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SS Fortitude and other Lang ships, Brisbane, 1849 p3

The arrival of the SS Fortitude, SS Chasely and the barque Lima in Brisbane, 1849…

It was left to Captain John Wickham to supply them with food and tents until they could get on their feet. They set up the tents in a gully called York’s Hollow. One writer in the book said that the location was on the slopes leading down from the current Gregory Terrace toward the present day Exhibition Grounds.

After the SS Fortitude arrived in January, the second of Lang’s ships arrived at Moreton Bay on May 1. This was the SS Chaseley, with 214 passengers. They had come all the way from the Downs Docks on the River Thames, London. A pilot boat from the Pilot Station on Moreton Island guided them to within four miles of the mouth of the Brisbane River. The next day, Customs, Health and other officials arrived to check all documents. Then the passengers paid for many trips on river steamers, to bring them and their possessions up the winding, mangrove lined Brisbane River to the settlement. They arrived at night in the rain. Captain Wickham said he had been ordered from Sydney not to render assistance to the Lang ships. But he felt sorry for them and houses them in the vacant convict barracks for a few days, until the next shipment of convicts arrived.

On the way to Moreton Bay, the third Lang ship, the Lima, dropped anchor in Watson’s Bay, Sydney. Anchored alongside her was the Mount Stuart Elphinstone, a convict ship also headed for Moreton Bay. These 240 men were ticket of leave convicts from the UK. Even though the Moreton Bay penal settlement officially ended in 1839, and transportation of convicts to New South Wales officially ended in 1842, between 1846-1850 exiles were transported. Exiles had served part of their sentence in a penitentiary in Britain and were granted a conditional pardon or ticket of leave on arrival in the Colony. The ship was taking convicts to work on stations and businesses on the Darling Downs, 90 miles west of Brisbane, where labor was scarce.

The Lima completed its 130 days journey from London and arrived in Moreton Bay in November, 1849. The community of Brisbane made an effort to make them feel welcome, providing them with bark huts that had been built for them. One writer said that of the the immigrants on the the three Lang ships, only eight families from the Lima received the land they had been promised.

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