In support of the Commandants: subaltern officers of the Moreton Bay settlement, 1824 – 1850
Rod Pratt, Harry Gentle Visiting Fellow 2021

Conclusion and select bibliography

In conclusion it can be seen that the roles of the subaltern officers varied greatly in accordance with whether their service was during the convict or early free settlement phase of Moreton Bay’s early history. Subalterns serving during the convict period tended to have briefer postings and were always subordinate to the commandant. Whereas during the early free settlement period the subalterns invariably acted independently upon their own judgement with no superior to direct them, and as a consequence, mistakes were made. This was particularly the case during the settlement’s frontier war for which none of the subalterns were trained in this type of guerrilla conflict. Finally, throughout this early free settlement phase the size of the detachments were such that they could not hope to provide much more than psychological reassurance to settlers.

Select Bibliography


De Winton, George Jean. Soldiering Fifty Years Ago: Australia in the Forties. Ludgate Circus: European Mail, (1898).

Flannagan, Roderick. The Aborigines of Australia. Sydney: Edward F. Flanagan and George Robertson and Co., (1888).

Kerkhove, Ray and Uhr, Frank.  The Battle of One Tree Hill: The Aboriginal Resistance That Stunned Queensland, Boolarong Press, (2019).

Knight, John James. In the Early Days: History and Incidents of Pioneer Queensland. Brisbane, Qld: Sapsford & Co, (1898).

Petrie, Constance Campbell. Tom Petrie’s Reminiscences of Early Queensland (Dating from 1837). Recorded by His Daughter. 1st ed. Brisbane, Qld: Watson, Ferguson & Co., (1904).

Plunkett, John Hubert. The Australian Magistrate; or, a Guide to the Duties of a Justice of Peace for the Colony of NSW: Also a Brief Summary of the Law of Landlord & Tenant. Sydney: James Tegg, (1840).

Shaw, Barry (ed.) Brisbane: The Aboriginal Presence 1824-1860. Second
ed, Brisbane History Group Papers No.11 2020. Tingalpa, Qld, 4173: Boolarong Press, (2020).


Pratt, Rod. ‘The Affray at York’s Hollow, November 1849’, Royal Historical Society of Queensland Journal, Vol. 18, Issue 9, pp. 384-396, (Jan 2004).

Pratt, Rod and Hopkins-Wise, Jeff. ‘Redcoats in the 1840s Moreton Bay and New Zealand’, Queensland, Review, vol. 26, no. 1 (2019).

Stanley H. Palmer, ‘Calling out the Troops: The Military, the Law, and Public Order in
England, 1650-1850’, Journal of the Society for Army Historical Research, vol. 56, (1978).


Sydney Morning Herald, 25 November 1842, p. 2.

Sydney Morning Herald, 17 December 1849, p. 2.