Friday, April 27, 2012

First settlement memorials, Redcliffe

We have previously mentioned John Oxley in connection with the founding of Brisbane, the capital of Queensland, but surely he is of even greater significance to the citizens of Redcliffe.

It was Red Cliff Point in Moreton Bay that Oxley had recommended to Governor Brisbane as a site for a new convict settlement. His reward was to accompany the first party of convicts to be transported there in 1824 as Surveyor-General.  They came up from Sydney in the brig Amity, and there is a monument to Oxley, the ship and its crew, as well as the convicts that were aboard, on Redcliffe Parade in Redcliffe. This blue stone wall was designed to look like the sails of the Amity, and the plaques that have been included in the wall are engraved with names of those who sailed there in her, from captain to  convicts. There is also acknowledgement of the indigenous inhabitants of the area, the Ningy Ningy clan.
(Photo: © 2012 the foto fanatic)

That settlement only lasted for a year because of problems obtaining fresh water and the outpost's lack of success in growing enough crops to be self-sufficient. It was moved up the Brisbane River to the present site of Brisbane. Decades later, Redcliffe  became a resort town, and it is now a city in its own right. When the settlers and convicts quit Redcliffe in 1825, they left behind their rudimentary accommodation - leading the local aborigines to refer to the area as "humpy bong", meaning empty huts. The name is perpetuated by a local primary school, Humpybong State School. One of my favourite Australians, actor and author William McInnes, grew up in Redcliffe, and account of his days at the school can be found here.
(Photo: © 2012 the foto fanatic)

 Further south along Marine Parade is this obelisk, the John Oxley Memorial, that was erected in 1931-2 and unveiled on 26 December 1932 by the governor Sir Leslie Orme Wilson.

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