About Brisbane Water

Early settlement Port Jackson

In early March 1788, Governor Arthur Phillip led a small party of officers and marines on an a brief exploration of both sides of Broken Bay. This included a tributary initially known as the ‘north-west arm’. Later this area was to be called the ‘north-east arm’, and eventually ‘Brisbane Water’.

Brisbane Water and Gosford

Brisbane Water was named after Sir Thomas MacDougall Brisbane, Governor of NSW between 1821 and 1825. The naming of Brisbane Water was contemporary with, but not necessarily connected to, the arrival of James Webb, the district’s first white settler at The Rip (near Booker Bay) in 1823. Gosford is believed to have been named after Archibald Acheson. He was the 2nd Earl of Gosford (1776-1849). NSW Governor Sir George Gipps served with him in Canada. When the original 1839 survey map of the area was sent to Gipps it called the proposed township Point Frederick (after Frederick Hely, local landowner, who had died in 1836). The map was returned with the annotation “to be called Gosford”.

European settlement begins in 1823

James Webb arrived as a free man on the convict transport Scarborough in 1790, a soldier in the New South Wales Corps. He served until 1794. After his discharge, Webb was granted land in the district of Mulgrave Place on the Hawkesbury River. In October, 1823, Webb received permission to temporarily occupy 300 acres on the eastern side of the north-east (formerly the north-west) arm of Broken Bay, for the purposes of a cattle run. Late in 1824, Governor Sir Thomas Brisbane received a request for a grant of land in the same area. Webb’s request was granted, and in September 1824 he received 100 acres on the western side of The Rip. This area was named ‘Mullbong Farm’. James Webb died at Brisbane Water in June 1848.

For information for visitors to Brisbane Water by boat click here