Q2020One of the things I’m inordinately and illogically proud of is that I am a true maroon Queenslander. All but one of my immigrant ancestors arrived in Queensland and remained here, being part of the communities that built up the colony and then the state.

Queen Victoria signed the Letters Patent to make Queensland a separate colony from New South Wales on 6 June 1859, the date which would become Queensland Day and on 10 December 1859, Governor Bowen read the proclamation of separation. Queensland has also played a key role in the foundation of the Australian Labor Party, from the time of the shearer’s strike at Barcaldine in 1891. Our unofficial national song, Waltzing Matilda, was composed just up the road near Winton by poet Banjo Paterson. To this day there are slight regional variations in the words and music.

Queenslander023 (2)
This is the ribbon I take to genealogy conferences.


I am grateful to all my ancestors who immigrated to Queensland and proud that I have eleven ancestors who were here pre-Separation: eight were immigrants and three had been born in the colony before December 1859. I’m going to focus on my direct line of ancestry rather than the whole family who came.


General Hewitt Dec 1854 MBC 30 Dec 1854
CHRISTMAS RACES. (1854, December 30). The Moreton Bay Courier (Brisbane, Qld. : 1846 – 1861), p. 2. Retrieved April 19, 2020, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article3710495

Richard Kent and wife Mary Camp (3xgreat grandparents) and family including my 2xgreat-grandmother, Hannah Kent from Sandon, Hertfordshire arrived in Moreton Bay on the General Hewitt on 16 December 1854. Just imagine their shock arriving in the heat of a Queensland Summer. English.

Denis Gavin and wife Ellen Murphy (2xgreat) with daughter Mary. My great-grandmother Julia was born in 1859. Denis and Ellen arrived at Moreton Bay on the Fortune on 8 December 1855. Denis came from County Kildare and Ellen from County Wicklow but they married in Dublin and emigrated from there. Irish


 George Mathias Kunkel, one of that well-known immigrant breed, the swimmer…after thirty plus years I still don’t know how he got here. George came from the village of Dorfprozelten in Bavaria and he married Mary O’Brien in Ipswich Queensland in 1857. Bavarian. George and Mary’s son, George Michael Kunkel, my great-grandfather, was born in Ipswich in 1858.

Map of Queensland at the date of separation, A.D. 1859[1], s.n.>, 1859 CLICK to see it enlarged.
Mary O’Brien from County Clare, Ireland arrived in Moreton Bay, I now believe, on the Florentia on 25 April 1853. Oral history records that she emigrated with her sister Bridget and was six months at sea. She was only 16. Irish.

William Partridge from Coleford, Gloucestershire arrived on the Fortune on 8 December 1855 – the same voyage as the Gavins. William married Hannah Kent in Ipswich. English.


Stephen Gillespie Melvin emigrated on the Woodlark from Leith near Edinburgh, Scotland in 1877, and married Emily Partridge, daughter of William and Hannah. Scottish. His mother, Margaret Gillespie/Gilhespy also later emigrated. (born Northumberland) English.

James Sherry (aka McShArry) and wife Bridget Furlong arrived at Rockhampton on the Melpomene on 20 January 1883 with their large family. Bridget came from Kings County (Offaly) but James’s origin is a mystery. Irish.

James and Bridget’s eldest son, Peter Sherry (later McShErry) and his wife Mary Callaghan arrived in Rockhampton with their two small children, including my grandfather James, on the Almora on 5 May 1884. Peter was born in Tullamore, Co Offaly and Mary came from Courtown, Wexford. Irish.


My widowed great-grandmother Annie Sim McCorkindale arrived on the Perthshire with her adult family on 24 June 1910. My grandmother, Kit, was part of the family migration. Scottish.


I’m also proud of my immigrant ancestors that they moved beyond the coastal strip into the less developed areas of the colony/state, building railway lines and growing communities. You can read about their voyages of internal migration in this post. Over the decades they lived in Rockhampton, Boguntungan, Longreach and Winton in the central west; Townsville, Hughenden and Charters Towers in the North; Maryborough, Ipswich and Brisbane in the east; and Toowoomba, Highfields, Dalby, Condamine and Murphys Creek on/near the Darling Downs.

At a time when the topic of immigration can be contentious and bring out the worst in people’s attitudes, I’m very grateful for what my own immigrant ancestors have brought to this state and country.

Where did your immigrant ancestors arrive?

Free use map   https://ian.macky.net/pat/map/au/qld/qld.html



5 thoughts on “Queenslander!

  1. My Queensland connection is when my grandmother made two incredibly long trips to Charleville from Melbourne, one in 1920 and the other around 1930. In my A to Z blog this year I’m trying to work out why with the information I have. All my ancestors arrived in Melbourne and lived in Victoria and South Australia, even the new ones I found through DNA. As I have lived in NSW most of my life I have no strong allegiance to any state but am very happy with where I live.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That was a long trip Linda…it must surely have had a specific purpose. I guess state loyalty for Queenslanders is a bit like Victorians with AFL loyalties. 😉


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