Maurice O’Connell Letter May 1854
To The Honorable The Colonial Secretary
13 May 1854
- have the honor to address you with a view of laying before His Excellency the Governor General for his approval, a statement of the expenditure which has been incurred in what can only be called the establishment of the Settlement at this place, and which it appears to me can be charged with any justice solely as an expenditure for that specific purpose.
- On leaving Sydney I had placed at my disposal certain sums granted by his Excellency from the Territorial Revenue, or voted by the Legislative Council for certain named services, namely One Thousand Pounds for the erection of a Court House and Lock Up and Six Hundred Pounds for building a residence for myself.
- To carry out these purposes I engaged and brought up with me 1 Stonemason, 2 Carpenters and 6 Ordinary Labourers, the aggregate of whose wages, as per margin, amounts weekly to the sum of £21.13. exclusive of minute fractions and in addition I have engaged since my arrival here an Overseer for the Bushmen or Ordinary Labourers at the rate of £100 per annum. Amongst these persons there are six married men who receive a double ration, making the total weekly rations issued, 16 in number. The entire expenditure therefore weekly may be taken at £23.11.6 for wages, and at the present prices £8 for rations or £31.11.6 in all.
- But on arriving here I find it impossible for some time to put these men to the precise services for which they are engaged. In the first place the labour of landing the cargo, pitching the camp, getting provisions and stores under cover from the weather and locating the people generally has occupied up to the present time and is likely to occupy for at least another month the entire available strength of the party and we have then to put up Stockyards and small paddocks to secure our horses and working bullocks when we get them, ere we can be said to be in a position to commence the specific services for which sums have been voted or granted.
- I would propose therefore to ask His Excellency the Governor General to allow a sum of £1000 which would cover the expense of the party, as detailed in the margin, for six months as a charge on the Territorial Revenue attributable exclusively to the first formation of the settlement of Port Curtis, and not think the work upon which the men are employed can be fairly debited to any other item of expenditure.
- Should His Excellency be pleased to approve of my proposal may I beg that the Auditor-General may be informed accordingly.
I have the honor to be etc. etc.
(Queensland State Archives Series 6614 Letterbooks. Item ID: 212594 Letterbook of Government Resident Port Curtis. Transcribed from the original. Reproduced with permission from Queensland Department of the Premier and Cabinet)