Sunday, 17 September 2017

Ian Fairweather in Postcards

Ian Fairweather (1891-1974)

Thirty years ago, a lecture at the Australian National Gallery in Canberra entitled East and West in the Art of Ian Fairweather, continued an interest in the art of Bribie Island's most famous artist that had only increased after his passing in 1974.

Over forty years ago on a quiet street in Bongaree, a carving of the artist was rendered into a living tree by a local man to keep the memory of Ian Fairweather fresh for visitors and tourists.  Nearby at "The Tourists Corner" was a display of postcards featuring Fairweather.

Postcard caption: Bribie Island's Ian Fairweather,
who, by his very seclusion enriched this island.
This evergreen carving shall enrich his memory.
Source: NAA 5286567
The following postcards are those that were displayed at "The Tourists Corner".  This set were sent to Canberra in 1975.

Postcard caption: Bribie Island's artist,
Ian Fairweather's likeness hewn into a tree
to commemorate his love of nature.
Source: NAA 5286567

Postcard caption: Ian Fairweather receiving
the Bronze Medallion at his hermitage on Bribie Island in 1973. This great honour was bestowed upon him by The World Art Society for his contribution to Art.
Source: NAA 5286567

Postcard caption: Artist Ian Fairweather was awarded
this Bronze Medallion in 1973 by The World Society
of Artists in appreciation of his contribution to Art.
Source: NAA 2586567
Postcard caption: Ian Fairweather (1891-1974)
Bribie Island's world famous abstract artist's image,
sculptured into a living tree as an evergreen tribute.
This tribute stands in a shaded and secluded section of Webster Street, Bribie Island, at the southern end of Bonham Street, where his many admirers freely come and go as they pay homage to this man of nature.
Photo by Peter G.D. Barkham.
Source: NAA 2586567

Postcard caption: Bribie Island's world-famous master artist,
Mr. Ian Fairweather relaxing in the surroundings from where
he impressed art critics throughout the world.
Source: NAA 2586567
East and West in the Art of Ian Fairweather. Lecture by Barbara Brinton, Wed 19 August 1987 at Australian National Gallery, Canberra.  [source: The Canberra Times, Mon 17 Aug 1987, p. 29]

Postcards from "The Tourists Corner" Artist - Ian Fairweather.  1975. National Archives of Australia. NAA 5286567.

Further information:
Bernard Kuskopf - postcard collection.  Queensland Places website, Centre for the Government of Queensland. 

poem Nostalgia

Fifty-five years ago the following poem appeared in the Bribie Star newspaper.  Take a moment to enjoy the scene painted by these evocative words - trusty steed and all!


High in the rosy hills at dawning,
Far in the woodland's fragrant cones,
The rolling mists of early morning,
Breathe o'er the rugged mountain domes,
Though with splendour so enthralling
Here I greet the morn divine,
My lonely heart is softly calling,
Bribie - Island in the pines.

Nature's now with magic jesting,
Far where hill and valley meet,
While my foaming steed is resting,
From the climb with aching feet.
But my lonely heart's devotion,
Longs for dear familiar scenes,
Scented pines and rolling ocean,
In the island of my dreams.

Soon this lovely scene of grandeur,
Will be folded from all ken,
Night - with jewelled dusky langour,
Will her wooing spell begin.
Then you'll hear me softly calling,
In the night wind's fragrant sighs,
May each lonely echo find you,
Bribie - Island in the pines.

Anne Jensen, "Creek Bend", Sylvan Beach, Bribie Island.
August 1962.

Nostalgia (poem) by Anne Jensen, 1962.
Bribie Star, 24 Aug 1962.

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Bongaree Jetty Heritage

Bongaree Jetty and Bongaree Esplanade
Heritage site signs
Bongaree Jetty and park area, Aug 2017.
Photo: Donna Holmes

A walk along the Bongaree Jetty and Esplanade precinct is very pleasant and allows an opportunity to read the information contained on several Heritage site signs.

In this picturesque area there are three Heritage site signs which were unveiled in 2004.

For those folk who are not able to walk through this lovely area, below is a copy of the signs and information about their unveiling.

The Bribie Jetty, Jetty Precinct and Twelve Apostles Lookout Heritage site signs were unveiled on Sunday 5 December 2004 at the Official Opening of the newly refurbished Bongaree Jetty and Bongaree Esplanade Improvement Project.

Source: BIHS database GEN_011
Source: BIHS database GEN_011

Program for the Official opening of the newly refurbished Bongaree Jetty and Bongaree Esplanade Improvement Project.

                       The Heritage Site signs give a brief history of:

Bribie Jetty           Twelve Apostles Lookout        Jetty Precinct

     Bribie Jetty [Heritage Site sign]
Source: BIHS RP2_001_jetty2004

1911 The Birth of Modern Tourism in Queensland

Caption: The Brisbane Tug and Steamship Company established the first Island tourist resort in Queensland on the 153 sq km Bribie Island. Prior to this, the Tug "Greyhound" and then "Beaver" had opened up a service to Bribie in 1901.
SS Koopa photo by permission of the Hall Family.

1912 The First Jetty at Bongaree
Caption: The Brisbane Tug and Steamship Company built the first jetty at Bongaree and commissioned the SS Koopa to transport tourists from Brisbane and Redcliffe. Since then the jetty has been expanded, reduced and rebuilt many times.
Photo by permission of the Campbell Family.

1920s The Golden Years

Caption: Prior to the great depression, up to seven ships were tied up at the jetty. Thousands of tourists disembarked on first one walkway then two and then three, with an extended head connecting the multiple walkways. It is interesting to note that in 1917 a competitive destination "Umbigumbi" opened, this is now known as Surfers Paradise.
Photo by permission of the Campbell Family.

1911-1961 ss Koopa Luxury Steamship
Source: BIHS RP2_009_Heritage
Caption: This 62-metre vessel could carry up to 1200 passengers and at one time even had an orchestra for entertainment. The travel time from Brisbane to Bribie was a leisurely three hours. To cope with shallow waters in Pumicestone Passage it had a flat bottom hull to achieve a draft of two metres. As per the 'Packet License' regulations at the time, at three nautical miles from the home berth, the stewards opened the lavish bar on the lower forward deck. On the intermediate deck, patrons could enter the casino, where they mostly played poker. Excellent food was also served. For example: Oysters with buttered bread were 1/- (one Shilling) per plate. At night the ss Koopa was an impressive sight as she was well lit with a total of 159 lamps. During WWII the Royal Australian Navy commissioned the ss Koopa in 1942. After her war service she was returned to public service. The locally formed Moreton Bay Development Company bought the Koopa and began operation in early 1952. Their objective was to keep the Koopa operating until the bridge was built bu ceased operating in 1953. The Koopa continued on various runs until finally scrapped around 1961. The bridge opened in 1963 ending this era of steamship transport.
Photo by permission of John Oxley Library.

1923-1939 ss Doomba 
Caption: This 70-metre vessel could carry up to 1524 passengers. Formerly H.M.S. Wexford, the vessel was built in 1919 and arrived in Brisbane in November 1923. She was refitted as a passenger ship with a promenade deck added to seat up to 280 passengers. The Wexford was then renamed the ss Doomba. Her fastest run to Bribie was two hours (excluding berthing in Redcliffe) and she touched a top speed of 19 knots. The Royal Australian navy re-commissioned the H.M.A.S. Doomba in 1939 and she served once again as a minesweeper, mainly in Bass Strait. After the war she was sold and used as a bulk carrier and finally as a barge. She was eventually scuttled in 1976.  Photo by permission of the Hall Family.
1920 Campbell's Kiosk

The Campbell's Oyster Kiosk was very much a family affair. They were a great fishing family with the father Joe Campbell registered as an oysterman having taken charge of local oyster farming operations around 1905.  The Campbell's also hired out boats at 5/- (Shillings) a week and went on to open a cash store on the Esplanade in 1953.
Photo by permission of the Hall Family.

1921 Camping Grounds on the Foreshore at Bongaree

Caption: Looking towards what is now Brennans Park the scene would have looked very different in the 1920s. In the top left hand corner of the photograph is the Brisbane Tug and Steamship caretaker's residence. Underneath this building was the location of the first post office on Bribie Island.
Photo by permission of the John Oxley Library.

1923 Bongaree Streetscape

Caption: View of the township of Bongaree in 1923. The large building on the left hand side of the photograph was the Hall and Bestmann general store. In the centre of the photograph are stacks of tent poles for hire.  The elevated building on the right hand side of the photograph was the caretaker's residence.
Photo by permission of the John Oxley Library.

1924 Road from Bongaree

The road from Bongaree to Woorim was completed and four Model T Ford passenger buses take holiday makers to the Brisbane Tug & Steamship Company Hotel at Ocean Beach.

1951 Bribie Island Bus
Caption: The photo shows a more modern Bribie Island bus meeting the passengers from steamships. The buses operated between the Jetty and Ocean Beach Woorim.
Photo by permission of the John Oxley Library.

1963 The Bribie Island Bridge
 The 831 metre Bribie Island bridge officially opens at a cost of £358,156 and the era of water transport is effectively over. To recover construction costs a 5/- Shilling toll was placed on the bridge until 1973.
Special Thanks to local historians Warwick Outram and Ron Powell for their invaluable assistance with historical research.

1999 Celebration of the Bicentennary of Matthew Flinders' Landing on Bribie Island 16 July 1799

Acknowledgement: This plaque also acknowledges a commemorative ceremony held on 16 July 1999 to celebrate the Bicentenary of Matthew Flinders' Landing on Bribie Island 16 July 1799.

The 1999 ceremony focused on the planting of a Flindersia australis species (crows ash) tree by His Excellency Major General Peter Arnison AO Governor of Queensland, Honourable Peter Beattie MLA Premier of Queensland and Cr Tom McLoughlin Mayor of Caboolture Shire.

 Twelve Apostles Lookout [Heritage Site sign]
Source: BIHS RP2_001_jetty2004

1925 Dance Hall, School and Bowls Club
Source: BIHS RP2_009_Heritage

Caption: Near to this site was the Bribie Island Dance Hall. This was also where the first School on Bribie Island was conducted. Later the stumps were removed and the hall was re-located to become the first clubhouse for the Bribie Island Bowls Club.
Photo by permission of the Hall Family.

1920s Twelve Apostles
Source: BIHS RP2_009_Heritage

Caption: Around 1918 just after the war the Brisbane Tug and Steamship Company constructed twelve huts on their foreshore leasehold just behind the Bribie Jetty.

In the foreground of the photograph is a temporary jetty for unloading road metal (gravel) during construction of the first road to Woorim.

The aim was to provide cheap holiday accommodation for visitors who did not wish to camp. 

In later years these twelve apostles, as they became popularly known, were to provide more permanent accommodation to the Island's pensioners.
Photo by permission of the Hall Family.

1901-1912 Tugs on the Leaning Fig
Source: BIHS RP2_009_Heritage
From 1901-1912 the tugs 'Beaver' and 'Greyhound', which had been refitted to carry passengers, transported early visitors to the Island.

Prior to the Jetty (shown in the photo just completed in 1912) passengers were transferred to the shore in a square end Punt with seats all around. The Punt was hauled ashore and secured to a tree. That tree is believed to be the leaning Fig adjacent to this site.

Photo by permission of John Oxley Library.

Welcome to the Jetty Precinct [Heritage Site sign]
Source: BIHS RP2_001_jetty2004

1932 Hall and Bestmann General Store
Source: BIHS RP2_009_Heritage
Caption: In 1913 Alfred Hall and Artie Bestmann started what was to become the first general store at Bongaree. Alfred Hall owned a grocery store in Brisbane and started by bringing up some groceries and selling them through the kitchen window. In 1921 they built the purpose built store shown in the photograph next door to their residence.
Photo by permission of the Hall Family.

1924/25 Toll Road and Early Transport
Source: BIHS RP2_009_Heritage
Caption: To recover the construction costs, the road from Bongaree to Woorim had a Toll of 1/- (One Shilling). During its construction road material was brought from Brisbane and crushed at Bongaree. A horse attached to a skip by rope pulled it up a ramp. A truck drove under a level section of the elevated ramp and workers tipped the skips to drop the road base into the truck. The 1925 photo here shows a self-made roundabout for tour buses. 
Source: BIHS RP2_009_Heritage
 Model T Ford passenger buses take holidaymakers to the Brisbane Tug and Steamship Company Hotel at Ocean Beach Woorim. Bus fares ranged from 9d (nine pennies) for children to 1/6 (One Shilling and sixpence) for adults.
1920 Holiday Time at Bribie in the Early Days

Caption: This is the scene you would have seen in the 1920s. Tents and the ss Koopa tied up at the Jetty. 

Photo by permission of John Oxley Library.

1920s Shops and Guest House - Northern Side of the Jetty
Source: BIHS RP2_009_Heritage

Caption: The facilities available in the 1920s included a Cafe, Museum and Boarding House. The Cafe's veranda reached out onto the water's edge.
Photo by permission of Mr. Sam Hawkins.

The Jetty Precinct looking towards First Avenue
Source: BIHS RP2_009_Heritage

This photograph shows a view of the Jetty, Camping Area and First Avenue going straight ahead to Woorim. To the left of the Jetty is the temporary gantry for unloading the road metal.
Photo by permission of the Campbell Family.

The above photos have been collected by the Bribie Island Historical Society for the BIHS Historical Database, particularly from the collections of Peta Newcomb, Robert Price and Donna Holmes.

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Bribie by the sea

In an effort to attract fisherman to travel on the Koopa to Bribie Island, a small article in the Daily Standard (Brisbane) of 26 October 1917 shared the following piece of poetry.


October 1917

Anglers are reminded that the favourite steamer Koopa is to make another trip to Bribie Island tomorrow leaving Kennedy Wharf at 2 p.m. and tickets are available for return by Sunday’s boat. Particulars are advertised in yesterday’s “Daily Standard”.

The following verses give an angler’s idea of the sport to be had there:


If you want a pleasant week-end, and 
you haven't too much cash.
Where you need not dress for dinner, in 
fact, where nothing's flash;
And you like a bit of angling, or a day's
sport with the gun,
Then go aboard the Koopa and to
Bribie take a run. 

The angling it is splendid, no matter
how the tide,
You need not be an expert, for the fish
they suicide.
It is there you find the whiting, that
take you all your time to land,
If asked how you enjoyed your trip,
you'd say, "Man, it was grand!"

If you want to try your tackle, and
prove it is the best,
The fish are there and ready and will
give you any test,
Such as groper, dew, or schnapper, and
flathead by the score.
While bream or whiting you reel them
in until your arms are sore.

Just read the Friday's "Standard,"
you'll find my words are true,
Next time the Koopa runs again, just
see that she takes you.
I bet you will enjoy yourself, and will
with me agree.
You cannot beat a week-end at Bribie
by the sea.
                                  "TUG TELLUM."

Bribie by the Sea (poem) Daily Standard, Friday 26 October 1917, p. 7

Thursday, 29 June 2017

Earliest Monument to Cook

Cook's Earliest Monument
Donna Holmes, BIHS past president

What connects an 18th century French chateau with the much-lauded English explorer Lieutenant James Cook, the French explorer Laperouse and W.H. Traill, author of the Queensland section of Picturesque Atlas of Australasia?

In the Christmas 1895 edition of The Queenslander was an article written by W.H. Traill entitled Cook's Earliest Monument and thanks to the wonderful online resource Trove (provided by the National Library of Australia) Traill's article can be viewed here

Englishman W.H. Traill (1843-1902), journalist and author, described the first monument ever erected in honour of Captain Cook - not in Australia or England but in a secluded private park in France - a memorial of Cook's heroic voyages placed about the year 1794 by French admirer Jean-Joseph de Laborde.

Laborde's two sons accompanied the French explorer Laperouse on his voyage to New Holland and sadly, like Laperouse himself, were lost at sea.

W.H. Traill had travelled to France in the early 1890s and seen the monument.  Later he conducted some research on the monument's history and owner.  When Traill wrote up his findings, he realised his 1895 article would be the first account of the earliest monument to James Cook's courage and adventurous spirit.

While the whole article should to be read to understand W.H. Traill's enthusiasm for his topic, here is a small excerpt from the article to whet your interest.

Excerpt from Cook's Earliest Monument
W.H. Traill, 1895

"News came to Australia but the other day that the inhabitants of the Yorkshire hamlet which was the birthplace of James Cook are bestirring themselves to repair the dilapidations of the monument erected long ago in memory of the distinguished son of one of their old-time farm labourers. It is not, however, to this neglected structure that the title of this article refers. It is a singular fact - and it is still more singular that the circumstance should have escaped the researches of all Cook's biographers - that the earliest monument erected to commemorate his fame, and that which to this hour transcends all such memorials in beauty and costliness, owes its existence to the generous appreciation of a large-minded foreigner, and stands in secluded grandeur in the bosky recesses of a private park in France. . . . "

"There was special reason why banker de Laborde was so remarkably appreciative of the merits of Captain Cook that he thus anticipated even the countrymen of the great navigator in raising a memorial to immortalise his fame. Cook was killed at Hawaii (or Owhyhee, as it was then spelt) in 1778. Laborde bought Mereville six years later. But Cook's fame was already diffused years before his death, and the French Government had despatched the now almost equally celebrated and equally ill-fated La Perouse to emulate his career.  With La Perouse on his early voyage sailed two of de Laborde's sons. . . ."

Cook's Earliest Monument by W.H. Traill
The Queenslander, Sat 28 Dec 1895, p. 1222

Further reading:
An image of the monument "Le Cenotaphe de Cook" can be seen on the website of 
Le Parc et le Chateau de Jeurre et ses Momuments 

'Cook, James (1728–1779)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, published first in hardcopy 1966, accessed online 30 June 2017

Wikipedia entry for Jean-Joseph de Laborde (1724-1794)

Wikipedia entry for Jean-Francois de Galaup, comte de Laperouse,_comte_de_Lap%C3%A9rouse

1778 - Stowe, Buckinghamshire, England - Captain Cook Memorial - By George Nugent Temple Grenville (1753-1813), 1st marquess of Buckingham (also 2nd Earl Temple 1779-1784).
Photos of Captain Cook's Monument, Stowe: The Elysian Fields at

1781 - Vache Park, Chalfont St. Giles, Buckinghamshire, England - Memorial to Captain Cook - By Admiral Sir Hugh Palliser
Article: Patron of Captain Cook: an Admiral's foresight. The Age, Sat 21 Jun 1952, p. 10
Photos at

1794 - Chateau de Mereville, Mereville, Juine Valley, France - Le Cenotaphe de Cook - By Jean-Joseph de Laborde

1827 - Easby Moor, North Yorkshire - Captain Cook's Monument - by Robert Campion

1874 - High Cross, intersection of Avoca, High, Belmere, and Perouse streets, Randwick, New South Wales - Statue of Captain Cook - By Captain Thomas Watson. Unveiled on 27 Oct 1874, the anniversary of Cook's birthday.
Article: Unveiling of a statue of Captain Cook. Empire (Sydney) Wed 28 Oct 1874, p. 2
Photos at
Article: Captain T. Watson and his Captain Cook statues: a tribute to kindness. Pittwater Online News, issue 227, August 16-22, 2015.

Squatters Homestead

Squatters Homestead Building
Bribie Island
circa 1970s - 1990s

A unique building existed from the 1970s to the 1990s, on the road that crosses Bribie Island from Bongaree to Woorim.  The road was then known as the Caboolture-Bribie Island Road and today known as First Avenue.  The building had been known as Squatters Craft Homestead, Squatters Homestead and Squatters Restaurant.

Photo from a tourist brochure entitled
  Cross the Bridge to BribieIsland: Queensland's island in the sun.
The brochure was produced by the Bribie Island Chamber
of Commerce in conjunction with Caboolture Shire
Council and Queensland Tourist and Travel Corporation
 around the year 1980.
Squatters Craft Homestead: Home of Creative Arts
Source: Postcard, Murray Views, Gympie, circa 1980.

These photos show the building when it was owned and operated by the Buckley family and one of the attractions were the goats that delighted children with little buggy rides!

By 1989 the building was home to the Squatters Homestead Restaurant and the following advertisement and article were published that year.

Restaurant now a Landmark!
The Bribie Islander March 1989 article

Caption: Squatters Homestead has been a landmark on
Bribie for 14 years [by 1989]

Source: The Bribie Islander v6(3) March 1989, p. 40, 44.

Squatters Homestead has been a landmark on Bribie for 14 years.  It was built by Don Buckley, a man trained in woodwork and coach building in the 1930s.

Don took up crown land in 1972 to build a centre that would inspire and accommodate craftsmen of different trades where they might work and sell their particular products.

The timbers used in construction for this centre were collected over a period of many years and consist of soft and hardwoods cut from the bush.  It took Don and his son-in-law, Russell Curtis, seven months of dawn till dusk work to build the slab homestead.  It was completed in 1975.

It remained as such until 1981 when its conversion to a restaurant was initiated.  Squatters Homestead Restaurant was a full restaurant until 18 months ago [1987] when a section was adapted to house arts and crafts once again.  Current owner [1989] of 3 ½ years, Dave Condie said “The public demand for locally made artifacts was so great, we had to bring them back”.

The extensive range of craftwork on display at the Homestead is definitely something worth seeing.

When you enter Squatters Restaurant, be prepared for a step back in time to the era of colonial Australia. The building itself was built using the same constructive methods as that of the pioneers of our country. The walls are adorned with blacksmiths tools, various saddlery, even a yoke.

In the corner is an organ, in working order, that dates back to the last century and punka fans, also in working order, hang from the ceiling.

The fireplace is actually a 44-gallon drum which was converted to a fireplace by John Gilpin of Montford.  Expect to see this conversation piece well ablaze all through winter.
Squatters Homestead Restaurant is famous for its Pepper Steak, Garlic Prawns and Pumpkin Soup, but has a comprehensive menu to suit all tastes as well as a special menu for children. From Thur – Mon, Squatters dial-a-dinner is the perfect alternative for the stay at home types.

Dave invites you to spend your leisure time browsing around and soak up the environment of yesteryear.
Source: The Bribie Islander v6(3) March 1989, p. 40, 44.

Source: The Bribie Islander July 1989

An 1989 advertisement for the Squatters Restaurant, First Avenue, Bribie Island 

Murray Views, postcards, Gympie.
Restaurant now a landmark. The Bribie Islander v6(3) March 1989, p. 40-44.
Advertisement for Squatters Restaurant. The Bribie Islander v6(7) July 1989, p. 36.

This compilation was prepared by Donna Holmes, Historical Database Project Coordinator, BIHS, June 2017.