Timeline of Brisbane

The following is a timeline of the history of the city of Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.

18th century

19th century

  • 1823 Emancipated convicts John Finnegan, Richard Parsons, and Thomas Pamphlett were shipwrecked off Moreton Island while looking for timber (a fourth person, John Thomson, died at sea). Following a quarrel, Parsons continues north while others stay on the island.
  • 1823 Surveyor-general John Oxley arrives at Bribie Island to evaluate Moreton Bay as a site for penal settlement. Discovers Finnegan and Pamphlett who guide him to the Brisbane River; names Peel Island, Pine River and Deception Bay.
  • 1824 Oxley discovers Parsons and returns him to Sydney
  • 1824 First commandant Lt. Henry Miller arrives at Red Cliffe Pt from Sydney with soldiers, a storekeeper and their families, John Oxley, botanist Allan Cunningham, stock and seeds.
  • 1824 First settler born in colony named Amity Moreton Thompson
  • 1825 Shipping channel via South Passage found; settlement moves to Brisbane River; first convict buildings built along William St.
  • 1825 Edmund Lockyer of 57th Regiment explores Brisbane River. Notes flood debris 100 feet above river levels at Mount Crosby, finds first coal deposits. Names Redbank after soil colour.
  • 1826 Captain Patrick Logan takes over as commandant of colony. Achieves extensive stone building program using convict labour. Discovers Southport bar and Logan River.
  • 1827 Allan Cunningham leaves Hunter Region to seek link via New England Tableland to Darling Downs
  • 1827 Indigenous resistance leader "Napoleon" exiled to St Helena Island. Aborigines raid maize plots, resist advances. Frequent conflict until the 1840s.
  • 1828 Cunningham discovers gap in Great Dividing Range, providing access from Moreton Bay to Darling Downs. Also explores Esk-Lockyer basin and upper Brisbane Valley in 1829
  • 1829 Moreton Bay Aborigines seriously affected by smallpox
  • 1830 Captain Logan mysteriously murdered near Esk, commemorated in folk song, "The Convict's Lament"
  • 1831 Moreton Bay settlement population reaches 1241, including 1066 convicts
  • 1833 Ship Stirling Castle wrecked on Swain Reef; first of many ships to wreck on Queensland coast over next 40 years.
  • 1836 Quaker missionaries report Moreton Bay indigenous population infected with venereal disease from American whalers
  • 1837 Brisbane's pioneering Petrie family arrives in Moreton Bay. Andrew Petrie (builder and stonemason) is clerk of government works; stays on with wife Mary and five children after penal settlement closes. Son John Petrie becomes Brisbane's first mayor; other son Tom writes sympathetically about local indigenous people.
  • 1839 Calls to cease convict transportation successful; Moreton Bay is closed as a penal settlement. 2062 men and 150 women served sentences at the settlement, half of them being Irish; 10 percent died, 700 fled, 98 never recaptured.
  • 1840 Escaped convict John Baker surrenders after 14 years of living with indigenous Australians
  • 1841 Indigenous people Merridio and Neugavil are executed at Wickham Terrace windmill for the murder of surveyor Stapylton and his assistant in Logan
  • 1842 New South Wales Governor George Gipps proclaims Moreton Bay a free settlement. Land is offered for sale from Sydney.
  • 1842-1855 War of Southern Queensland
  • 1846 Squatter and entrepreneur Evan Mackenzie succeeds in making Brisbane a port independent from Sydney
  • 1846 Recorded population of Moreton Bay area is 4000 Aborigines and 2257 migrants
  • 1848 First 240 government-assisted British migrants arrive in Brisbane. First Chinese labourers arrive.
  • 1849 Rev Dr J.D. Lang, local clergyman and journalist, brings his first English, Irish, Welsh and Scottish migrants with unauthorised promise of land grants. Government rations issued to prevent starvation. Lang envisages a colony of self-sufficient, thrifty and hard-working farmers, workers and artisans.
  • 1849 Brisbane School of Arts established
  • 1849 William Pettigrew arrives in colony. He later becomes the mayor of Brisbane in 1870 and is a member of the Legislative Assembly of Queensland between 1877 and 1894.
  • 1850 Areas beyond inner Brisbane suburbs, such as Bulimba, Coorparoo, Enoggera, Nundah, Sherwood and Stafford are used for agriculture and grazing until the 1880s
  • 1850 Displaced aborigines from Bribie Island, Redcliffe peninsula and Wide Bay make gunyah camps in Breakfast Creek/Eagle Farm region (until the 1860s)
  • 1850 Arthur Lyon sends sample of cotton from New Farm to The Great Exhibition in London
  • 1851 Influenza epidemic hits Brisbane (lasting in 1852)
  • 1855 Nearly 1000 German migrants arrive in Brisbane after political unrest and the introduction of compulsory military training; most settle in the Nundah area
  • 1855 (5 January) Aboriginal resistance leader Dundalli hanged near current Post Office; large-scale protests by indigenous tribes
  • 1855 (21 February) Walter Hill appointed first superintendent of the Botanic Gardens at Brisbane.
  • 1862 Old Government House is completed
  • 1864 Great Fire of Brisbane
  • 1866 11 September, food riots that were instigated by the recently retrenched workers[1]
  • 1867 Parliament House opens
  • 1885 Undue Subdivision of Land Prevention Act 1885
  • 1885 Horse-drawn tram system commences operation
  • 1893 Brisbane flood
  • 1896 Capsize of the ferry Pearl
  • 1897 Electric trams introduced
  • 1899 Queensland Museum leaves the Old State Library Building to move into Exhibition Hall (later called the Old Museum), at Gregory Terrace, Bowen Hills

20th century

21st century

See also


  1. Evans, Raymond (2007). A History of Queensland. Port Melbourne, Victoria: Cambridge University Press. p. 85. ISBN 978-0-521-87692-6. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)