// you’re reading...

Interview

SS Fortitude and other Lang ships, Brisbane, 1849 p1

READERSVOICE.COM aims to give a few samples from secondhand books found at charity shops around Brisbane. People donate all sorts of interesting old books to these opshops. Many of these books can’t be found anywhere else, and they go dirt cheap.

The SS Fortitude, the SS Chaseley, and the barque Lima arrived in Brisbane in 1849. Echoes of those days remain in the names of Chaseley Street, Wickham Terrace, Fortitude Valley, Lang Parade and the erstwhile Lang Park. The three ships were chartered by Dr Rev John Dunmore Lang (1799-1878). He wanted to bring industrious, capable people from the evangelical free churches in Britain to Brisbane. He wanted to take the city to its next phase, beyond its penal colony status.

This Mayflower-type story is told in a self published book, published 1999, called The 150th Reunion of the Descendants of the Migrants who sailed into Moreton Bay on the Ships SS Fortitude, Chaseley and Lima from England in 1849. It was written by some of the descendants of the 600 or so immigrants that arrived on two sailing ships, and the barque Lima. It features many short, detailed biographies and well researched facts.

The Moreton Bay penal colony, site of the present city of Brisbane, ran from 1824 and officially ended in 1839. Convicts sent to Moreton Bay were repeat offenders from Sydney. Brisbane was given its name and declared a town in 1834. It was still part of the colony of New South Wales when the Lang ships arrived in 1849. It had been a free settlement for seven years.

There were 1600 inhabitants in Brisbane in 1849: mainly males and two-thirds Irish. The Lang Ship migrants (620) created a large population boost to the town. They all had trades and skills, and they were Protestants. So Brisbane was changing. But there were disappointments awaiting the migrants on the first Lang ship, the SS Fortitude.

-continued next page

-readersvoice.com