Page:EB1911 - Volume 22.djvu/754

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QUEENSLAND


Hrsrorw

The Portuguese may have known the northern shore nearly a century before Torres, in 1605, sailed through the strait since called after him, or before the Dutch landed in the Gulf of Carpentaria. Captain Cook passed along the eastern coast in 1770, taking possession of the country as New South Wales. Flinders visited Moreton Bay in 1802. Oxley was on the Brisbane in 1823, and Allan Cunningham on Darling Downs in 1827. Sir T. L. Mitchell in 1846-47 made known the Maranoa, Warrego, and Barcoo districts. Leichhardt in 1845-47 traversed the coast country, going round the gulf to Port Essington, but was lost in his third great journey. Kennedy followed down the Barcoo, but was killed by the blacks while exploring York Peninsula. Burke and Wills crossed western Queensland in 1860. Landesborough, Walker, M'Kinlay, Hann, jack, Hodgkinson and F avence continued the researches. Squatters and miners opened new regions. Before its separation in 18 SQ the country was known as the Moreton Bay district of New South Wales. A desire to form fresh penal depots led to the discovery of Brisbane river in December 1823, and the proclamation of a penal settlement there in August 1826. The convict population was gradually withdrawn again to Sydney, and in 1842 the place was declared open to free persons only. The first land sale in Brisbane was on August 9, 1843. An attempt was made in 1846, under the colonial ministry of Gladstone, to establish at Gladstone on Port Curtis the colony of North Australia for ticket-of-leave men from Britain and Yan Diemen's Land. Earl Grey, when secretary for the Colonies, under strong colonial appeals arrested this policy, and broke up the convict settlement. In 1841 there were 176 males and 24 females; in 1844, 540 in all; in 1846, 1867. In 1834 the governor and the English rulers thought it necessary to abandon Moreton Bay altogether, but the order was withheld. The first stock belonged wholly tof the colonial Government, but flocks and herds of settlers came on the Darling Downs in 1841. In 1844 there were 17 squatting stations round Moreton Bay and 26 in Darling Downs, having 13,295 cattle and 184,651 sheep. In 1849 there were 2812 horses, 72,096 cattle, and 1,077,983 sheep. But there were few persons in Brisbane and Ipswich. The Rev. Dr Lang then began his agitation in England on behalf of this northern district. Some settlers, who sought a separation from' New South W ales, offered to accept British convicts if the ministry granted independence. In answer to their memorial a shipload of ticket-of-leave men was sent in 1850. In spite of the objection of Sydney, the Moreton Bay district was separated from New South Wales by an Order in Council of 13th May 1859, and proclaimed the colony of Queensland. The population was then about 20,000, and the revenue £6475.

The constitution, which was based upon the New South Wales Act of 1853, provided for 16 electoral districts, with a representation of 26 members. A Legislative Council was also formed, to which the governor of New South Wales, Sir William Denison, appointed 5 members, to hold office for four years, and Sir George Ferguson Bowen, the first governor of the new colony, 8 life members. Robert (afterwards Sir Robert) George Wyndham Herbert was the first premier and colonial secretary, and held office until 1866. Of the 39 representatives in the first Parliament, 20 were pastoralists; the others may be roughly classed as barristers, solicitors, and merchants. The pastoralists were the pioneers of settlement in the colony; those best known were the Archers of Gracemere, the Bells of Jimboor, the Gores of Yandilla, the Bigges of Mount Brisbane, Mr (afterwards Sir) Arthur Hodgson, Robert Ramsay, Gordon Sandeman, and Messrs Kent and Wienholt. The white population at the end of 1859 was 25,788, and the exports were valued at £500,000

Herberfs Administration,1859-1866.-The first Parliament was opened on May 29, 1860. The providing of revenue and the establishment of immigration were the chief matters for consideration. The treasury was practically empty, but Sir xxu. 24

I Saul Samuel, treasurer of New South Wales, took a broad and generous View of the situation, and rendered financial whilst in 1861 the first Government loan of £123,800 aid,

was

authorized, the money being appropriated to public works and European immigration. Labour was so scarce that as early as 1851 the squatters had imported Chinese; various schemes for the introduction of coolies on a large scale were now mooted, but public opinion was decidedly against any increase in the number of coloured aliens then in the colony. In 1859 the educational system was a mixed national and denominational one; there were IO schools of the latter class, 1 of the former, and 30 private schools. In 186O a Board of General Education was established, which extinguished the denominational system and placed the schools under State control. In the same year State aid to religion was abolished. The governor, in opening Parliament in 1863, pronounced decisively against the reintroduction of convicts. In that year Queensland boldly grappled with the extension of colonizing, and a settlement was established at the northerly point of Cape York peninsula by Mr jardine. During the following two years ports were opened along the coast, and pastoral occupation spread far into the northern and western interiors. The first sod of the first railway, from Ipswich to the Darling Downs, was turned on 15th February 1864. On February 1, 1866, Mr Herbert retired, and Mr Macalister became premier and Mr Mackenzie colonial secretary.~ In the following July the failure of the Overend and Gurney and Agra banks, in the latter of which the Government had public moneys, caused the collapse of a loan which was being negotiated in London. A panic followed: the Government could not pay the railway contractors, and the navvies employed by them started for Brisbane, threatening to hang the ministers and loot the town. On arrival, however, they were easily headed off to a reserve. By this time the treasury was empty, general insolvency prevailed, and the community appeared to be wrecked. Treasury bills to the amount of £300,000 were issued, and the governor in council was authorized to legalize treasury notes, when necessary, as currency, payable in gold on demand, to tide over the crisis. Prior to this, however, the treasurer took preliminary steps to issue £300,000 “ Legal Tender Notes ”in convertible “ greenbacks ”-but Sir George Bowen informed the premier that he should veto such a scheme, and suggested the issue of treasury bills. Mr Macalister thereupon resigned, and Mr Herbert, who had made arrangements to proceed to England (where subsequently he became permanent secretary of the Colonial Ofhce), took office again to help the colony through the difficulty. His second ministry lasted for eighteen days, and, having passed the Treasury Bills Act, he retired from the public life of Queensland. The only determined opposition the Herbert ministry met with was from the townspeople's representatives, whose contention was that the squatters dipped too deeply into the public purse for public works expenditure; but an important factor in the early parliamentary days was the opposition between the Brisbane and Ipswich parties in the House, the latter town aspiring to be the capital of the colony.

The Discovery of the Goldfields, 1866~1879.-Macalister returned to power in August 1866, and dealt so vigorously with the after-effects of the financial crisis that by the end of 1867 affairs had approached their normal condition. A new era was now opened for Queensland by the discovery of gold. The Gympie field was discovered by Nash in 1867, and a big “ rush ” resulted. In 1872 Hugh Mosman discovered Charters Towers, the premier goldfield of the colony; and Hann, the rich Palmer diggings. Other important discoveries were also made, and Queensland has ever since been a gold-producing colony. Mining is the foundation upon which much of the progress of the colony has been built, and the legislation and records show continuous traces of the influence of the gold-getter. In 1873 John Murtagh Macrossan, a digger, was returned to Parliament expressly as a. mining representative; and other men of a different stamp from the representatives of the squatters and townspeople, who had II