SHF – John Oxley

John Oxley has been honoured through the naming of a large number of places and facilities in Australia, including the naming of the pilot vessel and lighthouse/buoy tender, John Oxley built in 1927 for the Queensland Government. The vessel was launched by the Hon. John Huxham, Agent-General for Queensland.

John Joseph William Molesworth Oxley (1784 – 25 May 1828) was an explorer and surveyor of Australia in the early period of British colonisation.

John Oxley Explorer and Surveyor General


He served as Surveyor General of New South Wales (1812 – 1828) and is perhaps best known for his two expeditions into the interior of New South Wales (1817 and 1818) and his discoveries of the Tweed River and the Brisbane River in what is now the State of Queensland.

In 1823, Governor Brisbane sent Oxley north by boat in search of a site for an alternative penal settlement for the most difficult convicts. On this journey, as Surveyor General, Oxley discovered and made a close examination of the Tweed River and Port Curtis (the site of Gladstone).

Oxley sailed northwards from the Tweed Area in the Mermaid. Rounding Moreton Island, he came across two escaped convicts who had been living with the Aborigines there. With their assistance, he was shown, and named, the Brisbane River. He recommend this place for the site of the convict settlement, which became Moreton Bay, and later the city of Brisbane. A monument was built at North Quay in 1924 to commemorate the site of his landing in Brisbane. He then travelled further north to explore Port Curtis. In 1824 Oxley, accompanied by Allan Cunningham returned to the Brisbane River and, travelling further up, then located the Bremer River. The Colony of Queensland was named in honour of Queen Victoria, who on 6 June 1859 signed Letters Patent separating the colony from New South Wales.