Patrick Logan

Captain Patrick Logan (1791 – October 1830) was the commandant of the Moreton Bay Penal Settlement from 1826 until his death in 1830 at the hands of Aboriginal Australians who objected to him entering their lands. As he had been hated by convicts, there were rumours that escaped convicts living in the bush had attacked him,[1] but there is no evidence of this.

Not to be confused with the Desperate Housewives character, Patrick Logan (Desperate Housewives).
Patrick Logan
Berwickshire, Scotland
DiedOctober 1830
near Mount Beppo
Surry Hills, Sydney
AllegianceUnited Kingdom
Unit57th Foot Regiment
Battles/warsPeninsular War, War of 1812
Spouse(s)Letitia O'Beirne

Born in East Renton, Berwickshire, Scotland, he was the youngest son of a Scottish landowner and farmer, Abraham Logan and Janet Johnstown. He was baptised at Coldingham, Berwickshire on 15 November 1791.[2][3]

Logan had a distinguished military career. He was known as a strict commandant of the penal colony to the point of cruelty. Logan made significant explorations of what was to become known as South East Queensland. He discovered the area which became Ipswich, Queensland and some consider him to be the founder of Queensland.[3]

Military career

In 1810 he joined the 57th Foot Regiment and served in the Peninsular War.[4] He took part in the battles of Salamanca with the retreat from Salamanca; Vittoria; Nivelle and Toulouse. Logan's regiment was sent to Canada in 1814 where he stayed for a year before being joining Wellington's Army of Occupation in Paris.[2] He left the army during peacetime and returned to Ireland to take up farming.

Deciding that life as a farmer was not for him, he rejoined the 57th Foot Regiment in 1819.[2] In 1823 he married Letitia O'Beirne[4] and they had two children, Robert Abraham Logan (1824 – ?) and Letitia Bingham Logan (1826 – ?). His regiment was ordered to New South Wales, leaving Cork on 5 January 1825.[2]

Logan arrived in Sydney, New South Wales, with his regiment on 22 April 1825[3] aboard the Hooghly. Most of his time in Sydney was spent guarding convicts. In November, Governor Thomas Brisbane appointed Logan as commandant of the convict settlement at Moreton Bay, Queensland.[3] It was March 1826 by the time he reached the settlement, aboard the Amity ship.

Penal settlement

The settlement was quite primitive and Logan embarked on a building program, and on planting maize. During his time as commandant, the convict population there increased from 77 to over 1,000.[5]

He designed and oversaw the construction of a hospital, a jail and a windmill.[2] He administered crops of wheat and maize at various locations. He believed that the settlement was a place to punish the convicts, forcing them to work by hand from sunrise to sunset.[2] In 1827 the Attorney General commented on the fact that Logan had ordered punishment of up to 150 lashes on several occasions,[6] justifying the extreme criticism bestowed on him in the contemporary ballad Moreton Bay.


He also systematically explored south-east Queensland. He discovered the southern entrance to Moreton Bay, now known as the Gold Coast Broadwater. He named the McPherson Range, Birnam Range, Teviot Brook and Wilsons Peak.[2]

Logan was the first European explorer to visit the upper reaches of the Brisbane River and other places in the vicinity including the areas now known as Esk and the mountain rainforests of Lamington National Park and Mount Barney National Park. He was the first European to explore the Bremer River, where he discovered deposits of limestone at a point later to become known as Ipswich.[7]

Captain Logan unsuccessfully attempted to climb Mount Barney on 13 and 14 June 1827.[8] On a return journey, Logan, Allan Cunningham, Charles Fraser and a small party attempted to ascend the peak, believing they were climbing Mount Warning, which was first identified by James Cook. A determined Logan carried on while the rest were too fearful of the hazardous and difficult climb. From atop the summit, which was at the time the highest point reached by a white man in Australia,[3] Logan was able to see the true Mount Warning.[2] Together with Cunningham they decided to call this range the McPherson Range. He named the peak he had just ascended, Mount Hooker, but because his map was lost, the mountain was later given another name, Mount Barney.[2] He also originally named the current Mount Lindesay, Mount Hooker.


He died in 1830, after setting out on 9 October to explore and chart the headwaters of the Brisbane River with a small party of one private (his servant), and three convicts. The party was several times confronted by large armed groups of Aborigines. The first meeting was when they were making a river crossing: a large group of men brandished weapons, rolled boulders down a hill at the group, and shouted 'Commidy Water' which was thought to mean that Logan should go back across the water. There were other confrontations and sightings. Logan had the habit of riding ahead of the group and during the return journey, on 17 October, they lost track of him, although they thought they could hear him shout 'Cooyee' and shouted back and fired guns. Searches eventually led to first his saddle, then his dead horse, hidden by boughs in a stream bed, then his body, buried in a shallow grave.[9]

As the horse had evidently failed to leap over the creek resulting in its death, it has been conjectured that the injuries and death of Captain Logan may have been accidental.[10] However, contemporary news reports are emphatic that he was murdered with native weapons, as proved by the settlement's surgeon, Mr Cowper, at an inquest.[11]

In November 1830, Logan was buried in the Protestant burial ground in Surry Hills, Sydney.[2]


Logan had been hated by the convicts because of his strict discipline and program of punishments. Moreton Bay convicts "manifested insane joy at the news of his murder, and sang and hoorayed all night, in defiance of the warders." The ballad Moreton Bay[12][13] represents Logan as a bloody tyrant. "Captain Logan, he had us mangled, on the triangles[14] of Moreton Bay", attributes his death to "a native black", and concludes "my fellow prisoners, be exhilarated, that all such monsters such a death may find". In the long poem A Convict's Tour to Hell, written in 1839 by the convict Francis MacNamara, also thought to have composed the Moreton Bay lyrics, the convict sees Captain Logan suffering in hell.

Many geographic features in South East Queensland bear his name. These include Logan City, the Logan Motorway and Logan Road, Logan River, Logan Village, Logan Reserve, Loganholme, Loganlea and Logans Ridge. A commemorative plaque to one of Logan's expeditions can be found in Tully Memorial Park by the Logan River at North Maclean.[15]

See also


  1. The Courier Mail Extras.
  2. Jensen, Jo; Barrett, Peta (1996). Patrick Logan. Moorooka, Brisbane: Future Horizon Publishing. ISBN 0-9587622-7-9.
  3. Louis R. Cranfield. "Logan, Patrick (1791 - 1830)". Australian Dictionary of Biography online edition. Australian National University. Retrieved 30 June 2010.
  4. Roberts, Beryl (1991). Stories of the Southside. Archerfield, Queensland: Aussie Books. p. 44. ISBN 0-947336-01-X.
  5. The Courier Mail Extras op cit
  6. Patrick Logan and the early explorers, p.3 at
  7. Buchanan, Robyn (2009). The Bremer River. Ipswich City Council. p. 10. ISBN 978-0-9587063-8-4.
  8. Rankin, Robert. (1992) Secrets of the Scenic Rim. Rankin Publishers p. 18. ISBN 0-9592418-3-3
  9. Cited contemporary newspaper account of death (The Australian 19 November 1830).
  10. Steel, J.G. (1972). The Explorers of the Moreton Bay District 1770-1830. University of Queensland Press, Queensland (1972) p.360.
  11. Murder of Captain Logan by the Blacks at Moreton Bay. The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser, 16 November 1830. At Trove, National Library of Australia. Accessed 23 November 2016
  12. music and lyrics Archived 5 February 2016 at the Wayback Machine
  13. Hear Moreton Bay as rendered by Australian folksinger Marian Henderson
  14. A triangle was the stout timber frame to which a man was bound prior to flogging.
  15. "Commemorative plaque in Tully Memorial Park, North Maclean, 1978". Picture Australia. National Library of Australia. Retrieved 30 June 2010.
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