Claudius Buchanan Whish Correspondence with Louis Hope

Sugar remains important in the Queensland economy, and although Louis Hope is generally recognised as the pioneer of this agricultural commodity, it was Claudius Buchanan Whish who grew the first commercial crop on his Oaklands Plantation near Caboolture in 1863. Whish employed Melanesian indentured labourers from December 1865, and two years later began producing commercial quantities of high-quality rum as an important sideline. Born in London in 1827, Whish served as a military officer in India before emigrating to Queensland in 1862. He accepted a seat in the Legislative Council in 1870 but after the financial failure of his plantation in 1872 he entered the colony’s public service. Returning to England on leave, Whish and his wife sailed from Brisbane on the Quetta in late 1889. They were among the 133 people who perished when the vessel struck a rock in Torres Strait on 28 February 1890 and sank within minutes.


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