scylla of Downing Street bureaucracy on the one hand, and the Charybis of popular discontent and incessant grumbling of the colonists on the other," but modestly stated that the subscribers would hope for the best under Sir William's administration, and believed that he was, "in short, well qualified to put the rusty machinery of the present colonial Government to rights." Finally, it pointed out one cause of the unhappy differences between former Governors and the colonists in the want of sympathy between them. "Her Majesty's representatives have been amongst us, but not of us; Government House has ever been surrounded by a Chevaux-de-frise of conventionalism that has continued to hold the bulk of intelligence and industry throughout the colony aloof." I can imagine the grim smile with which a man of Sir William Denison's character received this combination of lecture and confidence.

Having discharged these duties, the people betook themselves to matters of more immediate interest. Mr. Leslie's resignation rendered an election for the district of Clarence and Darling Downs necessary, when four candidates appeared—Mr. Holt, of Sydney; Mr. Hood, of Talgai; Mr. Gordon Sandeman, and the late Mr. Thomas de Lacy Moffatt. There was a good deal of acerbity displayed during the contest; and, before the nomination, it became narrowed to one between Mr. Hood and Mr. Sandeman, the others having retired. At the nomination, Mr. John Douglas made his first appearance in local politics, as the proposer of Mr. Hood, and met with a negligence, according to the report, which would indicate that he was not then as well listened to as he usually is now. The final result of the election was, that Mr. Hood was returned, by a majority of fifty-six. The constituency of the Maranoa does not seem to have been well satisfied with the efforts of its representative. A number of the electors obtained from him an appointment to meet and discuss certain questions, on which his conduct was alleged to have been unsatisfactory; but, when the time came, he failed to attend. A numerously-signed requisition was then sent to him to resign; but, during the year, I find no trace of any response—a sort of acknowledgement, which produced great discontent amongst the malcontent electors, but does not seem to have impaired the good humour of their nominal representative.

The Legislative Council was opened by Sir William Denison, on June 5, in a speech which travelled over a great variety of topics. Education, local government, the management of roads and railways, steam communication with Europe, immigration, convict discipline, the administration of justice with a special reference to the establishment of a permanent court at Brisbane, the defences of Sydney, marriage and registration bills, goldfields management, payment for public works by loans rather than by current revenue; these formed some of the subjects to which he called attention in a speech described as of the soundest practical character. In his observations, with reference to railway construction, he advocated a system which should give an average speed of ten or twelve miles an hour, "by employing the material which nature has placed at our disposal," anticipating that, by these means, the cost of the roads would be so far reduced, that in some few years, the number of miles of railway in the colony "may be reckoned by thousands." He certainly had in his mind the American system, which, in the States, had been in extensive use, and which, since that time, has been employed with great success in Canada. The system which was adopted in America in 1855, has been but slightly modified since for localities whose population is scattered, and communication difficult; and it is somewhat deprecatory of our usual complacency on our progress, to find that it was twenty-six years after that time before we began to think of the practical experience of countries in circumstances analogous to those of our own colony, instead of listening to the theories and judgments of professional men who never once saw these methods in their working application.

While the Council was intent on discussing these matters, a portion of the ceiling of their Chamber fell in, and they were compelled to adjourn; but not before a bill for the better administration of justice at Moreton Bay had been brought in—that object being supposed to be secured by the appointment of a judge, to be called the Recorder of Brisbane, with a primary jurisdiction similar to that of the Supreme Court (to which a right of appeal was given), and a variety of minor jurisdictions; the requisite subordinates being duly provided for. On the reassembling of the Council, Dr. Lang introduced his bill for the incorporation of the Moreton Bay Land and Immigration Company, which was referred to a select committee. Another select committee—one on immigration, moved for by Dr. Lang—was denied, as it is said, because the right measure had been proposed by the wrong person.

A financial minute of Sir William Denison's, accompanying the estimates, was submitted to the Council, when the singular spectacle was exhibited of the Colonial Treasurer, moving that the House go into committee for Supply, being met by the adverse motion from the Solicitor-General, that both the minute and estimates should be referred to a select committee. This occurrence has always struck me as a curious instance of what might be attempted by a power which, believing itself to be right, was not always careful of the means by which the right might be attained. Sir William Denison, as I have said, was an autocrat, especially in the Cabinet, and select committees are more easily manipulated than a whole Assembly; and, looking to the records of that Governor's career, I am compelled to believe that the subsequent interpellations of Mr. Parkes, as to who really was the leader of the Government, were called for. In these days no such manœuvres could be attempted, and no such curious exhibitions be made. Whether the Solicitor-General's motion was carried or not, I can find no records within the colony to show, but I infer that it was defeated from the scattered reports I have. The amounts proposed in the northern estimates were large, and included some unusual items. For signal stations between the entrance to the river and the town, £1,000 was set down; £20,000 for a new gaol at Brisbane; £3,000 for a bridge over Lockyer's Creek; and nearly £800 for wages of men employed in the construction of works for the provision of water for the township of Gladstone. But a general feeling seemed to prevail, that the favourite system of Sir William Denison, local assessment, was carried too far, and that much was imposed upon that which might have been upon loan. In the Council itself, a very determined opposition was made to some of the proposals of the Government, thirty-four divisions taking place on a proposed vote of £12,018 for a volunteer artillery corps. As a placebo to the indignation which Sir William Denison might feel at this determined opposition, his salary was raised from £5,000 to £7,000 per annum by a very large majority. A petition from Ipswich, praying that the lands of Moreton Bay might not be pledged in a general loan for the public works of the whole colony, was ordered to be printed, and on September 18, Mr. Hood moved for the sum of £3,000 "for the purpose of obtaining a survey and estimate for the construction of a tramroad from the head of the navigation of the river Brisbane, at Ipswich, to the Darling Downs, and thence, by way of Warwick, to Tenterfield and New England," which, however, he had to withdraw. The Moreton Bay District Court Bill was abandoned, to the great regret of the inhabitants, but the estimate for the Brisbane gaol was carried—the ultimate punishment of offenders being thus, apparently, of more importance than the adequacy of means to ensure the justice of their conviction. The last of the old Legislative Councils, having shown its characteristic obstinacy in refusing, as far as possible, adequate provision for the requirements of the district, was prorogued on December 17, and on the last day of the year, became a recollection. Henceforth the value of responsible government was to be tried in the colony of New South Wales. The share of representation allotted to the north was not very large—five out of fifty-four.

While these events were passing, a vacancy occurred in the representation of the Stanley Boroughs, by the resignation of Mr. Stuart Russell, which was filled up by the election of the former member, Mr. Richardson, in his place. The principal argument in his favour, was his uniform adherence to separation, a question, concerning which the most lively interest continued to be felt in the district, and which began to attract more and more attention in Sydney. The Empire newspaper, in an able and temperate article, advocated the principle; but the dependence of the residents upon the ultimate decision of the Colonial Office, was much shaken by advises from England, in which the circumstance of the previous question having been moved by Mr. R. J. Smith, in opposition to the resolutions for separation I have described in a previous chapter, was referred to as exerting a discouraging effect. The Sydney Morning Herald attempted to show the utter unfitness of the district for self-government, censuring in very strong terms the apathy of its people as shown in the failure of all attempts to use their own material resources, and instancing in most sarcastic terms their inability to work together in the promotion of even a steamboat company. If I cite a portion of these observations, I do so in no spirit of reflection either upon the people of that time or of this; retrospection may be usefully exercised, and there have been circumstances, even since separation, to which those censures of twenty-five years ago might be usefully applied.

"They have never been able to establish a steam communication with Sydney, but, as much as they desire to be independent of the middle district, are forced to rely upon a Sydney company to furnish them with steamboats, and upon Sydney merchants to undertake their whole external commerce. And even when an enterprising public company in Sydney comes forward at considerable risk to provide the lazy folks of Brisbane with regular steam communication, they cannot do even so much on their part as to find coals for the use of their steamers. Their great staple of wool is endangered by the presence of a dangerous epidemic amongst their sheep, and yet they cannot agree among themselves as to what measures should be taken to check the evil and provide against its recurrence. A stock insurance company—the obvious remedy—was talked of, and went so far as to be organised, but like every similar movement of the kind in the north, it never survived the issue of the prospectus."

The local journals met the charges thus made, by insisting that the want of self-government was the real cause of the apathy thus charged against Moreton Bay—a reply that was apposite enough at the time. It was, however, elicited in the Council, that despatches had been re-received from Lord John Russell, then Secretary for the Colonies, requesting the Governor to report upon the expediency of separating Moreton Bay from New South Wales, and the erection of it into a separate colony; to which the Governor had replied that he would report as directed. The opponents of the measure in New South Wales at once took the alarm, and the Herald was the first to assist Sir William Denison in the formation of his opinion, suggesting that extended municipal institutions would meet all the requirements of the district; to which a powerful reply was given by the Courier, in an article, whose merits are such, that I regret my limits will not permit its extraction; and there, for the year, the discussion ended. The principle of separation was regarded on all sides as settled.

"Parliament," said the Sydney Herald, with regretful bitterness, "has even gone so far as to devise a form of government for this colony in embryo, and no doubt it would have performed the same kind office for Pinchgut Island, had Lord John Russell made the request."

The two questions of the dividing line between the old and new colonies, and the adjustment of the debt, were all that remained to be decided; the second has never yet been determined; as to the first, the unhappy local dissensions were availed of by watchful opponents to lessen the extent and value of the boon when it ultimately came.

I have said that the discussion for the time ended; but there are a few figures which may be well quoted, as showing the knowledge of the subject and the care with which the late Mr. Wilkes—for some years, and at a critical period, editor of the Courier—went into the subject. Assuming that the districts were united in a separate colony, he estimated the revenue for 1856, at £120,082; the expenditure—allowing for a single chamber only—£3,000 per annum for a Governor; £1,500 a year for a Judge; £1,500 for a Colonial Secretary; £1,000 a year for a Treasurer; and for all that was in the Sydney votes as well—he calculated £82,154, leaving £39,000 available for immigration. The population, from Port Curtis to the then supposed southern boundary, including the Clarence and Richmond Districts, he estimated at 20,000. In the year 1860—the first after separation—when our population was 29,000, the revenue was £182,317, the land returns being £41,000 more than Mr. Wilkes' estimate; the other increase arising from miscellaneous items accruing from the great activity of settlement then displayed. The expenditure of the year 1850, was £161,000, but £41,000 was allowed for that in the Lands and Works Department, bringing the remaining outlay down to about £120,000, which, allowing for the greater extent of country occupied, and the increase by nearly one-half in the numbers of the population, may be considered as peculiarly confirmatory of the soundness of Mr. Wilkes' views. I never had the pleasure of what may be called a personal acquaintance with that very clever writer; but it is equally a gratification and a duty to me to pay this tribute to the care, caution, and accuracy, of which I have given an instance, with which Mr. Wilkes, during some years, may be said to have led the contest for separation in the district; and none the less, that when the usual formal compliment has been paid to the "Press." the members who have illustrated its value and adorned its history, are thereupon, and as a matter of course, forgotten. They may, of all men, apply to themselves the somewhat mournful language of Edmund Burke—"What shadows we are and what shadows we pursue."

Immigration came in more regularly, but yet not in sufficient quantity to meet the growing requirements of the times. Seven vessels, in all, arrived from the United Kingdom, bringing about 2,500 souls to add to the population; and to these were added a considerable influx of Germans, mainly through the agency of a Hamburg firm—Messrs. Godefroy and Sons. Mr. Lord, who left Moreton Bay for the purpose of engaging a continuous supply in Germany, upon a special agreement, found, after he had been some time in that country, that his authority had been superseded, through the agency of the Messrs. Godefroy's representative in Sydney, and that, so far from that firm co-operating with him, they were, in reality, acting in direct opposition to his efforts; his mission, therefore, was a failure. In all, four German vessels seem to have arrived in Moreton Bay, bringing nearly a thousand souls. There were great complaints macre as to the victualling of some of these ships, and the general arrangement appears to have been defective. One of them, the Aurora, coming into the bay by the South Passage, went on shore on the sea-side of Moreton Island, where she became a total wreck, but no lives were lost.

Dr. Lang was active in the promotion of his own scheme, and the bill for its realisation, as I have said, was introduced into the Council, and referred to a select committee, who reported unanimously in its favour, and it passed through its subsequent stages by the assiduous exertions of the late Sir Charles Cowper. It had been deprived of the energetic advocacy of its originator through a series of misfortunes which caused great excitement at the time, and on one at least of those subjected to them, exercised a very melancholy and depressing influence. Two young men, one of whom was, I think, the sole surviving son of Dr. Lang, were placed in charge of the branch Bank of New South Wales at Ballarat, Victoria, and while so acting, it was discovered that a very large sum of money, at least £10,000, was missing. The two were immediately arrested. There was also a man named Burchell, in whose care the bank had been left at various times, but who was not interfered with, and soon disappeared; a circumstance which ought to have directed suspicion towards him, especially as no trace of the missing money, in connection with the accused, was ever found. The prosecution, however, was pressed on with a haste and severity that gave to it a character of unnecessary vindictiveness, and was strongly commented upon in the journals of the time; while Dr. Lang, never very reticent in the expression of his feelings, was more than usually outspoken in defence of his son. Ultimately, both the young men were found guilty—after a trial which seems to have provoked no small angry and hostile comment—and sentenced to a long term of imprisonment with hard labour. The exasperated father, for some bitter observations on the conduct of the case, was tried before the Supreme Court, at Melbourne, and acquitted. Subsequently, Dr. Lang was prosecuted by Mr. Stewart, the manager of the Bank of New South Wales in Sydney, for libel, arising from a like cause, and sentenced by the Chief Justice, Sir Alfred Stephen, in an address savouring far more of the animosity of an offended opponent than the dignified impartiality of a judge, to six months' imprisonment—a sentence which, under all the circumstances, caused no small surprise and censure. Petitions soon flowed in to the Governor for a remission, but Sir William Denison was one of those whose righteous anger against an offence was in no way diminished by the fact, that the criminal was also an offender against himself, and he was proof against every appeal. The doctor offered to resign his seat in the Council as one of the representatives of this district, but his constituents, so far from accepting his resignation, were urgent in remonstrances in his favour. Nor was the general sympathy with him decreased by the unexpected discovery of the real plunderer of the bank in the man Burchell, before referred to. A chain of irrefragable proofs, originating in a chance visit of a well-known Melbourne merchant and auctioneer to the West of Ireland, and confirmed by one of the fellow passengers of Burchell on his voyage home, established his guilt, and the innocence of the two young men, who were shortly afterwards released. In no place was this result hailed with more pleasure than in the locality of their presumed crime, in which I am aware—and I speak from personal knowledge—not one in a thousand ever considered them guilty. I do not read that any species of compensation was ever tendered to either father or son for the sufferings to both, which a more careful and patient investigation at the first trial, and less haste to secure a conviction, would probably have prevented.

These troubles, however, never lessened Dr. Lang's ardent zeal in the cause of immigration; and it was in the midst of his arrangements for the full organisation of the new company, that he was called to Melbourne, by the intelligence of the strange discovery, which ultimately led to the establishment of his son's innocence. He was not, however, to remain without a competitor. Sir William Denison submitted a minute to the Executive Council, embodying his own views. His scheme referred only to the introduction of labour, providing for the importation by employers in the colony of what they might require on a prior payment of a sum equal to about one-fifth of the expense of the passage, the labourers to be sent being selected by either friends of the importer, or Government agents appointed for the purpose. His Executive Council were not quite as receptive as he was complacent; they would only recommend that the scheme should be submitted to the Legislature as an experiment, and that the Immigration Agent should be directed to report upon it. His report, which was careful and guarded, together with the Executive minute, were sent to the Legislative Council, and became embodied in that limbo of suggestions, the annual volume of Parliamentary papers.

The ecclesiastical circles of the district were disturbed this year in the two leading denominations in the colony. The first interruption to its ordinary peace occurred in Ipswich, when certain men, Roman Catholics, were brought up on the charge of refusing to work on a given day—the day on which the Feast of the Epiphany fell. The answer was, that by the doctrine and discipline of the Roman Catholic Church, that day was a religious holiday on which no servile work might be done. The course of the bench, before which the case was tried, was arbitrary and irregular. They insulted the solicitor—Mr. Macalister—employed by the men; told him before the complainants' evidence had been half heard, that their minds were made up; treated what was at most a condonable breach of contract as a criminal offence, and sentenced the men to a fine of 10s. each, or seven days' confinement in the cells. The provocation given by their observations, brought the clergy into the field, and a very acrimonious controversy on the civil and religious rights involved, raged for some time, greatly to the advantage of the newspapers, through their advertising columns, but less to that of theological information or social peace. I refer to the case simply as an instance of the arbitrary tendencies of magisterial courts in those clays. The relative positions of magistrates and counsel are somewhat altered at the present time.

In the Anglican Church, a dispute arose among its own members, which, in its nature, illustrates the changes in opinion which time silently works on such points. The then clergyman of St. John's, the Rev. Mr. Irwin, early in the year, introduced the practice of what is called the offertory into the morning service. To this certain of the attendants there objected, and in a meeting—reported as of twenty-five persons—stigmatised the offertory as an "unseemly observance:" a reflection upon the prayer book itself, in which it appears as a part of the service. Whether the peculiar practice might or might not be regarded as unseemly, the wrangling which took place was certainly not undeserving of the epithet. The bishop and incumbent were firm; the custom took root; and I believe, that in every Anglican Church in this colony, the offertory has become the rule, while in most the payment for seats is exceptional. While the controversy was going on, a new Independent Chapel was opened at Ipswich, when it was announced that the congregation "had adopted the plan of making all the sittings free, leaving it to each to contribute as God had prospered him." Thus do extremes meet.

In August of this year, the first steps towards the establishment of a Baptist congregation were taken, it being understood that the Rev. C. Smith, of Parramatta, in New South Wales, would probably become its pastor; and in October I notice the acceptance of the tender of Messrs. Jeays and Thompson, for the then new Wesleyan Church in Albert Street, for the sum of £1,650; while £1,310 had been paid towards the erection of a Roman Catholic chapel at Ipswich. In all this there was activity, although at times the zeal might be greater than the discretion.

But if I am to judge by the newspapers, the anxieties and interests of the residents were not confined to matters immediately affecting themselves. The Crimean War was then at its height, and the journals are not only full of the details of that varying contest, and the disasters and mismanagement which, at one period existed, or were supposed to exist, in its conduct, but the criticisms were as keen, the regrets as pungently expressed, and the successes as enthusiastically applauded as they could have been in England itself. And when the Royal Letter, recommending to her subjects the sufferings and heroisms of her soldiers as a just cause for subscriptions towards the relief of their widows and orphans, was read in the colonies, the response of these districts was warm and free. The duty of the colonists to subscribe, was insisted upon in language arising above the usual newspaper level.

"All the events of this campaign," said the Courier, "are such as to inspire admiration and sympathy, and his heart must be cold indeed, and hopelessly estranged from his nation, who would not, to the utmost of his ability, aid the hapless beings who have been left widows or orphans by the ravages of disease, or the desperate resistance of a fierce and warlike enemy, against whom our seamen and troops directed their arms at the command of their country. In no part of Her Majesty's dominions are her subjects exempt from this obligation. The security which has been given to commerce and trade throughout the British territories by the terror of the British name, and the adherence of our gallant allies, demands the gratitude of the Australian colonist no less than that of the British merchant. We rejoice, therefore, to find that Brisbane is no longer to be left behind in the race of patriotic emulation."

A meeting was summoned at Brisbane, and immediately followed by others at Ipswich, Warwick, Drayton, and other portions of the northern districts, exclusive of the Clarence and Richmond, when committees, who were working ones in the true sense of the term, were formed. The news that Mr. Cooper, of Sydney (now Sir Daniel Cooper), had headed the list there by a contribution of £1,000, should have been inspiritive of emulation, and was followed here by one from the late Mr. W. Butler Tooth, of £100. In all, not including sums paid in Sydney by squatters holding runs in these districts, £2,570 14s. 4d. were contributed from the districts immediately connected with Moreton Bay and Wide Bay, in 1855. Just at the close of the year, the public enthusiasm reached its height at the news of the fall of Sebastopol.

"The Boomerang steamed up to Brisbane this afternoon (December 15) gaily decorated with flags, and having the glorious ensign of old England flying over the Russian flag at the peak. The repeated firing of cannon as the welcome steamer came up the river, the cheers of the crew and passengers, and the enlivening strains of a brass band on board, playing martial and patriotic airs, prepared the inhabitants, who had assembled in great numbers, for the glorious news of the fall of Sebastopol, which they received with hearty cheers."

Fortunately, there came no more such sanguinary victories to raise their ardour; fortunate for us, if in our own time we have none such at once to welcome and` to mourn.

The blacks and the native police were, as usual, vexatious topics. An enquiry into the management of the force, disclosed irregularities, which at one time, threatened its abolition; but the influence brought to bear for its continuance were too weighty for such a step to be seriously entertained, and Mr. Walker, the former Commandant, having been dismissed, Mr. Marshall was appointed in his stead. In a short time a sergeant and six troopers were sent to Brisbane to protect the inhabitants, and to act as a check upon the natives in the immediate district, a force which was not, however, uniformly successful in the attainment of the object proposed; and after a few months' stay, and just as the blacks were becoming more troublesome, was withdrawn. In the Burnett District the natives waxed bold and attacked a camp of troopers, killing two and wounding three; and great discontent was both felt and expressed at the want of protection to the pioneers in the north and west, while a war of reprisals, which would necessarily be one of extermination, seemed imminent. Two white men were murdered at Wide Bay; two more were attacked with almost as lamentable results, and stations were robbed and teams plundered, the New South Wales authorities looking on with the serenity which exemption from danger inspires, not forgetting to see carefully to the assessment on stock, the alleged motive for which, was the payment of a sufficient force to prevent such outrages. The Rev. W. Ridley, a missionary from the Aborigines Friends' Society, was not discouraged by all this from making a long journey to the interior in his endeavours to Christianise the natives, though it may be doubted whether ethnological science did not benefit more by his exertions than aboriginal civilization.

In the general progress of the district, there was, as usual, more of suggestion for the future than positive advance in the present. Some slight dispute arose over the speech of Mr. Hodgson, at a farewell dinner given to him in January, previously to his departure for England. He was eloquent on the rights of the squatters, inferring from the Orders-in-Council, that they had acquired a sort of prescriptive permanency of tenure in the lands they held under lease—a notion advocated with great pertinacity at the time in New South Wales and Victoria, although it had been fully controverted by the late Duke of Newcastle, in his celebrated despatch of November 23, 1853. But he went still further, and asserted the utter uselessness of the greater part of the country for anything else but pastoral purposes.

"Take, for instance," said he, "that immense tract of country known as the Darling Downs, which feeds nearly one million of sheep, exclusive of cattle and horses—who would be mad enough to attempt cultivation there?" "If it were practicable, do you think that we would not one and all grow wheat for our own consumption?"

"Time will not fail to arrive," said the Courier, in reply, "when the Darling Downs will become as famous for their agricultural produce as their wool," and time has undoubtedly proved which was the truer prophet of the two twenty-six years ago. There was more excuse for Mr. Hodgson in 1855 than for Mr. Anthony Trollope's foolish dictum, "They can't grow wheat in Queensland." The Horticultural Society's exhibitions proved even, in the year of which I am writing, that fruit and vegetables could be successfully grown on the Downs, and both the soil and climate were more favourable to the cultivation of those cereals, which had flourished under less favourable conditions in the vicinity of Brisbane.

The Port Curtis settlement declined in popularity. The land sales fell off, and a sharp attack, made by Mr. Parkes, both on the place and its cost, drew more attention to the settlement than acquiescence in its utility. A select committee of the Legislative Council, appointed to inquire into the question, brought up a report which, on debate, was affirmed as to the following resolutions:—

"That the appointment of a Government Resident at Port Curtis by Sir Charles Fitzroy, was an error, which has already involved the colony in a loss of several thousand pounds without any determinable public benefit:

"That the appointment of a Police Magistrate to the town of Gladstone would be a sufficient provision for securing the ends of justice and the preservation of order at Port Curtis under present circumstances:

"That supposing this change was immediately effected, the capabilities of the district would have an equal chance of development, and the progress of the port would be in no respect retarded."

The Port Curtis establishment had, up to the date of the report in 1855, cost £22,535. The land sales had realised £113,729, and there seemed little prospect of further increase of population; but with the report, I believe, the matter so far ended. Some compensation was supposed to be in store for this, by the setting apart of two village reserves on the road from Ipswich to Drayton—Alfred and Gatton—which remained villages—on the map—for some years afterwards.

The residents of Moreton Bay were not unmindful of its wants, although somewhat antagonistic as to their respective nature and exigency. The people of Brisbane began to talk about a bridge across the river, connecting the north and south sides. The first notion was to form a sort of pontoon bridge, sufficiently high to admit of river craft passing under the platforms, and to float a company for its construction. After about a month's consideration, a meeting was held, at which it was stated that a capital of £10,000 would be sufficient for the construction of such a passage way, and a return of £1,000 a year might be calculated upon, on which the inevitable committee was appointed. The Governor was appealed to, when it appeared that he disapproved of the bridge, and suggested a steam ferry. A week's consideration of this, allowed the enthusiasm to cool considerably, and the end of the year simply left a record of one of those numerous commencements which marked the history of enterprise in Moreton Bay.

However this apathy might be deplored, the people could unite in welcoming the arrival of Mr. Grundy, an engineering surveyor, employed by the Sydney Government to make the necessary survey of the river bar, in order to ascertain the practicability and probable cost of deepening the channel. Sanguine anticipations of the advantages that would follow were indulged in. "The survey is to be commenced immediately, and when, aided by the practical skill of His Excellency the Governor-General as an engineer, will set at rest, and, no doubt, favourably, a question of vast interest to the district." It is necessary here to mention, in explanation, that in reply to a memorial to Sir William Denison, respecting the sites of public buildings, he had intimated his intention of visiting the district and deciding upon them himself—a sort of interference with the responsible executive, which he did not find so practicable as it no doubt seemed to him necessary. Towards the close of the year it was announced that other proposals than those suggested in Mr. Grundy's report, had been laid before the Governor, and that the consideration of the whole matter would be deferred until he had had an opportunity of making a personal inspection of the locality.

The Winter Circuit Court afforded fresh cause of discontent with the people. It was officially appointed to be held on May 21, but the Australasian Steam Navigation Company having detained the only steamer available, the Bench and the Bar did not arrive till the 25th, and plaintiffs, defendants, jurors, and witnesses were kept dancing attendance fruitlessly during the week. The advocates of separation found in this circumstance a new argument in favour of independence. A case at Ipswich strengthened them in their convictions. Mr. Gill, a storekeeper in that town, had been convicted before the local board, of using threatening language to Mr. W. H. Gray, and sentenced to a fine of £5, with the alternative of three months' imprisonment. The language complained of formed part of a wordy war in Mr. Gill's own shop, and not in any public place or thoroughfare. Mr. Gill appealed to the Supreme Court in Sydney, when the conviction was quashed, but he had his own costs to pay, a result which proved that, in some cases, immediate oppression is dearly got rid of by distant justice; and the inference in favour of a local court was irresistable. As to the Circuit Court itself, beyond the annoyance caused by its delay, there was nothing worth noticing about it.

There was more room for congratulation in the established practicability of direct shipment from Brisbane to London. The Gazehound—a vessel carrying about 600 tons of cargo—was loaded at the Messrs. Raff's wharf, fitted and found for sea, and successfully crossed the bar without, as it was triumphantly said, the aid of a steamer. The port of Moreton Bay had already found notice in the Liverpool and London shipping lists, and it began to be hoped, that to Brisbane itself, a similar distinction would soon be accorded. The capabilities of the river—at one time scornfully stigmatised as a ditch—were now not only admitted, but the claims of the Bremer, at any rate, to the "head of navigation," as Ipswich began to be called, were put forward. This year may also be distinguished as the first in which direct shipment from a Brisbane wharf to a British port, and in a full-rigged ship, was proved to be practicable. The achievement drew fresh attention to the defective arrangements for lighting and pilotage. Whether a buoy-boat, or light-ship, or a pilot were wanting, local knowledge and requirements were equally overlooked by the Sydney authorities. A pilot being required, applications were called for—and, in due time, notices were issued to the applicants to attend at the Harbour Master's Office, in Sydney, on a given day, the notices reaching Brisbane on the day fixed for attendance. The person ultimately appointed, was a comparative stranger, and knew nothing of the river channels, his chief recommendation being, apparently, that he had lost a ship in the bay. There was some occasion for the sarcastic local recommendation, that, if ever a new iron lighthouse, said to have been ordered for Moreton Island, did arrive in Sydney, it should forthwith be appropriated there, and some old worn-out grate sent from Newcastle or Port Jackson instead. I do not know whether this principle was applied in all local appointments; but, I notice, that this year the district first had the benefit of the services of a resident clerk of works. About the same time, Dr. Kemball was appointed Immigration Agent, and the late Sir R. R. Mackenzie, Mr. Duncan, and Mr. T. Jones, a committee of management for the Botanical Gardens, of which Mr. Hill was placed in charge as superintendent. The committee may be presumed to have been laudably anxious for the preservation of their trust, for they locked the gates against the public on Sundays, at which the public were very reasonably discontented. A local committee was also appointed for the management of the Savings Bank; and although its operations were hindered, in consequence of delay in the appointment of an accountant, it did not prevent the military ardour of the people from finding vent in the formation of a Brisbane rifle corps.

The sales of public lands, when held, met with the usual response of ready buyers. One return gives the proceeds, during fifteen months, from April 1, 1854, to June 30, 1855, at Brisbane, at £25,347; at Ipswich, £14,355 18s. During the period, from July 31, 1854, to June 30, 1855—eleven months—the commissions paid to the officers managing the sales at the two places, were, to Captain Wickham, £1,156 8s. 1d., and to Colonel Gray, £851 15s. 7d. Thus, the income of the then Government Resident at Moreton Bay, was more than that of the Premier of Queensland now, and of the Police Magistrate at Ipswich equal to it. These kinds of indirect official emoluments were of the sort that—

"Do good by stealth, and blush to find it fame."

A slight movement was made towards a petition for the incorporation of Brisbane, the lamentable condition of the streets and roads rendering some measure of local self-preservation desirable, but beyond discussion, nothing appears to have been done to provide for a traffic which must now have been considerable—the annual tolls on the ferries having sold for £300. In local industries, there was not much attempted. Now and then I see a notice of new coal discoveries, but the hope of gold had died out; and, except in society meetings of various kinds, there was little local activity. In one respect, the year exhibited a novelty in the shape of the first really enjoyable public entertainment given in the colony. The celebrated violinist, Miska Hauser, visited the district, which rose, as it were, at the music he produced from his instrument, and went wild with delight at the unaccustomed strains. Minor performances followed, but none obliterated the recollection of the effect produced by that exquisite player. Less pleasant is it to record, that Mr. Pettigrew's saw mills were burnt down on July 14, the fire being chronicled as the first serious one in Brisbane. Much sympathy was felt for the owner, and an immediate subscription entered into to help him in their re-building. Later in the year, I find the erection of a similar establishment near Ipswich, by Mr. Fleming, recorded; but, on the whole, local industries seem to have been confined in their application to local requirements. In that view we may regard the establishment of the first Ipswich newspaper—the North Australian—the first number of which was issued on October 2 of this year. I have a vivid recollection of the pungency and bitterness of the articles it occasionally contained some four years after this period; but such was the hold of the public press upon the public affections in this district, that I have not been able to find a single copy of the paper itself prior to its removal from Ipswich to Brisbane.

There were some circumstances of especial interest to those readers of this history who may happen to be engaged in pastoral pursuits, which should make this year memorable to them. In the wool market a question unexpectedly arose, mooted by the buyers, with respect to the allowance of "draft," in addition to tare. On the London market a deduction of 1 lb. per cwt. had been always made in addition to 10 lbs. per bale for tare; in the Sydney market the 10 lbs. tare had been the only allowance. At a meeting of the buyers in Sydney, a resolution was carried, "that the London allowance of 1 lb. per cwt. be demanded on all wools purchased at auction or otherwise, and also on actual tare, not less in all cases than 10 lbs. per bale." Mr. H. Mort stigmatised the London practice as iniquitous, and protested against the resolution; but, as he was the only dissentient, the resolution was carried, and ultimately, from the combination of the buyers, had to be submitted to. As the question at issue in 1855, has been recently one of acrimonious dispute between the producers and brokers in London, I thought its origin in the New South Wales market worth recording. Another circumstance, which occurred here, led to an alteration in the law relating to diseases in sheep. Early in the year, Mr. Tamm, a well-known importer of merino sheep, had landed a number of rams of considerable value, which he intended to sell to the stock owners of the district, and while absent on that business, the disease called scab, broke out amongst them. The whole were, under the then existing law, destroyed, and the only compensation available for him when he returned, was the sum of four shillings per sheep, each of which were worth from twenty to thirty pounds. This was felt as a great injustice, and likely to be a hindrance in the way of improvement. A clause in the new Act, therefore, provided for such cases. Imported animals were to be inspected, and if supposed to be diseased, were to be shorn and dressed, and not to be removed from the place when landed until reported to be cured. Many alterations have since been made in the details of the law, but this was the first discriminating legislation on the subject.

At the close of the year, the old plan of publishing the returns of exports, so far as they were available, was resumed, but, it is to be regretted, only for its last quarter. This however, will be enough to show the increase in the trade of the northern ports. The totals stood as follows:—

Brisbane £94,970
Wide Bay 23,066
Clarence 14,689
Richmond 10,353
Port Curtis 1,032
Tweed River 1,025
————
Grand total £145,135

The export from Brisbane alone, for the last quarter of 1855, was about equal to the whole yearly trade of the northern districts six years before, a fact not to be forgotten hereafter; but its character remained the same—pastoral produce, principally—and I find no mention of cotton. The tonnage of shipping inwards, to Moreton Bay, was 9,237 tons.

To complete the year's history, I have only now to refer to what may be called the initiation of Mr. Gregory's first exploratory expedition. Flying rumours had been heard of tracks of Leichhardt, though none had been found to possess any substantial foundation; but his friends seem to have hoped that were another expedition sent to the north, something might possibly be found of his route had he survived, far beyond the point reached by Mr. Hely. The discovery of country on the north-west coast and interior that might be available for connecting the colonies of Western Australia and South Australia with our own coast line and settlements, seems to have been the leading idea in the mind of Sir William Denison, to whom sentimentality of any kind was unknown, and who probably thought that Leichhardt had been lost long enough to leave his fate no longer a matter of uncertainty. When the expedition was determined on, Mr. A. C. Gregory, afterwards, and for many years, Surveyor-General of this colony, and at that time known as a successful traveller and explorer in Western Australia, was appointed to take command of it. It was proposed to complete the equipment of the party at Moreton Bay, whence the necessary vessels were to sail for the mouth of the Victoria river, on the north-west coast of Australia, and then disembark on their perilous voyage. Mr. H. Gregory, a brother of the leader, arrived in Brisbane in April, for the purchase of horses, and to make other necessary arrangements, and in July the necessary official instructions were handed to Mr. Gregory himself. These directed him, after disembarkation, to penetrate inland in a southerly direction, by such a course as might seem most advisable, in order to obtain as extensive a knowledge of the north-west interior as was possible, taking note of the geographical features, the habits of the natives, and generally of such natural characteristics of the country and its inhabitants as might be turned to future advantage. If a navigable river, debouching on the north-west coast, were found, its outlet was to be examined, and the facilities presented by it for navigation ascertained. In the next place, a connection was, if practicable; to be established with the former route of Sir Thomas Mitchell on the Victoria river; or, if that were found impossible, Mr. Gregory was directed to attempt the discovery of a more direct line than that of Leichhardt's to the eastward, so as to connect the settlements on the east coast with the Gulf of Carpentaria—meeting one of the vessels at any point of rendezvous he might fix upon. Not one reference to Leichhardt's possible fate, or to its ascertainment, occurs in the instructions; and the general ones are of the usual nature.

The arrangements being complete, the Monarch and Tom Tough left Sydney on July 18, and anchored in the bay on the 23rd; and on August 12, having got all the equipment and stores on board, they sailed for the north. As its main interest belongs to the following year, I defer the complete history of the expedition to the proper place in the following chapter. I say complete, because Mr. Gregory has, with great kindness, placed his journal at my disposal for use in the compilation of this narrative.*

[* This gentleman—not one of the least abused in this colony—has had the honor of C.M.G. conferred upon him for his geographical explorations and services to science generally. Thus, a prophet has honour, etc.—but the quotation is trite.]






{Page 189}

CHAPTER XI.

1856.

Initiation of Parliamentary Government in New South Wales—First Responsible Ministry in Australia—Ministerial Changes—The Separation Movement—Sir William Denison's Adverse Report—Mr. Labouchere and Mr. Hodgson—Mr. Darvall's Intemperate Language—Imperial Determination in favour of Separation—Attempt in New South Wales to retain the Clarence and Richmond River Districts—Mr. E. Deas Thompson's Recantation—Industrial Progress—Harbour Improvement—Captain Towns and Decency of Burial—A. C. Gregory's First Expedition.


The initiation of elective Parliamentary Government was the first public business of the year; the elections to the new Legislative Assembly required immediate attention, and the people of the Moreton Bay district were not slow in preparing for the exercise of their privilege. For the Stanley boroughs Mr. H. Buckley was first requested to stand, but a technicality arising from his having sat in the Revision Court for that electorate, induced him to withdraw, and to contest the seat for the Stanley county instead, where he found an opponent in Mr. W. M. Dorsey. For the boroughs, which returned two members, Mr. Richardson, the former member, Mr. F. A. Forbes, Mr. A. Macalister, and Mr. T. Holt, a Sydney Merchant and capitalist, were candidates. Mr. Gordon Sandeman was solicited to accept the suffrages of the Burnett, Wide Bay, and Maranoa. Mr. Clark Irving and Mr. Colin Mackenzie stood for the Clarence and Darling Downs. There was no variety of opinion expressed as to the question of separation or of convictism; but on the other subjects on which differences might exist, there were several shades apparent, and some little equivocation employed. The programme of Messrs. Richardson and Forbes might be described as ultra-radical on the questions of education, State-aid to religion, the constitution of the Legislative Council, the suffrage, the ballot, and the duration of Parliament. Mr. Macalister was what would now be considered as a tolerably well pronounced conservative. He objected to a nominee Council, and to the two-thirds clause restrictive of alterations in the Constitution; he was urgent upon the necessity for a cheap system of tramroads, to take the place of common roads; he advocated selling the public lands by auction, but was in favour of a reduction of the upset price, observing that the general question in its various relations "must be met in a spirit of equity, and while doing no damage to any special interest, be made to advance the general interest of the colony"—language vague enough to avoid criticism and leave action free. The national system of education he regarded as to be applied to "remote and very scattered districts of the colony," adding, "but as I am strong in the belief that education ought always to have a religious foundation, I should, where such is practicable, be favourable to the establishment of denominational schools." And on the great question of State-aid to religion, he expressed a decided opinion that the Legislature of a country may offer voluntary contributions for religious purposes equally with individuals, and [I] "have therefore yet to be convinced of the propriety of withdrawing the support now given to ministers of religion." It is curious and not uninstructive to trace the political beginnings of men, who in a lengthened political career, have exercised a leading influence on the course of public events, and in that view I have thought these early political utterances of Mr. Macalister worth recording. Mr. Sandeman, in reply to the requisition sent him, pointed with some pride to the fact that in the district he was asked to represent, he "was the earliest settler," and he dealt naturally with topics upon which his neighbours and possible constituents were most immediately interested:—the management of the native police, the local administration of justice, and the fair distribution of the revenue in the improvement of roads and bridges. He objected to the purely nominee element in the Legislative Council, for which defect he hoped some remedy might be found in the Constitution Act itself. Mr. Holt was vehemently protesting in a profusion of italics and capital letters. On local wants he would be guided by local wishes; on education he expressed similar opinions to those put forth by Mr. Macalister; and, regarding "prudent habits" as part of public education, put in a word for the Australian Mutual Provident Society, of which he claimed to be the founder. He advocated the resumption of leased waste lands on compensation to the lessee; an elective Upper House, because the majority of the people were opposed to nomineeism; and the repeal of the two-thirds clause. I should say that there was a good deal of vivacity about Mr. Holt's candidature on the part of the candidate and his supporters.

The election for the boroughs was carried on with no small acerbity and soon resolved itself into a question of Brisbane against Ipswich. When the poll closed it was found, that Mr. Holt and Mr. Richardson were returned by majorities of two to one over their competitors, Brisbane almost to a man polling for them, and Ipswich for their opponents. In the county, Mr. Buckley polled 305 to Mr. Dorsey's 100, Mr. Sandeman was returned without opposition, and Mr. Clarke Irving, mainly through his influence in the Clarence and New England districts, defeated Mr. John Mackenzie. Mr. Macalister, in rather an angry address, attributed his defeat to the treachery and tergiversation of his supposed Brisbane supporters.

Before the elections Mr. E. Deas Thompson had returned from England, which he had visited on leave, and to the duties of his office as Colonial Secretary, it being understood that both he and his colleagues held office only until there was an opportunity of selecting a Ministry from the new Parliament. In due time the Legislative Council was constituted, the three judges of the Supreme Court being amongst the members, and the Chief Justice the President; the roll of elected members completed; a new Ministry formed; and the great game, of what I can scarcely regard as other than political see-saw, began. The first Ministry was—Mr. S. A. Donaldson, Premier; Mr. MacArthur, Colonial Treasurer; Mr. W. M. Manning, Attorney-General: Mr. Darvall, Solicitor-General; and Mr. Nicholls, Auditor-General—a combination not very likely to be favourable to the claims or interests of Moreton Bay. The bulk of the old leading officials found a dignified retirement on the cushions of the Legislative Council.

Prior to the opening of the new Parliament, and on May 7, a meeting was summoned at his residence by Mr. D. Cooper, to consider the course to be pursued by what were by implication to be considered as independent members of the Assembly, and after seven hours' consultation they seem to have arrived at a determinate course. On the 22nd the House met formally, when Mr. Cooper was elected Speaker by a majority of one over Mr. Parker, the Ministerial candidate. The next day the Governor opened Parliament in state, much to the admiration, and somewhat to the amusement, of spectators unaccustomed to such a ceremony. On the usual address in reply to his speech being moved, it was met by an amendment, affirming that the former Executive were not entitled to their pensions under the Constitution Act, until relieved from office by Parliamentary action, and that the assumption of the position of responsible Ministers by the members of the new cabinet was premature and unconstitutional. On these questions the Ministry obtained substantial majorities. Mr. Macarthur almost immediately resigned the Colonial Treasurership, which was taken by Mr. Holt. Dr. Lang forthwith addressed a letter to the electors of the Stanley boroughs, warning them that if separation in any form were to meet with the slightest support from a cabinet, which he stigmatised as a "repetition of the old sham under E. Deas Thomson & Co.," it would only be on condition of retaining for New South Wales the Clarence and Richmond River districts. This warning, however well founded subsequent events proved it to be, fell on deaf ears, and Mr. Holt was re-elected on June 23, without opposition, to a short and troubled ministerial career. On August 12 a motion by Mr. Forster, condemnatory of the presence of the judges in the Legislative Council, was carried against the Ministry by the Speaker's casting vote. On the 14th Mr. Donaldson moved that the vote be rescinded, but was defeated by a majority of one. Subsequent divisions on leading questions leaving the Ministry in scarcely any better position, they resigned, and were succeeded by one of which Mr. Cowper was Premier, having Messrs. Campbell, Murray, Martin, and Mr. A. J. P. Lutwyche (the late Mr. Justice Lutwyche) for his colleagues. No sooner had the new Ministry been re-elected, than they were met by a vote of want of confidence, which was carried on September 24, by a vote of 26 to 24. On this they resigned, when a third cabinet was formed—the third in four months—Mr. Parker being Premier, with Mr. Donaldson as Treasurer, Mr. Hay as Auditor, Mr. Murray as Attorney-General, and Mr. Darvall as Solicitor-General; and with this change the end of the year found the Parliament apparently acquiescent, if not satisfied. In every point of view the new Ministry might be considered as inimical to the separation of the northern districts from the parent colony.

Indeed the year was one of continuous excitement on the subject. The reference of the matter to Sir William Denison by the home Government excited some uneasiness, and a public meeting was held on January 22, at which a fresh petition to the Queen—drawn with great ability by Dr. Lang—was adopted, in which the resources of the district were set forth at some length, and the neglect which it had suffered from was enlarged upon in strong but not unjustifiable terms. It alleged that the export from the northern districts was one-eighth of the total of that of New South Wales; that their area was equal to the united areas of eight of the minor British colonies, all of which enjoyed independent government; and that neither South Australia or Van Diemen's Land was equal to Moreton Bay when they had that right conceded to them. It is to be regretted that the language used at the meeting towards Mr. E. Deas Thomson was ill-timed and discourteous. Mr. Thomson, as it afterwards appeared, had, so far from opposing separation when in London, given his assistance to the then Secretary of State for the Colonies, Mr. Labouchere, in the determination of the boundary-line between New South Wales and the new colony, which was fixed at the 30th parallel, so as to include the Richmond and Clarence River districts. Undoubtedly Dr. Lang rendered very great service in the cause of separation; and it is therefore the more to be lamented that anything should have resulted, even indirectly, from his vehemence to mar the success already sure of attainment, or interfere with the completeness of the detailed arrangements.

There was greater reason for regret, since it soon appeared that the opponents of separation were both active and insidious. The jealousy felt towards Brisbane by the outlying districts, and the rival claims of Ipswich to be the future capital, were sedulously fostered by those who desired nothing better than to see such a disunion between the inhabitants as would give them, at least, some technical hold against the creation of a new colony. Some of the inhabitants of Grafton, on the Clarence River, were induced to meet and petition against the separation of that district from New South Wales, and this was followed up by another meeting at Tenterfield, in New England. There was no question as to by whom, or why, these meetings were got up. One thing to be regretted is that the people of the more populous districts of the then North were not more active and conciliatory to their southern neighbours in securing the goodwill of those whose co-operation was so essential to the common good.

The necessity for this should have been more apparent, when in June the Government Resident informed the memorialists to a preceding petition that Her Majesty's Government had resolved, for the present, to "abstain from any measures for the purpose of separation," this resolution having been formed presumedly on the Governor-General's report. The presumption became assurance in a few weeks, when a letter was published which by the pertinacity of Mr. M. H. Marsh, had been obtained in England from the Colonial Office, and was forwarded by him to Mr. Gordon Sandeman. In this letter he was informed that "in a despatch which has been lately received from the Governor on this subject, he reports against the plan of separation, and that, consequently, Her Majesty's Government do not at present intend to take any further proceedings on the subject." To still further cheer the hearts of the separationists, a letter was addressed by Mr. Clark Irving to the electors of the Clarence and Darling Downs district, for which he was member, in which he, in guarded language, but with unmistakeable intention, declared that the Clarence and Richmond River districts would suffer injury were they included within the boundary of the proposed new colony; that those districts were politically and commercially connected with Sydney; and that they would be adequately protected as to both interests in the new Parliament. Mr. Clark Irving was a great man, according to that kind of great men, in his day, and as is their wont, went astray of the public welfare, when his immediate purposes were concerned. He forgot that by a new postal route the Richmond was brought within 150 miles of Brisbane by land, while it was 600 miles from Sydney, and his predictions, as to the increasing prosperity of the country he sought to exclude from independence, have been signally falsified by events. I hardly think that the advance of the Clarence and Richmond districts since 1856 can be considered as worth recording beside that of Moreton Bay.

Close upon the publication of this letter came that of the correspondence between Sir William Denison and the Home Government on the subject, when the wrath of the people rose to fever height; and with every disposition to lean lightly upon the memory of an able man no longer alive to defend himself, I am compelled to think justly. The statement of facts, meagre as it was in his report, was, when definite, incorrect, and when accurate, incomplete. Questions of import or export trade he did not touch. The actual or possible customs revenue he did not even allude to. The freehold interest on the amount of capital sunk in buildings and trade he passed by. He saw only that four hundred and twenty squatters held two millions five hundred thousand acres of land at a rent of £13,608 per annum, and he threw doubt upon even the lasting character of that settlement, because of the small expenditure they had made in permanent improvements. It never seems to have occurred to him that the nature of the pursuit did not require them, but that so long as a single station, and that not of the largest, would command a price of £60,000 in the market, the profitable character of the avocation itself must enforce permanency of occupation without respect to the personality of the occupant. He might as well have said because by reason of death there is a succession of tenants a tenancy is valueless. But I regret to have to say that he was as disingenuous as illogical; and, that I may not be supposed to write what is unfair, I quote his own language, less in the way of censure than of warning, and to show my fellow colonists not only what their predecessors had to fight against, but how easily and justly the discrimination of English statesmen detected the misstatements and sophistry which had been presented for their acceptance, and how, so far as their knowledge enabled them, they dealt fairly and uprightly throughout this transaction.

"I have looked," he says, in his despatch of October 18, 1855, "over the former correspondence with relation to the proposed scheme of separation, by which it would appear that the expediency of such a step was first advocated by the inhabitants of the Northern districts, principally with the view of inducing the Government to send a supply of convict labour to that part of the colony. It is true that this was objected to by a portion of the population, but still it formed the main feature in most of the petitions. I am, therefore, I think, justified in expressing my belief that the large squatters were the persons whost interests were most consulted in the matter. In the later petitions the question of the continuance of transportation has been omitted, the policy of the Home Government having been too clearly explained as regard: it to allow of any hope that convicts would be sent to Moreton Bay, ever were it made a separate colony; but the persons who petition are the same, with the addition, perhaps, of the trading population of the town of Brisbane and Ipswich. To those the prospect of a large local expenditure is probably the inducement which has caused them to apply for separation from New South Wales."

Anyone who has read this history so far with attention—and I have spared no trouble in ascertaining the truth of the facts stated in it, and have ample proof of their correctness in the records and documents of the time—will judge for himself of the accuracy of this statement—one reflecting discredit equally upon the judgment and truthfulness of the writer.

That nothing should be wanting to show how local jealousies could interfere to thwart the general good, the petition for a separate member for the town of Ipswich was now presented to the Legislature. It did not rest upon the actual claims of the town itself to distinct representation, which were in themselves sufficient, but it declared that the interests of Ipswich and Brisbane were "altogether antagonistic;" it urged with great vehemence of language, the superior claims of the petitioners to have the public buildings of the colony erected in their own town, and asserted "a strong probability that the Ipswich roll of electors will soon outnumber that of Brisbane," and on those groundi enforced the desirability of separating the electorate. In the prayer of their petition few would have refused to join, but in connection with the argument it illustrated the famous description by Lord Mansfield of popular conclusions which, whenever they were right in themselves, he said, were seldom so from a right reason. And the time at which it was presented was singularly inopportune. The people of Ipswich were, in fact, playing into the hands of the opponents of separation.

Dr. Lang was active and impetuous as if the days of his youth had returned. He left Sydney and arrived at Grafton on August 22, and two days after met the people there, when he answered all Mr. Clark Irving's arguments promptly and lucidly, and apparently to the satisfaction of his auditors. Then, as if to demonstrate the facility of communication between the Clarence and Richmond and Moreton Bay, he travelled overland to Brisbane, and, on September 11, delivered one of the best of his many lectures, in the School of Arts there; and I have no doubt that the exceedingly vigorous and yet temperate reply of the Moreton Bay Separation Committee to the report of Sir William Denison owed very much of its pith to his pen.

While these active steps were taken, rumours arose that Sir William Denison's report had not had quite the weight which, from its curt and dogmatic tone, he seems to have expected. Mr. Arthur Hodgson had then recently arrived in Sydney from a lengthened visit to England, and in a letter, addressed to the inhabitants of the Northern districts, narrating the particulars of two interviews with Mr. Labouchere, gave them fresh courage, and much annoyance to those who thought the opinion of the Governor-General decisive upon the separation question. With the first interview Mr. Hodgson was not quite satisfied, and with the impulsiveness which seems part of his nature, he asked a second for himself and the colonists, then in London, acting with him. That interview, he said,

"was entirely satisfactory. . . Mr. Labouchere, had had time to consider the subject well, and I know that he worked up the question and consulted with other gentlemen as to the propriety of our demands. . . He gave us to understand that our demands were just—our arguments good, and although he declined giving us there and then a distinct pledge—we left Downing-street with an impression that separation would take place almost immediately."

We may forgive Mr. Hodgson much vacillation and inconsistency, and even his heresy on the wheat question, for the good service he did the colony on that occasion on the main question—tempered as it was by volunteer advice upon the future constitution which, I have no doubt, the Secretary of State listened to with patience, and with equal equanimity forgot. As to the probable boundary, Mr. Labouchere suggested that, were the Home Government to settle it, it would relieve the Government and Parliament of New South Wales of an invidious duty. It is a pity that that suggestion was not acted upon.

How bitter the feeling had grown in New South Wales against separation we may collect from the speeches of leading men, and the tone of the leading press there. As one, though by no means a solitary instance, I quote from the speech of Mr. Darvall, the Solicitor-General, at his nomination for the North Riding of Cumberland. In strong terms he denounced what he termed the amputation of the richest province of the colony.

"Millions of acres of some of the finest Land in our colony have thus been torn from us, while we have incurred all the expense of finding, surveying, settling, and rendering them valuable. . . To my mind, never was there so weak, so mischievous, so insane a measure as this proposed separation. Then again, look at the expense that must be incurred from the necessary Government staff that will be required. At least £100,000 a year will be required to cover this; and this will entail a burden of taxation of at least £5 per head on the whole population. And all this at a time when the revenue of Moreton Bay, at the present time, is hardly sufficient to support a corporal's guard in a watch-house. It appears to me a most wicked and most mischievous act to cut off from us a thriving settlement that has cost us so much to bring to its present state of prosperity."

When the violence of partizanship could carry an experienced lawyer and politician to such lengths, we may well imagine what men of less character and caution might write or say. Yet, at the census of 1855, the population of the northern districts—exclusive of that of New England included within the proposed boundary—was 19,321, and a fair estimate of the revenue derivable from duties, on their consumption and other ordinary sources, and from land sales and assessments, was about £140,000. The assessment alone was close upon £15,000; surely more than adequate to the support of many corporals' guards.

In the midst of all this wrangling came a despatch front Mr. Labouchere which finally settled the question of separation itself, and left only details to be arranged. The importance of this State paper in the history of the colony is sufficient to justify my quoting the most weighty paragraphs; more especially as two leading questions discussed in them—the southern boundary, and the arrangement of the public debt—cannot even now be regarded as sufficiently determined to be without interest to us.

"I have now," writes Mr. Labouchere, addressing the Governor. General, "to inform you that Her Majesty's Government have determined that the time has arrived when this separation would be desirable. They have not failed to give their fullest attention to the arguments adduced by yourself as well as by Sir Charles Fitzroy against this determination. But they feel that those arguments rest on premises which are every day more and more set aside by the progress of events. And on the whole they believe that it is better to run the risk of forming into a colony a community as yet in some respects immature, but rapidly advancing to maturity, than of letting the partial difficulties of separation and the ill-feeling, which the present state of things is calculated to engender, grow stronger from day to day. In addition to these views of their own they have been urged by the strong and repeated representations of parties possessing the confidence of the inhabitants of the northern districts and also by statements directly proceeding from what they believe to be the majority of the inhabitants of the northern districts, . . . The following are the most important questions, as it occurs to me, which remain to be decided:—1. The boundary between the two future provinces: On this point I have had the valuable assistance of a memorandum drawn up by Mr. E. Deas Thomson, when in England, as well as of the statements of gentlemen interested in the northern provinces. With the materials thus before them, Her Majesty's Government will have no difficulty in fixing on a line which will run not far to the south of 30 S. latitude; but will be accommodated to suit the natural features of the country. 2. The future government of the separated portion:—The necessary powers for this purpose have been conferred on Her Majesty by the Act of Parliament enabling her to confirm the New South Wales Bill, and I shall address you further on the subject on another occasion. 3. The division of the debt of the province am in correspondence with the Law advisers of the Crown on the subject of the legal method by which this division may be effected. But, whatever their opinion on this point may be, there can be no doubt that the basis of arrangement should be an equitable division according to the several contributions to the revenue of the two portions; and the benefit which they respectively derived or expected from the public services to which the loans thus contracted were appropriated. On this subject, especially, I am anxious to receive, as soon as practicable, a report from yourself, with the advice of your Council."

The publication of this despatch was received with the liveliest expressions of joy. So many flags never flaunted in Brisbane before. The day, however, was dark and lowering, and towards noon there was a heavy storm of wind and rain. Dr. Lang was loud in his congratulations, although dissenting from any boundary that might be fixed lower than the 30th parallel—a dissent rather premature, and, as it subsequently proved, ineffectual. A public meeting was held in Brisbane on the 20th, when an address of gratitude to the Queen was adopted, and thanks voted to the gentlemen who had exerted themselves in London, as well as specially to Dr. Lang for his great and long continued efforts to secure to the district the desired boon of separation. But all was not joy and gratitude. The disunion I have before referred to had borne fruit, and the warning of Dr. Lang against Mr. Holt had been abundantly justified. On November 3 Mr. Hargreaves, member for the Macleay and New England districts, brought forward a motion in the Legislative Assembly, which, while generally censuring the conduct of the Imperial authorities, was principally condemnatory of the boundary line suggested, and deprecated any settlement until the opinion of the inhabitants of the Clarence and Richmond and New England districts had been ascertained. In the course of the debate very acrimonious language was employed towards the Imperial authorities, and the proposed new colony. Mr. Holt, while professing himself a separationist, objected to the boundary, and was one of the thirty-five who voted in favour of Mr. Hargreaves' resolutions against a minority of four. At the meeting great indignation was displayed at this conduct—most of the speakers, however, assuming the question to be settled beyond all fear of change. In this they were, unfortunately both for the new colony and for the districts sought to be excluded from it, altogether premature. They undervalued the force against them, and do not seem to have appreciated the pertinacity of Sir William Denison, or the skill and organisation which were combined to secure the retention of the country in dispute to New South Wales. As was natural, Mr. Holt's constituents met and condemned his conduct, and a requisition was at once put in circulation calling upon him to resign. Mr. Holt, hearing of this, entered upon explanations in the Legislative Assembly, in which he employed language for which he was reprimanded by the Speaker, and which in nowise increased his favour in the eyes of his constituents; for those explanations simply amounted to this—that while he meant what he did say at the time of his election, he did not by any means say all that he meant. Mr. Hargreaves' resolutions being sent to the Legislative Council for their concurrence, Mr. E. Deas Thomson took occasion to express regret at having given the advice he did to Mr. Labouchere, and voted in their favour. The honourable gentleman had had many years' experience in the colony, and knew all the circumstances surrounding the question well. Either he gave that advice on due deliberation or he did not. If he did so, no circumstance had occurred since the time it was given to change the character of the facts upon which it was presumedly based, and there was no valid reason for the course he adopted. If he did not, he insulted the Government, to whom the opinion was tendered, and the colony in whose interests he was presumedly acting. In either case he had the melancholy satisfaction of setting a precedent for that weak vacillation, so nearly akin to a worse fault of which since that day there has been no lack of followers. The resolutions were of course carried, and there, with the exception of some letters of Dr. Lang's, deprecatory of any alteration from his favourite 30th parallel, the matter for the present rested.

The stream of immigration flowed rather slackly during the year, and there was unfortunately a considerable migration southward from the district. The direct arrivals from Great Britain were 1.258, and of these some, despite the remonstrances of the inhabitants, were transhipped to Sydney. About 350 Germans were brought, of whom a portion was also forwarded to Sydney. The Moreton Bay Land and Emigration Company assumed what may be termed a definitely passive shape; a board of directors being formed, and a call of half-a-crown per share being made, but only for the purpose of defraying the preliminary expenses incurred in passing the Act. All further action, it was announced, would be delayed until the result of an effort to be made in England to obtain the co-operation of capitalists there was seen.

The pastoral industry of the district continued to extend, but on other matters there was more talk than action. The cultivation of cotton, which had languished, began again to be discussed, especially after the prizes gained by Mr. Eldridge for his exhibit at the Paris Industrial Exposition became known. Estimates were published from time to time showing theoretic profits, but varying in return from thirty to fifty per cent. Mr. Eldridge utilised his practical experience in the matter by furnishing one for the cultivation of 640 acres. The capital invested he fixed at £8,810, the annual expenditure at £4,085, the gross annual return at £8,250, but the selling price of the product he took at one shilling and sixpence per lb.—one which was thought by the Liverpool Chamber of Commerce to be below that which could be readily obtained for cotton of equal quality to that submitted to them. A lecture on the subject, delivered by Mr. Wm. Brookes in August, was supposed likely to impart a stimulus to the very little effort then making to forward the industry. News of a proposed company forming in Sydney for the cultivation of cotton in Moreton Bay excited a little curiosity, but it proved to be of intention only; although a series of questions asked by Mr. T. S. Mort, of Sydney, pointed to a more business like effort than had yet been made. These were placed in Dr. Hobbs's hands for reply, and his answers were practical and comprehensive, but what beneficial result followed I am unable to say. The late Mr. Panton made some experiments, but expressed an opinion that coolie labour would be required if extensive cultivation were entered upon; an opinion which did not increase either his popularity or that of the industry. Coal-mining was pursued in a sort of intermittent fashion, new pits being opened—always with promises of success; and wheat growing was still continued, between fifty and sixty acres being reported as under crop by several persons in the vicinity of Brisbane; but there does not seem to have been any systematic or combined effort at testing the suitability of the soil and climate for the growth of cereals or for ascertaining the best methods of deriving a certain remuneration from it.

The exports for the first nine months of the year exhibited a steady increase. From Brisbane alone the values were calculated at £301,392; but with the exception of a few tons of coal, the articles were almost entirely confined to merely pastoral products. There were occasional spurts of rumour as to gold deposits, and isolated parties were fitted out, to return sanguine in hope and empty in performance. Upon the whole the period was one of doubt and depression—not lessened by a long and severe drought to which the district was this year subjected.

Some effort was made by the New South Wales Government to ascertain what was really required for the improvement of the river navigation. Mr. Grundy, the engineer employed, sent in two reports, one on the obstructions between the towns of Brisbane and Ipswich, the other on the works required between Brisbane and the Bay. His report was not favourable to the navigation of the Brisbane by vessels of any tonnage beyond the barrier formed by what are called the Seventeen-mile Rocks. "It would be necessary, ere vessels arriving in Moreton Bay could proceed to Ipswich, to deepen almost the entire bed of the river" from that point to the junction of the Bremer with it. With respect to the river below Brisbane, he proposed to deepen a main channel through the flats in it, and use the material thus obtained to fill up the minor ones, so as to produce a greater current, and one strong enough to keep that open. The bar at the mouth of the river, he suggested, should be dredged, so as to continue the channel existing up to it in a straight course through. The cost he estimated—employing one dredge—at £13,662, and the time at eight years. The report did not pass without criticism, and, in truth, it added little or nothing to that of Mr. Debenham, to which I have before referred. As nothing practical followed from it, it is needless to recapitulate the comment it provoked. The energies of the then Government seem to have been so exhausted by the effort made to obtain information that no strength was left to utilise it when got.

The progress of improvement in other respects was gradual. The depression to which I have alluded was less apparent towards the end of the year than it had been in its earlier part, and strong articles condemnatory of the banks for "putting on the screw," were followed by others announcing the appearance of "blue sky" in the commercial atmosphere. But the lugubrious mixed with the congratulatory. The want of some "suitable means of conveying their dead to the place of interment" was bewailed by the local journals, and it was gravely suggested that "a small hearse, drawn by one horse, would not involve any serious outlay." The late Captain Towns, then on a visit to Brisbane, seems to have been so deeply impressed with the want that he offered to head a subscription for the provision of the required accommodation with £20, I am unable to trace any response to this cheerful invitation. It is possible that the minds of the people ran rather upon the wants of the living than ceremonial for the dead, for, on March 8, a meeting was held, at which the grievances of the people were discussed and a committee appointed to bring under the notice of the Government the necessity of proceeding with the public works of the district, the gaol, the lighthouse at Moreton Bay, and two semaphore telegraph stations—but there was as much grumbling at the common apathy of the people as at the treatment they received from their rulers. Whether the action of the authorities was at all expedited by such procedure it is not easy to say, but tenders were at length accepted for the construction of the lighthouse at Moreton Island, and the works were commenced, not without some discontent that they were not entrusted to the local contractor, which expanded into a desire that tenders for local works should be received and decided upon by a local board, instead of being sent on to Sydney. The sudden activity of Brisbane started Ipswich into life, and the people in their turn petitioned the Government that the gaol and other public buildings should be erected there; in reply to which they were told that their request could not be complied with, and on another application for a local immigration depôt they were similarly unsuccessful. The spirit of association spread to the stockholders, who had been alarmed at the appearance of a disease called "catarrh" in the flocks on the Clifton run, and who now formed a society for mutual protection. A common subscription was entered into, and the Northern District Mutual Protection Society was formed. Mr. Tooth agreed that the diseased sheep were at once to be killed and boiled down on the run—the cost of carrying the skins and tallow to the shipping port being borne by the new society, and thus peace was restored, protection provided, and the danger for the time got rid of.

About this time, a survey for a line of railway to connect the coast with the Darling Downs was talked of as to be provided for amongst similar undertakings for which a vote was asked; and the mere proposal was the signal for further discord. It was contended that the termination of the line at Ipswich would be adequate for every purpose, and that the facilities of water carriage presented by the Bremer and Brisbane rivers were ample for the accommodation of any traffic that could result from its construction. That nothing should be wanting in support of this theory, the residents of the Downs were moved, and, in public meeting at Drayton, adopted petitions, alike in language, to the Governor-General, the Legislative Council, and the Legislative Assembly, in which they asserted that to make a railway "beneficial and advantageous to the northern districts and the interests thereof, it will be necessary to make the terminus of such railway at the head of the navigation of the rivers Brisbane and Bremer." It is unnecessary to detail arguments of which the course of events have since proved the fallacy; but it shows how far local prejudice could cloak local ignorance when we find the country from Ipswich to the foot of the great dividing range described as "offering no engineering difficulty,"—the very abrupt and jagged mountainous spurs of the Little Liverpool range, requiring a costly tunnel, intervening—while it was gravely affirmed that, from an inland terminus, at the foot of the main range, "good roads could diverge in all directions;" the fact being that but one pass for ordinary traffic over the range, and that difficult and dangerous, has been found up to this date in a length of very many miles. All this was exceedingly pitiable and exceedingly mischievous.

There was some consolation for the well wishers of the new province in the real progress quietly, but effectually, made in other respects. The savings bank was found of great benefit throughout the northern districts, and I find it recorded as a proof of the extent to which it was appreciated, that £300 was sent down by the Messrs. Royds, for deposit on account of their men employed at the Juandah station, in the Leichhardt. The Botanic Gardens began to assume a grateful aspect, and their long career of usefulness was fairly started. The Ipswich library and reading room met with efficient support, and the Brisbane School of Arts added to its books, and was enlivened by debates of the usual speculative kind. In a report of one upon the question, "Is it expedient to abolish capital punishment?" I find the names of two gentlemen who have since occupied prominent positions in our local, political, and official world—those of Mr. Charles Lilley and Mr. T. P. Pugh. Was it indicative of their future career that they were on that occasion—as in those times on most occasions—in a majority? And amidst the signs of progress and coming prosperity with which the Courier cheered its readers at the close of the year, was the, at least, tolerable certainty that a branch of the Supreme Court, with a resident judge, would now soon be fixed at Moreton Bay, as indicated not only by the introduction of a Bill to carry out that object, but by a sum of £4,861 being placed on the estimates for the next year on account of the expenses that would be incurred. In rather odd contrast to these increased facilities for law, the value of forbearance and Christian love was emphatically inculcated. Had the advice been literally adopted, the legal blessings might have been less felt, though possibly quite as fully appreciated.

Not the least memorable event of the year was the successful completion by Mr. Gregory of the exploration committed to his charge. He returned to Brisbane on December 16, after an absence of sixteen months, having performed the service enjoined upon him, and bringing much valuable information as to the nature of the country traversed. It will be remembered that the two vessels, the Monarch and the Tom Tough, left Moreton Bay on August 12, 1855. On September 2, they were near to Vernon Island, in Van Diemen's Gulf, on the northern coast, when the Monarch grounded on a coral bank, and was not floated until the 10th. On the 16th Mr. Gregory landed at Blunder Bay, on the mouth of the Victoria River, when he found the country unfit for camping. Finding no improvement as he proceeded, he turned back, and two days after joined the Monarch in Treachery Bay, when he learned that some of the horses had been landed. On the 22nd he formed the first camp at Providence Hill, an elevation on Point Pearce, on the north-east shore of the entrance to the Victoria. The stores, sheep, and horses being all removed from the Monarch, that vessel sailed for Singapore on the 24th, the Tom Tough being directed to proceed up the river as far as she could, that a camp might be established on a suitable site, and there the vessel was to await the land party. After a reconnoitring expedition by Mr. Gregory to ascertain the probably best route towards the supposed point of rendezvous, the party started to examine the country on the east banks of the Victoria on September 28. Of the fifty horses taken from Moreton Bay, nine had died from various causes, and many were so weak that they fell down, and had to be lifted up before they could feed. The sheep taken with the explorers on this trip were abandoned the first day from like causes. On October 16 they sighted the Victoria River, about six miles below Kangaroo Point, and camping, met with a misfortune in the firing of the grass by the carelessness of the cook. On October 20 they fell in with Mr. Elsey, the surgeon, one of those who had remained on board the Tom Tough, and learned from him that the vessel had grounded on a ledge of rocks on a southern bank of the river, and sustained serious damage. Many of the stores had been destroyed, and of the sheep only fifty-four remained and in a miserable condition. After much hard work the schooner was moved on October 29, close to the bank and to the camp. In the course of the removals and shiftings, more sheep were lost or compelled to be abandoned, until only twenty-six remained. The general weakness of the animals and the necessity for providing shelter for the stores, which had to be removed from the damaged vessel, delayed the explorers; but on November 24 Mr. Gregory, his brother Mr. H. Gregory, Dr. Müller, and Mr. Wilson left with seven horses and twenty days' provisions to examine the country through which the main party would have to travel on the route to the interior. They continued their examination until December 6, when, having ermined the country sufficiently to enable an advance through a whole degree of latitude, they commenced their return, and reached their principal camp (lat. 15 degs. 34 mins. S., long. 130 degs. 22 min. E.) on the 13th. Upon consideration, and finding that owing to the nature of the vegetation, the whole equipment would have to be carried on pack-horses, it was determined that the exploring party should consist of nine, taking with them five months' provisions and necessaries; the remaining members of the expedition having full employment in the repair of the schooner and the care of the stores. The wet weather which now bcfel them impeded their preparations, and it was not until January 3, 1856, that the adventurers could fairly start. They were—Mr. A. C. Gregory, commander; Mr. H. Gregory, assistant-commander; Mr. T. Baines, artist; Dr. F. Müller—now the Baron Von Müller—botanist; Mr. T. Flood, collector, and four assistants; the geologist, Mr. J. S. Wilson; the surgeon, Mr. Elsey; and some others, remained at the principal camp on the Victoria River. For those who are curious on such matters, I give a copy of Mr. Gregory's memorandum of their arrangements and equipment:—

"The exploring party has with it 27 pack-horses with packsaddles; * 3 pack-horses with riding-saddles; 6 riding horses, or in all 36 horses. Flour, 1,470 lbs.; pork, 1,200 lbs.; rice, 200 lbs.; sago, 44 lbs.; sugar, 280 lbs.; tea, 36 lbs.; coffee, 28 lbs.; tobacco, 21 lbs.; soap, 51 lbs.—or in all, 3,330 lbs. Instruments, clothing, tents, ammunition, horse-shoes, tools, &c., 800 lbs.; saddle-bags and packages, 400 lbs.; saddles, bridles, hobbles, &c., 900 lbs.—total, 5430 lbs. The total weight of the equipment of the party was thus about two and a-half tons, which, distributed on 30 horses, gave an average load of 180 lbs. each. Each person had a stated number of horses in his special charge, and was responsible for the proper care of the loads and equipment, the saddles and loads being all marked with corresponding numbers. A watch was constantly kept through the night, each person being on sentry for two hours in regular rotation, except myself, as I had to make astronomical observations at uncertain hours. The cook was on watch from 2 till 4 a.m., and having prepared breakfast, the party concluded this meal before daybreak, and thus the most valuable part of the day was not lost."

[* "The pack-saddles were made after a model by Mr. Gregory, and are the best I have seen yet. Two boards of light wood are connected by bows of iron 1.5-inch wide and ¼inch thick, with books inserted in either side for the pack-bags to hook on to. The straps for the breasting, breechings and girths were screwed on to the boards; the crupper passed through a ring on the after bow; and a light pad—which could easily be taken out to be re-stuffed—was secured by small thongs, passed through holes in the ends of the boards. We had two girths, which crossed each other under the horse. (In unloading, the neck-strap is unbuckled on the near side, also the breasting and girths; and the whole is drawn off behind.) The pack-bags were made of one width of canvas, turned so as to have no seam on the bottom; pear-shaped pieces were sewn in to form ends, and rope was stitched along the seams, having eyes above, by which the bag was hung upon the hooks. The flour-bags were made of canvas, of the usual width, with a round bottom stitched into them. The mouth was sewn up when full, and an oiled bag, of the same size, drawn over it. . . . Our waterproof-bags were of leather, lined with waterproof cloth, just large enough to fill one of the canvas pack-bags. They had a brass neck, with a worm inside, in which we screwed a plug of soft wool. Each pair of bags was carefully balanced one against the other, that the horses might not be unequally loaded."—Mr. Baines' Description in Dalton's" Cut of Travel."]

On January 22 they arrived at a point where advanced exploration seemed necessary; and after this had been made, a depôt camp was formed on the 29th, near to a hill called Mount Sanford, about latitude 17 deg. 30 sec. Then leaving Mr. Barnes and the men in charge, Mr. Gregory, his brother, Dr. Müller, and the harness-maker, Charles Dean, taking eleven of the strongest horses and a moderate supply of provisions, pushed into the unknown interior, continuing generally in a southerly direction, until February 10, when they were stopped by a sandy desert country. On this they turned in a north-easterly direction until the 15th, when they struck off, steering an average south-west course, following the line of a creek called by Mr. Gregory, Sturt's Creek, which they travelled for nearly three hundred miles, when they traced it into the bed of a then dry salt lake; beyond which the whole country to the south seemed one vast desert, destitute of any indications of the existence of water. They, therefore, on March 5, abandoned all hope of penetrating further in a southerly direction, and started on their return. After leaving Sturt's Creek, they crossed a ridge about 1,700 feet above the sea, and then came upon another creek, which they named Sterling Creek, and supposed to fall into Cambridge Gulf. Thence they pushed on for the depôt camp, where they arrived on the 28th, and found all the party left in charge in good health and order. The ration of the explorers per diem had been 1 lb. of flour, 1-5th lb. of pork, and 2 ozs. of sugar—not exactly the diet of a Sybarite. After three days rest, Mr. Gregory again started to examine the country to the eastward of the depôt camp, returning on April 17, and thence after some minor investigation, reaching the principal camp on the Victoria River on May 9. The schooner was yet completing her repairs—the carpenter had died, some of the crew were sick, but the men connected with the expedition were all in good health. The result of this portion of the exploration had been to conclusively demonstrate the uselessness of the Victoria River for reaching the interior, and to dissipate the expectations that had been founded on a contrary supposition.

On a review of his own position, Mr. Gregory determined that it would be best to send the schooner—reinforcing her crew by some of his own men—to Coepang, in the island of Timor, where a supply of rice, sugar, and other stores could be got. These obtained, he directed that she should sail for the Albert River, in the Gulf of Carpentaria, he and his party pursuing their journey together by land in the discharge of the second portion of their task—the connection of the Albert with the Victoria by a practicable route. This expedition finally consisted of Mr. Gregory and his brother, Dr. Müller, Mr. Elsey, and three others. Amongst the preparations for a start, I notice the making of meat biscuits, thus described—

"6 lbs. of flour were added to each 6 lb. tin of preserved beef with the whole of the fat and gravy, and 1 oz. of salt (no water being required); the whole being worked up into a stiff dough, and baked in the ordinary form and size of sea biscuit, the whole weight of which was 8 lbs. Thus 11 lb. of biscuit was equal to 1 lb. of meat and 1 lb. of flour."

On June 21 they started; and, after a journey marked by no particular occurrence, reached the Albert on August 31, when they were disappointed at not finding any sign of the Tom Tough.* Marking a tree, therefore, and burying a tin cannister with some papers, in case she should arrive, they—abandoning any idea of connecting their route with the termination of Sir Thomas Mitchell's journey as impracticable with the means at their disposal—entered upon the last part of their exploration: the tracing a route from the Albert easterly to Moreton Bay. Crossing the Plains of Promise of Stokes, they turned northward to the Gilbert River, which they reached on September 21. They then struck in a south-easterly direction, and by October 30 arrived at the junction of the Suttor with the Burdekin. By November 15 they came upon the Mackenzie, which they followed up until they reached the coast, and, just below the junction of the two, found the remains of a camp of Leichhardt's, in his second expedition. Thence steering east, by the 21st they reached the Dawson, and, on the next day, a station then held by Messrs. Fitz and Connor. The journey to Brisbane was then comparatively easy, and Mr. Gregory reached Brisbane, as I have said, on December 16. Of the thirty-four horses with which he left the Victoria River, he had twenty-nine remaining, and had sold one; and his stores and equipment generally bail been found more than sufficient.

[* This vessel left the Victoria River on July 22, reached Coepang on the 25th, and, being found unfit for the further service of the expedition, was sent to Sourabaya, and sold.]

As to the geological nature of the country travelled over, or its value for pastoral or agricultural settlement, it will be sufficient to say that Mr. Gregory's contributions at the time were valuable and interesting, and added much to the then existing limited stock of knowledge. More noteworthy was the deliberate caution, yet at no sacrifice of time, with which every step was taken, and the general immunity from sickness or accident which characterised the expedition under his immediate charge throughout its course. He added to his reputation as a cool and courageous explorer, and established what was of equal importance, his character as eminently a safe one. There was nothing sensational attempted; none of what is generally termed "dash"; but what was to be done, and how, were fully weighed, and when determined carried thoroughly out; and thus the expedition was not the least useful, while it certainly was one of the best conducted and successful of our Australian explorations.






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CHAPTER XII.

1857-9.

Delays in the Final Adjustment of Separation—Constitution of a Branch of the Supreme Court at Moreton Bay—Transfer of Judge Milford and Appointment of Judge Lutwyche—Elections under the new Electoral Act—Assessment Act and Opposition thereto—Formation of Municipalities—Mr. Robertson's Introduction of Free Selection into his Land Policy—The Cunoona Goldfield—Its Failure—Rockhampton Proclaimed a Township—Industrial Progress—Social Movement—Journalistic Changes—A. C. Gregory's Search for Tracks of Leichhardt—Overland Journey to Adelaide—Dalrymple's Examination of the Burdekin Country—Rumoured Act of Parliament to Legalize Separation—Order in Council Creating the New Colony of Queensland—The Boundaries Unsatisfactory—Settlement of Debt and Form of Government—Initiatory Measures for Formation of the Legislature—Inequitable Apportionment of the Electorates—Preparation for the Reception of the New Governor.


It may seem somewhat in contradiction to my usual course that I have grouped the occurrences of the last three years of this narrative into a single chapter, but in the history of a district like Moreton Bay, there are periods of what may be called repetition—when the current of events in one year so recalls those of its predecessor, and prefigures what may be expected in the next, that the monotony of recapitulation becomes tiresome, and the reader longs for variety of incident and rapidity of action. I do not conceal from myself that the years 1857-8-9 afford little, except towards the end of 1859, that would excite the attention of nine-tenths of the present population of Queensland. They were years of suspense, and not unfrequently of tantalizing uncertainty. The people felt that separation was secured, but its precise shape and the details of its final accomplishment were still subjects for conjecture. The delays of Sir William Denison in reporting on the questions submitted to him, as to details, by the Colonial Office, the hindrances opposed at every step by the New South Wales Government, and the extraordinary misapprehension by the Imperial authorities as to the legal and formal measures to be taken, together with Ministerial changes in England, combined to delay the actual proclamation of the new colony for nearly three years after its separation had been determined upon.

The feeling towards the district, of the legislature and the leading public men of New South Wales, was one of exasperation, tending to obstruction in every possible form; but there were some administrative measures so obviously necessary, as well as just, that they could not be withheld. The bill for the establishment of a branch of the Supreme Court, with a resident judge in the district, having been at length passed, Mr. Justice Milford was appointed to the judgeship, and formally opened his court in Brisbane on April 15, 1857. But, this Act proving defective, another was enacted, by which the former one, with the exception of the clause under which Mr. Justice Milford was made a resident judge, was repealed. The new measure authorised, in addition, the appointment of a Crown prosecutor, a sheriff, a registrar of the Supreme Court in Moreton Bay, an official assignee in insolvency, and a curator of intestate estates. The judge himself was to act as commissioner in insolvency for the district; whence arose the absurdity, long continued, of an appeal from the decisions of the commissioner to the same person as judge. Mr.—now Mr. Justice—Ratcliffe Pring, whose professional and political career forms no inconsiderable portion of the subsequent history of the colony, was appointed Crown Prosecutor; the late Mr. W. A. Brown, Sheriff; and the late Mr. Pickering, Official Assignee. In the course of time, grumblings arose in Brisbane at the frequent absences of Mr. Justice Milford from the seat of his jurisdiction, and in Sydney there was a mild jocularity at his expense, touching his supposed angling achievements, in which pursuit it pleased the wits of that metropolis to assume that the Judge found his almost sole employment. It was well understood that he did not himself particularly enjoy his residence in this locality, and was not sorry when legal exigencies, real or supposed, compelled his return to the more varied enjoyments which Sydney could afford. Whether it was sympathy with Mr. Justice Milford's banishment, or a real desire for his aid on the Sydney judicial bench, that moved Mr. Plunkett, I cannot say, but in the session of 1858-9 he brought in a bill "to enable the Governor, from time to time, to appoint a barrister to act temporarily as assistant district judge at Moreton Bay, and for other purposes therein mentioned." Whatever might have been the motive for this attempt, it failed; but it was not long before a change took place, acceptable enough to the parties most concerned, although assailed by others with all the bitterness of personal dislike, as well as of political hostility.

For, in September, 1857, the Parker administration of New South Wales resigned, and a new Ministry was formed, on what were called "liberal" principles. The late Sir Charles—then Mr. Charles—Cowper (afterwards Agent-General in London for New South Wales) was the Premier; Mr. R. Campbell, Colonial Treasurer; Mr. T. A. Murray, Secretary for Lands; Mr. James Martin—now Sir James, and Chief Justice of New South Wales—Attorney-General; and Mr. A. J. P. Lutwyche,— Solicitor-General. A hostile vote led to a dissolution, and ultimately to a change—Mr. John Robertson—now Sir John, but familiarly known as "Free Selection Jack"—taking the Lands portfolio. Towards the end of 1858 dissensions ensued between the Attorney-General and his colleagues, partly from, what were called, his conservative tendencies—which were said to have manifested themselves in a carelessness and inattention to his official duties, which, in one instance, led to a vote of censure on the whole Ministry—and partly, as he is reported to have explained, from dislike to the direction which he saw Mr. Cowper's politics were taking. At the request of the Premier, Mr. Martin resigned; and Mr. Lutwyche succeeded him as Attorney-General. At this time it was understood that Mr. Justice Therry was about to resign, contemplating a visit to Europe, and there immediately arose a fierce party contest as to who should take his place; but it was soon known that Mr. Justice Milford would be recalled to Sydney, while the Attorney-General would, in the ordinary course of succession, be appointed to his seat. In due time these appointments were made, Mr. Lutwyche being sworn in and gazetted on February 22, 1859, as judge of the Supreme Court of New South Wales, and arriving in Brisbane on March 8. His elevation to the Bench was the cause of some exceedingly bitter debates in the New South Wales Parliament, in which private, as well as political, animosity seems to have prevailed with his assailants, to the exclusion of all sense of public justice. That he would fail as a judge, was predicted with a confidence as full as the contradiction which his more than twenty years subsequent judicial career abundantly furnished.

The legislation of this period possesses but a slight interest for Queensland. The Electoral Act, to which I have before referred, was, from the causes I have mentioned, inoperative here, except as to the interim elections between its passing and the formal separation of the district from New South Wales. It gave nine members to the then northern districts, but was received with only a slight degree of attention which what feeling could be evoked by a temporary representation, could not fan into enthusiasm—even when the influence that a present success might exercise in the choice of members for the future local Legislative Assembly was accorded the weight supposed to be its due. The New South Wales Legislative Assembly was dissolved in April 1859; the writs for the new one were issued in the following May, but the news of the formal completion of the separation arrangements arrived before the date at which the last was returnable. Mr. Robertson, however, had expounded his land policy—which in our colonial legislation has something more than historic value. Its principal points were:—a reduction in the upset price of lands sold by auction to five shillings per acre; a right of free selection over all country lands, surveyed or unsurveyed, at a fixed price of £1 per acre, half the purchase money being paid on selection, the remainder by deferred payments; and the determination of the minimum area open to selection by any one person at 80 acres, and the maximum at 320. Commenting upon this Mr. Macalister, at Ipswich, on June 25, said, "Though I have a very favourable leaning to the Cowper Ministry I object to the Land Bill, which, if passed, would be ruin to the country;" nor was he unsupported in this opinion, even by the most popular candidates of the day. But separation left the remodelling of the land policy of the new colony to its own legislature; and, except as indications of the direction that might be taken, these expressions of opinion were of no importance. The elections resulted in the return of Mr. Richardson for Brisbane, Mr. R. Cribb for East Moreton, Mr. Macalister for Ipswich, Mr. John Douglas and Mr. Wm. Handcock for the Darling Downs, and Mr. W. H. Walsh for the Leichhardt. Mr. Clarke Irving was again elected for the Clarence district, and Mr. Hodgson, who had taken the management of the Australian Agricultural Company's business in New South Wales, now found an aristocratic refuge amongst the colliers of Newcastle, adjoining which port the coal mines of the Company were situated.

The new Assessment Act was, as was natural, received with no small dissatisfaction, open and unexpressed. The rates paid by the pastoral lessees up to this time were a halfpenny for every sheep (or twenty-one shillings and eightpence per thousand), three halfpence for every head of cattle, and threepence for every horse which were upon any run, or which the run was estimated to be capable of carrying. These rates were now increased to seven pounds ten shillings for every thousand sheep, and proportionately for cattle and horses. And the method of fixing the rents on new and renewed leases in the settled districts was also altered. Under the Orders in Council they had been £10 for the first four thousand sheep and £2 10s. for every additional thousand: they were now to be charged for renewal at the rate of £2 per square mile, and for new leases at £1. These increases were calculated to add considerably to the revenue, and abridge more than was liked the squatter's profits, and the squatters were proportionately angry. Some of them had recourse to Mr. Martin, who gave a legal opinion that the Act was illegal, he having been nevertheless Attorney-General in the Ministry by whom it was brought in. Mr. Lutwyche, his successor, effectually controverted that opinion, and the Act was carried out in the usual way. A somewhat amusing incident occurred in the course of the opposition to this measure. Several gentlemen in the Burnett district met at Gayndah in January, 1859, and were valorous in their protests against it. They pledged themselves to resist the Act by every means in their power—they even agreed to raise a fund to defray the costs of an appeal to the law courts, by contributions proportionate it amount to the number of sheep upon their runs; they made an immediate call of half-a-crown per thousand sheep to defray current expenses—and their fellow-squatters who read the advertisements in which these proceedings were published, were no doubt much comforted by the valiancy of their volunteer defenders. In due time the owners of 222,000 sheep and 2,560 cattle signed the required undertaking. The following July witnessed the entire collapse of the alliance: it met with no outside support and the Assessment Act was therefore safe. Tho sole memorial of their patriotism left to the members were the advertisements and the receipts for payment for their insertion. The impression I derive from a careful consideration of all the facts is, that the runs were known to be generally assessed at a carrying power much below their real capacity and that the Act was designed to meet a contingency which could not otherwise be easily, if at all, provided for.

Municipal institutions were pet topics for eulogy with Sir William Denison, who regarded them as academies wherein men rising in social position amongst their fellows might in time learn to become legislators and in this opinion he found a subsequent and earnest supporter in Sir George Bowen. Undoubtedly as regards forms and method in public business, and as developing readiness for co-operation and a proportionate sacrifice of individual will in administrative matters, the value of such institutions was not overrated by these Governors; but, as fitting the persons engaged in them for the higher and in some respects opposite business of general legislation, their influence may be questioned, as more likely to produce a deteriorative than a beneficial effect. Mill, in his admirable treatise on representative government, has discussed the question with his accustomed logical and analytical power, and in a more that usually practical direction, and his conclusions seem directly contrary to those I have indicated as arrived at by Sir William Denison and Sir George Bowen. Those who desire to see in how masterly a manner he dealt with the subject will find their time well spent in a careful perusal of the great logician and economist's essay.

But Sir William Denison was not content to be a theorist, and the first Municipalities Act in these colonies (22 Vic., No. 13, N.S.W.) understood to have been pushed forward all the more vigorously for hearty exertions towards its enactment. It was assented to on October 27, 1858, and, running to ninety-six clauses, dealt with a variety of power: and duties which it is unnecessary to refer to in detail, inasmuch as we had our own Act emendatory of that, and which itself supplied another instance of the ordinary character of legislation by, in its turn, requiring further amendment. The residents of Brisbane and Ipswich were soon engaged in discussing the desirability of availing themselves of the provisions of the new measure, and assuming the management of their own local affairs. It was necessary to petition the Governor in Council to proclaim a municipality, to fix its boundaries, and to provide for the first election of a Municipal Council. The people of Ipswich were first in the field, and met on December 9, 1858, when the necessary petition was submitted to the meeting; but the meeting was not in accord from the beginning, a suggestion to divide the proposed municipality into three wards being condemned by some, and the titles of chairman and councillors being preferred by others to those of mayor and aldermen—the latter falling for the time into disfavour as savouring of turtle-eating propensities. After some discussion a committee was appointed to correspond with the Government respecting the retention of wharfage and ferry dues, and other reservations; to consider if a municipality were desirable, and to report the result to a subsequent meeting. An adjournment then took place to the following February, to afford time for the committee to perfect their work. They were, however, ready on January 19, 1859, when they reported in favour of a municipality and its division into three wards, and the designation of the new municipal representatives as chairman and councillors. On the adoption of this report being moved at a meeting called to receive it, great dissension arose, and an amendment was moved that a municipality would be premature. When the chairman of the meeting declared the amendment to be carried a division was called for, and a scene of confusion arose which rendered a further adjournment necessary. A third meeting was held in a few days, when no satisfactory decision seems to have been arrived at, although the opponents of a municipality claimed the victory. Ultimately, a petition in favour of incorporation, signed by the principal holders of property in the town, was sent to the Governor of New South Wales, who left it as a matter to be dealt with by the authorities of the new colony, and it was not until March, 1860, that Ipswich was proclaimed a municipality.

The first Brisbane meeting was held in the School of Arts on December 13, 1853, and, in the words of the notice, to consider the propriety of petitioning for the application of the Act to Brisbane. The petition brought forward was opposed on the ground that the then prospect of speedy separation rendered it inexpedient to take any such step. The opposition, however, was for the time fruitless. Much public correspondence then took place on the value of the properties to be assessed, and the probable expense of a corporation, the modest sum of £550 per annum being set down by one side for salaries, of which the mayor was to receive £200; while on the other it was predicted that the cost of administration would absorb the proceeds of the rates. A counter petition was prepared, circulated, signed, and forwarded; the signatures for and against incorporation being 181 and 240. On the publication of the protesting document in the Government Gazette, a large and noisy meeting was held in the School of Arts, ostensibly for the purpose of enquiring into the genuineness of the signatures attached to it, but principally to carry a memorial to the Government, in which that genuineness was denied. Some effect was produced by the reading of a letter from the Colonial Secretary of New South Wales, in reply to an application for a grant of money towards the repair of the water-reservoir. It was a curiosity in its way—erroneous in its premises, logical in its conclusions, terse and dogmatic in its expression. Starting with the assumption that "any place possessing a considerable share of population would necessarily incorporate itself under the Municipalities Act, in which case water supply would properly fall within the duties of the Corporation, and that when a district was not sufficiently advanced for the purpose, expenditure of the kind would be unjustifiable." It proceeded,—"either Brisbane is in such an advanced state or it is not; if it is, then it should be incorporated—and if it is not, money should not be expended in supplying it with water." Ultimately, the meeting condemned the counter petition; and a memorial to the Governor, denying its integrity, was decided upon. This, apparently, had the desired weight—for after some delay, and on September 7, 1859, the Municipality of Brisbane was proclaimed. The first election took place on October 12, and the poll, declared on the 13th, gave names of the following gentlemen as those of the first Municipal Council in Queensland:—John Petrie, Patrick Mayne, T. B. Stephens, Joshua Jeays, A. J. Hockings, G. Edmondstone, R. Cribb, Geo. Warren, and W. S. Sutton. Of these at this time four survive—Messrs. T. B. Stephens, Jeays, Mayne, Warren, and Sutton no longer live to see the result of the labours they assisted in initiating. At the first meeting of the Council Mr. Petrie was unanimously elected Mayor.

I have given more space to the preliminary proceedings of the first two municipalities than I should have done had they not been the first, for generally the course in such matters is so nearly the same in all cases that it requires very special circumstances to justify special notice of any particular one. Here, as it seemed to me, an unusual interest did attach to the two in question, because they were the first in the colony; and, perhaps, their not least noticeable characteristic was that, even at a period when the desire for self-government was apparently most intense, there was no inconsiderable number in the two principal towns in the district who were averse to the responsibilities it involved, while the rest, if disposed to enjoy the privilege, were equally so to, if possible, enjoy it with as little of the expense it might incur as could well be managed.

During this, what may be called anticipatory, period, there was a sort of feverish excitement as to the existence of a payable goldfield within, or nigh to, the boundaries of the district. Occasional finds, as at Boonoo Boonoo and Tooloom on the New England side, roused the public anticipations, only to disappoint them; but the year 1858 was remarkable for one of the most extraordinary manias that has ever raged since the first discovery of gold in New South Wales. From a letter to the Government from Captain O'Connell, who, on the abolition of the Government residentship at Port Curtis, had been appointed Commissioner of Crown lands, it appears that that gentleman having occasion to make an official tour in the North, in November, 1857, took with him a practical miner, and in the course of his explorations obtained about a pennyweight of fine gold. Following upon this, the people of Gladstone subscribed a fund to enable a party of six persons to prosecute the search. On July 28, 1858, the Commissioner was enabled to say, from private information, that an easily accessible and remunerative goldfield was discovered. Other correspondence with mercantile firms spoke in sanguine language of the diggings as the best in the colony. In the Courier of the same date it was reported that gold in good-sized nuggets had been found at Canoona; and that at a meeting held at Gladstone to receive the report of the explorers, who attended with their specimens, they gave as their opinion that men could on those diggings earn from fifteen to twenty shillings per day. As the site of the goldfield was only seven miles from the Fitzroy River, and thirty from the then forming township of Rockhampton, considerable excitement was caused by the intelligence. Towards the end of August came "reliable news." The miners on the spot, who now numbered about eighty, were reported to be in good spirits, and positive of success—one of them making sixteen ounces in as many days; and soon after Gladstone was described as deserted. Early in September about eighty ounces of gold arrived in Sydney, and immediately the Yarra Yarra and Pirate, steamers, and nine sailing vessels, were laid on for the diggings, and the newspapers began to speculate on the result; the Sydney Herald suggesting that Gladstone would probably be the capital of the proposed northern colony, and the Courier finding strong reasons for believing that, "in the final adjustment of the colonial boundaries, New South Wales would be bounded, on the north, by the 30th parallel, and that Port Curtis would be a new political centre for a colony immediately to the northward of Cooksland." Private letters continued to bring, in vague terms, favourable accounts of the capabilities of the new field, and fresh parties of diggers began to pour in. Nine vessels were laid on at Melbourne, and both from that port and Sydney a rush of a most formidable character set in. By September 21, fifteen hundred persons had left Sydney for the new field. On the 27th, the arrival in Brisbane of Mr. Hamilton Ramsay (lately a Northern goldfields warden), who had travelled overland from Canoona, with one hundred ounces of gold, startled the people from their usual staid propriety, and a meeting was proposed to concert measures for establishing a regular line of communication between Rockhampton and Moreton Bay, commencing with a steamer and at least two schooners. In vain was it pointed out that, after all, the yield of gold was insignificant compared with the number engaged in searching for it; the warning was received with a pitying incredulity. But the news began to fluctuate in its character before the crowds who had left Victoria began to arrive; the excitement on the goldfields of that colony, caused by the first and most flattering intelligence, being only to be described as intense. From Sandhurst, from Castlemaine, from Ballarat, and from their tributary goldfields, continuous lines of diggers were encountered on the roads to the ports. When they were questioned why, they could only say that they were going to the Canoona; but, as to the nature of that goldfield, or the yield that had been, or was likely to be, obtained from it, vague rumours and ridiculous exaggerations were all that was to be got from them. Men left claims returning them an average wage, withdrew their money from the Savings Bank, shouldered their swags, and started on the tramp, without being able to assign the most remote approach to a tangible cause for their procedure. The Victorian journals denounced this folly, and insisted upon the prudence of waiting for more certain information, while some of them had recourse to such intimidation as might be obtained from doleful descriptions of the climate and general unhealthiness of the new field; indeed, from some accounts by travellers professing to have had personal experience in the north of Australia, Moreton Bay generally, and its northern country especially, might be supposed as fertile in only two products—sweet potatoes and snakes. But it was all in vain. Twenty-five sailing vessels and three steamers were reported as laid on at one time at Melbourne for Rockhampton, and on the miners continued to pour, until the news reached Melbourne that the first arrivals found only a small and worked-out field. In the meantime, the influx of population rendered some attempt at government indispensable. An assistant gold commissioner, a sub-gold commissioner, a sub-collector of customs, and a landing-waiter and tide-surveyor, and a small police force, were sent to Rockhampton, which had been proclaimed a township. Captain O'Connell, who had been gazetted, on September 17, as a gold commissioner, forwarded a report on the 27th, in which, while still expressing faith in the field, he confessed that he looked with some alarm at the unusual numbers said to be on their way, and feared that much disappointment and individual distress would be the result. By the middle of October it was known, both in Brisbane and Sydney, that the supposed auriferous wealth of the district existed principally in the imagination, and that great misery existed there; while a considerable number of the later arrivals returned by the vessels in which they came. There was some tendency to riot, and much wrath indulged in, at, what was termed, a swindling imposition. The inexcusable and unaccountable folly of the angry men was really most to blame. Captain O'Connell had much trouble in dealing with the disappointed adventurers, and his treatment of them was eulogised in the Melbourne Argus, at the time, as equally firm and conciliatory. On October 7 the numbers on the diggings were reduced to between four and five hundred; by the 15th they were reduced to two hundred and fifty, and thereafter, by degress, the field became deserted. In all, not less than ten thousand people were reported as having been attracted to the shores of the Fitzroy by this extraordinary delusion. One good resulted from it. A site was surveyed for a township at Rockhampton, and the first land sales were held in Sydney on November 17 and 18. Captain O'Connell became again Resident at Port Curtis, and the other gold commissioners, I presume, went their ways. When the land sale was held a great number of lots were offered, and nearly all were sold. The average prices were, for half an allotment facing the river, £70; and for back allotments, £17.

During, and after, this, efforts were made, from time to time, to fit out searching parties, and rewards were offered for the discovery of gold, but without any tangible result. Reports more or less encouraging came in, and there the matter usually ended. Accident, then as now, had most to do in confirming the inferences of science; and, as yet, no lucky traveller stumbled over a nugget half-buried in his track, and brown with the colouring with which long exposure had invested it. I imagine that desire so quickened credulity that, in some instances, the gold seekers, real or supposed, traded not unprofitably on the product.

Disappointed, as they might be at the failure of every experimental search for gold, and by the rapid exhaustion of such fields as, from time to time, excited their hopes, the people of the then northern districts still had, in the gradual development of their trade springing from the extending occupation of the country, some consolation. They were able to point to their tables of exports with the satisfaction that their increasing columns might be supposed calculated to produce. Although, possibly, it was somewhat dimmed by the monotonous character of the articles exported—a monotony which scarcely bespoke the existence of an intelligent enterprise in the community in which it occurred. Still, if we look at the progress made in the interval between the time that the district was opened for settlement and the date of separation, it had, under all the disadvantages which had to be contended against, been quite sufficient to justify the anticipation that when they were removed there awaited the young colony a busy and prosperous career.

There had, to be sure, been little effort at increasing the varieties of industry of which the soil and climate and natural product were susceptible. Cotton languished of good symptoms, and when Mr. Fleming established a flour-mill in connection with his saw-mill on the Bremer River, near Ipswich, he imported wheat from Adelaide for grinding. Dr. Hobbs utilised the oil of the dugong (a marine animal sufficiently curious to justify a particular description in a future chapter) for medical purposes, and at one time indulged in the hope that it would become a valuable export; but no sooner were its qualities appreciated than wretched imitations were manufactured to such an extent, that a greater quantity was sold in Melbourne alone than was procured in Moreton Bay. Immigration to the district was languid. Dr. Lang's land and immigration bill was brought before the New South Wales Parliament once more, and some extension of the powers conferred by it seems to have been sought, but the advent of Separation left the scheme a legacy to the future Queensland Parliament, before whom it never, as a project, came; and finally, except as to its value as indicating a system, it vanished in the limbo which awaits the efforts of all who have the misfortune to be a little in advance of their time, and to have sufficient enthusiasm or folly not to perceive their position. The irregularity, fraud, and inhumanity which characterised much of the management of the German immigration to the colony evoked Legislative inquiry and Legislative censure, but too late to exert any effect upon the system as respected Moreton Bay.

The black population were, during this period of transition, at constant war with the squatters and settlers. In October, 1857, they attacked a station at Hornet Bank, on the Dawson, where they murdered eleven persons, only one of the unfortunate family who were settled there being left. In the Burnett and the Leichhardt districts they were continual causes of terror. A committee of the New South Wales Legislative Council was appointed to enquire into and report upon this most unsatisfactory state of things; but their labours had no practical result; philanthropy and economy combining to leave the aboriginal marauders to work their will, and thus a war of reprisals, sometimes ending in extermination, became almost a matter of necessity. The outlying districts were left, in great measure, unprotected, or only intermittently and inefficiently guarded, up to the date of separation.

In the towns the efforts at social advancement were, if not always judicious, yet not without zeal. There was sometimes a plethora of lectures at the Brisbane School of Arts, some of which, if I am to judge by the printed reports—in the majority of cases apparently verbatim—would have been instructive, had they awakened interest. A choral society was formed, and seems to have been at least temporarily successful. Another School of Arts was inaugurated at Ipswich, not without much dispute and bickering; and a third at Toowoomba, where a gift by Mr. Handcock of a site tended greatly to dulcify the proceedings. The religious element in the little society was stimulated to unwonted activity by the late Rev. B. G. Wilson's arrival in Brisbane to take charge of the Baptist congregation there on September 12, 1858; and about that time considerable energy was shown in advocating the indispensability to the Christian of adult baptism and immersion. Whether it was that the tenet itself was unwelcome to Mr. Wilson's clerical contemporaries, or the way in which it was enforced by its adherents, disliked, it is not now necessary to enquire; whatever might be the cause, the air became darkened with controversy; sermons, lectures, pamphlets, and advertisements followed each other in quick and inharmonious succession. One pamphlet, in particular, entitled "Whither are we drifting?" in which the resources of typography, in capitals and italics, were emphatically "displayed" in illustration of the arguments, eliciting a running fire of replies and rejoinders highly profitable to the proprietors of newspapers, whose theology was not ardent enough to induce them to insert the rival productions in any other guise than that of advertisements. Possibly, from this cause, the dispute in time languished, and the ecclesiastical condition resumed its usual quietude. Yet all the energy was not of one kind. The building of chapels proceeded. St. Paul's Church, Ipswich, was finished and opened; and if the new buildings did not add much to the architectural beauty of their respective localities, they bore much testimony to the liberality of those who subscribed towards their erection. Unconnected with the circumstances I have just alluded to, though connected with the general subject, was the erection of Brisbane into a Roman Catholic See, and the election of Dr. James Quinn as its Bishop, both of which were duly notified by Archbishop Polding in a pastoral dated August 28, 1859.

The contributions of the New South Wales Government to the public progress were few. The harbour of Moreton Bay remained as it was, but some efforts were made to improve the navigation of the Brisbane and Bremer by the removal of fallen timber and other obstructions. A new Court-house was built at Ipswich, and the long-promised new gaol at Brisbane was commenced. It may be regretted that the chronic procrastination of the authorities had not been still more marked as to the gaol, which might well have claimed the bad eminence of being about the worst for its purpose of such buildings in the colonies—whether as regards health, convenience, or supervision. The colonial architect's office in Sydney was not at that time distinguished by any special ability, either in invention or copyism, but it is fair to add that the Governor was said to have assisted in deciding upon the arrangement of the unlucky structure. In the Lands Department a proposal to lease the islands of Moreton Bay was resisted with more than usual vigour, and the attempt was abandoned. An application for a Recreation Reserve and Botanic Gardens at Ipswich was more successful.

Some changes took place consequent upon the appointment of Mr. Justice Lutwyche as the resident Judge. On October 12, 1859, circuit courts were proclaimed at Ipswich, Drayton, and Maryborough, to the great relief of all who were interested in litigation in the places named; and the salaries of the Crown Prosecutor and the Sheriff, which had been fixed at absurdly low amounts, were raised to sums more proportionate to the responsibility of their positions: the first from £200 per annum to £500, the second from £150 to £450. Outside legal promotions, I notice the advancement of Mr. Duncan, who had been many years Collector of Customs here, to the headship of the department in Sydney, his place being taken by Mr. Wm. Thornton, who has retained it ever since.

From law and government to literature is a transition more easy than the reverse one; and I now chronicle the issue of two new journals in the colony—the Darling Downs Gazette, the first number of which was published in Drayton, on June 11, 1858; and the Ipswich Herald, which commenced a not very lengthened career on July 4, 1859. The Darling Downs Gazette was started by Mr. Lyons, the originator, as I have narrated, of the Courier, but his new speculation seems to have resulted in as little profit to himself as credit to some of his supporters. The Courier itself twice changed its management during the period whose history is comprised within this chapter. Mr. Charles Lilley, the present Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, in partnership with Mr. Belbridge, a printer of some reputation, rented it from Mr. Swan, on October 1, 1857 (fifteen months after Mr. Labouchere's despatch announcing the determination of the Imperial Government to separate Moreton Bay from New South Wales), but after a year's trial surrendered it back into his hands. The only good that seemed to have resulted from this, said the North Australian, was that the issue had become tri-weekly, and the circulation had increased—not a singular instance of how a sneer sometimes unintentionally conveys a compliment. On October 1, 1859, Mr. Swan sold the paper to the late Mr. T. B. Stephens, in whose hands it remained about fifteen years. I have omitted to mention that Mr. Wilkes had retired from the editorship—leaving the district for Sydney. The year 1859 is also noticeable as that in which the first issue of the well-known Pugh's Almanac took place—a work which, well commenced, was carried on with great completeness and success by Mr. Pugh for some years, and under its present management maintains its reputation as one of the best periodicals of its kind in the colonies.

The year 1858 was marked by one of the most bold and successful explorations in the history of Australian adventure. The anxiety expressed as to the fate of Leichhardt had strengthened with the lapse of time, until, at length, the Government of New South Wales determined on an expedition in search of what traces might remain of him and his party. The expedition was placed in charge of Mr. A. C. Gregory, who, after some unavoidable delays, collected his party and completed his arrangements towards the end of March. The expedition comprised eight persons besides himself, and they took with them thirty-one pack-horses and nine saddle horses—the pack-horses carrying at first an average load of 150 lbs. each. The provisions for the journey were the dried meat of two bullocks and four sheep, reduced by removing the bones and drying to 300 lbs.; 500 lbs. bacon, 160 lbs. flour, 100 lbs. rice, 350 lbs. sugar, 60 lbs. tea, 40 lbs. tobacco, and some minor articles. The other equipments were of the simplest and lightest practicable kind. Leaving Juandah, the Messrs. Royds' station, on the Dawson, they crossed the basaltic ridge that divides the eastern waters flowing to that river from those trending to the west into the basin of the Maranoa, a tributary of which they followed westward, and reached the river itself in latitude 25 deg. 41 min. Thence they found a practicable route to the tributaries of the Warrego, and pursued their course to the Nive, and NNW. until they reached the Victoria of Mitchell, when they found the bed of the river scarcely ten yards wide, and perfectly dry. Continuing their route along the Victoria, and examining the country on both sides, they came not far from latitude 24 deg. 27 min. longitude 146 deg. 13 min., on a marked tree, and other traces of one of Leichhardt's camps. They then struck upon the Alice River, and followed it clown to its junction with the Thompson, up which they continued their route—

"Nothing could be more desolate than the aspect of the country. Except the few trees which grew on the immediate bank of the river, there was scarcely a tree left alive, while the plains were quite bare of vegetation, except a few salsolaceous bushes. At the distance of five miles low ridges of red drift sand showed the desert character of all around; even the lower surfaces of the clouds assumed a lurid tinge from the reflection of the bare surface of red sand. . . We however, succeeded in reaching latitude 23 degs. 47 mins., when the absence of water and grass—the rain not having extended so far north, and the channels of the river separating into small gullies, and spreading on the wide plains—precluded our progressing further north or west, and the only prospect of saving our horses was to return south as quickly as possible."

They then determined to follow the Thompson down to trace its outlet, thinking that Leichhardt, under similar circumstances, might have been driven to the south-west. The journey was harassing and toilsome; but, at length, reaching the branch of Cooper's Creek, named by Sturt Streletzki Creek, they travelled mostly along it until its junction with Lake Torrens, and thence to Adelaide, where they were received with great enthusiasm. I regret that my space will not admit of copious extracts from Mr. Gregory's report of the journey whose results, with reference to the physical geography of Australia, were most important; but his conclusion as to the fate of Leichhardt cannot well be omitted—

"With reference to the probable fate of Dr. Leichhardt, it is evident from the existence of the marked camp nearly eighty miles beyond those seen by Mr. Hely, that the account given to that gentleman by the natives of the murder of the party was untrue, and I am inclined to think only a revival of the report current during Leichhardt's first journey to Port Essington. Nor is it probable that they were destroyed until they had left the Victoria, as, if killed by the natives, the scattered bones of the horses and cattle would have been observed during our search. I am therefore of opinion that they left the river at the junction of the Alice, and, favoured by thunder showers, penetrated the level desert country to the north-west, in which case, on the cessation of the rain, the party would not only be deprived of a supply of water for the outward journey, but be unable to retreat, as the shallow deposits of rain water would evaporate in a few days, and it is not likely that they would commence a retrograde movement until the strength of the party had been severely taxed in the attempt to advance."

In 1859, a party was fitted out, headed by the late George Elphinstone Dalrymple, to explore the country on the Burdekin, and ascertain its suitability for pastoral occupation. They were, I believe, well satisfied with the capabilities of the district; but the early land legislation of the colony interfered with the realization of their views as to investment or occupation.

I have said that although the general question of separation was settled by Mr. Labouchere's despatch, there was much uncertainty as to the adjustment of its details. To this result the resolutions initiated by Mr. Hargreaves, and carried through the Sydney Legislature, as I have before described, in no small degree contributed. These were reinforced by petitions from the border districts, whose appropriation was in dispute and hostile to separation from the parent colony; in that of New England, especially, great efforts were made to procure signatures, and, in many instances, with a total disregard of honesty in attaching them—a considerable number of those who signed, or were supposed to have signed, living to the south of the boundary suggested, and having, in reality, no status in the matter. A counter petition from the Clarence district, signed by the great majority of the residents there, seems to have been treated as so much waste paper. Early in 1858, a petition from the people of Brisbane was prepared for presentation to the Queen, in which they asked that the final appropriation of the disputed districts might be deferred until their population reached ten thousand souls. To this, most of the members for the Moreton Bay constituencies demurred, as likely to be productive of further delay. The local committee at first stood firm, and adhered to their petition; but, in a few weeks, reflection brought about a more practical view of affairs. On November 3, 1858, a large meeting was held in Brisbane, at which the local members attended, and a new memorial to Her Majesty was adopted, in which the petitioners stated that they did not wish, by pressing the question of boundary, to occasion further delay. This meeting was followed by another at Ipswich, on the 17th, at which all the questions connected with separation were entered into temperately and deliberately. With reference to the necessity for the immediate completion of the arrangements promised by the Imperial Government, a strong representation to the Colonial Office, by gentlemen in London connected with Moreton Bay, of the evils resulting from the existing uncertainty was quoted, and its statements and arguments reiterated. A petition to the Queen, more elaborate and detailed than that of the Brisbane meeting, was adopted, the boundary question being dealt with in a similar manner; and a memorial to the Governor-General, protesting against the manufactured petitions to which I have referred, and asking for a reconsideration of the subject, was agreed to. After these meetings the agitation subsided, and the people settled down into an attitude of dull expectation.

In May, 1859, this torpor was disturbed by news that the Secretary of State for the Colonies, in the then Derby administration, was about to bring in a Bill for the immediate separation from New South Wales of all the country east of the South Australian boundary, north of a line drawn westerly from Point Danger, granting the people a government analogous to that of the parent colony, and appointing commissioners to arrange the settlement of the public debt. That such a notion could have existed seems, to me, extraordinary, inasmuch as no such bill was necessary, the Constitution Authorization Act giving full power to the Queen in Council to adopt such measures as might be necessary towards the creation of a new colony. There was little time left for those who really understood the subject to digest the perplexity which the intelligence was calculated to cause. On July 10 came the welcome news, and none the less welcome because unanticipated, that an Order in Council had been issued, by which the long desired boon was conferred. In the new colony it was received with wildness of delight: in New South Wales with a sullen captiousness, which found vent in grumbling over the possible apportionment of the public debt. Letters patent creating the colony of Queensland, and appointing Sir George Ferguson Bowen its first Governor, were approved by an Order in Council of May 13, 1859, and on June 6 a second order was made, empowering the Governor to make laws, and provide for the administration of justice within the territory. The long struggle, which had been fought with such fluctuating results, was entirely at an end.

The boundaries adopted satisfied neither the old colony nor the new one. The Clarence and Richmond and New England districts were left to their old connection; but the hope that had been once entertained by New South Wales of compensation for the withdrawal of Moreton Bay in the formation of new settlements in the extreme north was extinguished by the extension of the Queensland boundary to the Gulf of Carpentaria. One result of the alteration of the line to the south was discovered when it was too late to remedy its mischievous consequences. The residents on the border between New England and the Darling Downs districts not infrequently found their properties divided by the boundary adopted, and were exposed to all the disadvantages which such a division entailed. They complained that to have the simplest petty sessions case tried they had to journey two hundred miles, being driven by the rugged nature of the country to travel over a portion of the Queensland territory before getting to an available route to the nearest court in New South Wales, while a Queensland one might have been reached by a better road and in a fourth of the distance. An official representation of these difficulties was made to the elder government, accompanied by a proposal for readjustment, but with no result.

As to the debt the Duke of Newcastle—who in the changes of home politics had succeeded the late Lord Lytton—suggested that its apportionment was a matter "strictly of a domestic nature," and therefore best dealt with at least in the first instance by the Legislature of the two colonies. The appointment of a Commissioner by each with power to name an umpire, seemed to his Grace a convenient procedure, looking at the local nature of the subjects to be determined upon, and the Legislature of New South Wales should, he thought, take the initiative. Should it decline there would then be a case for parliamentary interference. In that position the Imperial authorities left the question, and in that position it has practically remained ever since.

On the third point, the form of government,—that in force in the parent colony at the time—was, except as to the suffrage, adopted, with some peculiarities in the details and initiation. By the Order in Council of June 6, the Governor of New South Wales was authorised to summon as the nucleus for the Legislative Council of Queensland such persons, being not less in number than five, as he should think fit, and these were to hold their seats for four years only. The Governor of Queensland was empowered to add to the original number at his discretion, his nominees having a life tenure. In order to constitute the first Legislative Assembly the Governor of New South Wales was directed to fix the number of members, the extent of the several electoral districts, and the distribution of the representation; and to take all necessary measures preliminary to, and for, the conduct of the first elections. While the arrangements requisite for these purposes were being made a question arose as to the qualification for the suffrage. By an electoral Act passed in New South Wales in 1858 that qualification was practically reduced to one of attainment of the legal majority and a six months' residence prior to registration. But by the 8th clause of the Order in Council the qualification of electors in the new colony was fixed at that defined in the New South Wales Constitution Act, the minimum of which was a lodgers's tenancy at a ten pounds' annual rental for six months previous to registration. On reference to the judges they were unanimously of opinion that the qualification fixed by the Constitution Act had to be adhered to, and thus the new colony began with what those who call themselves advanced politicians would look upon, as regards the electoral right, as a retrograde step. In his official letter to Sir George Bowen on the subject Sir William Denison seemed to regret that such a course had to be adopted; but from subsequent correspondence I gather that he was in reality firmly opposed to Universal Suffrage, and deprecated—especially under our possible local circumstances—its introduction into Queensland.

On December 20, 1839, Sir William Denison issued a proclamation by which he constituted sixteen electoral districts in Queensland, and allotted to them twenty-six members. I give the list, not exactly in the order in which they appear in the proclamation, but in that of the adult male population of the electorates, as shown by the first census taken of the colony a year afterwards. The electorates then stood thus:—

Electorate. Adult male
Population.
No. of
Members.
North Brisbane, town 1,205 3
Burnett, country 1,075 2
West Moreton 1,071 3
Port Curtis 980 1
Drayton and Toowoomba, town 881 1
Ipswich.                                      " 806 3
East Moreton, country 766 2
Leichhardt,   pastoral 751 2
Eastern Downs     " 724 1
Maranoa                " 653 1
Northern Downs  " 588 1
Wide Bay                " 473 1
Warwick, town 311 1
Fortitude Valley, town 297 1
Western Downs, pastoral 278 1
South Brisbane, town 176 1

It is impossible to acquit Sir William Denison of the charges of unfairness and inconsistency brought against him when this distribution of electoral power was published. That it was purposely designed to give the then pastoral interest an overwhelming preponderance in the legislature, and thus to strengthen the hold which their connection with the banks and agency houses of New South Wales gave that colony upon Queensland, was freely asserted, and there were few who doubted the fact. Brisbane and its suburb Fortitude Valley were the only constituencies that could be said to be at all independent of that interest—with perhaps a portion of East Moreton; and one can hardly help challenging the equity which allotted to the Western Downs with its small population two members, while the Burnett with four times the number of residents had only equal representation. The Governor-General's conduct was the more inconsistent in that, but a few months before, he had deprecated separation, because he considered the interest he now favoured to have no fixed or abiding hold in the country;—but he had been sharply criticized by the townspeople for the unfair statement, which had brought upon him the tacit rebuke of the Colonial Office, under which he still smarted, and forgiveness was not a prominent virtue of Sir William Denison's.

Although in point of date after the assumption of the governorship of Queensland by Sir George Bowen, I record as a part of the initiatory procedure, directed under the Orders in Council, the appointment to our Legislative Council, by Sir William Denison, in May 1860, of Sir Charles Nicholson, the late Sir Maurice Charles O'Connell, and Messrs. John Balfour, Francis Edward Bigge, Alfred Edward Compaigne, George Fullarton, John James Galloway, James Laidley, John Frederic Macdougall, Robert George Massie, and William Henry Yaldwyn. And thus ended the official connection of the Governor and Government of New South Wales with the districts comprised in the colony of Queensland.

The people of that colony were quite willing to forget their lately dependent state in the exhilaration which accompanied the preparations for initiating their new condition with due ceremony, and for the reception of their Governor, who was expected to arrive towards the close of 1859. A house belonging to Dr. Hobbs (and now that gentleman's residence), at that time the best in the town, was taken for Sir George Bowen's occupation until a suitable residence could be built, and was properly furnished. Reception committees were formed, addresses prepared, entertainments arranged, and all seemed anxious to show his Excellency how highly they appreciated his presence, and more highly its cause. And leaving them thus occupied I close the general narrative of this volume.






{Page 229}

CHAPTER XIII.

RECAPITULATION AND REVIEW.

Area and Population—Increase in Numbers from 1846 to 1860—Wealth—Pastoral, Municipal, Agricultural, and Landed Properly—State of Agriculture—Growth of Trade from 1849 to 1859, inclusive—State of Manufactures—Banking Establishments and Transactions—Civil Government: Its Form, Departments, and Numbers Employed—Public Expenditure—Social Condition: Public Institutions, Difficulty of Intercourse, the Press, Amusements, Crime—Educational System—General Ecclesiastical Statistics and Systems—Laws in Force as to State Aid to Religion—The Respective Churches and Denominations: Anglican, Roman Catholic, Presbyterian, Wesleyan, Independent, Baptist, and others—General Observations and Conclusions.


The date at which the district was elevated into a colony affords a termination and a starting point, and we have therefore arrived at a suitable stage of this history for recapitulation and review. Necessarily some matters have been omitted—some could not conveniently be introduced in the general course of the narrative—which is, therefore, so far, incomplete. I propose, therefore, in this chapter, to summarize the progress of the district up to December, 1859, and to exhibit as clearly as I can its actual condition at that time, Such a review affords an opportunity for a divisional arrangement, which, while admitting of continuity in each section, will not interfere with an accurate appreciation of general results, and the student who has his special subject of inquiry will find this information available, grouped under its special section. Some repetition it will be impossible to avoid, but I venture to think that the shape in which it occurs, will not be found tedious, while the concentration of facts will facilitate reference.

The New South Wales census of 1846 gave the total population of the districts, which were to form the foundation of our colony, as 2.257; in 1857 another census stated the area of the territory available for occupation as 58,860 square miles, and the population as 8,575. On March 1, 1856, the area proclaimed was 174,600 square miles, and the population 17,082, the occupied country having increased threefold and the numbers of the people having doubled. On December 31, 1859, the population was estimated with a near approach to accuracy at 25,020, showing a considerable falling off in the proportionate rate of increase. The area of the Queensland territory was stated in the Queensland Statistical Register, issued by Sir George Bowen, at 1,209,800 square miles; but that calculation being made upon the assumption that the western boundary of this colony would be the eastern one of Western Australia, and include the large area since allotted to South Australia, was an erroneous one. Practically the country occupied was about the same in extent as at the census of 1850.

Of the wealth of the colony at the period of its creation it is only possible to speak approximately, as for an accurate estimate the statistics I have referred to are valueless; for instance, they take no account of the pastoral riches scattered over the land. Taking the rate of increase maintained for some years, and the number of horses, sheep, and cattle, as ascertained in 1860, as bases, I calculate that at the close of 1859 there must have been about 20,000 horses, 300,000 cattle, and 2,000,000 sheep in Queensland. The live stock on January 1, 1848, was, as we have seen estimated at 698,938 sheep, 48,207 cattle, and 2,189 horses. The money value of the stock in 1859, not taking the exceptional rates of 1860, might be set down at two millions and the values of the properties comprised within the two municipalities of Brisbane and Ipswich, at the then current rates, I could not estimate as more than £900,000, and in the gradually-growing townships in the interior and on the coast—in all seven—at £350,000 more. The small quantity of land actually in cultivation, the insignificant mining works, and the moveable property employed in industrial processes would be liberally valued at another £100,000. As to the alienated land, of which no use was made, and the theoretical worth of runs, it is impossible to arrive at a valuation which would not appear absurdly high to some, and as ridiculously low to others. At the close of 1859 the real prices were very much under what was asked and obtained in the latter end of 1860, which, in their turn, greatly increased in 1861. if I were to take the whole at half a million, it would be what, at the time I am writing of, would have been found—a fair appraisement. In all, the actual wealth of the community then presently available was about four millions and a quarter sterling. For a population of 20,000 souls this could not be pronounced other than a fair condition for a starting point.

Agriculture was at an exceedingly low ebb. I do not think that more than 2,000 acres out of 80,000 alienated from the Crown were under cultivation.* Maize was the principal crop. Potatoes, and oats for hay were next, but at a long interval; and about a fifth of the whole area might be set down at what in England would be called orchards, in which banana: occupied no small portion. There was a notion much encouraged in those days by leading squatters, whose interest might be supposed to have been promoted by the depreciation of agricultural settlement, that cultivation in Queensland must necessarily result in failure—especially as to cereal: and fruit and vegetables of European origin—and from constant reiteration it received considerable acceptance. In the two hotels, which accommodated the more exclusive visitors to Brisbane in 1859-60, a considerable portion of the vegetables used were imported from Sydney—certainly from an indolent acquiescence and not from necessity. As to cereals even in 1860 there were only eighteen acres of wheat in the Brisbane district, and not a single acre anywhere else. Agriculture, if not altogether despised, was generally looked upon as, in the main, experimental, and the agriculturalist as an enthusiast or a weak-minded mistaken man "Farming will never pay" was the authoritative enunciation of the wise and prudent, and the babes received it with the submission that became them. I was visiting at a station on the Darling Downs in 1860, and was much surprised and disappointed when chatting in the evening with my hospitable host at being told that the fine country over which I had been riding was utterly unsuitable for anything but grazing. "It will not grow a cabbage." Taking an early stroll the following morning I found a well-kept garden, in which some fine cabbages were not the least conspicuous objects, but on mentioning this at breakfast I was assured that the growth was exceptional and expensive, and if cabbage-growing could be done again, which was doubtful, it would not be worth the doing. And this was the general burden of the song. It is but two days since that we bought in Brisbane as fine cabbages as cook would desire to see at little more than a halfpenny each. Some of us had faith in vegetables in 1860; now we know them experimentally, which some colonial Tyndall might claim as a triumph of proof over belief; but then no shower o Chinese gardeners had fallen upon the land.

[* On April 1, 1861, when a great start had been made, there were only 3,351 acres.]

The growth of the trade of the district is less easily traced than that of its population. The colonial Registrar-General in 1860 regretted that he had "access to no reliable records of our commerce in former years," but as we have seen the Courier gave occasional statements, and as these were never effectively challenged, we are justified in accepting them as bases for our estimates. The exports then may be calculated for the respective years named in the following table at the values set against them—excluding those from the Clarence and Richmond, which up to the issue of the Orders in Council constituting the new colony were included in what were called the northern districts—

1849 £120,000   
1850 149,819   
1851 181,030   
1852 161,333   
1853 353,562 *
1854 no return
1855 (last quarter only) 130,446   
1856 no return
1857 425,237   
1858 468,210   
1859 about 500,000   

[* Probably from local causes, such as impediments to traffic, including a large quantity of the preceding year's produce.]

and the Statistical Register for the last month of 1839, which was the first of Sir George Bowen's governorship, gives the value of the exports for that month at £50,738, of which 1,254 bales of wool contributed £48,410; coal, to the East Indies, £330, and timber £430. Taking the ratio of export value to population it would seem to have been about £20 per head per annum. As to the imports I know of no means of obtaining any information.

In so small a community one would hardly expect to find banking transactions on any but the smallest scale. Four English and New South Wales establishments had branches in the district—the Bank of Australasia, the Union Bank of Australia, the Australian Joint Stock Bank, and the Bank of New South Wales. The average note circulation of the whole may be taken at about £30,000; the deposits, £180,000; the liabilities, £357,000; the notes and bills and debts due, £390,000. The coin was about £50,000, and the bullion, apparently, nil. The Bank of Australasia had the largest share of the business, the Australian Joint Stock Bank, the Bank of New South Wales, and the Union Bank of Australia following in due order. There were offices in Brisbane and Ipswich, those in the latter town—in which at that time most business was transacted—being finer buildings than in the capital, on which the Ipswichians congratulated themselves and looked scornfully on the Brisbane claims. There are no returns which show the operation of the Act authorizing liens on stock or on wool, those effected in the district being registered in Sydney up to the date of separation from New South Wales, as far as I can learn.

There was not much room for the energies of the Protectionist in Queensland in December 1859. There were at that time four steam sawmills, one soap manufactory (recorded as having made 5 tons of soap in the year 1); one candle factory, which turned out fifty thousand pounds weight of candles; a struggling salt works; two coal mines, the output being about 5,000 tons, valued at £3,500; and a dugong fishery whose returns are not extant. Population was wanted to develop the resources of the country, and concerning the most effective methods of establishing a speedy and useful immigration there was much discussion, and some curious theories were propounded.

The system of civil government in the district at this time was simple enough. The constitution had not, of course, come into direct operation, and the departments were merely branches of the central government of New South Wales. Captain Wickham ruled over Brisbane and its connected districts; Captain O'Connell presided at Gladstone over whatever was supposed to require supervision in the district of Port Curtis. The number of employes did not then form a subject of uneasiness to liberal politicians jealous for the liberty of the subject. At the head office there was the superintendent and one clerk. The Crown lands found work for five commissioners and eight land agents; the survey office for seven surveyors and one clerk and draughtsman. The Customs employed one sub-collector and four subordinates, and there was a board of works of two. The steam navigation board numbered six officials and the immigration board three. The Botanic gardens were entrusted to a committee of three and a superintendent. There was one coroner to enquire into suspicious deaths, and two police magistrates and twelve clerks of petty sessions to look after the suspected amongst the living; while for every description of ultimate jurisdiction there was a judge of the Supreme Court and twelve officials of various kinds. The post office did not too severely tax the energies of four departmental officers, twelve local postmasters, and two letter-carriers. The native police corps seems to have been a favourite one with the Government of New South Wales. It had a commandant and a secretary, and its five divisions were thus officered:—Port Curtis and Leichhardt, a first lieutenant and six second lieutenants; Wide Bay and Burnett, a first and second lieutenant; Maranoa and Condamine, a first and two second lieutenants; and the Moreton Buy district one second lieutenant. Of the ordinary police I find eleven chief constables set down for various places, and I believe the ordinary corps could not have mustered more than thirty. The gaol required the services of five superior officials, two chaplains, and seven turnkeys. Two sheep inspectors were supposed to guard against disease and infection in stock. Port Curtis had, besides Captain O'Connell, nine officials, one being a police magistrate. The whole of the official staff was not much beyond a hundred. If my readers fear for the protection of the country with so small an administrative corps they may perhaps take heart at the cloud of magistrates which hovered over the land, for there were even then one hundred and fifty-three gentlemen on the commission of the peace.

It will be observed that this very moderate administrative strength left a fine field for official organisation by the new Government. How this was taken advantage of will be seen hereafter. But the enthusiasts for further separation may derive a warning and a lesson from a comparison between the executive strength of December, 1859, and that of December, 1860. To be sure, there was not much activity to call forth the energies of the public service. The expenditure on public works of all kinds could not have been more than £10,000 in the eleven months before separation, most of which seems to have been devoted to the gaol. The collection of the then taxes must have been easy. Spirits, wines, ale, porter, tea, sugar, treacle, molasses, coffee, chicory, cigars, tobacco, and snuff comprising all the dutiable articles. The other sources of revenue were of a kind that were brought, rather than collected. Altogether, there must have been a good deal of placid resignation, accompanied by an occasional folding of the hands and leisure for quiet introspection—if that were enjoyable—amongst the civil service of those days; and if its salaries had not attained the high level in which some of its members rejoice now, the duties were light—the responsibilities, for the most part, nominal, and the plague of ministerial supervision and patronage was as yet unknown.

The social condition of the people was, in great measure, what one might suppose it would be, that of a quiet colonial country locality almost unexpectedly roused to a mild excitement by the prospect of capital, population, and enterprise, long worked for and wished for in vain. The course of life was monotonous, unless a flood, or a drought, or an election disturbed it. Public amusements, there were none, save such as might be derived from the infrequent visits of a stroller or two—more seldom, of a musical star. A School of Arts, with a small, but good, library, was kept up in Brisbane with some success, and now and then a lecturer drew a few people together, as much from curiosity as from taste. There was another institution of the kind lodged in a temporary building at Ipswich, and a feeble reflection at Toowoomba; and, moreover, there was a volunteer mounted corps, whose evolutions certainly had the merit of keeping the spectators in good humour. As in most such communities, there was a sort of sectional division; in this case having the superior portion of the official element—the leading squatters, the older professional men, the bank managers, some of the clergy, and one or two wholesale dealers on the higher level. The middle stratum had its notabilities, and amongst these arose most of the disputes which occasionally, to use a now proverbial phrase, made things lively, when not varied by the eccentricities of lesser legal and clerical lights. The general mass were, for the most part, quiet in habit, moderate in expense, and, earning good wages, while the cost of living was low, had less ground for real, than imaginary, discontent. Leaving on one side those who found enjoyment in low pleasures—and they were inconsiderable in number—there must have been a good deal of self-contained life in those days. In truth, there could have been little room for anything else. Travelling was slow, sometimes difficult, mostly expensive, and in wet weather well nigh impracticable. I question whether, outside of Brisbane, there was a mile of road in the colony—few of the creeks were bridged, and, in more than one case, the bridge, however good in itself, was unapproachable, unless by a long detour from the main track. Even in Brisbane the streets, so called, were, in great part, passages between allotments where, sometime or other, buildings were thought likely to be erected; and their surfaces were as soft as their verdure was fresh. They did not need watering, for there was no dust—the luxuries of which primitive condition, I suppose, stimulated a candidate for aldermanic honours, some months afterwards, when increasing traffic had made the roads more friable, to recommend that they should be laid with turf to prevent the spread of the nascent nuisance—and the new municipality had not commenced the work of road formation. As were the ways of the metropolis, so were those of the interior townships, with a plentiful admixture of stumps. Intercourse between the interior and the coast towns was, in great part, dependent upon the weather, because of the difficulties presented, not only by the usual tracks and by swollen creeks, but by the passage of the Great Dividing Range and its spurs; at whose base or summit, teams have been kept for months unable to start upon the ascent or descent. There was, in fact, every motive existent for the colonist to seek his amusement at home, not the least being, sometimes, the impossibility of getting far away from it; and, sometimes, the improbability of finding any improvement in his lot by going farther. The arrival or departure of the steamer from or to Sydney—especially the arrival—was a periodical source of amusement in Brisbane, at least to the people, but the passengers occasionally viewed the matter in a different light. A trip, now and then, on the river afforded a little variety; omnibuses and cabs being then unknown. One source of amusement, however, existed in the newspapers, whose weekly or tri-weekly issues were eagerly looked for. There was only one in Brisbane—the old Courier—whose politics at the time were professedly liberal, which meant anti-squatting, in the district, and of the Manchester school in other respects. It neither meddled, nor assumed to meddle, with literature, properly so called, and as to ecclesiastical matters, seemed to have inherited the feelings prevalent when—

Oyster women locked their fish up,
And trudged away to cry no bishop.

The North Australian at Ipswich, fierce in defence of its own town, and defiant of opposition, was, nevertheless, menaced by the rivalry of the Herald, in the formation of which Mr. Macalister and some pastoral friends took a leading part; and at Drayton the Darling Downs Gazette sneered at the shopkeepers below the range, and advocated the claims of the squatters. The principal peculiarity attached to this last journal at the time was the curious nature of its accommodation—a wooden shanty elevated on some piles, apart from the few houses of the place, and where the music of the waving trees and the trickling waters of a creek: below were favourable to meditation, if not to comfort.

Of art there was nothing to notice; no one looked for it, and no one was disappointed. There had been neither call nor room for its development. One exception might have been found in the little Roman Catholic Chapel at Brisbane, which possessed some real character in the later pointed style. Nevertheless, it was currently believed that there were "fine buildings," and a traveller desirous of peace would not have ventured to disturb the belief. No auctioneer offered pictures which, supposing them to have been genuine, would have been priceless, and "chromos" and oleographs, and the photograph in its more modern aspect, were all unknown. The Illustrated News supplied, at once, art and criticism for the people.

The community was not a litigious one. I remember only six or seven solicitors in the Moreton Bay district, and, generally, legal proceedings were carried on with a great deal of good humour on all sides, except when the payment of costs ruffled the surfaces and, still more, the depths below. There was not more than the average of criminality, when we consider the special class from which it principally arose. 217 were committed—mostly for minor offences—during the year 1859; of whom, 7 were minors, 117 could not read, 6 had been convicted once before 16 twice, and 39 three times or more. At Michaelmas, 1859, there were only 32 in confinement, all of whom had been tried—11 for felonies. As to the physical health of the people, I have scarcely any available record to turn to. There were only two hospitals in the colony—one in Brisbane, and one in Maryborough—both sustained by Government grants, by voluntary subscriptions, and by a portion of the fines received at some police courts. At the Brisbane institution, 176 patients were admitted during the year, 24 seeming the average number of inmates; while at Maryborough, 14 and 4 were the numbers respectively. I think there were only three or four medical men in Brisbane, including the hospital surgeon; two in Ipswich, two or three on the Darling Downs, and one in Maryborough. Accident, more than disease, was the source of practice, and there were no earth-closets and no boards of health to squabble over their unsavory merits or defects.

The educational system, inherited by the colony from New South Wales, was, to a small extent, on what was called the National system, under a Board incorporated by the Act, 11 Vic., No. 48, the preamble whereof recited the desirability of "establishing schools to be conducted under Lord Stanley's system of National education." The regulations issued by the Board were not very voluminous; the books directed to be used seem to have been similar to those of the Irish National Schools, including four sets of Scripture lessons, and lessons on the truths of Christianity; and for reading these, or for direct religious instruction by ministers of religion, one hour each day was directed to be set apart. I find no reference to matters special to Australia, to whose geographical and physical characteristics it appears to hive been thought unnecessary to refer. The expenses of the National schools were defrayed partly by the State, and partly by school fees and subscriptions, the striking peculiarity in this part of the arrangement being the miserable stipends paid to the teachers. Working contemporaneously with this system, was a denominational one, in which the teachers' salaries were supplemented by the State, but the teacher seems to have been more at the discretion of the authorities of the denomination under whose supervision the school immediately was, provided a certain degree of efficiency were kept up. The National system had not attained any great degree of public favour, for I gather from the statistics for 1859, that there were in the new colony at the time of its creation, six schools connected with the Church of England, attended by 337 scholars; four in connection with the Church of Rome, whose scholars were 354; one National school at the little village—if village it could be called—of Drayton, with 78 scholars; and thirty private schools, which obtained between them 698 pupils. In all, 1,517 children were taught in the different schools, and of that number all but 180 belonged to the towns. The ratio of attendance I am, from the absence of statistics, unable to give. The general prevalence of the denominational system spoke well for the exertions of those in the churches with whom the primary steps for the establishment of schools rested—they began well; the future, at least with respect to the Church of England, had to tell a very different tale.

I now come to a division of my subject, into which I have gone more particularly than may appear necessary to some of my readers; but I found in the course of my enquiries for the requisite facts that they were to be collected from such a variety of sources, were so scattered, and, in consequence, so little known, and, when known, lightly appreciated, that it was indispensable, if anything approaching to an intelligent and useful account was to be arrived at, to deal with the subject with more than usual care, and in more than usual detail. I have never met with a connected history of religious progress in Queensland, or any effort at tracing its rise, and to this the difficulty of getting at the facts, as well as of discriminating between different versions of the same fact, may in no small degree have tended. I venture to think that the neglect which has been betrayed by some, to whom the subject might be supposed to legitimately belong, and the virulent partizanship of others, have contributed largely to the mingled ignorance and indifference with which these important matters are often treated in this colony. I have, therefore, endeavoured to arrive at a clear apprehension of the religious condition of the community in 1859, and of the origin and progress of its different churches and denominations amongst us; so that, at least, some of the reproach which attaches to an indolent non-appreciation should be wiped away.

Undoubtedly that condition was one, as exhibited in the contemporaneous statistics, to excite considerable surprise. Out of a population of 25,020, the number of attendants on divine service was set down at 3,523,* and this was divided into—Wesleyans, 875; Church of Rome, 745; Church of England, 643; Presbyterians, 460; Baptists, 325; Congregationalists, 250; and Lutherans, 230. Eighteen churches and chapels are enumerated, most of them recently built structures of wood, of an exceedingly primitive and unsubstantial kind, and where these were not forthcoming court-houses and school-rooms, not more solid or attractive, were used instead. In the whole district there were sixteen clergymen of various denominations. The figures I quote from show only the condition of the townships; of services in the bush, on the stations, and at mere outside places I have found no reliable record, and indeed they must have been from the small number of ministers, irregular and infrequent.

[* Queensland Statistics, December, 1859.]

The population returns are in direct contrariety to those of religious attendance. At least, one-third of the whole number were nominally members of the Church of England, a fourth Roman Catholics, about 13 per cent. Presbyterians, the Wesleyans coming next. Yet the Wesleyans ranked the highest in the scale of religious activity—not a very creditable fact to the principal churches, even giving due weight to the concentration of congregations in townships, whence it arose that 630 of the Wesleyan worshippers were set down for Brisbane alone.

State endowments for religious purposes were recognized by the Legislation of New South Wales at the time in force in Moreton Bay, and applied according to a system embodied in a series of acts known as Sir Richard Bourke's Acts, passed in 1836-7. Sir Richard, who assumed the Governorship of the colony in 1831, was not long in finding that the jealousies of different churches and denominations, as well as the injustice which had from time to time followed upon the whims and caprices of some of his predecessors, were likely to be productive of serious evils, and that the exclusive connection of the State with any particular church was, in the local circumstances of the day, altogether out of the question. A man of distinguished intellectual powers, great administrative ability, and unswerving integrity and independence, he was the ablest statesman the colonies have yet seen as a Governor.** After two years' deliberation he laid before the Imperial Government a scheme for the settlement of the question, which in due time met with approval, and was soon after brought into operation by the General Churches Act (7 Wm. 4, No. 2, N.S.W.), passed in 1836. By this Act aid was authorized to be granted to churches and religious bodies who might desire it in the following way:—

[** Sir Richard was by descent in a collateral line connected with the celebrated Edmund Burke, and was marked by much similarity of character to that of that illustrious man, four volumes of whose correspondence with the leading statesmen of his day Sir Richard edited in conjunction with, I think, the late Earl Fitzwilliam.]

Towards the erection of churches, chapels, or Ministers' dwellings, in sums equal to private contributions up to £1000 in each case.

Towards the stipend of a minister of religion—vested interests in stipends being had regard to—if there were a resident population of 100 adults subscribing a declaration of a desire to attend his church, £100 per annum; if there were 200 such adults, £200; if 500 such adults, £300. When no church or chapel existed it was to be discretional in the Government to pay any sum not exceeding £100 in aid of private contributions, which, however, were not to be less than £50.

Trustees were to be appointed to hold the real estate and to receive and account for moneys issued under the Act.

Free sittings for the poor to the extent of one-fourth of the whole were to be reserved in every church or chapel.

Subsequently the requirements of different churches led to supplementary legislation to meet them in accordance with the specialities of their organization; but before describing how this was effected it is necessary to enter more fully into the early history of each of the various churches and denominations, which, so far as I am enabled, I proceed to do in the order of their seniority or proportion to population.

The Church of England was planted in Australia in an uncongenial soil and in troublous times. In the year 1793, eight years after the establishment of the convict settlement under Captain Phillip in Port Jackson, some people in England, amongst whom was the celebrated William Wilberforce, bethought themselves that when no provision had been made for religious ordinances or instruction in a professedly reformatory system something had been forgotten; and, as in a community of criminals and gaolers, the voluntary principle was not likely to meet with much support, the Government of the day were urged to make some effort towards supplying the deficiency. But that Government, occupied by the troubles and cost of the first French revolutionary war, and it is to be supposed not unaffected by the general religious indifference of the times, could only offer to provide for two chaplains on an economical or rather parsimonious scale. Thus much achieved, a new difficulty arose. At first no one at all suitable for such an appointment could be induced to accept it, and after one was found his coadjutor was not forthcoming. At this time, however, there was at St. John's College, Cambridge, a young student waiting for holy orders named Samuel Marsden, in all time to come to be inseparably identified with the commencement of Maori civilization in New Zealand. Marsden was the son of a Yorkshire farmer of small means, by whom he had been sent to the free Grammar School at Hull. On leaving this he was started in life as a tradesman in Leeds, but his vivacity and clearness of intellect had gained for him the notice of a society called the Elland Society, formed to aid in the education for the ministry of young men of limited means, but of exceptionally good character and ability, and of which Wilberforce, Simeon, and Thornton were prominent members. By this Society he was sent to St. John's, where he was waiting for his degree, when, at the suggestion of Mr. Wilberforce, one of the proposed chaplaincies was offered to him. He at first shrank from it, but no one being found to take the place, he undertook its duties, and in the spring of 1793 was ordained. Shortly afterwards, being then twenty-nine years of age, he married and started for his destination. He soon had a foretaste of what he was to encounter in the opposition made to the performance of his ministerial duties, by the master of the convict ship in which he took his voyage, and when he had some experience in the new settlement, then governed by Captain Hunter, he discovered that that foretaste was but a mild indication of what he had to undergo. His fellow-chaplain, after having had his house burned down in return for his services, abandoned the task in despair. Hunter himself found the state of things so unendurable that he returned to England in—the year 1800 to attempt the attainment of some reform, but he did not come back to the colony, nor do I think that he met with much sympathy at home. His successor, Captain King, encountered like evils and difficulties, and on his return to England in, I believe, 1806, Marsden, who foresaw the results of the condition which culminated afterwards in the revolt against, and deposition of, Governor Bligh by his own officers, accompanied him in the hope of obtaining some amelioration and improvement. The utmost he could then secure was that the convicts should be taught trades, and that three chaplains and two schoolmasters should be sent back with him. Any other suggestions, especially in a moral or educational direction, were rejected as enthusiastic or visionary by the practical men of the day. Yet, at that time there were probably 10,000 inhabitants, mostly convicts, or, too frequently when not so, very little better, in New South Wales.

In another direction he was successful beyond his hopes, and, as I have said in an early chapter of this history, is entitled to share with Macarthur the honour generally claimed solely for him of laying the foundation of the growth of the great staple export of the Australian colonies—wool. What he valued more was that the profit from his farseeing enterprise helped, in no small degree, to supply means for carrying into effect his schemes for the improvement of the prisoners, and the promotion of his missionary enterprises in New Zealand, which he at this time originated. Into the history of his efforts in that direction, his various trials and considerable success, the nature of this work precludes me from entering. In the opinion of those capable of judging, he is declared to have been a worthy predecessor of the great and good Selwyn. What is there to be added of eulogy to such praise?

It was not long after his return to New South Wales that he found himself in collision with Governor Macquarie, who, for twelve years, ruled the colony with vigour, not infrequently diverging into despotism. He would have been ecclesiastical director, as well as civil superior, and often endeavoured to interfere in religious matters over which he had no rightful control. These attempts were steadfastly resisted by Marsden, who, at the same time, saw much to be dissatisfied with in the way in which Macquarie too frequently postponed moral reform to mere material prosperity in his estimate of the character of his hybrid population. And Macquarie was not one to tolerate opposition. A system of detraction and abuse on his part, and, at last, of direct accusation by himself, resulted in the issue of two commissioners from England, from whose enquiries Marsden came out, not only with acquittal, but with approval and reward. He did not escape disagreement with Governor Brisbane, but after that governor's recall lived in peace and honour, and to the end in useful activity until May 23, 1838, when, after nearly half a century of ministerial and missionary labour, he died at Windsor, in New South Wales. Forty years afterwards I heard him spoken of with affectionate respect by some whose age was such that, in their early days, they had participated in a kindness which they still appreciated, while they remembered a goodness which they had not forgotten to reverence.

But, before his death, Marsden had one great wish gratified, and it befel thus: In the year 1813, the exertions of Wilberforce and his friends had enlisted the public interest in the condition of the East Indian possessions of Great Britain, and the responsibility of the Church of England with regard to them. In 1814 the first Bishop of Calcutta—Thomas Fanshaw Middleton, beforetime Archdeacon of Huntington—was appointed, not without many misgivings, on the part of that excellent man, as to his ability to discharge the duties of so novel and so arduous a position. He was to be assisted by three archdeacons, one in each of the cities of Calcutta, Madras, and Bombay. In 1821, as I collect, he received a petition from Marsden, bringing before him the requirements of New South Wales; and arrangements were made for the establishment of an archdiaconate of Australia in subordination to the See of Calcutta. The Bishop dying in 1822, there arose some delay in making the necessary appointment, and it was not until 1825 that the Reverend Thomas Hobbes Scott received it; but of the character or results of his administration, I have no record. He was succeeded in 1829 or 1830, by Archdeacon, afterwards Bishop, Broughton, a man of sound judgment, an ardent churchman, but with greater liberality of feeling than he has been generally credited, and, withal, of quiet sustained energy and determination of purpose—qualities all called into action by the transitional circumstances of the times, and by the discontent felt at the special advantages then accorded to the Church of England. He was fortunate in that the inevitable changes were, so to speak, in the hands of Sir R. Bourke. Partly in connection with these matters, and, partly, in consequence of the inconvenience and increasing inadequacy of the then episcopal arrangements, Archdeacon Broughton found it necessary to visit England in 1835, when it was determined to create an Australian See, of which he was consecrated the first bishop, in February, 1836. Some of Marsden's friends complained that he was passed by, but the good old man, then more than seventy years of age, participated in no such vain regrets. He knew that the fullest possible vigour, both of mind and body, is required in our colonial episcopate, especially in the formation and settlement of new dioceses, and that an infirm frame and enfeebled intellect are poor endowments for the performance of the duties which that work entails.

The reader will have observed that, subsequently to the passing of the General Churches Act, supplementary legislation was found necessary to meet the special requirements of the several ecclesiastical bodies interested in it. That legislation was in 1859, and, in part, is at present in force in the colony; and it may be as well at this stage to recapitulate, as briefly as possible, its principal provisions as respects the Anglican Church in Queensland.

The Acts in which they are embodied are technically known as the 8 Wm. IV., No. 5, N.S.W., 1837, and the 21 Vic., No. 4, N.S.W., 1857. The first Act empowers any person or persons providing at his or their own expense a church or chapel approved by the bishop of the diocese, or any minister's dwelling, glebe land, or burial ground, to nominate five persons as trustees thereof; or any number of persons subscribing not less than three hundred pounds towards such purposes to elect like trustees by the voting qualification—until, in the case of a church or chapel, the completion of the building—being a subscription of not less than £1, and the perpetual one for the trusteeship membership of the church—the member frequenting its public services and not being known publicly to impugn any of its doctrines." A trustee absent from the colony for six months continuously, or becoming insolvent, or "disqualified as hereinbefore mentioned"—I presume by cessation of membership or by impugning the doctrines of the church—was to be removed by the remaining trustees, and the vacancy was then to be filled up in like manner as in the first nomination or election—supposing the church or chapel to be still incomplete. If it were finished the elective right was vested in the pew-holders, renters, and annual contributors, being members of the church one-sixth of the sittings in any church or chapel being reserved as free, The pew-holders and renters were to have as many votes, not exceeding six, as they held or rented seats, the contributors one vote for every pound sterling subscribed. The same constituency was to elect the churchwardens at the annual Easter meeting. Power was reserved to the "Bishop of Australia" to be the sole trustee of any church property and in the event of non-election, to nominate churchwardens; and direction were laid clown for the regulation of elections, for the keeping and auditing of trustees and churchwardens' accounts; for provision for the maintenance of buildings, and "for the due and orderly celebration of public worship and the administration of the sacraments" in accordance with the ceremonial and discipline agreed to in the Synod of London of 1603, as well as for sundry minor matters with which it is unnecessary to trouble the reader. When any glebe became likely to yield more than £150 per annum the trustees were empowered to lease it for any term not exceeding twenty-eight years, and to apply the proceeds—after securing the incumbent £150 per annum—for purposes of church extension generally. By the subsequent Act of 1857 the maximum term was very injudiciously lengthened to ninety years—a most absurd provision in a colony in which not infrequently a quarter of the period quadruples the value of property, and one which has been almost fraudulently taken advantage of to the damage of the Church but to great private emolument in New South Wales. The same Act forbade the mortgaging or encumbering the property of the Church, and the trustees were directed to furnish annual accounts of receipt and expenditure to the bishop of the diocese.

The value of legislation must be collected from its results, and to those which followed that which I have described I shall have hereafter to refer. But, despite the impediments thrown in his way by the Act of 1837, Bishop Broughton worked with energy, and, indeed, with no small measure of success, insomuch that in a few years' time he found himself in a position to recommend a re-arrangement of his diocese, by which two new bishoprics would be created; and he offered, in order to facilitate this being done, to give up a fourth of his own salary towards their support. Accordingly, in June 1847, his desire was fulfilled in the consecration of Dr. Perry as Bishop of Melbourne, and of Dr. Tyrell as Bishop of Newcastle—the latter including, with other of the northern portions of New South Wales, the district of Moreton Bay. In fifteen years the Anglican Church increased under Bishop Broughton's administration from an archdeacon with fifteen chaplains and three catechists to three bishops with an archdeacon and sixty clergymen, and it was not always good ground on which the sower went forth to sow.

Moreton Bay as an entirely outside district was for some years left very much to itself, but when Captain Wickham came, in 1842, to take the civil government, Bishop Broughton sent the Rev. John Gregor with him, who found a scattered and not very sympathizing flock. He was bred originally in the Presbyterian Church, his secession from which exposed him to much unmerited vituperation from Dr. Lang, who accused him of being actuated by mercenary motives. If the work he came to satisfied him the work he left, must have been the very wretchedness of penury. He at first held occasional services in the room formerly used as a chapel in the old convict barracks, and subsequently in an abandoned prisoners' workshop, which the Bishop leased at a shilling per annum for the purpose. There being no residence, he took lodgings in the Moravian Missionary Station, not far from Brisbane, and thence started on many a weary journey, in the performance of his duties, in the bush and at the squatting stations formed at the time. His was a position of toil and privation, not unmixed with personal danger, obscure and poorly paid, and productive less of thanks than of disappointment and mortification.

After four years of continuous and harassing work, Mr. Gregor was accidently drowned while bathing in a waterhole at the Moravian Station, and news of the sad occurrence met Dr. Tyrrell on his arrival at Sydney, on his way to take charge of his diocese—a diocese which, thenceforward, he may be said never to have left, and which will ever remain indebted to his powerful intellect, unwearied energy, and noble disinterestedness, during an episcopate of thirty-two years. He at once sent the Rev. B. Glennie—now Archdeacon Glennie—to take Mr. Gregor's place. During his residence in Brisbane, and in 1849, the Rev. I. Bodenham, then living temporarily at what is now the suburb of Kangaroo Point, collected money for the erection of the old wooden church in that locality, and it was opened about September in the same year. From the ill-kept records of St. John's (the mother church of the diocese), and from such other information as I have been able to collect, Mr. Glennie must have left for the Darling Downs sometime in (?) July, 1850, the Rev. John Wallace taking his place for Brisbane and Ipswich. This gentleman is recorded to have presided at a meeting of the church in August of that year; after which time, I find no entry until November 8, 1851; but, from other sources, I gather that the Rev. H. O. Irwin took charge of Brisbane in 1851 or 1852; Mr. Wallace being transferred to Ipswich, where a temporary wooden building had been, or was about to be, built. At what date Mr. Irwin's connection with the parish ceased, I am unable to find; but in an entry of a meeting on February 7, 1856, the name of the Rev. — Yeatman occurs; and he appears to have continued at St. John's until September, 1858, when he left the district. Mr. Wallace had preceded him in December, 1851, and was succeeded by the late Rev. John Moseley, who, throwing his whole soul into his parochial work, was the principal instrument in procuring the erection of the large, though not very ecclesiastical looking, church of St. Paul's is Ipswich. On Mr. Yeatman leaving, Mr. Moseley was transferred to Brisbane, being succeeded in Ipswich by the Rev. L. H. Rumsey; and at the date at which this portion of this history terminates, the services of the three clergymen seem to have been thus distributed:—Mr. Mosely had charge of the Brisbane district, in which was included, besides the duties at St. John's, occasional services in the buildings which accommodated both congregations and scholars in Fortitude Valley, South Brisbane,* and, I presume, when he could find time, at Kangaroo Point as well; Mr. Rumsey attended to St. Paul's, Ipswich, and the districts around that town; while Mr. Glennie travelled over the Darling Downs, his district including Drayton and Toowoomba, Dalby, Leyburn, and Warwick—an area of at least 8,000 square miles. This memoir would be exceedingly imperfect were I not to record my admiration of the unostentatious unceasing labours of Mr. Glennie, who, colporteur, schoolmaster, and priest, walked and rode, with pack well stored with the books he thought most likely to be useful, many thousands of miles in the course of his long, unassisted, and solitary ministrations over that large extent of territory, labouring alike for the present and the future, and, on his retirement, carrying with him the affectionate respect of those most familiar with his self-denying unselfish toil, and his kindly simple advocacy of the cause he loved so well. It is proper also to mention the aid frequently given, in Brisbane and its vicinity, by the Rev. R. Creyke, at the time too invalided to take a regular cure—but now incumbent of the suburban parish of Toowong.

[* Both the buildings, wonderfully unlovely in their way, seem to have been put up in 1857.]

I do not, in the slightest degree, infer any want of earnestness or ability in the clergymen who successively attempted to minister to the congregations of the Anglican Church during the period over which I have gone, when I admit that the result of their labours in the Moreton Bay district appears to have been far from successful. The imperfect nature of the Church Acts greatly contributed to cripple their efforts. In prescribing the voting qualifications, those acts exhibit a temporizing timidity, significant of changing and uncertain times, of which indifference was a prominent characteristic. When they supplied no readily available corrective for any breach of their own provisions, or of the internal laws of the body to which they were intended to apply, their inevitable tendency to subordinate the collective church to the individual congregation became exceedingly mischievous. Their framer had, no doubt, to some extent, the disciplinary powers of the mother church impressed upon his mind, but he did not give due weight to the altered circumstances around him, which, in great measure, neutralised their operation; neither did he attempt to supply the deficiency thus created, and it is quite possible that the excellent prelate, who seems to have exerted himself in procuring this legislation, was unacquainted with the technicalities which were necessary to carry his intentions fully into effect. It is easy to see what the real purpose of these acts was; it is equally apparent that the machinery provided was inadequate to the proposed end.

But whatever might have been the imperfections of the law, the obedience rendered to it in the Moreton Bay district was intermittent and desultory. The notions generally entertained as to what the real doctrines or discipline of the Anglican Church might be were exceedingly vague, while the intense localism incidental to small communities had generated a spirit adverse to its constitution. Its members became impressed with a sense of responsibility which sometimes exhibited itself in rather eccentric directions. For all practical purposes the canons of 1603 might as well have been the Institutes of Justinian, and had any priest of the church attempted in 1859 to impose the thirtieth upon his congregation, they would have stopped their ears with their fingers and fled. But too often in the zeal to discuss theology, plain, administrative duties were forgotten, and the haste to criticise was more apparent than the critical faculty or the knowledge essential to its beneficial employment. The minister became less a teacher than a candidate for approval, and churchwardens and trustees forgot their minute-books and their accounts to rush into controversy over offertories and responses with their Bishop. The records directed to be kept by the Church Acts were scandalously neglected, even in churches of metropolitan pretensions. In one case I found a period of four years without a minute; in another a period of two, while not a vestige of account was discoverable amongst the records of the church, and the visitations of the Bishop were not only left without specific notice, but were not even alluded to. Whatever any minister might have attempted, it appears to me that, as to the other officers of the church, "there being no king in Israel, every man did that which was right in his own eyes," the natural result being that in most cases every man thought all other men more or less in the wrong.

To a church thus disorganized was appointed, as the first Anglican Bishop in Queensland, the Right Reverend Edward Wyndham Tuffnell, of Wallham College, Oxon, a man of old family and considerable attainments, and a Prebendary of Salisbury. He came to exchange for a life of learned leisure and dignified association, under the shadow and amidst the eloquent, though silent, grandeur of one of England's most magnificent cathedrals, an existence embittered by a covert hostility, exhibited in little suspicions and insulting insinuation. I have said in Queensland, because the boundaries of the colony and of Dr. Tuffnell's diocese were not co-terminous. At the creation of the diocese of Newcastle its northern limit was found at the 21st parallel of latitude, the western at 141° E. longitude; the letters patent creating the new diocese limited it to such portions of that of Newcastle as was comprised within the boundaries of the new colony, and hence it followed that all of Queensland beyond the old diocese was left under the ecclesiastical jurisdiction of the Bishop of Sydney—an arrangement subsequently productive of great inconvenience. However, for this there was no remedy, and under the circumstances I have described the Anglican Church awaited its reorganization and its head.

I regret that I could not obtain the information necessary to enable me to give as detailed an account of the establishment of the Roman Catholic Church in Moreton Bay as I desired. I gather from the Courier that in 1846 one priest had been sent here whose name does not appear, but that he was a man of considerable energy I should infer from the commencement of a chapel in 1848. The ministrations of whatever clergy were here seem to have been uneventful, and the peace of the church, undisturbed by internal dissension, although the spirit of localism was said to have been stronger than in later days, was thought consistent with ecclesiastical discipline. The late Archbishop Polding visited the district in September, 1858, but the journals of the day make no special mention of the causes or results of his visitation; in fact, I do not think that Roman Catholicism found much favor in the eyes of the newspapers of those times. In 1859 there were two clergy here—the Very Reverend. Dean Rigny—one of a class now well nigh extinct, mingling with not a little of the polish of the old French Abbe, a frank and kindly courtesy that won the hearts of all who came in contact with him—was resident in Brisbane. Father M'Ginty, an active, energetic, warm-hearted priest, of a different type, was devoting himself to his duties—not the least being the erection of a chapel somewhat in advance of the ordinary taste of the times—at Ipswich, and in the interior districts to the west of that town. Both of them were popular, and from what I remember of the circumstances and the people, I should say, deservedly so. Their church was, from its constitution, left unfettered by special legislation, but partook of the advantages offered by the General Churches Act, and at the time of separation were each left in receipt from the state of £150 a year. In view of the new colony a diocese of concurrent extent had been created, to which the late Right Reverend James O'Quinn had been nominated Bishop, of whom, as he did not arrive until some months after the new Government began, I defer further mention.

The settlement of the Scottish Presbyterian Church in Queensland may be traced to three sources. In the parent colony of New South Wales a variety of causes, detailed at some length in Dr. Lang's history of New South Wales, led to the existence at this time of three Synods: the Synod of Australia, connected with the Established Church of Scotland; the Synod of Eastern Australia, erected by the Free Church party in the colony in connection with that church in the old country; and the Synod of New South Wales, called into existence by Dr. Lang, when he disavowed the Established Church, and held himself aloof from, or was held at arms length by, the church of the secession. It is unnecessary to detail the disputes and troubles that perplexed those times, and did little credit to the controversialists; whoever has a taste for that peculiar sort of polemics will find in the history I have alluded to a pungent enough description of the whole—of course from the writer's own point of view—which I do not think it necessary to repeat or abridge.

The branch of the Established Church of Scotland in Australia was, as regards all grants made to it from the State, placed under the operation of the General Churches Act before referred to. But, subsequently to the passing of that Act it was, as in the case of the Anglican Church, found necessary to adopt special legislation adapted to its circumstances and ecclesiastical peculiarities. By the 8 Wm. IV., No. 7, more detailed provision was made than had before been for the nomination of trustees of property or moneys given to, or held for, the Church; for defining the manner in which the trusts created shall be fulfilled, and for otherwise regulating the temporal affairs of churches, chapels, and ministers' dwellings over which the then Presbytery had or might have control. Without repeating the technicalities of this Act—in many respects similar to those of the Anglican Act before cited—I may note that the minister in each case might be present and vote at the meeting of trustees; that land appertaining to any church or chapel might, under certain conditions, be let on twenty-eight years' leases, provided that £150 a year was reserved oat of the income for the minister, and if he resided on the land a portion not exceeding one-fifth of the area in addition; and that the powers and duties of the trustees were specifically confined to the temporal matters connected with the church or chapel in connection with which they were appointed. In 1840, when the Presbytery was converted into the Synod of Australia, a further Act—the 4 Victoria, No. 18—was passed, by which the powers before given to the Presbytery were transferred to the Synod, and practically all State aid to the Church made contingent on conformity to the legislation then adopted. Under this Synod the Rev. W. L. Nelson, D.D.,* was, in 1859, minister of the Scottish Church of St. Stephen's, Ipswich, he having taken charge of the district in 1853, and he received, I believe, £150 per annum in aid of his stipend.

[* To whose kindness I am indebted for much of the information given on this subject.]

The Synod of Eastern Australia—i.e., the Free Church—was represented in 1859 by the Rev. C. Ogg, who officiated at the church in Ann-street, of the date of whose settlement here I have no record, but who still lives and labours amongst us.

The Synod of New South Wales had, in 1859, two representatives—one Mr. J. Kingsford, who seems to have had a church and small congregation at Warwick, and the other, a Mr. G. Wagner, who is described in the statistics as an "itinerating" minister. The life of this sprout from the Presbyterian stem seems to have been weakly, and its comprehensiveness far beyond its strength; accordingly, in due time, it became defunct.

Judging by the statistics of attendance the Scottish Presbyterian Church seems to have retained its hold upon the people who came from the land of its birth;—principally of a class whom Dr. Tulloch would net have been much in love with, although he might have admired their consistency even in the hatred of whistle kists and the preference of precentors. On the doctrines taught I am neither qualified or called upon to say more than that, at that time at least, the hearers appeared to rejoice in an orthodoxy and hatred of Erastianism on one side, and of Roman Catholicism and prelacy on the other, sufficient to meet the requirements of the strictest presbytery of the old nursery of Calvanism. What some might consider their narrowness in theology did not nevertheless prevent their forming a very valuable section in the general community.

The Wesleyan Church showed its usual activity from the first in the Moreton Bay district. So early as the year 1846 the Rev. Wm. Moore was on a mission here, but after a time was succeeded by the Rev. — Lightbody. In 1848 it was stated in the Australian, Circuit Record that a small chapel had been erected by Mr. George Little, on leasehold ground in North Brisbane, and that three allotments had been granted as sites for a chapel, a schoolroom, and a minister's dwelling—I presume the ground at the angle of Albert and Adelaide streets, Brisbane, on which the principal chapel now stands. The official report for 1848-9 stated that the attendance was good, that the building was always filled, and sometimes crowded, and that a Sunday-school of forty children had been established. In 1850 the Rev. John Watsford was appointed to the ministry in Moreton Bay; how long he remained I know not, but I infer that he had some assistance, since services were held at Ipswich and at the German Station, as well as at Brisbane. At this date all the Wesleyan circuits were mission stations under the English Wesleyan Foreign Missionary Society, but in 1855 the whole of the circuits in Australasia, New Zealand, and the South Sea Islands were formed into a Conference, affiliated to the British Conference. The return from Moreton Bay to the new Conference showed that there were then three churches, forty-two preaching places, and two Sunday-schools in the district, in which five ministers and assistant ministers and ten teachers ministered to six hundred hearers and one hundred and twenty scholars. I am unable to give the names of their successors up to 1859, but at the end of that year the Colonial Statistics enumerate three ministers:—the Rev. Samuel Wilkinson, who preached at Albert-street church, and is recorded to have "held service at seven other places;" the Rev. William Curnow, whose church was in Limestone-street, Ipswich; and the Rev. Wm. Fallon, who was stationed at Warwick. The number of persons generally attending is set down at 675, but no mention is made of assistant ministers, Sunday-schools, teachers, or scholars, nor am I sure that the statistics are to be implicitly relied upon. It is however certain that the condition of the church was solid and prosperous, as the astonishing advances made during the next five or six years assuredly showed.*

[* For the most valuable portion of the information I have been able to record I am indebted to the courtesy of the Rev. F. T. Brentnall, who took some trouble in preparing the notes from which it has been compiled.]

There is an old proverb that "poverty makes men acquainted with strange bedfellows," and the circumstances attendant upon the early settlement of the Baptists in Queensland, to some extent, illustrate it, although it might seem that the co-operative spirit displayed in the first instance was subsequently, at least for a time, lost sight of in what was termed the genuineness of church membership. Be that as it may, the series of events is too valuable as showing the spirit of the times to be omitted from this record.

Before the arrival of the ship Fortitude, in 1849, there were only two Baptists in Brisbane, but with that vessel came the Reverend Charles Stewart—himself a Baptist minister, and about five other members of the same denomination. These, with a like number of Independents and Presbyterians, formed a small but united congregation, of which Mr. Stewart became the pastor, who held their services in the old Court-house, in Brisbane, whose varying transformations I have described, and the use of which was granted by Captain Wickham for the purpose. The congregation grew and prospered under Mr. Stewart's care, and in time £113 was collected, with which a piece of land was bought fronting William-street and running back to George-street, as a site for a chapel, and a further sum of £600 was then raised, which was applied to the erection on part of the ground of the first and, as it proved, the last church of the united congregation. With prudent foresight it was agreed that so soon as either of the three denominations considered itself strong enough to, in the words of my informant, "set up upon its own account," the church property was to be sold and the proceeds equally divided. The services, however, were still conducted by Mr. Stewart for three or four years, when failing health compelled his retirement, and he returned to England where he shortly afterwards died. After his departure the Baptists thought that they had within themselves the elements of stability, and the property was then sold to the late Dr. Lang for £1,500, out of which they received their third share of £500.**

[** That part of the ground on which the chapel was built was, with the chapel, sold by Dr. Lang to the Queensland Government for £2000. The building was for some years used as a Telegraph Office, and then was converted into a residence for the Government Printer, and so remains.]

After this separation, the Baptists were granted the use of the oldest police court, then held in the same old building, in which they had first met, and afterwards converted into offices for the Crown Solicitor, the Attorney-General occupying the lock-up and keeper's quarters, during which time the Rev. Smith became the pastor; but, says my informant, "from either a defect in the man himself, or a want of appreciation on the part of the people, he remained only about a year." After he left, the church remained without a minister until the arrival of the Rev. B. G. Wilson, 1858, who remained its head until his death—nearly twenty years afterwards. During the first year of his ministry, the church in Wharf-street, which had been commenced the year before, was completed at a cost of about £2,300; and, in the statistics of the colony, I find the attendance stated as at 200, besides which the denomination had a chapel at the German Station, and a room at Ipswich; accommodation hereafter to expand with the prosperity of the colony, and in fair proportion to it.*

[* I am obliged to my friend Mr. Wm. Bell and to the Hon. James Swan for the greater portion of the information thus condensed—the authenticity of which, I presume, will not be challenged.]

Into what haven the Presbyterian division of the thus separated congregation drafted, I am not aware, but the building seems to have been occasionally availed of for divine service, sometimes by the Lutheran body (Germans), as I find the Rev. C. F. A. F. Schermeister described as officiating in it to an attendance of forty, and sometimes in the tolerance of Dr. Lang, by whomsoever being like-minded with himself required its use.

The Independents formed a separate congregation, for some time availing themselves of the old School of Arts, until the completion of the then new church in Wharf-street, North Brisbane, and, in 1859, the statistics register the name of the Reverend George Wight as the minister, the attendance being stated as 150. Another entry informs us that the Reverend J. J. Waraker was the pastor of a congregation of 100 at Ipswich, the origin of which was in some respects akin to that of those I have just described. Briefly, the incidents seem to have been these: Up to March, 1857, there was, outside the Anglican and Roman Catholic Churches, no settled minister of any denomination in Ipswich; in that month the Reverend Thomas Deacon, a Baptist minister, arrived there, and shortly afterwards a temporary place of worship was fitted up, in which service was carried on by him for two years, when a meeting was held, at which it was resolved to form a "Congregational Church which should include the two denominations usually called the Baptist and Independent," and to cement the union that the subjects of infant and adult baptism should not be introduced into the pulpit, nor should any other means be employed for the purpose of making Baptists Independents or Independents Baptists." The compromise, unlike its predecessor in Brisbane, was of short duration, for in about nine months both resolutions were rescinded, for reasons which it is said "do not transpire on the records of the Church." Mr. Deacon resigned his pastorate, receiving the thanks of his late congregation for "the excellent spirit he had displayed," and the Reverend E. Griffith, who had been sent for from New South Wales, took his place; but, after a brief pastorate of two years and four months, left to take charge of the congregation at Maitland, in that colony. Meanwhile, in 1855, a new chapel on which £100 had been expended, and which is now used as a school-room, was opened with much rejoicing, and in this the Reverend Mr. Waraker was officiating at the creation of the colony. Nothing of moment arose after this, unless the question whether the use of the harmonium was permissible in public worship be deemed so. They to whom that instrument is a source of pleasure will be gratified to learn that after due deliberation the doubtful tendencies of instrumental music were provided against by a stipulation that it should be employed "to assist and not to supersede the congregational psalmody," and that the harmonium was thereupon admitted. Nothing thereafter seems to have disturbed the harmony of the church, which went on its useful works quietly prospering, yet not without energy withal.

I have thus gone through the early history of the settlement of the different churches prior to the creation of the colony—more in detail than by some may be thought necessary; but to those who appreciate the glimpses of life and thought and character which it affords, surely not without interest or use. We may easily see how the difficulty of organization and of adherence to the distinct lines of creed and practice—which mark the separation between churches as bodies beget indifference to both—to be succeeded in some cases by a violent reaction, in others by a continued apathy to what had been so forgotten from long disuse that, when recalled, it was looked upon less as a return than as an obtrusive and dangerous narrative. I suspect that the leaven thus raised did in some measure, and to a greater extent than many would imagine, leaven the whole mass of religious and political working in the times that were to come, and, if so, the retrospect will have its value.

To those who take the trouble to reflect on the circumstances presented by this history it will be clear that the surface agitation, which appeared to exert so marked an influence in bringing about the separation from New South Wales, was without doubt inferior in reality to the less evident undercurrent excited by self-interest and selfish fear. The rapid progress of those principles in land legislation which first found embodiment in the measures of Sir John Robertson (the "Free-selection Jack" of the period) alarmed the squatters—the leading and almost the sole producing class of the little community—who conceived that their share in the resources of the country was threatened, and that their tenure would be almost extinguished by his bill. And accordingly, while the popular platform was adopted in Moreton Bay as one of the most efficient instruments in arriving at the desired end, a persistent worrying of the Colonial Office was kept up in London by men who were not popular here, but there were received as the exponents of the wealthiest and most influential class of the community, and who, ostensibly fighting for that, found their zeal intensified by the remembrance that they were especially fighting for themselves. The almost invariable neglect of the district by the central authorities was, without doubt, a special subject for invective, but dissimilarity in general interest was an efficient cause of separation; a fact which should act as a warning to ourselves, although the local government Acts of recent years have done much to remove the causes of that discontent at partial and unfair expenditure, which was so deeply felt in the district prior to 1860. Whenever differences in climate, or cultivation in the industries which result from them, attain their natural development the obstacles to general legislation which must naturally follow from them will exert much the same sort of influence that similar ones did in the times we are reviewing. Not even the telegraph itself can fully counteract the laxity which distance permits to official administration remote from the superior authority. We may, therefore, contemplate the ultimate separation of the northern districts from the south more as a sequence than as a calamity—as the necessary outcrop of natural causes; and so viewing it may avert a bitterness which the severance of Queensland from New South Wales left behind it, to the damage and discredit of both.

Great anticipations of vast and indefinite advantages to follow from separation were, no doubt, indulged in—anticipations only just now beginning to be realised. The right of self-government had been obtained, but, beyond that, for many years afterwards, commerce ran in the old channels, and the commercial dependance upon New South Wales was steadily enforced and tacitly acquiesced in. With but a brief interval, the greater part of the carrying trade of the colony was left in the hands of a company in which our people had the slightest possible interest; and, for a considerable period, up to the year 1880, the direct trade of the colony with Europe was steadily, and yet almost unobservedly, decaying. In 1879; the import from New South Wales was nearly fifty per cent. more than in 1877, although our numbers increased but slightly; while from Great Britain it had fallen rather more than twenty per cent. in the same time, and was only a fifteenth of the whole. Administrative independence may co-exist with commercial bondage, but they who pointed this out were, for a long time, as voices crying in the wilderness; and when, at last, the fact and its consequences were brought home to the public appreciation, the conviction was received as an unwelcome guest. It has taken a long time to emancipate public thought and action from the old trammels, in spite of the influx of population, in itself not nearly so great or so continuous as was both possible and desirable. Those who came were unacquainted with the local circumstances, seldom concerned themselves in our politics, such as they were, and soon became permeated with the ideas of the older residents, possibly from deference to their presumedly greater experience—a term more abused than most terms in the language. We may, in the words of the old Greek, grow old considering many things, and yet have learned little—and the bulk of mankind don't consider. One thing the colony has been a long time discovering—the value of self-dependence—the other, which it has yet to learn, is the adjustment of ends to means.

In the early history of the district, the combination of patience and skill was not often found, and, like that of the later period, it presents us with abundance of beginnings on a large scale, and endings on a small one; of miscalculations of power; of want of unanimity; and of that natural trust between classes and individuals which is necessary to make a nation happy, and keep it so. Perhaps this was natural to the paucity of numbers, agreement in opinion being always fractional in the body amongst whom it is formed; and what ten men out of a thousand may find impossible, 100 in 10,000 may easily carry out. But it is impossible to glance over the period from 1842 to 1859 without feeling a thrill of admiration at the persistent endurance with which the early settlers confronted the difficulties of a varying fortune, consolidated their social strength against the introduction of a criminal, servile, and degraded element, and rejected the independence they craved if it were to be clogged by such a weight. That there should have been some narrowness of mind, some local jealousies, and some class hostility was, under all the circumstances, as natural as to be regretted. But thus much may be asserted in favor of the old colonists of Moreton Bay: when Sir George Bowen came to assume the government of Queensland he found a community second to none in the British dominions in their unaffected hospitality, in their natural propriety of conduct, in the support of their religious and educational institutions, and in their desire to see their adopted country placed on the road to, what they believed ought to be, its position in the great empire of which it formed a part. And if, with these qualities, the defects arising from long repression and comparative isolation and small numbers did display themselves, we may, while congratulating ourselves upon a wider sphere and greater breadth of thought, sometimes question whether both have not been gained by the sacrifice of the less showy virtues of our predecessors, and unhappily in some cases to their extinction.



[END OF VOLUME I.]


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