Queensland’s Western Border Repositioned

Australia's Regions c 1862 - Queensland W Border MovedThe Letters Patent of 1859 proclaiming Queensland as a separate colony stated the boundaries:

from Latitude “28 degrees 8 minutes south” with explicit deviation across the Great Dividing Range → northward to the coast,


from the “one hundred and forty first meridian of east longitude which is the eastern boundary of South Australia” → eastward to the coast.

In 1841, Captain John Stokes (b. 1812 – d. 1885), commander of HMS ‘Beagle’, surveyed part of the Gulf of Carpentaria.  He named the two major rivers in northern Australia, the Flinders and Albert Rivers, confirming that neither of them flowed from the centre of the continent.  He described the region as the ‘Plains of Promise’.  By the 1860’s, the region was already attracting squatters and whispers of the possibility of a deep water port in the Gulf of Carpentaria.

The Surveyor-General of the time, Augustus Gregory, was well aware that Queensland would be excluded from these potentially rich pasture lands should the western border remain at 141° E.  Hence the proposal to move Queensland’s border westward to 138° E from the latitude of 26° S.  Governor, Sir George Ferguson Bowen, supported the view and henceforth advised the Colonial Office that the Queensland Government was prepared to take on the responsibility for the region up to longitude 138° E.

The  proposal was accepted via Letters Patent dated 13th March 1862 and issued 12th April 1862:

” . . . and so hereby annex to our said colony of Queensland so with of our Colony of New South Wales as lies to the northward of the twenty sixth parallel of South Latitude and between that one hundred and forty first and one hundred and thirty eighth afteridious [?] of East Longitude together with all and every the adjacent islands their members and appoints in the Gulf of Carpentaria . . . “

Source:  Excerpt – Letters Patent dated 13th March 1862

It was to be a fruitful amendment for Queensland as not only did this region prove to be an agricultural success, it also housed the valuable mineral fields of Cloncurry, Mary Kathleen, and, Mount Isa.


View other important events in Australia’s History . . .

View other important events in Queensland’s History . . .

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