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Australian History

Monday, March 27, 1848. :   A brutal murder is committed in colonial Brisbane, but the murderer's legacy eventually leads to the founding of the University of Queensland.

     The colony of the Moreton Bay District was founded in 1824 when explorer John Oxley arrived at Redcliffe with a crew and 29 convicts. The settlement was established at Humpybong, but abandoned less than a year later when the main settlement was moved 30km away, to the Brisbane River. Another convict settlement was established under the command of Captain Patrick Logan. In September 1825, the settlement was given the name of Brisbane. The area was opened up for free settlement in 1838, and in 1839, there were calls to cease transportation to Moreton Bay. In May 1842, Moreton Bay was declared a free settlement.

Becoming a free settlement did not mean Brisbane was free of crime. On the morning of 27 March 1848, residents discovered there had been a brutal murder in their midst. Parts of the body of forester Robert Cox, who had been butchered the day before, were found around Kangaroo Point, a settlement on the Brisbane River. While a local cook was arrested, and subsequently hanged, it was later revealed that the wrong man had been convicted.

Patrick Mayne was a local butcher who had committed the murder and stolen the money in order to establish his own shop. Mayne went on to become one of the settlement's wealthiest people and an excellent businessman, and he was later elected to Brisbane's first municipal council. Following a deathbed confession of the murder in 1865, it transpired that Mayne suffered from schizophrenia, and had violent tendencies. His children were ostracised, and several suffered from mental illness also. Using their father's wealth, two of the children, James and Mary, donated the land upon which the prestigious University of Queensland now stands.

There remains some doubt as to whether Patrick Mayne did actually commit the murder. Regardless, the man's legacy lives on in the University of Queensland.


Today in History

Thought For Today
Go to the Lord for help, and worship him continually.
1 Chronicles 16:11 (c) GNB
Have you considered asking God for His wisdom when all else had failed? Surely a simple 'thank you' is in order when He answers your distress call!

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