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Brisbane River charted by John Oxley, 1823

300 Oxley.BrisRiverPlan de la Riviere Brisbane(Nouvelle Hollande) Découverte par M. OXLEY Ingenieur 
Chart of the Brisbane River Discovered by John Oxley, Geographical Engineer at Port Jackson. (December 1823)

John Oxley's "Plan of the Brisbane River (New Holland)", complete with depth soundings, was published first in a French world journal of voyages, by Louis Isidore Duperrey. Oxley's record of the river was drawn by Hacq and engraved on a copperplate by Ambroise Tardieu, for inclusion in Duperrey’s narrative of his voyages that included other's recent charts of the region, and was published in Paris in 1824 for “Voyage autour du Monde.. Atlas Hydrographie”.

In 1823 John Oxley was sent north from Sydney in search of a suitable site for the extension of the settlement of Port Jackson. He was commissioned to explore Moreton Bay, Port Curtis and Port Bowen, which had been discovered in 1799 by Matthew Flinders. After visiting Port Curtis, Oxley returned to Moreton Bay where he was apparently directed to the Brisbane River by an ex-convict of the name of Pamphlett, who had been living with local aborigines. Oxley carried out expeditions along the Pine River and Brisbane River and the adjacent countryside.

On his return to Sydney in December 1823, Oxley lodged his report. Soon after his return to Port Jackson, Oxley was made Surveyor-General of the Australian colony known as New South Wales. He recorded that “a fine river of major proportions has been discovered in northern New South Wales, New Holland.” and that “the river is navigable a full 40 miles upstream and looks certain to be opened up for development". The Moreton Bay penal colony was proposed for the following year.John Oxley named the river, and later the town, after the Governor of New South Wales, Thomas Brisbane.

Brisbane was still part of New South Wales until "separation" of the State of Queensland in 1859. The name Brisbane was in the balance at one stage, with several eminent people suggesting the town be called Edenglassie. For some reason, Governor Thomas Brisbane decided that 'Brisbane' was better.
Oxley's charting of the river, with depth soundings, is acknowledged as being extremely accurate in its detail and scope. Despite the periodic abuse by tides and river traffic, this chart is still of considerable relevance and interest – particularly to those who live nearby or use the river. It is a beautiful river - and important to anyone with an interest in the history of Brisbane.

OxleyBrisR.decor.matt 1282noceOriginal copperplate-engraved maps circa 1824 are rarely seen today. This interesting chart is now available as a Heritage Editions numbered Limited Edition reproduction from an original engraving of John Oxley's in-depth charting of the Brisbane River. These reprints are also available with the Brisbane River highlighted by hand-colour (see framed example).

Posted: 25/02/2014 2:20:11 PM by | with 0 comments