Australian Dictionary of Biography

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Logan, Patrick (1791–1830)

by Louis R. Cranfield

This article was published in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 2, (MUP), 1967

Patrick Logan (1791-1830), soldier, was baptized on 15 November 1791 at Coldingham, Berwickshire, Scotland, son of Abraham Logan, a farmer, and Janet née Johnston. He was descended from a noted Scottish family who could trace their ancestry for five centuries to the two representatives who were selected by Sir James Douglas to accompany him to the Holy Land. Logan joined the 57th Regiment as an ensign on 13 December 1810. He served in the Peninsular war, the America war of 1812 and with Wellington's army of occupation. He was promoted lieutenant in March 1813 but placed on half-pay in 1815. He rejoined his regiment in 1819 and in Ireland in 1823 was promoted captain and on 5 September married Letitia Anne O'Beirne at St John's Church, Sligo.

Next year the 57th Regiment was ordered to New South Wales and Logan arrived in Sydney on 22 April 1825. Next November he was appointed by Governor Sir Thomas Brisbane to command of the convict settlement at Moreton Bay, which had been opened by Lieutenant Henry Miller in September 1824. As little had been done when Logan arrived in March 1826 he immediately started to develop the station by planting the flats (New Farm and Bulimba) with maize and carrying out an important programme of public works. Two of his buildings were still in use after 140 years: his commissariat store in William Street which became the lower floor of the State Stores, and his windmill, later the State Observatory. In 1827 he also established a branch station, a site that was later used as the Ipswich race-course.

Logan led several expedition which added to geographical knowledge. In August 1826 he discovered the Logan River and next May the Albert River. In 1828, with Allan Cunningham and Charles Fraser, he succeeded in climbing Mount Barney, 4449 feet (1356 m), then the highest altitude attained by a white man in Australia. In July 1830 he led an expedition to the headwaters of the Richmond River and on his return, since the regiment was due for transfer to India, he attempted to chart the windings of the upper Brisbane River. He never succeeded for, he was killed by Aboriginals on 17 October in the region of Mount Beppo.

He was survived by his widow and two young children. His son Robert Abraham followed his father's footsteps in the 57th Regiment and became a lieutenant-general. Logan's widow was recommended for a pension by Governor (Sir) Ralph Darling, but by the regulations of 1829 the next-of-kin of army officers who died on colonial service were ineligible. However, after fifteen years of petitioning she was granted £70 a year.

Captain Logan is regarded by many historians as the true founder of Queensland, as he was an important explorer and the first to make any practical development. During his term as commandant of the convict settlement he showed a fine sense of duty, and no thought of personal gain in any of his activities. He was, however, reputed to be cruelly harsh to the convicts, the settlement was in continuous unrest and uprisings were frequent under his command. It has been claimed that his death was due to the convicts persuading the Aboriginals to avenge their wrongs, but according to Lieutenant G. Edwards of the 57th Regiment the Aboriginals themselves wanted to catch Logan on the expedition.

Select Bibliography

  • Historical Records of Australia, series 1, vols 13-16
  • G. J. N. Logan Home, History of the Logan Family (Edinb, 1934)
  • C. Bateson, Patrick Logan (Syd, 1966)
  • R. M. Collins, ‘Early Explorations of the Logan, and the Ascent of Mount Lindesay by Captain Logan in 1828’, Proceedings and Transactions of the Queensland Branch of the Royal Geographical Society of Australasia, vol 13, 1897-98, pp 1-12
  • L. R. Cranfield, ‘Life of Captain Patrick Logan’, Journal (Royal Historical Society of Queensland), vol 6, no 2, 1959-60, pp 302-23
  • United Service Journal and Naval Military Magazine, 1831 part 11
  • Sydney Gazette, 28 Apr 1825, 4 Mar 1826, 17 Aug, 21 Nov 1827, 16, 25 Nov 1830
  • manuscript catalogue under Logan (State Library of New South Wales).

Citation details

Louis R. Cranfield, 'Logan, Patrick (1791–1830)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/logan-patrick-2367/text3107, published in hardcopy 1967, accessed online 25 October 2014.

This article was first published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 2, (MUP), 1967

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