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An Old Identity
The following peculiar claim was received at the Lands Office lately, addressed to the Hon. C.B. Dutton:-
12 Eldon street, Warrington, March 19, 1889. Sir, - I humbly beg to lay before you the following statement: I was born at Moreton Bay in the year 1824 (September 21), being the first European born in that settlement. I being a daughter of Robert Hay Thompson, at that time a soldier in H.M. 40th Regiment, and received a grant of land of 500 acres during my natural life from Sir Thomas Brisbane, who at that time was Governor of the colony.
I was baptised under the name of Amity Moreton, the former being the name of the brig which carried over the first detachment from Sydney to Moreton Bay, and the latter from the name of the colony. I left Moreton Bay with my parents, accompanying the regiment to India in 1829, my father dying in that country in October, 1833, and I have never since visited the colony.
I have made application to the Colonial Secretary and the Agent-General in this country, the former of whom directed me to apply to the Legislative Government direct, with a view of discovering how the property has been disposed of. Another grant was made about the same time to the first male infant born in Moreton Bay, who name is Moreton Miller, and who, I believe, is, or was recently, residing on the grant, his father being an officer in the 40th regiment. [...]"
The directions of the Minister are that the applicant should be informed that there is no record in the survey office of any land being granted to her, In the early days of the colony it is probable that such a promise may have been given, but it scarcely can be considered that such a claim can now be recognised at the present time, especially in the absence of any documentary evidence.
In 1862 Amity Moreton Wright contacted the Queensland Government regarding a land grant of 500 acres she had allegedly received from Governor Sir Thomas Brisbane to mark the occasion of her birth at Redcliffe in 1824. Although no trace of any such grant could be found, her claim to have been the first European child born at the fledgling convict settlement at Redcliffe has since been verified.
The daughter of Corporal Robert Hay Thompson and his wife Mary, Amity was born at Redcliffe on 21 September 1824. Baptised in Sydney the following year, Amity accompanied her parents to India when her father's regiment, the 40th foot, was transferred to the sub-continent in 1829. Following the death of Corporal Thompson in India four years later, his wife returned to England where Amity spent the remainder of her life. She was the first of three children born to soldiers of the 40th Foot at Redcliffe before the settlement was relocated to Brisbane in May 1825.