Museum of Brisbane

Museum of Brisbane needs your help

Jackey Williams, 1896 (Photographer: Alfred Elliott)
Could this be one of the convicts who volunteered to set up the Moreton Bay Penal Colony in 1824?

We are currently developing an exhibition with an internationally recognised photographer, opening late 2015, which explores various locations around Brisbane. The photos will feature Brisbane locations important to our past and we are looking for people with direct links to these significant events.

We are currently searching for direct descendants of convicts (or of prison guards) from the Moreton Bay penal settlement in Brisbane.

The Moreton Bay penal colony was initially established at Redcliffe in September 1824. Under the command of Lieutenant Henry Miller were about 20 soldiers of the 40th Regiment and 29 convicts, of which more than half had volunteered to set up the colony. A better site, overlooking Breakfast Creek, was selected by Sir Thomas Brisbane and John Oxley, but for unknown reasons Lt Miller moved it further up the Brisbane River to the current site of the CBD by May 1825. By 1839 all the female convicts had been removed and transportation to Moreton Bay stopped in 1840. During the 15 years of the Moreton Bay Penal Colony around 2,400 convicts called Brisbane ‘home’.

If you’re interested in being involved, or know someone who could help, please contact email or call 07 3339 0800.

The next steps will involve the photographer and a Museum of Brisbane curator discussing your link and taking a test photo.

Leg irons
Leg irons, City of Brisbane Collection, Museum of Brisbane