Early history of Kangaroo Point

Kangaroo Point is one of the earliest areas settled in Brisbane and is generally regarded as Brisbane’s oldest suburb.

Before British settlement Kangaroo Point was occupied by the Turrbal people. It was the home for many of the Turrbal people who used the Brisbane River, known by them as Mairwar, for food and a means of travel. It was only a small population, maybe 300 people, the whole river population down to the bay was about 2000.

Portrait of John Oxley 1783-1828
“jungle fringed with mangroves, with higher
lands of open forest covered with grass

That’s how John Oxley, Surveyor General of NSW described the raised area of land which is now Kangaroo Point in 1823. He had been sent north from Sydney Town by Governor Brisbane in search of a new penal settlement for the more troublesome convicts. Oxley left Sydney in the Mermaid on October 23, 1823 and charted Moreton Bay on 25 November.

Oxley’s ship The Mermaid

He discovered the meandering River with the help of escaped convict John Finnegan and named it the Brisbane River after the Governor.

Following a second expedition by Oxley in the brig Amity in 1824 a new penal colony was established at Redcliffe.

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