Douglas of Kangaroo Point

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The Robert Douglas Memorial Windows were constructed to tell a story that starts with Saint Matthew’s window on the right, and ‘the great commission to take the word to the nations’ at the end of Matthew’s gospel. At the top is Matthew’s symbol of the winged man, and Matthew, beneath, is holding a book (his gospel). At the bottom is a sailing ship headed towards the Southern Cross which represents the bringing of the word across the waters to Australia, as per the commission. On the left is the figure of Saint Luke holding a quill and his gospel. Luke was responsible for much of the writing of the New Testament as well as his own gospel. Above him is a winged ox, the traditional symbol for Luke. A depiction of St. Mary’s Church on the bottom left panel is a symbol of the establishment of the church in Brisbane.
Some of the imagerySome of the imagery has a second meaning which relates to the man to whom the windows are dedicated and his small role in carrying out Matthew’s commission. Robert Douglas sailed to Australia as a migrant
from the United Kingdom and later built a life for himself at Kangaroo Point at the same time as St. Mary’s Church was also becoming established. He was a benefactor of this church and his descendants have continued to worship there. They have also carried on his involvement in the cattle industry and his association with the land and its development throughout Queensland; a fact that influenced the earth colour choices for the panels. The crest in the small top window is that of the Red Douglas Earls of Angus line, one used with pride by him and his descendants.p>

Robert Douglas of Kangaroo Point July 4 1816 to November 23 1890

Born in Clapham, LoBorn in Clapham, LoBorn in Clapham, London, Robert Douglas was the youngest child of Robert Douglas of Ardrossan and Catherine Douglas nee Heard. In a sense he was ‘Robert Douglas’ by default as he had two brothers before him named Robert, both of whom had died as infants. His father, after his marriage and loss of one of the earlier infant ‘Roberts’ on board ship, had semi-retired from active sailing and started a ship’s chandlery business on the Thames at 310 Wapping Street, London. Shipping was big business then and the main form of transport as it was pre-railway and certainly pre-motorised transport.

The family lived in various residences in London and Robert was born at Clapham when they were taking their annual summer holiday there. The other children were Colin 5, Catherine 3, and Agnes 2. Their mother, Catherine, died of cancer four years later, leaving their father and faithful nurse, Mary Moore to bring up the young children. (History repeated as Robert of Ardrossan had also lost his mother, nee Mary Railly, when he was about eleven and later Robert of Mt. Maria lost his mother nee Sophia Poste when he was four).
Robert’s schooling seems to have been at a succession of London schools; 1822 Mrs. Will’s School at Petersfield; 1823 Mr. Chanel’s boarding school at Homilton; 1830 Robert moved from Mr. Ward’s school at Brentwood to Mrs. Slack’s school at Poplar. In about 1830-31, when Robert was fourteen or fifteen, it was his father’s intention to have him work in Douglas and Beattie’s counting house as a clerk. Robert however, had other ideas and joined the Isabella as an apprentice seaman - no clerical indoor position for him! His father had a share in the Isabella with a Mr. Christie. The Captain was John Wildgoose and the ship was bound for Demerara and the West Indian trade (The Journals of Robert Douglas of Ardrossan).

the family descended from Robert Douglas of Kangaroo Point

Sir James Douglas, of Canada, was a cousin of Robert Douglas of Kangaroo Point and it is interesting to note parallels in their lives — both travelled to the colonies, both had a sense of adventure combined with an honourable duty to not only provide for their families but to take part in community affairs and administration for the development of their new homelands. This ‘Douglas’ quality is echoed by many of their descendants today.

William Douglas c.1174
Archibald Douglas of Hermiston, 1213, 2nd of Douglas, 4th Lord of Douglas
William Douglas ‘Long Legs’, 3rd of Douglas
William Douglas ‘Le Hardi’ born after 1256
Archibald Douglas of Liddesdale and Cavers, born 1297
William Douglas 1327~1384, 1st Earl of Douglas born c.1330
George Douglas 1378~1403, 1st Earl of Angus of the Douglas name
William Douglas 2nd Earl of Angus, died 1437
George Douglas, 4th Earl of Angus died 1463
Archibald, 5th Earl of Angus, ‘Bell the Cat’ born1449~1513
Sir William Douglas of Braidwood & Glenbervie, born c.1470; d.1513
Archibald Douglas of Glenbervie, c.1502; d. bef. 1570; married (2) Elizabeth Irvine (Bessie)
John Douglas, writer in Inveresk of Cruixton & Stobbs, Quarrelholes
John Douglas, tailor in Inveresk & Musselburgh (married Alyson Beard)
John Douglas, merchant of South Leith
Robert Douglas, (elder) 1630~1717, soap manufacturer of South Leith
Robert Douglas, (younger) of Cruixton/Brockhouse 1667~1741, soap manufacturer of South Leith
William Douglas 1696~1732 married Catherine Dunlop
Robert Douglas 1723~1812 married Mary Reilly
Robert Douglas of Ardrossan/Port Glasgow, 1759~1847, married Catherine Heard
Robert Douglas 1816~1890, Kangaroo Point, married (1) Sophia Poste; (2) Kate Gore de Styak.

plaque Plants: image 2 0f 4 thumb Robert Douglas death notice   



Sources for this article include:
•  A Douglas!, A Douglas!; Clan Douglas Association of Australia
•  The Journals of Robert Douglas of Ardrossan

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Last modified: Monday, 25 March 2024