Convict Station

On Oxley's return he recommended this district of Moreton Bay as a suitable position for the new convict station and during the following year 1824, he was sent to form the settlement. With a small party, consisting of convicts and their guards, he landed at Redcliff, a peninsula which juts out into Moreton Bay a few miles above the mouth of the Brisbane River. Here he stayed for a few months, but afterwards moved twenty miles up the river to the plain now occupied by the city of Brisbane, where soldiers' barracks were at once erected and strong buildings of stone prepared for the convicts. Here, for some years, the lonely party dwelt, a handful of people in the midst of a vast and unexplored land.

But, in course of time, the solitude was broken by the approach of neighbours; for, after the discoveries made by Allan Cunningham, in 1825, the squatters of New South Wales had hastened northwards, in order to depasture their flocks on the fine lands of the Darling Downs. They found many little towns, such as Ipswich, Drayton, and Toowoomba ; and as, in 1829, a pass leading across the Dividing Rnge from the Darling Downs to Moreton Bay had been discovered by Cunningham, the squatters on the west of the mountains began to hold frequent communication with the settlement of Moreton Bay, from which they obtained convicts to act as shepherds on their runs.

Removal of Convicts

When the new land regulations were proclaimed by Governor Gipps in 1840, the country around Moreton Bay was entitled the "Northern District of New South Wales" and the land was thrown open for sale at 12 shillings per acre. A considerable number of free immigrants shortly afterwards settled on the banks of the Brisbane River and as they found the soil well adapted for the cultivation of wheat and maize, they made rapid progress and others soon followed to share their prosperity.

In 1841, after transport to New South Wales had been discontinued, the remaining convicts were all removed from Moreton Bay; and, two years later, the free settlers of the district began to send representatives to the Legislative Council at Sydney.

 

History of Australia