Queensland State Archives display in Queens Street Mall 22/6/2016.
With Queensland winning the State of Origin series for 2016, it was interesting to see on the same day, the “Origin of Origin” display by Queensland State Archives in the Queens Street Mall. This prompted some research and reflection on the deep seated rivalry with New South Wales beyond the football story we are fed each year during the State of Origin telecast.
The Origin of Origin display contained the Proclamation of Queensland which declared Queensland a separate colony from New South Wales on 10th December 1859, when it was read to the 1st crowd of Queenslanders that had gathered. This initial crowd was about 4,000 people, presumably all cheering fans.
Proclamation (page 1) and transcript
Proclamation (page 2) and transcript
The origin theme becomes even more interesting when you consider that Lang Park (now called Suncorp Stadium) was initially named after Reverend John Dunmore Lang who not only had earlier established the cemetery on the same site in 1840 but also championed the separatist cause for areas now called Queensland and Victoria and is widely regarded as the author of separation which created New South Wales’ two great long standing rivalries which live on through sporting fans today.
In 1844, Reverend Lang, or “Reverend Agitator” as he was dubbed, called for the creation of a northern colony whilst he represented Moreton Bay (Brisbane and surrounds) in the New South Wales Legislative Council. This was defeated in the Council by 26 votes to seven.
Reverend Lang never gave up, as he must have had an unconquerable spirit similar to the Queensland spirit Queenslanders hear of during the annual State of Origin series and times of adversity.
Between 1851 and 1854 he held nine meetings to gain support for the separation. Support from the northern inhabitants for the separation was fuelled by perceptions that the northern district was increasingly neglected by the Government in Sydney.
In addition to separation of Queensland and Victoria, Reverend Lang’s political triumphs included the cessation of convict transportation, the introduction of responsible and democratic government, radical land reform, National education and the abolition of state aid to religion.
Darren Lockyer statue, Suncorp Stadium by Rae Allen
So maybe Suncorp Stadium should reserve a space for a bronze statue of this original Champion of Queensland, Reverend Lang, without whom there would have only ever been a one sided game favouring New South Wales.
More information about Reverend Lang is included via the references below. In considering the balance of Reverend Lang’s activism for the colonisation of Queensland, it is worth also considering the impacts that invasion, immigration and colonisation had on the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples across the various colonies (now States of Australia) and throughout our shared history.
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D. W. A. Baker, ‘Lang, John Dunmore (1799–1878)’, Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/lang-john-dunmore-2326/text2953, published first in hardcopy 1967, accessed online 23 June 2016.
This article was first published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 2, (MUP), 1967. Viewed at http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/lang-john-dunmore-2326
‘Reverend Dr. John Dunmore Lang’ Journal of the Royal Historical Society of Queensland volume 6 issue 1: pp. 236-246, Austin, C. G., Jordan, A. A., Laurie, Arthur Brisbane, Qld. Royal Historical Society of Queensland, 1959, Viewed 23/6/2016 at http://www.textqueensland.com.au/item/article/b46e03015e665603f3c1b43b4ae29547
‘The Langs in Queensland 1858-65: an unwritten chapter’, Cryle, Denis, 1949- Brisbane, Qld. Royal Historical Society of Queensland, 1987, Journal of the Royal Historical Society of Queensland volume 13 issue 4: pp. 133-152, Viewed 23/06/2016 at http://www.textqueensland.com.au/item/article/d9afef87766be25a9d239f8b0d040207
- ‘The birth of modern Queensland’, State of Queensland, Department of Science, Information Technology and Innovation, Dr Murray Johnson 2008,
- Viewed 23/06/2016 at <http://www.archives.qld.gov.au/Researchers/History/Pages/ModernQueensland.aspx>