The thesis presents a historical study of Zion Hill, the first Aboriginal Mission in colonial Queensland, addressing the subject from an agricultural and social perspective. The Presbyterian clergyman Rev. Lang, a vocal critic of existing missions in the colony, founded the mission in 1838. Lang organised the establishment of a Moravian style mission settlement in convict Moreton Bay, administered by twenty Protestant volunteers from Germany. Upon arrival Lang’s missionaries took up a section of land seven miles to the north of the convict settlement, and cleared the area for arming and the construction of houses. The resulting settlement, Zion Hill, reflected the German origins of the missionaries in both design and arrangement of its fields and buildings.The early years of the mission were marked by hardships and difficulties, including the absence of Lang from the colony, the subsequent neglect of the mission committee and Aboriginal raids on the crops. Lang’s return in 1842 revitalised the mission, with the Germans gaining farming equipment and additional livestock. An economic downturn resulted in the withdrawal of Government funding from all colonial missions and the Zion Hill community made the decision to support itself through market gardening. The strategy enjoyed immediate success, with the missionaries finding strong demand for their produce. The German missionaries consolidated their position in North Brisbane during the 1850s, with the purchase of freehold land, the expansion of agricultural production and the utilisation of hired labour. In the remaining decades of the 19th century, the missionaries made substantial contributions to the development of the pineapple, viticulture and dairying industries in colonial Queensland. The thesis presents the argument that skilled farming practice, personal qualities of industry, a communal settlement design and a strong group ethos of cooperation, enabled the missionaries to achieve an enduring legacy of agricultural achievement.
Submitted in fulfillment of the requirements of the degree of Master of Arts, University of the Sunshine Coast, 2007.