The Oxley 1824 Journal – a synopsis

Saturday 10th September 1824. Oxley entered Moreton Bay and headed for the old 1823 Camp at Pumice River on Bribie Island. There he had left a message in a bottle for Parsons – the remaining shipwrecked sailor from the Pamphlet encounter in the previous visit. The bottle was untouched.

Despairing that Parsons had been lost, he was surprised to see a large group of natives on the beach and amongst them a white man. Parsons was rescued!

The following evening Oxley anchored off Osbourne Point at Redcliffe. This site had been selected as the future site for the Penal settlement. The Amity, with the first contingent of soldiers and convicts under the Commandant Lt Henry Miller traversed the site with Oxley once more and confirmed that this was to be the interim settlement. It was Oxley’s brief from the Governor to locate and recommend a permanent site on the banks of the river Brisbane.

On the 16th September he set off to explore and survey the river Brisbane. That evening they camped at the entrance to a large creek (Breakfast Creek) and during breakfast on the morning of the 17th, a group of natives raided the camp and stole a barometer and Oxley’s hat.

Oxley continued on up the river. Galahs announced his arrival at each twist in the river and the pelicans danced. He caught glimpses of his hat in the distance as the local people followed his progress. He camped at Termination Plains (Goodna) that evening as this was as far as he reached in 1823. Oxley continued up the river passing and naming the Bremer River but not venturing up it. He finally reached a series of impassable rapids and shoals on the 22nd. He climbed a nearby hill naming it Belle Vue Mountain (Mt Crosby) and noted the rich expanse of land to the south and west that might be suitable for farming. Large forests of pine trees impressed him and he noted that they may be suitable for the Admiralty. He named the species the Brisbane Pine.

On the 25th September he set off back down the river. He stopped on the 27th at Crescent Reach and encountered a large group of aboriginal people. That evening a raiding party entered Oxley’s camp. Oxley recognised the leader as the chap who stole his hat. Oxley demanded the return of his hat. A skirmish ensued and a rifle was fired wounding the man in the arm. Oxley hastily departed the site and moved downstream to a larger creek and hill (near Park Road today) near a chain of ponds that he knew from his last trip offered good fresh water.  The aboriginal women cried and wailed all night in sympathy for their wounded leader. The next morning Oxley packed up and headed downstream returning to the Brig Amity on the 29th September.

He set sail and proceeded to explore the southern end of Moreton Bay, anchoring at Amity Point and then off Peel Island at Horse Shoe Bay. The Amity bumped around on shallow sand banks and shoals until he located a main channel that offered a safe passage. He set sail for Sydney on the 8th October 1824.

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