Dr. Stephen Simpson, born on July 29, 1793, in Wolston, Warwickshire, England, played a significant role in the early development of Queensland, Australia. He was appointed as the Commissioner for Crown Lands for the Moreton Bay District. In addition to his was a Doctor of Medicine, a Justice of the Peace, and a Police Magistrate. He also became a founding member of the Queensland Legislative Council.
The Border Police Station:
Dr. Simpson had a keen interest in exploration and the interactions with the local Aboriginal communities. However, it is important to acknowledge that the history of colonial interactions between settlers and squatters and Indigenous communities during this time was complex and often marked by conflicts and violence.
In early 1843, recognising the need for colonial security and order in the area, Simpson established a Border Police Station on Woogaroo Creek, which was located along the Brisbane River. This strategic location allowed for effective monitoring of the border and maintaining law and order in the expanding settlement. The Border Police Station served as a vital outpost for protecting the interests of the growing community and ensuring the safety of the settlers.
However, it is important to note that the actions of the Border Police were not always peaceful or just. There were instances of conflicts and violence between the police and the Aboriginal people in Queensland during the colonial period. These conflicts often resulted in the loss of Aboriginal lives and the displacement of communities from their traditional lands.
The Battle of One Tree Hill is one such example of a violent clash that involved the Border Police. This conflict occurred in 1843 when a group of local Aboriginal people resisted the encroachment of squatters onto their traditional lands. The Border Police, including those associated with Simpson’s station, were called upon to intervene in the conflict. The outcome of the battle was tragic, with the loss of Aboriginal lives and the perpetuation of a history of violence and dispossession.
It is essential to approach this history with sensitivity and an understanding of the broader context of colonisation and its consequences. While Simpson’s establishment of the Border Police Station aimed at maintaining security, the actions of the police and settlers during this time resulted in significant harm to Aboriginal communities and their way of life.
Establishment of Wolston House
After residing at Eagle Farm and Petrie’s Bight, Simpson settled at Woogaroo, which later became known as Goodna. It was here that he constructed his first cottage on the site that would eventually become Wolston Park Hospital. In 1851, seizing an opportunity to acquire land overlooking the Brisbane River, he purchased 640 acres to the east of his initial house.
Simpson’s new property served as the foundation for a two-room brick cottage with a detached kitchen. This cottage, shingled and with a sandstone basement, eventually evolved into the historic Wolston House. Today, Wolston House stands as a testament to Simpson’s presence and is recognised as a heritage-listed site.