95 YEARS AGO.
HOW THE SITE WAS
Dr. Cumbrae Stewart tells in the following article the story of how the site for the Botanic Gardens in Bris- bane was selected on July 3, 95 years ago ; and also supplies an interesting
prediction made at the same time about the future of Ipswich, then known as Limestone.
By DR. CUMBRAE STEWART.
On this day, ninety-five years ago, the
Brisbane Botanic Gardens were laid out by Mr. Charles Fraser, Colonial Botanist. In his "Journal of a two months' resi- dence on the banks of the Rivers Bris- bane and Logan on the East Coast of New Holland," Mr. Fraser has left an account of his visit which is valuable not only as recording the foundation of the Gardens, but as a first-hand descrip- tion of places, so familiar to us, as they were when Captain Logan was Command-
ant. In prorf of this the following ex-
tracts are given:—
ARRIVAL IN MORETON BAY.
June 30, 1828.—Arrived at Amity Point, Moreton Bay, in the ship Lucy Ann, and cast anchor in Rainbow Reach after a passage of 23 days from Port Jackson.
July 1st.—At seven o'clock in the morn- ing proceeded across Moreton Bay in company with Mr. Allan Cunningham, and entered the Brisbane River at 10 o'clock, when we landed for an hour and refreshed the men, and then reached Brisbane Town at 3 o'clock.
COMING UP THE RIVER.
The banks of this river, until arriving at the islands, are clothed with man- groves, casuarina, and Banksia Compar, entwined with many thick climbers. Above the islands the casuarina disap- pears, and is succeeded by gum trees and extensive brushwoods, the latter exhibit- ing a profusion of yellowwood and tulip wood. The hills that rise behind the copses are open and stony, tolerably covered with grass and a few scattered
On approaching Brisbane Town the banks of the river become more elevated and rocky. The north side is formed of quartz rock and ironstone; the south is of a peculiarly composed basaltic stra- tum of which the basis is bright pink, coloured with white spots. It is remark- ably hard and breaks into square blocks, and is used for the foundations of build- ings at Brisbane Town, being reckoned exceedingly durable.
FIRST DAY IN BRISBANE.
July 2nd.—At 9 o'clock crossed the river to examine some dense forests on its southern bank. On my return to Brisbane Town in the afternoon, I at- tended Captain Logan to the intended site of the New Garden, where we felled a magnificent tree of Flindersia loaded with ripe fruit.
A DAY IN THE GARDENS.
July 3rd.—Employed this day in laying down the boundaries of the new garden, and fixing the situation of a large pond
in the centre.
AT BREAKFAST CREEK.
July 4th.—Accompanied Captain Logan to examine a forest on the banks of a stream called Breakfast Check, three miles north-west of Brisbane town, noted for its gigantic timber. In this inter- esting forest I observed several species of Ficus, upwatd of 150 feet high, enclos- ing immense ironbark trees on which originally the seeds of these fig trees had been deposited by birds. It is not un- usual to see the original tree, at a height of 70 or 80 feet, peeping through the fig as if itself were the parasite and real in- truder. This forest abounds in Urtica gigas, as well as an unpublished and most interesting new plant, producing fruit larger than the Spanish chestnut. By the natives the fruit is eaten on all occa- sions; and I have been assured by Euro- peans who have subsisted on it exclu- sively for two days that no other un- pleasant effect was the result than a slight pain, and "that only when it was
This led to the introduction to science
of the tree itself, the Moreton Bay
HOME THROUGH THE VALLEY.
The country intervening between Break- fast Creek, and Brisbane Town is hilly, the higher ground stony, but the valleys
fertile aud abounding in water. We reached the town again at 6 o'clock.
July 5th.—This day was appropriated to the elimination of a valley N.E. from Brisbane Town, by which this settlement is at present supplied with water. In this spot, which I found most fertile, was shown to me an extraordinary cemetery, if it may be so termed, of the aboriginal natives. It consisted of the hollow trunk of a dead eucalyptus in which were de- posited human bones of all ages consist- ing of leg, thigh and arm bones, verte- brae and some fragments of crania, all mingled together. I was informed that many of the skulls had been previously carried away by scientific persons. The hills are covered with nodules ol quartz, then timber consisting of eucalyptus and
A RUN UP TO MT. COOT-THA.
July 6.—At 10 o'clock I proceeded with Captain Logan and Mr. Cunningham to
the southern extremity of Glenmoriston's Range. The country which lies between Brisbane town and the base of this range is to the north of the river, hilly, sterile, and devoid of interest. On ascending the high ground the soil and grass improve, and continue to do so till the very sum- mit of the range, which is clothed with eucalyptus and forest oak. The native cherry also abounds here. At the sum- mit was observed a remarkable tree, which appears to be of new genus. In habit it resembles a tall weeping willow, the fruit hanging in pendulous clusters. fn the course of this day's excursion we
observed many beautiful orchideous plants. The view from southeast to
north-west was extensive and very grand, presenting an immense thinly wooded plain, whose surface was gently undulated and clothed with luxurious grass. Flin- ders Peak is seen to the westward, sur- rounded with numerous smaller ones. To the south and eastward arise a distant range of mountains (since named Mount Lindsay) with very lofty peaks, one of which, ascertained to be Mt. Hooker, re- sembling a pigeon house in form, is sup- posed to belong to the lateral branches of
Mount Warning Ranges. To the south- ward of this peak appears the Dividing Range with the gap or pass observed by Mr. Cunningham in 1827, near Governor Darling's downs, under which we remarked some extensive flats, perfectly clear of wood. In the centre of the plain rises a remarkable detached table hill. To the north, the eye extends over a tract of lofty and forest-covered hills, inter- spersed with extensive districts of Moreton Bay pine, of which the sombre green colour forms a striking contrast to the brownish line of the gum trees.
The view easterly is most commanding. It embraces Moreton Island and Bay, Stradbroke Island, the Glass Houses, with the meanderings of the Brisbane River and the settlement about the town. Imme- diately at the foot of the range the Oxley or Canoe Creek is seen winding through a tract of country.
BY RIVER TO IPSWICH.
July 11.—Proceeded with Captain Logan and Mr. Cunningham up the Brisbane River to the Limestone Station, on the banks of the Bremer, which we reached at sunset, after having rowed for 11 hours. The south side of the Brisbane, as far as Canoe Creek, is covered with forests of pine to a considerable extent. The north bank, as far as Glenmoriston's Range, is principally open forest, not reaching far, beyond which it is clothed with pine brushes, as on the south. These forests contain immense quantities of yellow wood, tulip wood, figs, grevillea (the silky oak of the pine cutters), and a great profusion of magnificent trees. Beyond Canoe Creek the pine partially disappears. Two miles beyond Canoe Creek is an excellent quarry of free stone, which is conveyed by water to Brisbane town, a distance of 11 miles. The nearer the Bremer is approached the clearer is the country and the more pre- cipitate the banks.
On reaching the confluence of the Bremer, the change in the character of the country is very apparent. On each side it is of the richest description, thinly wooded, and with abundance of water. We proceeded until we came to the lime- stone formation at the navigable source of the Bremer, a spot that will at no dis- tant period be the principal key to the internal commerce of this interesting por-
tion of Australia.
The summits of the lime ridges are studded with various species of Ficus. From Brisbane town to the Limestone Station is estimated at 24 miles by land, and 50 miles by water.
The next day, July 12, waa devoted to an excursion to Flinders Peak. The night was spent in the open air, and next morn- ing they retraced their way to the Lime- stone, arriving at 10 a.m. The rest of the day was devoted to the examination of the neighbourhood and the coal seams,
which are abundant.
RETURN TO BRISBANE.
July 14.—At 8 o'clock embarked for Brisbane town, and reached it at half-past
9 in the evening.
Mr. Fraser subsequently made excur- sions to Dunwich and to Mount Lindsay, but the story is too long to tell at pre- sent.