Saturday, 12 May 2018

William Laws and family arrive in Brisbane and settle at Brookfield


 More information that Helen Butler  supplied in July 2010 in an email to some Laws relatives. I'm publishing it here so all can see it. What we would do without all the work Helen has done over the years?

There was enormous interest by the public in every ship arriving in Brisbane.   So the Captain would always deliver to the Brisbane  Courier a summary of his voyage.  This was  published  in the paper as soon as possible.  Saloon passengers are named, but Steerage passengers are not.  

The Bayswater anchored out in Moreton Bay at noon on Monday, 27 April.  The  government steamer Kate brought out officials to check the ship and the health of the people aboard. That evening, the Kate returned to Brisbane taking Captain Davies too, with his official papers for the government, his summary of the Log of the voyage for the paper, and the long-awaited  mail from England. His story was printed in the Brisbane Courier on Thursday, 30 April, and also in the weekly Queenslander on Saturday, 2 May https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/20318429.

So the people of Brisbane knew all about the voyage, the passengers, and even every item of cargo and where each would be  available for purchase.  This list of cargo was also provided by the Captain and published in the paper.  It has not been included now, but it is easily available on line at the National Library of Australia site-https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/1314829. This site is well named, as digging in it brings up endless treasures.


However ,the Bayswater did not sail up the river to dock until 14 May, another two weeks -two weeks of expectant waiting for the citizens of Brisbane, and more unbearably for the new arrivals  still out on the water in sight of their new land.

On 14 May 1868, William Laws and family landed in Brisbane from the "Bayswater". William had paid for the passages out. So under the Land Act of 1868 he was entitled to select land for a farm, free of charge but with conditions attached.

On 18 May 1863,  William Laws  obtained 76 acres at Brookfield.  This was Portion 183 Parish of Stanley,County of Mogill, District of East Moreton. It was named also Selection (or Homestead) Number 49. It was classified as Agricultural land.

On 1 May 1868, Land Order No.3584 had been issued to William Laws to the value of 30 Pounds. From this was deducted each year his annual rent of 9 pence per acre,amounting to  2 Pounds 17 Shillings a year, for 5 years. But he did have to pay himself at the start , a Survey Fee of 3 Pounds 16 Shillings,and then at the end a Deed Fee of 1 Pound 5 Shillings.

By 1 May 1873, the conditions of residence and improvement were fulfilled.
On that exact date, William  obtained a statement that this was true from a neighbour, Charles Gregory, and another. The improvements were stated as 12 acres cleared and cultivated, and residence and outhouse built. So now William owned 76 acres of Freehold Land, no more conditions about it .  He could go and live somewhere else. He could rent the farm out.  He could even sell the land.


Statement from C Gregory and W Harley

1.  CHARLES GREGORY , who witnessed  in 1873  that William Laws had fulfilled the conditions to get the freehold on section 183, was stated by me to be his neighbour.  But there is no evidence that this is so, just that it is very likely. Charles Gregory  is the holder of section 185 on the map.  Charles W  Gregory is listed in the Post Office directories as farmer at Brookfield up to1912. The two families grew up together for some years at Brookfield, before Lawses moved away. But they remained in touch it seems.  In 1895, Percy Laws son of William section 183 was best man at the wedding of  Ellen  Gregory, eldest daughter of Charles Gregory , The Grange Brookfield.  Then in 1907 the widower Charles William Gregory married the widow Lillian Langham nee Laws, daughter of William Laws. 

2. LAWS BROOKFIELD FARM .,SECTION 183 on the old land  map, has been cleverly and neatly superimposed on the same scale onto the current Google Earth of the area by Judy Lofthouse.  This shows Peronne Place in the middle of  the Laws block. This would be the logical place for a road or street if you were dividing up a block.