Crown Lands Commissioners In Moreton Bay (1842-1859)
Dr Margaret Shield, Visiting Fellow 2017/2018

PASTORAL DISTRICT MAPS

The pastoral districts which were gazetted in the early years of settlement covered vast areas, much of which was rugged and unexplored. Although the boundaries of some pastoral districts were altered over time, the territory over which each Commissioner of Crown Lands had jurisdiction remained inordinately large and difficult to manage. Christopher Rolleston, for example, presided over 26000 square miles (6 million hectares) of the Darling Downs and a vast area beyond its recognised boundaries.[1]

On 12 April, 1851 the boundaries of the Wide Bay and Burnett Districts were amended and on 10 January 1854, the Burnett District was absorbed into the new Leichhardt and Port Curtis pastoral districts.

Moreton Bay Pastoral District was declared on 5 May 1842 by Governor George Gipps:

“Bounded on the south by the ranges which separate the sources of the Rivers Brisbane and Logan from those of the Richmond and the Clarence; on the west by the range dividing the sources of the rivers flowing into the western interior from those which fall to the eastern coast; on the east by this coast; and on the northward by the limits of Colonisation, until a more definite boundary shall be determined on that side.”

(New South Wales Government Gazette 10 May, 1842, p.689)

 

Darling Downs Pastoral District was declared on 11 May 1843 by Governor George Gipps:

“Bounded on the south by a line extending due west, so as to intersect the top of Mount Girard, which is near the head of the north branch of the Clarence River, and dividing this from the New England District; on the east by the range dividing the eastern and western waters, separating this from the Clarence River District and from the County of Stanley; and on the north and west the boundaries are indefinite.”

(New South Wales Government Gazette 12 May, 1843, p. 645)

 

Wide Bay Pastoral District was declared on 7 November, 1848 by Governor Charles FitzRoy:

“Bounded on the south by the Glass House Range from the sea coast to the range at the head of the river Brisbane, which range there separates the Moreton and Burnett Districts; on the west by the range dividing the waters falling to Wide Bay from those of the valley of the Burnett as far as the pine scrub in that range, and by a small stream there arising, which enters the sea to the southward of the estuary of the Burnett; on the east and north-east by the sea coast.”

 (New South Wales Government Gazette, 7 November, 1848, p. 1644)

 

Burnett Pastoral District was declared on 7 November, 1848 by Governor Charles FitzRoy:

“Bounded on the south by the range dividing the waters of the Rivers Brisbane and Burnett, extending south-westerly from Jemma to the greater dividing range; on the west by that range to the most northerly head of the Dawson River, (called there Palm Tree Creek); on the north by Palm Tree Creek, and by the River Dawson to its confluence with the River Burnett; and thence by the River Burnett downwards to the confluence of the Seven Hills Creek; on the east by the Seven Hills Creek upwards to its most easterly source in the range dividing the waters of the Burnett from those falling towards Wide Bay; and on the east by that range to Jemma.”

(New South Wales Government Gazette, 7 November, 1848, p.1644)

 

Maranoa Pastoral District was declared on 7 November, 1848 by Governor Charles FitzRoy:

“Bounded on the south by the surveyed and marked track from the river Barwan to Johnstone’s station, called Cunningundi, on the river Mooni; on the west thence by that river upwards to where the said marked track leaves the Mooni, thence by that track to St. George’s Bridge on the river Balonne, thence by the Balonne to the confluence of the river Maranoa, and by the Maranoa to the river Amby; on the north by the river Amby to its source in Mount Bindango, thence by a line across the Fitz Roy Downs to Mount Beagle, and from thence by a line across the same Downs to the highest summit of the Grafton Range and thence by a line east (by compass) to Sandy Creek; on the east by Sandy Creek downwards to its confluence with the Balonne, and by the line south (by compass) and by the surveyed track aforesaid crosses it at a tree marked No. 87.”

(New South Wales Government Gazette, 7 November, 1848, p. 1644)

 

Leichhardt Pastoral District was declared on 10 January 1854, by Governor Charles FitzRoy:

:Bounded on the east from the great dividing range by the range dividing the waters of the Burnett and Dawson Rivers, separating this District from that of Wide Bay and Burnett to the junction of the range dividing the waters of Tunks’ Creek from other tributaries of the Dawson, by that range and by a spur range to the confluence of Kroombit Creek with Tunks’ Creek, thence crossing Tunks’ Creek by a spur northerly and by the range forming the western watershed of Tunks’ Creek, and thence by the range to the great north-west bend of the Fitz Roy River, separating this district from that of Port Curtis; thence on the north by a spur range to the range forming the northern watershed of the Mackenzie River and by that range to the great dividing range; and on the west and south by the great dividing range, separating this district partly from those of Maranoa and Darling Downs, to the junction of the range dividing the waters of the Burnett and Dawson Rivers.:

(New South Wales Government Gazette, 10 January, 1854, p. 51)

 

Port Curtis Pastoral District was also declared on 10 January 1854 by Governor Charles FitzRoy:

“Bounded on the north and east by the sea; on the south by the range forming the northern water-shed of the Kolan River, to its junction with the range forming the northern watershed of the Burnett River and by that range separating this District from that of Burnett and Wide Bay, to the junction of the range dividing the waters of Tunks’ Creek from other tributaries of the Dawson; and on the west by the last mentioned range, and by a spur to the confluence of Kroombit Creek with Tunks’ Creek; thence crossing Tunks’ Creek by a spur northerly, and by the range forming the western watershed of Tunks’ Creek, and thence by the range to the great north-west bend of the FitzRoy River, separating this District from that of Leichhardt; and thence by features (to be determined) at an average distance of 30 miles from Herbert’s Creek and Broad Sound, and extending northerly to meet Broad Sound at a small inlet in that part of the coast which trends westerly; excepting therefrom the counties of Clinton, Deas-Thompson, and Livingstone.”

(New South Wales Government Gazette, 10 January, 1854, p. 50)

 

The maps below show the extent of the Pastoral Districts in 1848 and in 1854 after the creation of the Port Curtis and Leichhardt Districts.

 

Extent of Pastoral Districts in 1848

Extent of Pastoral Districts in 1854

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pastoral Districts in relation to the Queensland border declared in 1859

 

 

[1] Beal, D., ‘Foreword’ A Transcription of Rolleston’s Records, Toowoomba and Darling Downs Family History Society, 2008, p. 3.