Wednesday, 13 November 2019

1969 Pumicestone Channel declared a Fish Habitat Area

Pumicestone Channel 
declared a Fish Habitat Area

Did you know it is 50 years since Pumicestone Channel was first declared a Fish Habitat Area? 

Also significant, over 130 years ago Pumicestone Channel was declared a reserve of native birds.

The Pumicestone Passage between the mainland and Bribie Island and most of Bribie Island foreshore, that we all enjoy today, has been known as a fish habitat area for over half a century. Our beautiful waterway is an important nursery ground for our local marine life and sanctuary for native birds and Bribie Island is a flora and fauna reserve.

Pumicestone Passage / Pumicestone Channel in 2012
Source: Qld. Dept. of Environment & Science website

Pumicestone Channel was one of seven areas declared in 1969 as Fish Habitat Areas, the other six areas were Deception Bay, Hay's Inlet, Jumpinpin - Broadwater, Kippa-Ring, Moreton Banks, Myora - Amity Banks.

Declaration dates of significance
23 January 1969 (original declaration of Pumicestone Passage Reserve)
19 November 1983 (original declaration of Bribie Island Reserve)
24 July 1998 (redeclared to cadastral boundaries and to combine Pumicestone Passage and Bribie Island FHAs)
11 November 2011 (redeclared to clarify boundaries and address management issues)

Declared Fish Habitat Area Summary - Pumicestone Channel
Declaration dates as of 2012
Source: NLA's Pandora Archive

Here's to the next 50 years as we continue to preserve our wonderful home.

Declared Fish Habitat Area summary - Pumicestone Channel. Declaration dates as of 2012Available online via NLA's Pandora archive

Declared fish habitat area network assessment report 2012. Compiled by Rebecca Batton, Kurt Derbyshire and Rebecca Sheppard, Fisheries Queensland, Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, June 2012. Available online at:

Frank Olsen - One Minute Archive.
Queensland State Archives YouTube video available online 
Frank Olsen played a key role in developing today's Queensland-wide network of Fish Habitat Areas.

Essay covering reserves for the protection of native birds. Rachael E.V. Marsh.
Queensland Times, Sat 16 Jan 1915, p. 10 via NLA's Trove online

Thursday, 10 October 2019

Anro Asia 1981

Anro Asia (ship)
grounded off the northern tip of Bribie Island, 
29 October 1981

Anro Asia (ship) grounded off north Bribie Island.
Source: NLA's Pandora archive
Anro Asia (ship)
grounded off north Bribie.
Source: MBRC Libraries P0784

On 29 October 1981 the 213 metre 16,336 gross tonnage Ro-Ro container vessel, Anro Asia, grounded near the northern tip of Bribie Island while entering Moreton Bay.

Chinook helicopter near grounded Anro Asia
Source: Sunshine Coast Libraries M863575

The vessel sustained damage to several double bottom tanks and between 70 to 100 tonnes of bunker fuel was released into the sea. The vessel carried a total of 1100 tonnes of bunker fuel. Some oil reached shore on both Bribie Island and Caloundra beaches resulting in a clean up operation. 

Two Chinook helicopters, from the RAAF base at Williamstown, lifted off about 50 containers in preparation for an attempt to refloat the ship. 

The Anro Asia was refloated on 6 November 1981.

Image courtesy of Moreton Bay Regional Council.
MBRC Libraries online catalogue, photo 934457 P0784

Image courtesy of Sunshine Coast Council
Sunshine Coast Libraries online catalogue, photo M863575

AMSA (1981) Anro Asia, Bribie Island, Queensland, 29 October 1981.
Australian Maritime Safety Authority.
Collected by NLA's Pandora archive, webpage snapshot taken 18 Dec 2014.

Sunday, 15 September 2019

1933 Field trip to Pumicestone Passage

The following article was written by Hector Dinning (1887-1941), a distinguished author and journalist. He was born in Maryborough and educated at the Brisbane Grammar School and the University of Queensland of which he was a foundation member. Enlisting in the A.I.F. in 1914, he served in Gallipoli, France and Palestine and was eventually seconded to the War Records Section, where he assisted in the compilation of the official history of the A.I.F. Following wide journalistic experience, on the outbreak of war in 1939 Mr Dinning turned his energies to a wartime occupation to the position of State Publicity Censor.

Easter 1933
Afield with the Bug Hunters
by Hector Dinning

Pumicestone Channel
The Telegraph (Brisbane) Sat 13 May 1933 p. 9
"A company of thirty-two souls - as they say in describing travellers by water - we left Brisbane by the Koopa on Easter Thursday for the Field Naturalists annual camp. ...

About to embark
The Telegraph (Brisbane) Sat 13 May 1933 p. 9
"The steamer that takes the Easter campers to Redcliffe and Bribie is bound to be a bit jammed. We got - after a search what we never expected at that late hour - seats. Both decks were as crammed as a boat of war time refugees. Only the kids looked happy as they slept, which they did early. ...  At Redcliffe, though we disgorged hundreds it made no apparent difference. Such is the growing lure of Bribie, it would seem.

"At Bribie pier we were met by the advance guard of the Field Naturalists, who had gone down by the morning boat, had pitched tents for the females in a one-night camp, and prepared supper for the lot. Having spent the day in this recreational style in God's own sunlight, they were in great form. Infected by this, and heartened by jorums of steaming coffee and Easter buns, we jaded and belated travellers revived a little.

The camp - mess tent and sleeping quarters.
The Telegraph (Brisbane) Sat 13 May 1933 p. 9

"The men, it appeared, were to sleep on the launch that was destined to take the party next day up The Passage to Caloundra, the permanent base of this expedition. A keen wind was blowing and the launch was tossing viciously. It was apparent that, except to those inured to the sailor's life (such as the skipper, his wife and family, stowed for'ard) there would be little sleep afloat that night. So it proved in the event, as related by all but the three of us who had the decision of mind desperately to snatch our sleeping bags from the launch as she cast off and spend the night on the hard, but stable, planks of the jetty. We slept not the less soundly for a notice over our heads that the electric torch revealed: "Camping on this jetty strictly prohibited." ... [on to Caloundra and then back on the Sunday] ...

"We embarked for South Bribie early on Monday. There was lunch and a scramble on South Bribie and a bathe in the easterly surf, and a race back by charabanc over that bizarre, undeviating road to catch the homeward boat. It was stuffed with campers who must at all costs (poor dupes!) be a work on Tuesday morning.

Ocean Beach, Bribie.
The Telegraph (Brisbane) Sat 13 May 1933 p. 9

"When we reached Redcliffe there was standing room only, and when they opened the pier gates the embarking host swept down upon the ship like a flood and swarmed over gangway and ship's side like a horde of boarding pirates. Soon they were standing as thick on the decks as in a London tube during an air raid.

"The engine room telegraph rang out and we began throbbing on the long, long voyage to Brisbane. But over that journey let us draw a veil.

Afield with the Bug Hunters by Hector Dinning. 
The Telegraph (Brisbane) Sat 13 May 1933 p. 9

Death of Mr Hector Dinning.
The Telegraph (Brisbane) Mon 24 Nov 1941 p. 4

Portrait of Hector Dinning, Brisbane, ca 1930s.
National Library of Australia, image 137952953

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.