Tuesday, 16 January 2018

New book Describing Bribie

New book
Describing Bribie Island 1865-1965
: historical first-hand accounts of visiting Bribie Island

Over the century from 1865 to 1965 many different people have written fascinating first-hand accounts recording their personal experience of visiting Bribie Island. Each story provides a special insight into both the writer and the events they experienced during their time here and this insight reveals many different aspects of life and times on Bribie over those 100 years.
Section of the cover of new book
Describing Bribie Island 1865-1965

Following extensive research and document selection the Bribie Island Historical Society has published a book containing a number of these unique first-hand accounts.  

Over the last ten years Donna Holmes, Coordinator of the BIHS Historical Database Project has recorded over 10,000 references to photos, documents and articles mentioning Bribie Island. Donna selected 27 historical accounts in various formats including articles, letters and poems containing descriptive details of what Bribie Island was like when their writer visited.

The earliest stories are two letters written in 1865 on an Easter trip to Bribie by four men in a row boat. What an adventure they had rowing up the Pumicestone Passage! One man was the first premier of Queensland, another was manager of the Bank of NSW in Brisbane. The second letter was originally sent to a niece on the other side of the world and is illustrated with a series of delightful sketches and a wonderful map of Moreton Bay showing the journey stops.

Another narrative tells of an old man and a boy on a week-long trip from Beaudesert to Bribie Island in a horse and cart in 1909.  There are accounts of journeys on excursion steamships from Brisbane while other stories are written by early settlers, soldiers who were posted here and pioneers of families who descendants still live on Bribie today.

The authors include famous people like Thomas Welsby though mainly they are ordinary people who came to Bribie Island to do a job, make a new life or escape from an old one. Many of the documents have been sourced from newspapers of the time, through the John Oxley Library or from items donated to the Historical Society by descendants of the writer.

The selected accounts are all so different and provide insightful understanding of the various eras of Bribie's history. What it was like in the 1890s, during the First World War, the Depression years, the Second World War, the struggles of the 1950s and the boom years after the Bridge. The most recent account is a poem written in 1965 by the Island's Librarian.

This is the first published book by the Bribie Island Historical Society, which will celebrate its tenth anniversary in 2018. The book has over 80 pages of well-referenced material with numerous footnotes and several illustrations from the original stories. Copies are available to members of the public for $20 plus postage. For further information please contact BIHS on bribiehistoricalsociety@gmail.com 

Sunday, 14 January 2018

Past Bribie Attractions

In the 2018 edition (#44) of Bribie magazine Holiday Guide & Business Directory (page 21) is an interesting article Chasing the Tourism Dollar about two past attractions on Bribie - the seawater Aquarium at Red Beach (1960s) and the Funland waterslide (1980s).

The following article is reprinted with permission, from 2018 Bribie Holiday Guide & Business Directory published by the Bribie Island Chamber of Commerce.


Bribie Island has always been chasing the tourism dollar from before the bridge was built. When the area of Bongaree was settled and the jetty was built, regular trips by the Koopa from Brisbane and Redcliffe brought the first tourists here.

Weekend and holiday time were the busiest with people coming for the fishing and beaches. Most would be camping as there weren't many houses or permanent residents at that time.

In the 1920s the road from the Bongaree area to Ocean Beach was built but it was still a long trip to get across to that side of the island. This didn't deter the many holiday makers from making the trip and Bribie has continued to attract tourists from then until now.

In the 1950s the common way to reach Bribie Island was by the barge that ran from Toorbul Point. This was convenient as people could bring their cars over to the island.

In 1963 the biggest boom to Bribie's tourist marked came when the Bribie Island bridge was built. It was at this time that incentives were offered for new tourist attractions so in 1962, before the bridge was completed, a seawater aquarium was developed in the bush area adjacent to Red Beach. 
Ruins of the seawater Aquarium at Red Beach.
Photo: Bribie Island Chamber of Commerce.

The aquarium had large glass fronted concrete tanks which were screened by shade huts and linked by pipes. Specimens for the aquarium were collected from the surrounding region. Unfortunately the aquarium failed to attract enough tourists and closed within a year of opening. 

The remains of the aquarium tanks can be seen if you travel to the carpark at Red Beach. Follow the carpark all the way to the right and you will see a track entrance which leads to the spot where the aquarium was situated.

Bribie Waterslide at Funland in 1986.
Photo: Bribie Island Chamber of Commerce
In June 1986 a Water Park for Bribie was publicised with the following article:

"A major water theme park and waterslide is to be built on Bribie. To be centrally located on Goodwin Drive the development will consist of a waterslide, swimming pools, trampolines, mini-car track and will be set in landscaped gardens with BBQ facilities, tables chairs and other picnic facilities.
The waterslide will dominate the west Bribie skyline and should prove a major attraction, not only to residents, but to our tourists as well. At long last, Bribie will be able to offer its first major tourist attractions."

This heralded another tourism opportunity for Bribie.  The waterslide arrived and was open to the public on 1 November 1986.  Unfortunately the interest in the venture died off and they weren't attracting the numbers necessary to keep it open. The waterslide was dismantled and sold off. 

With the increasing interest in attracting tourists to Bribie, the Chamber of Commerce realised they needed to capture this market and hopefully promote repeat tourism business. After much organisation Bribie's own Information Centre was provided by the Chamber of Commerce in 1986.

The building was placed in the centre of the dividing strip in Benabrow Avenue which placed it in highly visible position for the public. A new building has since replaced the first one situated there and it still receives a large number of visitors all through the year.

So Bribie has always been chasing the tourism dollar, at times it has been difficult to promote due its location, not being part of Brisbane or the Sunshine Coast, but when you look at it people have, and always will, visit Bribie Island to enjoy a holiday at the beach were you can fish, swim, camp or just relax.


2018 edition (#44) of Bribie magazine Holiday Guide & Business Directory (page 21) 
Bribie Island Chamber of Commerce

Historical snapshots

 A small collection of historical photos appears in the 2018 edition (#44) of Bribie magazine Holiday Guide & Business Directory (page 31-32) entitled "A Snapshot of Life on Bribie Island in the 1900s".

The following article is reprinted with permission, from 2018 Bribie Holiday Guide & Business Directory published by the Bribie Island Chamber of Commerce.

Photos courtesy of the Barraud and McMackin families of Bribie Island.

1. Barge arriving at South Bribie Marine, current spot of the VMR in Bellara.

2. Boat Shed in 1928 - these people are standing were the boat ramp is at Bongaree today.

3. Original House in 1928 on Queen Street, Bongaree

4. Dressed for a day at the Beach in 1928.

5. 1947 - High tide at Shirley Creek, the water would come up to the road.

6. Ocean Beach at Woorim in 1947


2018 edition (#44) of Bribie magazine Holiday Guide & Business Directory (page 31-32) Bribie Island Chamber of Commerce.

Tuesday, 26 December 2017

The Cormorant

The Wreck
Popular landmark on Bribie ca1955-1990
ex-steamer Cormorant

Around 1955 the hulk of the wreck Cormorant was placed off South Esplanade, Bribie Island, on the shore in front of the building known as the AFA hut.

Ship wreck on Bribie Island, ca 1955.
Photo: Roy R. Ross
Source: Picture Queensland 261128

The hulk became known simply as The Wreck and was a popular landmark on Bribie Island. As the years rolled by The Wreck slowly rusted and by 1990 it was deemed too dangerous to be on the foreshore. In October 1990 the remains were removed from the beach.

The Bongaree wreck, Oct 1990.
Photo: Lynelle Court
Source: Bribie Times 31 Oct 1990.

1900-1930 - Q.G.S. Cormorant

The tug Cormorant, built by Messrs. Fleming and Ferguson, of Paisley Scotland for the Queensland Government (for service with the Lindon Bates dredges), left the Clyde on 10 September and arrived in Brisbane on 26 December 1900. The Cormorant was a vessel of 161 tons, drawing 6 feet of water, with a steaming rate of 10 knots, length 106 feet, breadth 21 feet and depth 8 ½ feet.

Caption: Familiar to Mariners who visit Brisbane, the
relief pilot boat Cormorant, which at present is laid up
at the northern capital. 

[publication and date unknown]
Clipping held by the State Library of Western Australia,
Collection of Jack Edward Miller

photo 1923
The Q.G.S. Cormorant which has been acting as pilot steamer and
returned to port last night as the result of the strike.
Source: Daily Standard (Brisbane) Thurs 6 Sep 1923, p. 1

photo 1926
Pilot steamer Cormorant.
Source: The Telegraph Sat 17 Apr 1926 p. 15
Masters of Q.G.S. Cormorant
George Irvine - pilot and master (circa 1903)
Captain Michael Brennan - master (circa 1910)
Captain John McVey - master (circa 1912)
Frederick Markusen - master (circa 1919)

Circa 1955 - the hulk towed to Bribie and laid on the beach at South Esplanade

Les Bax shares his knowledge of how the hulk of the Cormorant arrived on Bribie Island circa 1955: 

Les Bax in 2016: ‘I was on the fishing boat that towed the hulk of the ‘Cormorant’ to its final resting place on Bribie Island. The ‘Cormorant’ had been purchased by Bribie resident, George Sharp, with the object of using it to stop the erosion of Bongaree foreshore frontages. As planned we arrived at Bribie at 5:00pm at the top of the tide. Arrangements had been made to meet up with Council employees, who would help put the hull in place, but there was no sign of anyone from Council, after a short time, we decided to go ahead and beach the ‘Cormorant’ ourselves. We fitted ropes to the shore, attaching one to a tree and the fishing boat guided the hull into position. The ‘Cormorant’ rested on the bottom about half way up the beach. Billy Woods had been engaged for the following morning to blow a hole in the hull, ensuring it was to stay where it was placed. He arrived as planned and assuming the hull was where the Council put it, proceeded to place the explosives in the hull and detonate them. 
The ‘Cormorant’ would remain exactly where me and my mate, Ron Duell, had beached her until 1990 when its remains were removed for safety reasons.’


1. Islander Extraordinaire - Les Bax by Kellyanne O'Hare. 
The Bribie Islander July 2016 page 31.

2. Stories from Bribie Island - 1 [27 Aug 2016]
features recollections from Les Bax . . . Also photo of s.s. Cormorant (hulk at Bongaree) . . 

Further Information:
At the June 2017 BIHS meeting our guest speaker was David Jones on Shipwrecks of Northern Moreton Bay.  One of the wrecks mentioned by David was that of the Cormorant.

Thursday, 9 November 2017

WW2 Memorial Sandstone Point

Pebble Beach War Memorial
Toorbul Point / Sandstone Point

On Sunday 17th September 1995 a monument was unveiled at Sandstone Point as an "Australia Remembers" project.

The entry for the memorial on Monument Australia says: 

"Memorial commemorates allied personnel engaged in amphibious training exercises at Toorbul Point between 1942 and 1945 during World War Two.

Toorbul Point and Bribie Island were military/defence areas during World War Two, with Toorbul being used for amphibious and commando training. Both Australian and American personnel were involved, and Toorbul Point eventually became known as 7th Amphibious Training Centre under US Naval command."

Pebble Beach Memorial, Toorbul Point
Photo: Peter Ludlow's Moreton Bay History blog
At the base of the monument is the following inscription:

Erected by Caboolture Shire Council
as an "Australia Remembers : 1945 - 1995" Project
to commemorate the Toorbul Point Combined Operations Centre
and the many allied personnel who engaged in amphibious training exercises here
during World War II
Unveiled on September 17, 1995.

Australia Remembers, 1945-1995
'Australia Remembers, 1945-1995' was a program of activities organised by the Federal Government to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the end of the Second World War and culminated in key national ceremonies held in Brisbane on 15 August 1995 to mark the 50th anniversary of Victory in the Pacific.

Australian War Memorial entry for Australia Remembers, 1945-1995.  https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/ARTV09186/

Bullets and Beans post of Saturday 3 December 2016, Peter Ludlow's Moreton Bay History blog https://peterlud.wordpress.com/2016/12/03/bullets-and-beans/comment-page-1/

Pebble Beach War Memorial entry on Monument Australia.

Further Reading:
Donald, Ron (1995) Fort Bribie, 1939-45: the story of wartime Fort Bribie and Toorbul Point.

Donald, Ron (2010) The Yanks called it "Terrible Point" : the story of the big Allied amphibious training base at Toorbul Point, Moreton Bay, Queensland in World War II.

Recording Bribie History

Books that record aspects of the history of Bribie Island

Abrahams, Audrey (1999) Brothers of Bribie Heritage by Audrey Abrahams (daughter of Jim Maloney, one of the brothers). 

Amateur Fishermen's Association of Queensland: official history 1904-1997 (1998)

Bribie Island Lions Club: the first 25 years 1970-1995 (1995)

Bribie Island Surf Club: 75th anniversary: the history of the Bribie Island Surf Lifesaving Club 1923-1998 by P.J. Adams (1998)
Bribie Island Surf Club: 80th anniversary pictorial by P.C. Morey and P.J. Adams (2004)

Bribie State School 1924-1974 Golden Jubilee. (1974)

Caboolture: The Beauty & Lifestyle of our Shire, Vol 1, 1997.  Vol. 2, 2002.

Changing visions : Bribie island State School 75th anniversary 1924-1999. (1999)

Donald, Ron (1995) Fort Bribie, 1939-45: the story of wartime Fort Bribie and Toorbul Point.
Donald, Ron (2005) Moreton Bay, Queensland in World War II.
Donald, Ron (2008) Queen of Moreton Bay: an historical novel. [steamship Koopa].
Donald, Ron (2010) The Yanks called it "Terrible Point" : the story of the big Allied amphibious training base at Toorbul Point, Moreton Bay, Queensland in World War II.

Edwards, Chris (1998) In the Shadow of the Glass House Mountains: A chronological guide to the history and development of the Caboolture Shire and surrounding region, once covered by the original Caboolture Divisional Board, from 1770 to 1998.

Federick, Gladys & James G. Lergessner (2009) Bribie Island: a pictorial history.

Fischer, C (2011) Bribie Island’s Banksia Beach : the journey of a sleepy settlement to a vibrant seaside suburb.

Gill, JCH (1988)  Missing Coast : Queensland Takes Shape.

Groves, John (2006) North Bribie Island during World War II.

Groves, J.F. & J. (2007) Digger deeper into North Bribie Island during World War II.

Guthrie, Margaret D. (1999) The First Tourist : Commemorating the Bicentenary of Matthew Flinders’ Voyage in the Sloop Norfolk to Bribie Island and Moreton Bay 1799 - 1999.

Historic North Stradbroke Island by the North Stradbroke Historical Museum Association, 1994.

Holthouse, Hector (1982) Illustrated history of the Sunshine Coast

Horton, Helen (1983) Islands of Moreton Bay by Helen Horton, with drawings by Elizabeth McKenzie; colour photography by Steve Parish.

Jones, D & C. Jones (2015) The Lady of the Water [steamship Koopa].

Latcham, Ralph (1991) The mistique and philosophy of artist Ian Fairweather.

Lergessner, James G. (1993) White Specks on a Dark Shore : the Pumicestone Passage castaways.
Lergessner, James G. (2005) A Shrine to the artist Ian Fairweather.
Lergessner, James G. (2005) Bribie the convict weaver.
Lergessner, James G. (2006) I, Thomas Welsby.
Lergessner, James G. (2006) Oysterers of Moreton Bay.
Lergessner, James G. (2006) Seaward, South Esplanade, Bribie Island.
Lergessner, James G. (2009) The Sacred Ibis.

Love, W.R.F. (Bill) (1991) Bribie Dreaming: The Original Island Inhabitants.

Ludlow, Peter (2000) Moreton Bay People : the complete collection 2000. [revised edition published in 2007]
Ludlow, Peter (2007) Moreton Bay reflections.

McArthur, Kathleen (1978) Pumicestone passage : a living waterway.
McArthur, Kathleen (1985) The little fishes of Pumicestone Passage by "The Old Woman of the Sea".

Moongalba (Myora) sitting down place by Bernice Fischer, Rose Borey, Estelle Bertossi, Elle Durbridge, Jenny Cooke-Bramley, 1997. North Stradbroke Island Historical Museum Association.

Outram, Warwick (2002) Boorabee : Bribie's Koala heritage.
Outram, Warwick (2002) Bribie the Legend.
Outram, Warwick (2007) Journey to Bribie Island.
Outram, Warwick (2008) Bribie and the koala.  2nd edition, 2008.
Outram, Warwick (2008) Bribie Island Memories, or, taking up residence in 1974 and learning of a small community's outstanding promotions, and amazing publicity ventures.
Outram, Warwick (2009) Bribie's Golden Era.
Outram, Warwick (2009) Treasures of Bribie Island.
Outram, Warwick (2010) Birthday Girls at Bribie Island.
Outram, Warwick (2010) Bribie Island Before the Bridge.
Outram, Warwick (2010) Cradle site of Queensland.
Outram, Warwick (2011) Bribie from the beginning.
Outram, Warwick (2011) Bribie People and places.
Outram, Warwick (2011) Revisiting Heritage Tales of Bribie Island
Outram, Warwick (2012) Bribie a fascinating isle : a centenary project.
Outram, Warwick (2012) Bus to Bribie : a brief look at events, particularly in 1950-1963 when the community depended on a Bribie Island - Brisbane bus service.
Outram, Warwick (2012) Historical Snapshots of Bribie Island.
Outram, Warwick (2013) 50th birthday Bribie Island Bridge: a golden anniversary project.
Outram, Warwick (2013) First People on Bribie Island.
Outram, Warwick (2013) Frequently Asked Questions.
Outram, Warwick (2014) Answering Visitors questions about Bribie Island.
Outram, Warwick (2014) Bribie Golden Age centres.
Outram, Warwick (2014) Bribie or Boorabee : same place - different language.
Outram, Warwick (2014) Bribie’s first Aboriginal mission: established June 1877 at White Patch on Bribie Island, closed January 1879 / researched by Ron Powell.
Outram, Warwick (2014) In the footsteps of spirit ancestors; with photos and documented information / as told by Ron Powell.
Outram, Warwick (2014) Joondoburri Park: a Bribie community wish.
Outram, Warwick (2014) Two Bribie Suburbs.
Outram, Warwick (2015) Dual centenary 1912-2012.
Outram, Warwick (2015) Forty-two years at Bribie, the cradle site of Queensland.
Outram, Warwick (2015) In memory of Jessie Freeman: a friend to all / as told by Ron Powell to Warwick Outram.
Outram, Warwick (2015) Mission Point: Bribie Island site of the second Aboriginal Mission 1890-1892.
Outram, Warwick (2015) Passing the baton in the relay of residents joining, participating, then leaving the Bribie Island Community.
Outram, Warwick (2015) Prewar Bribie Island: 90-103 years ago as seen through the camera lense by Vera Campbell who entrusted her original prints to Ted Clayton.
Outram, Warwick (2015) Qld First Tourist Resort.
Outram, Warwick (2015) S S Cormorant : protecting Bribie Island 1958-1990 / research and cover painting by Ron Powell.

Pearce, Chris (1993) Through the eyes of Thomas Pamphlett: convict and castaway. [Preview on Google Books]

Pioneer families of the Sunshine Coast Pre 1920 Index 2004.

Steele, J.G. (1972) The Explorers of the Moreton Bay District 1770-1830.  Published by University of Queensland Press, 1972, reprinted 1983.
Steele, J.G. (1984) Aboriginal Pathways in Southeast Queensland and the Richmond River.

The collected works of Thomas Welsby volumes 1 and 2 edited by Andrew Kilpatrick Thomson, 1967.

The Petrie Family - Building Colonial Brisbane. By Dimity Dornan and Denis Cryle. 1992.

Tom Petrie’s Reminiscences of Early Queensland by Constance Campbell Petrie. First Published: 1904, 2nd Edition 1932, Qld Classics Edition 1983.

Toohey, Ted (2009) A Chronological guide to Caboolture Shire History

Trim : a biographical tribute to the memory of Trim [the cat] (2001) Written by Matthew Flinders.  Illustrated by Annette Macarthur-Onslow.

Tutt, Stan (1973) Caboolture country : stories of the area once controlled by the Caboolture Divisional Board, Shire of Pine Rivers, Caboolture, Kilcoy, Landsborough, Maroochy and City of Redcliffe.
Tutt, Stan (1974) Pioneer days : stories and photographs of European settlement between the Pine and the Noose Rivers, Queensland.
Tutt, Stan (1977) By many campfires : stories and photographs of European settlement between the Pine and the Noose Rivers, South Eastern Queensland.
Tutt, Stan (1979) From Spear and Musket 1879-1979 Caboolture Centenary : stories of the area once controlled by the Caboolture Divisional Board.
Tutt, Stan (1995) Sunshine Coast Heritage.

Voices of the past : stories of Caboolture Shire by Rutherford, M., & Buchanan, R. (Eds.). (2000).

Welsby, Thomas (1937) Bribie the Basket Maker.

Wild White Men of Queensland (1959) By Sir Raphael Cilento and Clem Lack.

Young, M.M. (1992) Bribie Island: a collection of information for students.

1928 Motorcycle race on Bribie Island

Sporting Events held on Bribie Island
1928 - Motorcycle racing

In 1928, the sandy Ocean Beach at Bribie Island was the scene of a novel race, a unique one-off event that generated a lot of interest at the time. Sensational speeds of over 70 m.p.h. were reached by Eddie Smythe on his "Ariel" motorcycle at the Brisbane Motor Cycle Club's racing carnival.

Below is an article on the race as well as two photos from The Brisbane Courier Monday 19 March 1928 p. 7 and 16.

Racing on Bribie Beach. 
Eddie Smythe Excels. 
By “Wayfarer”

The Brisbane Motor Cycle Club’s racing carnival held on the ocean beach at Bribie Island yesterday was a very successful fixture.  The racing was witnessed by a huge crowd, and it was noticeable that, despite their enthusiasm, the spectators were at no time a source of trouble.  They kept clear of the course and observed the barriers erected in the interests of their safety.
   The racing was staged on the tide-washed section of the beach at low water, which was beautifully hard and level.  As the day wore on the sharp turns at either end were torn up by skidding wheels, and as the rising tide encroached on the course the men had to race on the softer sand of the upper beach, and the spills were more numerous.  The course was a mile in length, comprising two straight runs each of half a mile, with hairpin turns at each extremity.  

Sensational speeds were made in the straights that attained by Eddie Smythe’s Ariel, which proved itself the fastest machine of the day, being calculated at well over 70 m.p.h.  In one race this rider came off twice, and then registered an average of 46 ½ m.p.h., which was wonderful speed, considering that the race included ten extremely sharp turns.  

Besides moving fast in the straights, Smythe showed a mastery of the art of broadsiding around the turns in little more than a machine’s length.  He was easily the best rider of the day in every department, and particularly in negotiating the turns.  Smythe won the two-mile B.M.C.C. handicap, and was just beaten by A.R. Walton in the five-mile open handicap, in which, however, he registered fastest time.  

The rapidity with which the tide rose caused the cancellation of one event, a three-mile club handicap.  Details:- [of the results – name of the rider and type of cycle] . . .

Racing on Bribie Beach. Eddie Smythe Excels. By "Wayfarer". The Brisbane Courier, Mon 19 Mar 1928, p. 7 http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article21234347