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

John Bidwill Letter 1850

The Commissioner of Crown Lands Wide Bay District to the Chief Commissioner of Crown Lands at Sydney requesting the continuance of additional men.

Wide Bay District, Tinana January 17th 1850



As a Court of Petty Sessions will I suppose, be soon established in this District and as His Excellency the Governor was originally pleased to allow me to engage the two additional men attached to my department only until such Court of Petty Sessions should be established. I beg to state for his Excellency’s consideration the following grounds on which I venture respectfully to request that I may be allowed to continue the additional men during the ensuing year.

1: The appointment was made in consequence of the “aggressions of the Blacks” in this district; these aggressions still continue and it was but yesterday that several (6-3 dead) working Bullocks were speared close to Maryborough and the Constables will have more than they can do in looking after the Whites.

2: The Blacks are more numerous in this District than in any other. I do not hesitate to say that there are at least ten in the Wide Bay District for everyone in the Burnett District immediately behind it, and I am quite certain that if I were to reduce the numbers of my establishment, until new settlements shall have been formed near me, that during some of my unavoidable absences my quarters would be again attacked and the women and children murdered – the buildings possibly burned. Should therefore these men be reduced, I shall be obliged to hire additional men which will be, when my buildings are completed, a greater expenditure than my pay will foreseeably allow me to afford.

3: It is not safe for one man now to travel by himself; I therefore am obliged if the distance is more than a days journey to send two men together on a message and there would be consequently none left at home to protect the place – the necessity of which precaution is abundantly shown by the late attack on my quarters of which I had the honour to inform you in my letter no. Gov. 49/60 Oct. 16th 1849.

4: I should hope that in another year the Blacks may have been taught a little forbearance; but should His Excellency not think proper to allow of my retaining these additional men until the end of the present year, I trust that at least I may be authorized to draw their pay until the termination of their respective agreements with me.

I have the honour to be, sir, your most obedient servant

J.C. Bidwell (Commissioner Crown Lands)



(New South Wales State Archives: NRS 906 Colonial Secretary’s Special Bundles – Commissioner of Crown Lands.  Reports re Border Police – Moreton Bay 1843-46. Document Number: 57/2648. Transcribed from the original. Reproduced with permission from NSWSA)