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Thomas Roper - Dr Lang's Immigrants

In January 49, the ship "Fortitude" arrived in the Bay. This as you may imagine created quite a flutter in the usually quiet little village. The news was hailed with gladness. Unfortunately she was quarantined for three weeks on Moreton Island.

The Fortitude was the first of three ships sent out by the late Dr Lang. Two others arrived the same year. The Chaseley and the Lima. As these were despatched under somewhat peculiar circumstances perhaps a word of explanation will not be out of place.

Through their not being under Government control the authorities in Brisbane at the head of which was Captain Wickham, Government resident refused to take charge as in the ordinary way of Government ships. The Doctor's reputed agent, Mr John Richardson, would have nothing to do with them.

The only apparent way of solving the difficulty was for the new arrivals to consent to be classed as Government Immigrants. This suggestion was at first denounced as Infra Dig (adj. Beneath one's dignity). However after further discussion wiser counsel prevailed and they resolved to do so.

The authorities at once sent down supplies of fresh meat, vegetables also tents and medical comforts and a detachment of soldiers as a protection from the Blacks. The Land Orders given then by Dr Lang on their leaving London represented twenty acres per stature adult.

The idea was to at once start cotton cultivation. The Doctor had written a work entitled "Cooks Land" {Colonisation Scheme} which he proposed to name the present Colony of Queensland.

On the passengers arrival in Brisbane they at once interviewed the agent, Mr Richardson, to ascertain how they were to proceed. He most determinedly objected his appointment as agent being without his consent or knowledge. A deputation then waited on Captain Wickham. He in his official capacity could do nothing seeing Dr Lang's Company were not recognised in Downing Street.

Public meetings were held and the matter further discussed but of no avail as far as procuring the land. This unfortunate turn of affairs presented a very grave aspect to all interested. How to solve the difficulty remained a problem. There was no employment to be had in town.

Several of the young single men (there were forty in all) interviewed Rev Glennie. He advised them to go up country and engage as shepherds and station hands which they did at salaries from £16 to £20 per annum. The married portion, chiefly business men and mechanics having small capital entered into sundry pursuits both in Brisbane and Ipswich and gradually merged into Colonial life.

Correspondence was opened up with Dr Lang in London but nothing satisfactory came of it. The scheme had evidently fallen through. The passengers by the Chaseley shared the same fate.

Those by the Lima were more fortunate and got their land. Some settled at Moggill, some at Bulimba and others at Boggo. These were the Pioneer Farmers of Queensland. Others speculated in properties and acquired homes in Fortitude Valley. From this, the locality derived its name.