Corn Fields Raids 1827-1828

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Figure 1: Brisbane penal colony c.1831

The very first frontier conflict of Queensland consisted of Aboriginal attempts to starve out the fledgling colony. The penal colony was originally established at Redcliffe (near today’s Humpybong Park) in 1824. This was abandoned due to Aboriginal hostility, but no details survive of what exactly occurred.

Three years later (1827-1828), the same hostilities threatened the colony at its new location (today’s Brisbane CBD). This consisted of repeated plundering and destruction of the maize fields on which the colony depended for food, at South Brisbane and Kangaroo Point.

Figure 2: 1844 map (wade) indicating “government paddock” and “paddock” – the former cornfields, roughly the area of today’s south bank parklands

Despite several Aboriginals being shot dead and – according to Tom Petrie – set up as “scarecrows” by the convict guards to dissuade further raids, the attacks continued. Eventually, soldiers were sent over to raid the adjacent camp (probably Woolloongabba) and capture convict escapees who were said to be assisting the Aboriginal groups.


  • ‘Affray with Natives at Moreton Bay,’ The Australian 25 July 1827 p 3 
  • Evans, Ray. ,2008, ‘On the Utmost Verge: Race and Ethnic Relations at Moretón Bay, 1799-1842,’ Queensland Review Vol.15:1, 1-31.
  • Petrie, CC., 1904, Tom Petrie’s Reminiscences of Early Queensland Brisbane: Watson, Ferguson & Co
  • Steele, J.G. 1975. Brisbane Town in Convict Days 1824-1842, Brisbane, University of Queensland Press