On his arrival in Brisbane in 1859 Governor Sir George Ferguson Bowen was appalled to find that the new colony was totally bereft of military defence. Under the provisions of his Order-in-Council Bowen, was authorised to create a volunteer defence force, and he responded enthusiastically to the task. This was in line with the imperial policy of having colonies undertake their own defence and thereby reduce British expenditure throughout the empire. Although junior commanders of Bowen’s force were democratically elected, the Governor reserved the right to appoint senior officers of the Volunteer Defence Force - one of whom was the Principal Medical Officer, Dr Henry Challinor. As surgeon on the Fortitude which arrived at Brisbane in 1849, Challinor was one of Reverend John Dunmore Lang’s first immigrants.
After establishing a private medical practice at Ipswich, Challinor went on to make important contributions to the social and political life of the colony. Along with Charles Lilley, he was one of the few prominent citizens who continued to provide active support for Bowen’s volunteer military force until a British garrison arrived in 1866.
M6132, State Library of Queensland