Queensland achieved separation from the colony of New South Wales on 10 December 1859, when the inaugural governor, Sir George Ferguson Bowen, was sworn in. The new colony included the Darling Downs district, which Douglas had represented in the New South Wales parliament. However, John Douglas did not initially seek office in
Queensland, content to forge a political career in New South Wales while residing in . The first sitting of the new bicameral parliament in Sydney took place on Brisbane 22 May 1860, comprising 26 members from 16 electoral districts in the legislative assembly and 15 members in the legislative council. Bowen’s private secretary, Robert George Wyndham Herbert, then aged just 28 and fresh from , was the colony’s first premier and colonial secretary. England
The inhabitants of Queensland, along with those in the other British colonies, believed they were duty bound to develop their country and environment in order to achieve economic progress, and this could best be expedited through large-scale immigration and railway-building directed towards more intensive land settlement.
 Fitzgerald, p. 112
 Fitzgerald, p. 112; Our First Half-Century: A Review of
Progress Based upon Official Information, p. 164. Queensland
 Fitzgerald, p. 113; Our First Half-Century: A Review of
Progress Based upon Official Information, p. 164 Queensland
 In 1861, the European population of
was only 30,059 people, comprising 27,133 in the south, 2,840 in the centre, and 86 in the north. (Glen Lewis. A History of the Ports of Queensland : A Study in Economic Nationalism. Brisbane, Queensland Press, 1973, p. 282) University of Queensland
 There had been a gold strike at Canoona, north of Rockhampton, in 1858, but it soon petered out. (Lorna McDonald. “The Rockhampton Delusion: a Brief History of the Canoona Rush.” Queensland Heritage vol 3 no 10, May 1970, pp. 28-35)
 Agriculture was insignificant, with only 3,353 acres under cultivation in 1860. (Fitzgerald, p. 126; Our First Half-Century: A Review of Queensland Progress Based Upon Official Information, p. 16)
 Noel Loos. Frontier Conflict in the Bowen District, 1861-1874. MA thesis.
James Cook University of North , 1970, p. 69; Lewis, pp. 25 & 28 Queensland
 Ibid., p. 30.
was the only Australian colony to begin with two houses of parliament. (Fitzgerald, p. 113) Queensland
 A. A. Morrison. “Colonial Society 1860-1890.” Queensland Heritage no 1, 1966, p. 21, quoted in Lewis, p. 30
 Lewis, p. 31