Queensland is the north-eastern state of Australia and has land borders with three other Australian states and territories: New South Wales (to the south), South Australia (to the south-west) and Northern Territory (to the west). To the north of Queensland is the Torres Strait separating the Australian mainland from Papua New Guinea. To the east of Queensland is the Coral Sea, part of the Pacific Ocean. There are many islands off the Queensland coast which form part of the state of Queensland.
The far western boundary with the Northern Territory is aligned along the 138th meridian east until Poeppel Corner at the intersection of this meridian and the 26th parallel south. It is here that Queensland borders South Australia. The boundary follows this latitude until it reaches the 141st meridian east at Haddon Corner where the border turns south reaching Cameron Corner on the 29th parallel south, the most western part of the border with New South Wales. The border follows this latitude towards the coast at about the 154th meridian east before following the courses of a number of rivers, then across a number of mountain ranges until it reaches Point Danger. These rivers are the Macintyre River, Severn River and Weir Rivers, all tributaries of the Barwon River itself a tributary of the Darling River.
1838 Royal Geographical Society proposal
By 1838 the coastline of the Australian continent had been well defined by mariners such as James Cook, Matthew Flinders and Phillip Parker King. As for the interior of Australia, little was known by the European settlers except for the area south of a line from Moreton Bay to Victoria as it is now (the south-east of the continent. This knowledge had been obtained from the journeys of explorers such as John Oxley, Charles Sturt, Thomas Mitchell, Allan Cunningham and George Evans.
There were many proposals for the subdivision of the Australian continent dating back to the 1830s. This proposal by Captain James Vetch was published by the Royal Geographical Society in their journal of 1838. Vetch tried to give each colony equal areas, possess a tract of sea coast with possible harbour sites and be as compact as possible.
The boundaries of his proposed colonies were defined using lines of latitude and longitude. This was generally used by colonial administrators when there was either no natural features such as rivers and ranges or due to exploration of the country not being well enough advanced to know if there were any natural features.
1846 The colony of North Australia
The loss of the American Colonies due to the American War of Independence (1775–83) forced the British Government to find another place to send its convicted felons. Its most recent acquisition (1770) New Holland (now Australia) was chosen and the first penal settlement established at Port Jackson in 1788 by Captain Arthur Phillip. Other settlements soon followed, Norfolk Island, Van Diemen's Land (now Tasmania), Port Macquarie and in 1824 Moreton Bay.
In 1840 the transportation of convicts to New South Wales ceased although Van Diemen's Land continued to receive large numbers of convicts. When William Ewart Gladstone became Secretary of State for the Colonies in 1845, he was confronted with the problem of the large numbers of pardoned convicts roaming around Van Diemen's Land unable to find work. Rather than revive transportation to New South Wales (which he knew would be very unpopular) he decided to create a new colony in the northern part of New South Wales. To this new colony he proposed to send the pardoned convicts of Van Diemen's Land and he hoped that in time they could form the backbone of a new vibrant free colony.
In May 1846, Lieutenant Colonel George Barney of the Royal Engineers was chosen as the new colony administrative head. He was soon despatched to Sydney and instructed to find a suitable site to the north of Moreton Bay, but not that far north that the tropical climate would have an adverse effect on the health of the settlers, preventing them from hard work and industry. Port Curtis (now Gladstone in Queensland) was chosen. Also in the same month the official Letters Patent were issued by Queen Victoria forming a new colony to be called North Australia. The southern boundary of this new colony was to be 26 degrees of south latitude (just south of present day Maryborough, Queensland).
On 8 January 1847, the Lord Auckland sailed from Sydney with the new colonial officials and their families arriving at Port Curtis on 25 January 1847. On entering the port the Lord Auckland grounded on a shoal. The officials quickly headed for shore and a few days later, the official swearing in of Lieutenant Governor Barney and his officials took place.
In July 1846, back in Britain, the Government had changed and Henry Grey, 3rd Earl Grey had replaced Gladstone as Secretary of State for the Colonies. The new government had decided to abandon the new colony and advised the Queen to revoke the Letters Patent. This decision took many months to reach the Governor of New South Wales, Sir Charles Augustus FitzRoy, and then to be transmitted to Barney ordering the abandonment of the North Australia colony and the return to Sydney.
The officials in Port Cursis had endured 4 months of indecision, rain, heat, and mosquitoes before they returned to the civilisation of Sydney where they arrived in May 1847. No pardoned convict ever reached the new colony.
1851 John Dunmore Lang colony
In 1823, John Dunmore Lang (1799–1878) a Presbyterian clergyman, politician, immigration organiser, educationist, journalist, patriot and statesman arrived in Sydney to take up his ministry.
Lang soon re