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Out of the Frying Pan: Voyaging to Queensland in 1863 on Board the Fiery Star

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  26 February 2016

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This article had its genesis in a family photograph of my paternal grandmother's parents, Rowland and Rebecca Walton (see Figure 1). I knew little about them apart from their English origins, but their appearance was intriguing: definitely stalwart pioneers, but what kind of pioneers? Popular cultural knowledge in Australia provides one central image of the pioneer, summed up concisely by Katharine Susannah Prichard: ‘It will be a nation of pioneers, with all the adventurous, toiling strain of the men and women who came over the sea and conquered the wilderness.’ Prichard's notion was directly inspired by a painting, The Pioneer (1904) by Frederick McCubbin (1855–1917), described by Tim Bonyhady as ‘one of the most influential paintings of the emigrant experience in Australia’. Utilising a triptych fonnat, it recounts (in the words of a contemporary reviewer) ‘its own legend of the useful toil, the homely joys, and destiny obscure of the pioneer, who does not live, as the rude cross in the third panel indicates, to see the growth or share in the prosperity of the fine city seen in the background of the panel’.

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1 A version of this article was presented at ‘Oceanic Passages’, Centre for Colonialism and its Aftermath conference, University of Tasmania, held in Hobart, 23–25 June 2010.Google Scholar

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9 The Fiery Star Gazette, 28 November 1863, unpaged, Scholar

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21 A Manchester Man’, ‘Our Manufacturing Districts and Operative Classes’, Fraser's Magazine for Town and Country 66: 393 (September 1862): 363–82, esp. 366–67.Google Scholar

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24 Bridges, J.H., ‘The Lancashire Crisis’, The Times, 14 March 1863: 14.Google Scholar

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33 Both families received land vouchers, which were issued in Brisbane on 26 November 1863. Information from Queensland State Archives, Microfilm Z2518 (Thomas Hanlon-Certificate No. 4503; Rowland and Rebecca Walton-Certificate No. 4572).Google Scholar

34 Lack, ‘Colonial Representation’, 106.Google Scholar

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36 Davies, ‘Immigration and the Immigrant Ships’, 320–21.Google Scholar

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39 Johnson, They Came Direct, 31–49.Google Scholar

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43 Woolcock, Rights of Passage, xiv: ‘The new colony … wanted only those who shared colonial expectations, could work hard and reproduce rapidly.Google Scholar

44 Rowland Walton purchased 61 acres in the Parish of Tingalpa (Portion 135) on 5 December 1863, paying £1 per acre: Queensland Government, Department of Environment and Resource Management, Folio 195, Vol. 31, D/G No. 7933. Birth details about the Walton children from the Queensland Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages: 1864/B2715 (Rowland Robert Walton), 1866/B5956 (Frank Walton). Place of birth is given on their birth certificates.Google Scholar

45 Regular reports in the Brisbane Courier, ‘From Our Own Correspondent’ in Tingalpa, detail conditions in the area between 1864 and 1868.Google Scholar

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51 The Waltons were part of a small passenger contingent, with one Saloon passenger, four in Second cabin and thirteen in Steerage (plus the new Walton baby): Brisbane Courier, 5 August 1868: 2. Fares were £30 saloon, £27 10s. second cabin, £18 10s steerage: Brisbane Courier, 4 July 1868: 1.Google Scholar

52 Richards, Eric, ‘Return Migration and Migrant Strategies in Colonial Australia’, in Fitzpatrick, David (ed.), Home or Away? Immigrants in Colonial Australia. Visible Immigrants: Three (Canberra: Australian National University, 1992), 64.Google ScholarPubMed

53 Hanlon, ‘Early Settlement’, 208. Hanlon states here that his parents were ‘members of the self-styled “Manchester Cotton Company'”. However, his identification of the particular company is probably a mistake, since the Manchester Cotton Company lands were on the Nerang River. Rather, the Hanlons are more likely to have been part of the Lancashire Cooperative estate set up on the Logan River: see Robyn Buchanan, ‘The Short Reign of King Cotton’, in Logan-Rich in History, Young in Spirit (1999),; Longhurst, Queensland Cotton, 8; Michael Jones, Country of Five Rivers: Albert Shire 1788–1988 (Sydney: Allen & Unwin, 1988), 56–61. See also W.E. Hanlon, ‘Reminiscences’ [typewritten manuscript], 1940, Fryer Library, University of Queensland.Google Scholar

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66 This occupation is recorded on the English Census records for 1871 and 1881.Google Scholar

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68 ‘The .SS Gulf of Mexico’, Sydney Morning Herald, 26 March 1885: 5.Google Scholar

69 Sydney Morning Herald, 26 August 1927: 9; 27 August 1927: 16.Google Scholar