Queensland's history—1800s


  • The Queensland Parliament passes the ,  paving the way for Queensland to join the proposed Federation of the Australian  colonies.
  • On  1 December, the world’s first Labor Government is .
  • destroys a pearling fleet in  Princess Charlotte Bay on Cape York and kills about 400 people.
  • The first contingent of in South Africa.


  • A great drought begins and lasts until 1903 (five years).
  • Sleet and snow is recorded in George Street, Brisbane (23 July).


  • is passed. The legislation  includes extensive clauses that restrict the rights of Aboriginal people,  including controlling their finances. Other sections of the Act permit the  Queensland Government to deport Aboriginal people to missions and reserves  where they could be forcibly incarcerated. The Act also gave the government the  right to exercise guardianship over all Indigenous children in the colony.


  • The first Edison motion pictures in Queensland are shown in the  Brisbane Exhibition Building.
  • ‘Waltzing Matilda’ is performed for the first time in the North  Gregory Hotel at Winton.


  • Queen Victoria grants the Queensland  Coat of Arms, the  oldest State Arms in Australia, to the Colony of Queensland.
  • South East Queensland is affected by three cyclones in February  resulting in .


  • Jackie Howe shears a world record 321 sheep in 7 hours 40 minutes  at Isis Downs.


  • Queensland Labor Party forms—first May Day procession by workers  at Barcaldine.
  • Queensland's between shearers and wealthy  squatters lasts six months.
  • The opens to the public.


  • Central Queensland organises a petition to separate from  Queensland and form its own representative government.


  • Gleaming with Corinthian columns and a dome, opens in  Brisbane.
  • Breakfast Creek Hotel is completed.
  • Divorces hit double figures (11) for first time.


  • The Queensland Premier, Sir Samuel Griffith, is elected President  of the Federal Council at its meeting in Hobart.
  • The first barrel of Bundaberg Rum rolls off the production line.  In 1961, the company chooses a polar bear as its corporate mascot, to represent  that their product will 'ward off the coldest chill of winter'.


  • Queensland, Victoria and South Australia object to New South  Wales’ plan to adopt the name ‘Australia’ for the colony.
  • opens in Brisbane.


  • The Queensland Premier, Sir Thomas McIlwraith, to prevent a European takeover.


  • . The Brisbane Fire Brigade was  formed the following year and Brisbane got its first full-time fireman in 1889.


  • Local government is established with the Divisional  Boards Act.


  • The first electric light is switched on at a public demonstration  in William Street, Brisbane.
  • Queensland  introduces the which empowers Rabbit Boards to erect fences preventing the  incursion or migration of rabbits.


  • Henry Majoribanks Chester arrives on Thursday Island as the first  Government Resident.


  • On 29 November Queensland’s is unfurled, featuring an  imperial crown inside a Maltese Cross.
  • The first Ekka is held in Brisbane.
  • Queensland's results from a petition by a  Scottish Roman Catholic priest.


  • The Education Act 1875 establishes the basis for Queensland’s system of .


  • Queensland’s . Designed by Robinson and  L’Anson, the bridge was constructed from wrought-iron lattice girders on  cast-iron cylinders,


  • Missionaries aboard the Surprise arrive at Erub  (now Darnley Island) in the Torres Strait—an event still known as the ‘’.
  • Mosman, Clarke and Fraser discover reef gold in the Townsville  Hinterland at a place they name ‘Charters Tors’, which later became Charters  Towers.


  • Free primary education is introduced in Queensland, the first in  Australia.


  • The new Parliament House in George Street is used for the first  time.


  • James Nash , which sparks a gold rush.


  • Queensland Treasury banknotes are issued for the first time.


  • opens between Ipswich and  Grandchester.
  • opens its first Queensland coach  route between Brisbane and Ipswich. The first run starts on 1 January 1866.


  • Captain JM Black, a business partner of Sydney merchant Robert  Towns, chooses Townsville as a convenient shipping port.
  • The first Queensland vs. New South Wales cricket match is played.
  • is opened on Leichhardt Street  in Spring Hill, indicating the state's growing prosperity and population.
  • Captain  Louis Hope opens Ormiston, located in the Redland Shire  district.
  • The is  performed on 25 February by Lady Bowen, wife of Sir George Bowen, the first  Governor of the colony. The decision was made to run the line from Ipswich to  Bigge’s Camp, now known as Grandchester.


  • (Melanesian people from South  Pacific) arrive in Queensland to work in Queensland's cane fields (until 1904).
  • Ipswich Grammar School is established as following the Grammar Schools Act 1860.


  • Warwick and Maryborough officially become municipalities.
  • Explorers Robert O'Hara Burke and William Wills die near Cooper  Creek after successfully crossing the continent from south to north.
  • In  April, ,  revolutionising communication in the colony. The first line linked Brisbane to  Ipswich and later extended to Sydney.


  • The first Queensland elections are held. Robert George Wyndham  Herbert assumes the role of on 22 May.
  • The sits for the first time.
  • The Alienation of Crown Lands Act 1860 is passed in  order to open lands for selection.
  • The first Queensland stamps are issued.


  • On 10 December, , Sir  George Ferguson Bowen,  and his wife Lady Diamantina, arrive in Brisbane. The  proclamation establishing the Colony of Queensland is read to wild applause  from the balcony of Government House (now the Deanery of St John's Cathedral).
  • On 6 June, Queen Victoria signs the , approving Queensland becoming a  separate colony to New South Wales, with its own representative government.
  • Municipality of  Brisbane is proclaimed and first Brisbane Council election is held—.
  • The first issue of Ipswich Herald is released.  One of the main aims of the Ipswich Herald was to promote Ipswich’s claims to  be capital city of the Moreton Bay colony as separation from New South Wales  loomed. Today, known as , it is the oldest provincial newspaper still published in  Queensland.


  • The Archer brothers trek through the Fitzroy Valley  and settle at Gracemere, near Rockhampton.


  • The first wool is shipped from Moreton Bay to  England.


  • The Port Curtis settlement is established. In 1853 it becomes a  permanent settlement and is renamed .


  • Queensland's first newspaper, the Moreton Bay  Courier is published. This later became The Courier, then the Brisbane  Courier, and since 1933 .


  • The district is officially opened to free settlement.


  • German missionaries establish the (now Nundah) to bring Christianity to the Aborigines in Brisbane.


  • Explorer and his family arrive on the ‘James Watt’, the first steamer to  enter Moreton Bay.


  • The and the are built in Brisbane, and today  are the only remaining convict-built structures in Queensland.


  • discovers the Darling Downs and  a gap through the Great Dividing Range, which allows access to the Darling  Downs from Brisbane.


  • The , established in Redcliffe in  1824, is transferred to the banks of the Brisbane River near the northern end  of the Victoria Bridge.


  • Explorer travels up the Brisbane River and camps at Breakfast  Creek, near present-day Newstead House.


  • New South Wales Governor sends explorer John Oxley to  find potential new penal sites.