Wednesday, 14 August 2019

1916 picnic scene

1916 Picnic Scene on Bribie Island

This lovely photo of a group of people having a picnic on Bribie Island in 1916 was featured in a newspaper article in 1990.
Old Photo Unearthed.
Photo from Mr Snow Sefton.

Source: Bribie Weekly, 1990.

Dear Old "Lady" Retired - At Last.
Photo of the Koopa and Mr Snow Sefton.
Source: Bribie Weekly, 1990.
The article in 1990 recorded that "Snow" Sefton had received this photo and several other photos from a chemist friend when Snow moved to Bribie in the 1960s.

"Well-known ex-automotive engineer "Snow" Sefton was given the photo by a chemist friend more than 30 years ago when he moved to Bribie Island to live. Mr Sefton, 79, said that, in the 1930s, Koopa used to leave the Customs House in Brisbane River and picked up passengers en route to Redcliffe and the island. He recalls with a grimace that "nice clean white clothes" worn by those on board the ship sometimes suffered from soot generated by its coal-burning engines."

At the end of the above article is mentioned "Oxley Library in Brisbane is keen to hear from people with old photos, newspapers or any other memorabilia of the early days of the island". 

Here we are, thirty years later, and there is still a keen interest in old photos, newspaper clippings and other memorabilia of the early days of Bribie Island! 

Recently, Lynne Hooper (BIHS Secretary) and Donna Holmes (Coordinator, BIHS Historical Database Project) spent many hours looking through photos held in the Heritage Collection (formerly John Oxley Library) of the State Library of Queensland.

One of the photos in the heritage collection was the picnic scene from 1916.

Bribie Island, ca 1916.
Photo 171084, Acc 86-5-4,
Heritage Collections, State Library of Queensland.
The next photo in the sequence shows a larger group of people with a background of trees. Could this photo also be on Bribie Island? Was the "group of four" part of a larger group?

Social gathering in the bush, 1910-1920.
Photo 171085, Acc 86-5-4
Heritage Collections, State Library of Queensland.
Other photos in the sequence shows staff from the Isis District Hospital visiting various places in southeast Queensland in 1915-1916.

If you recognise any of the people above or if you have any old photos of Bribie Island you would like to share, please contact the Bribie Island Historical Society on 

Dear Old "Lady" Retired - At Last. Photo of the Koopa and Mr Snow Sefton. 
Bribie Weekly, 1990. [Ormond Allan Sefton (1911-1991) RAAF #4747]
BIHS Historical database, Shirley family collection, S10_112_album_p48_to_p56.pdf

Old Photo Unearthed. Photo from Mr Snow Sefton. 
Bribie Weekly, 1990.
BIHS Historical database, Shirley family collection, S10_112_album_p48_to_p56.pdf

Social gathering in the bush, 1910-1920 [photo]
Heritage Collections, State Library of Queensland, 171085, Acc 86-5-4

Wednesday, 10 July 2019

sailboat Marvel

Tom Tripcony's sailboat Marvel
from Bongaree to Caloundra

Tom Tripcony, a well-known resident of Pumicestone Passage in the early twentieth century, would convey excursionists from Bongaree to Caloundra aboard his sailboat Marvel

Below is a picture of the Marvel and a 1916 description of the journey.

Tom Tripcony's sailboat Marvel, ca 1915
NLA's Trove

"A pleasant way of reaching Caloundra is by water. The Koopa comes to Bribie Sundays and Thursdays, and if one writes beforehand to Mr Tripcony at Caloundra store he will meet the Koopa in his motor launch and land you in Caloundra before 6 p.m. 

The trip [from Brisbane to Caloundra] is thus several hours longer [than by train and motor coach] but it is very enjoyable as Bribie Passage, or Pumice Stone Channel, has its own beauties; and the views of the Glass Houses are very beautiful. At times these weird mountains seem startlingly near, and so many more are seen than from the railway, all different shapes and all eye-arresting." 
[Daily Mail (Brisbane) 4 Dec 1916]

The Marvel was 30 feet long with a 12 feet beam and also delivered stores once a month to the two light towers on North Bribie Island.

Caloundra: a holiday resort near Brisbane by "Mermaid". The Daily Mail (Brisbane) Mon 4 Dec 1916 p. 7

Advertisement for Win Fowles' most modern cash stores. The Brisbane Courier Thu 19 Nov 1908 p. 6

Win Fowles [rooster caricature]. The Truth (Brisbane) Sun 6 Sep 1908 p. 5

Sailboat Marvel [photo] Sunshine Coast Libraries P87050 accessed via National Library of Australia's online Trove

Saturday, 29 June 2019

Brisbane region 1959

Bribie Island featured in a 
Block diagram of Brisbane region 1959

This year is 160 years since Queensland became the Colony of Queensland when it separated from the Colony of New South Wales in 1859.

Cover of Walkabout magazine
June 1959

Sixty years ago, in June 1959, the magazine Walkabout produced a souvenir issue to celebrate the centenary and courtesy of the National Library of Australia's wonderful online resource Trove, the souvenir magazine can be read online

Happy Birthday Queensland!

A Block Diagram of the Brisbane Valley.
Walkabout, June 1959, page 17
One of the illustrations shows a block diagram of the Brisbane Valley which provides a remarkable aerial view of Brisbane and surrounding country and Moreton Bay.

 As you can see Bribie Island is one of the islands depicted.

This block diagram had been previously published by Prof. Thomas Griffith Taylor in his book on Australia (7th ed., 1959, Fig. 61). 

Grif Taylor (1880-1963) was an English geographer, anthropologist and world explorer. He was a survivor of Captain Robert Scott's Terra Nova Expedition to Antarctica. 

Taylor, T.G. (1959) Australia: a study of warm environments and their effect on British settlement. 7th ed. Fig. 61: A block diagram of the Brisbane Valley.

Walkabout Magazine (1934-1978) produced by the Australian National Travel Association available online via National Library of Australia's Trove 

Sunday, 28 April 2019

Allied Base at Toorbul Point in WW2

In the 2018 edition (#44) of Bribie magazine Holiday Guide & Business Directory (page 30) is an interesting article Big Allied Base at Toorbul Point in World War 2.

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


Further clues have come to light in the intriguing story of the big Allied amphibious training base at Toorbul Point in World War 2, writes Bribie Island war historian and author Ron Donald. (Toorbul Point is the mainland area where the bridge to Bribie Island starts but, in a wartime context, took in the big hillside expanse which is now the Sandstone Point residential area, as well as Spinnaker Sound Marine and extending west to the present-day township of Ningi. Aerial photos in 1943 show the whole camp dotted with army and navy huts and other buildings).

The newly-established Combined Training School (CTS) at Toorbul Point was an initiative of the Australian Army and was under the command of AIF 7 Div. Lieut. Col. Lionel Rose. Its primary purpose was to train Australian troops for amphibious warfare in New Guinea.

Rose compiled a report on the activities of CTS between July 19, 1942 and March 21, 1943, when the establishment was taken over by the US Navy for the ongoing training of sailors and troops for assaults on Japanese-held islands in the Pacific.

The craft used initially by the Australian infantrymen in simulated beach assaults on Moreton and Bribie Island were "contraptions" known as folding boats which could carry about 20 fully-armed soldiers and were towed by commandeered launches manned by RAN personnel.

As time went by, big, high-powered US landing craft began to arrive at the Toorbul Point establishment and the much-maligned folding boats were phased out. They were replaced mainly by Higgins boats able to accommodate 36 soldiers and by LCTs, landing craft 33m long and with a carrying capacity of five 28-tons tanks.

Assaults on Bribie Island's beaches were carried out under simulated battle conditions, including floating smoke screens, machine gun fire on shore and strafing and bombing raids by RAAF aircraft.

In his report, Rose listed the projects which had to be undertaken by Australian Army united before CTS commenced its first course on August 5, 1942. These included the construction of "dummy craft (landing) and a "ship's side"."

While the location of this training facility - in preparation for beach assaults from landing ships - was not specified, Australian soldiers, including artillerymen and tank crews, confirmed after the war how they had clambered up and down landing nets on the "ship's side" which comrades at the bottom swung the nets to simulate the action of a ship rolling in the sea.

Equally as intriguing is an official Australian Army survey map of the Toorbul Point area compiled in August 1942, which shows a "training platform" on the beach midway between Toorbul Point and Sandstone Point. Was this the site of the "dummy craft and mock ship's side" mentioned in Rose's report?

Recent clues, however, suggest that the Americans, during their occupancy of the CTS area, constructed wharf-like structures along the beach and extending as far around as what is known nowadays as Kal-makuta Drive, near Spinnaker Sound. These structures have disappeared with the passage of time.

A Brisbane businessman nearing retirement recalls exploring the foreshores of Ningi Creek with his younger brother during family holidays in a modest house near the waterfront in the post-war period. He recalled seeing wharf-like structures and tree trunks in which US personnel had carved their names and home addresses.

Another recollection comes from a man, now in high eighties, who visited the camp as a teenage apprentice with his employer to check on the US Navy's refrigeration set-up. His lasting recollection of the visit is that "all the Yanks seemed to be walking around eating ice cream". Surveys for residential development in recent years revealed the location of wells which supplemented the Toorbul Point camp's water supply. Unfortunately, nothing remains of the significant timber structures on the waterfront.

An official report shows that more than 20,000 Australian and US servicemen, comprising infantrymen, commandos, cavalry and artillery personnel and the crews of 28-tons tanks, trained at Toorbul Point. River tanks could be accommodated in the 105 ft (33m) US Navy landing craft at the CTS.

In addition to soldiers, there were 300 RAN personnel at the base in December 1942, and 400 US Navy members at March 21, 1943, when the area was taken over as a US amphibious training establishment. When the Americans left, Toorbul Point became a training area for barges and "soldier-sailor" crews of the Australian Army Water Transport Service prior to their going to the theatres of war in the Pacific.

Retired journalist Ron Donald is the author of numerous articles and three books on wartime Bribie Island. Most recent of these if "The Yanks Called It Terrible Point" - the story of the big Allied amphibious training base at Toorbul Point, Moreton Bay, Queensland, in World War 2.

2018 edition (#44) of Bribie magazine Holiday Guide & Business Directory (page 30) Bribie Island Chamber of Commerce

Donald, R. (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 2.

Friday, 26 April 2019

Observation Post block remnants

Stone the crows?
The following is from an article entitled "Stone the crows?" and 
published in an unknown publication from the 1980s.

Ever wondered just where those stones on Woorim beach just north of the Boyd Street lookout came from?

The foundation blocks from old World War Two
fortifications scattered on Woorim beach.
Photo from the 1980s.

They were, in fact, part of a lookout constructed by the army during World War Two when there was fear of a Japanese invasion.  The lookout was situated up on the sand dunes directly behind where the fallen stones are now [1980s] situated.

Constructed on sturdy wooden trunks the stone shelter was believed to have been built around 1941 and was still standing in 1946 when local resident Margaret Campbell took a photo of a friend of hers sitting in front of the lookout.

As the Observation Post appeared in 1946.
This local lady is pictured in front of the Woorim look-out
which is now [1980s] but a pile of rubble.

Margaret said that she wasn't sure when the lookout fell or exactly what happened to it. She said that it may have just worn with age or the dune gave way with erosion over the years.

But the stones and some pieces of the wooden poles can be clearly seen [in the 1980s] on the beach and depending on the tides at times more are uncovered.

Stone the crows? article from the 1980s. Source unknown.
Source: BIHS historical database CC88_037

If you have any information about the above article or photos or if you have a similar photos that you would like to share, our email address is

Wednesday, 17 April 2019

family photo from May 1941

A recent phone conversation between the Bribie Island Historical Society's president Graham Mills and a family member of Mrs Mary Schulz led to Mrs Schulz sharing a photo of herself and her brother Stan Tutt at Bribie Island in 1941. Thank you Mary.

Family photo at Bribie Island 
May 1941

L-R: Stan Tutt, his sister Mary Tutt, Fred Trusz
with their picnic lunch, Bribie Island, May 1941.
Source: Mary Schulz nee Tutt

L-R: mum Doris, Stan, sister Mary, Nigel, Madge, Charles.
Tutt family members at their property 'Woodnook', Landsborough, 24 Dec 1942.
Source: Sunshine Coast Libraries brn 535994
We thank Mrs Mary Schulz nee Tutt formerly Reynolds for sharing her photos with us. Mary said, "I will be 100 in September." Thank you Mary. 

Photo from Mrs Mary Schulz nee Tutt
Photo from Sunshine Coast Libraries online catalogue

Stan Tutt Oral History Transcript. Interview held 31 Jul 1997 at Landsborough Historical Museum.

Backward Glance - Shining a light in May: Mothers, Nurses and Carers. 2018. Sunshine Coast Council. Heritage. Media Releases.
This article refers to the Tutt family photo [shown above] taken at their property 'Woodnook', Landsborough, 24 Dec 1942.

If you have any information about the above photos or if you have a similar collection of Bribie Island photos that you would like to share, our email address is

Wednesday, 13 March 2019

Fred's album of Bribie memories

Fred's album brings back Bribie memories
 : life in the 1920s caught on film 
by Ron Donald. 
Bribie Weekly 22 March 1992.

One of the best collections of photos of old-time Bribie Island is in the family album of retired council worker Fred Buckley, of Hall Avenue.  

Fred Buckley uses a magnifying glass to bring out interesting details of the
amenities offered to holidaymakers by a Bribie Island guest house nearly
 70 years ago. A men's dormitory, looking more like open stables, is on the left.
Source: Bribie Weekly 22 March 1992.
His father, an engraver, was a keen amateur photographer in the 1920s and left a legacy of snapshots of guest houses and other buildings of that era, as well as general scenes. 

Davies' Guesthouse Glan Y Mor, Banya Street.
Source: Fred Buckley collection B20_009
Among these is a photo of a guest house, with the intriguing name - possibly Welsh - of Davies Glan Y Mor, which is believed to have been located at the corner of Banya and Campbell Streets. Here board and residence were provided, with an outdoor open "dormitory" for men looking more like stables with a roof of bark or slabs of timber. Mosquito nets are faintly visible in the photo, which was taken before Fred Buckley's birth in 1924.

Davies' Guesthouse outdoor open "dormitory".
Source: Fred Buckley collection B20_010
Another valuable old photo depicts a store and cafe on the foreshore just north of the Bongaree jetty and beside it about 10 shingle-roof holiday cabins built before the Second World War (1939-45) by the shipping company which ran the services to the island from Brisbane.
Store and cafe of the same era which was near the Bongaree jetty.
Camping under canvas along the foreshore also was popular in the early days of the island.
Source: Fred Buckley collection B20_003

Mr Buckley says he and his father were on the steamship Koopa when it made its final run to the island on Labor Day, 1953.  The 42-years-old vessel spent its last days rusting away in Boggy Creek which entered Brisbane River near the present-day Gateway bridge.  Mr Buckley said the mast of the ship was transferred by helicopter to St Paul's Anglican school at Bald Hills.

Small shingle-roof cabins were available to holidaymakers on Bribie Island in the 1920s.
They were built on the foreshore at Bongaree by Brisbane Tug & Steamship Company
which ran passenger ferries. These often carried more than 1000 people
 to the island from Brisbane.
Source: Fred Buckley collection B20_004
Among his other prized memorabilia are two large framed photographs of Bribie Island sunset scenes which won awards in America.  They were a gift from island photographer Davies to Mr Buckley's parents on their wedding day in 1924.

Donald, Ron (1992) Fred's album brings back Bribie memories: life in the 1920s caught on film.  Bribie Weekly 22 March 1992.

Fred Buckley photo collection, BIHS Historical Database Project, B20.

If you have any information about the above collection of photos or if you have a similar collection of Bribie Island photos that you would like to share, our email address is