Crown Lands Commissioners In Moreton Bay (1842-1859)
Dr Margaret Shield, Visiting Fellow 2017/2018

Christopher Rolleston Letter 1843

To the Colonial Secretary

28th December 1843



I have the honor to report for the information of His Excellency the Governor my return from visiting the newly discovered River supposed to by the “Boyne” upon the head of which Messrs Russell & Glover have occupied a Station and as I remained there some days I took the opportunity of seeing as much of the Country as possible and of gaining all the information I could from these Gentlemen who had followed the River down for upwards of 200 miles.


That it is an Eastern water there can be little doubt, the Soil, herbage, Timber & bed of the river, all indicate a Coast Country although the fall of Country from the table land is very trifling – it is clearly ascertained that this River has no connexion with Wide Bay, but that it is the Boyne is as yet entirely conjectural although from its course which proceeds for nearly 200 miles in a Northerly direction before it turns Eastward to the Coast and from its increasing magnitude as far as its course was followed by Messrs R & G there appears every probability that it is the main Stream of that great River or its Southern Branch, as about 150 miles down it is described as having a breadth of water of nearly a quarter of a mile & being a continuous running Stream of great depth.


The Country is generally an open forest with a sandy Soil, well grassed, and intersected with dense & extensive Scrubs, although some distance down the river Mr Russell describes the soil to be principally red loam & the scrubs much less frequent.


The Timber consists principally of the stunted broad leafed Iron Bark intermixed with the Apple & Box – No bunya or bread fruit was seen by Mr Russell & the Natives say there is none to the Northwest of Wide Bay – innumerable tributary Streams & Creeks join the River on both sides and are generally of running & permanent water with open forest country on their banks of great extent. One very large tributary in particular Mr. R. noticed joining the main stream from the Eastward, about 150 miles down – I am sorry that I met with none of the Natives, they are described as being numerous, though scattered in small Tribes. On one occasion they came forward to the number of 300 and had a hostile demonstration at one of Messrs. R. & G’s outstations but retreated without making any aggression on either life or property – this is the only instance of their shewing an unfriendly disposition, and the Station has now been formed about 8 months.


The climate is decidedly tropical, excessive heat during the day, and Thunder, Lightning and rain nearly every evening – the only practicable Road yet formed to this Country is through a pass in the Main Range at the northern extremity of this district.


There can be no doubt that this Country is available to a very great extent both for Sheep & Cattle and as there is every probability of numerous applications for Stations being made to me, I shall be glad to be informed whether His Excellency will approve of my issuing Licenses on these applications, or not.


I have etc.



(Toowoomba and Darling Downs Family History Society Inc., Initial Settlement on the Darling Downs 1843-1852, a transcription of Rolleston’s Records, p 11 [CD]. Reproduced with permission from New South Wales State Library)