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Captain Patrick Logan

Captain Patrick Logan

Capt. Patrick Logan

Painting: Mitchell Library, State Library of NSW

Patrick Logan (1791-1830), soldier, was baptized on 15 November 1791 at Coldingham, Berwickshire, Scotland, the youngest son of Abraham Logan, a farmer, and Janet née Johnston. He was descended from a noted Scottish family who could trace their ancestry for five centuries to the two representatives who were selected by Sir James Douglas to accompany him to the Holy Land. Logan joined the 57th Foot Regiment as an ensign on 13 December 1810. He served in the Peninsular war and the America war of 1812. Logan's regiment was sent to Canada in 1814, where he stayed for a year before being joining Wellington's Army of Occupation in Paris.

He was promoted lieutenant in March 1813 but placed on half-pay in 1815. He left the army during peace time and returned to Ireland to take up farming. Discovering that life as a farmer was not for him, he rejoined the 57th Foot Regiment in 1819. In 1823 he married Letitia O'Beirne and they had two children.

Next year the 57th Regiment was ordered to New South Wales and Logan arrived in Sydney with his regiment on 22 April 1825 aboard the Hooghly. Most of his time in Sydney was spent guarding convicts. In November, Governor Thomas Brisbane appointed Logan as Commandant of the convict settlement at Moreton Bay, which had been opened by Lieutenant Henry Miller in September 1824. It was March 1826 by the time he reached the settlement, aboard the Amity.

As little had been done when Logan arrived, he immediately started to develop the station by planting the flats (New Farm and Bulimba) with maize and carrying out an important programme of public works. Two of his buildings were still in use after 140 years: his commissariat store in William Street, which became the lower floor of the State Stores, and his windmill, later the State Observatory. In 1827 he also established a branch station, a site that was later used as the Ipswich race-course. During his time as Commandant, the convict population there increased from 77 to over 1,000.

During his term as commandant of the convict settlement, he showed a fine sense of duty and no thought of personal gain in any of his activities. He was, however, reputed to be cruelly harsh to the convicts, believing that the settlement was a place of punishment, forcing them to work by hand from sunrise to sunset. The settlement was in continuous unrest and uprisings were frequent under his command. It has been claimed that his death was due to the convicts persuading the Aboriginals to avenge their wrongs but, according to Lieutenant G Edwards of the 57th Regiment, the Aboriginals themselves wanted to catch Logan on the expedition.

Captain Logan is regarded by many historians as the true founder of Queensland, as he was an important explorer and the first to make any practical development. Logan made significant explorations of what was to become known as South East Queensland. He was the first European explorer to visit the upper reaches of the Brisbane River and other places in the vicinity, including the areas now known as Esk and the mountain of Lamington National Park and Mount Barney National Park. He was the first European to explore the Bremer River, where he discovered deposits of limestone at a point later to become known as Ipswich. He discovered the southern entrance to Moreton Bay, now known as the Gold Coast Broadwater. He named the McPherson Range, Birnam Range, Teviot Brook and Wilsons Peak. In August 1826 he discovered the Logan River and next May the Albert River.

In 1828, with Allan Cunningham and Charles Fraser, he succeeded in climbing Mount Barney, then the highest altitude attained by a white man in Australia. In July 1830 he led an expedition to the headwaters of the Richmond River and on his return, since the regiment was due for transfer to India, he attempted to chart the windings of the upper Brisbane River. He never succeeded, for he was killed by Aboriginals on 17 October in the region of Mount Beppo

Captain Logan unsuccessfully attempted to climb Mount Barney on the 13 and 14 June 1827. On a return journey Logan, Alan Cunningham, Charles Fraser and a small party attempted to ascend the peak, believing they were climbing Mount Warning, which was first identified by James Cook. A determined Logan carried on while the rest were too fearful of the hazardous and difficult climb. Atop the summit, which at 1356m was the highest point reached by a white man up to that time, Logan was able to see the true Mount Warning. Together with Cunningham they decided to call this range the McPherson Range. He named the peak he had just ascended Mount Hooker but because his map was lost, the mountain was later named Mount Barney. He also originally named the current Mount Lindesay as Mount Hooker.

He died in 1830, after setting out on 9 October to explore and chart the headwaters of the Brisbane River with a small party of one private (his servant) and three convicts. The party was several times confronted by large, armed groups of Aborigines. The first meeting was when they were making a river crossing: a large group of men brandished weapons rolled boulders down a hill at the group, and shouted 'Commidy Water' which was thought to mean that Logan should go back across the water. There were other confrontations and sightings. Logan had the habit of riding ahead of the group and during the return journey, on 17 October, they lost track of him, although they thought they could hear him shout 'Cooyee' and shouted back and fired guns. Searches eventually led to first his saddle then his dead horse, hidden by boughs in a stream bed, then his body, buried in a shallow grave. In November 1830, Logan was buried in the Protestant burial ground in Surry Hills, Sydney.

Logan had been hated by the convicts due to his strict discipline and program of punishments. Moreton Bay convicts "manifested insane joy at the news of his murder, and sang and hoorayed all night, in defiance of the warders." Logan's death is central to the folk song Moreton Bay which represents Logan as a bloody tyrant. "Captain Logan, he had us mangled, on the triangles of Moreton Bay", attributes his death to "a native black", and concludes "my fellow prisoners, be exhilarated, that all such monsters, such death may find". In the long poem A Convict's Tour to Hell, written in 1839 by the convict Frances MacNamara, also thought to be have composed the Moreton Bay lyrics, the convict sees Captain Logan suffering in hell.

Many geographic features in South East Queensland bear his name. These include Logan City, the Logan Motorway and Logan Road, Logan River, Logan Village, Loganholme, Loganlea and Logans Ridge. A commemorative plaque to one of Logan's expeditions can be found in Tully Memorial Park by the Logan River at North Maclean.


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