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.

BIG ALLIED BASE AT TOORBUL POINT IN WORLD WAR 2

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.

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

FURTHER READING
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

1980s
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.

REFERENCE:
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 bribiehistoricalsociety@gmail.com

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
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT:
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. 

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

FURTHER READING:
Stan Tutt Oral History Transcript. Interview held 31 Jul 1997 at Landsborough Historical Museum. http://pandora.nla.gov.au/pan/159229/20160628-0006/library.sunshinecoast.qld.gov.au/sitePage71b5.html

Backward Glance - Shining a light in May: Mothers, Nurses and Carers. 2018. Sunshine Coast Council. Heritage. Media Releases.
https://heritage.sunshinecoast.qld.gov.au/About/Media-Releases/Backward-Glance-Mothers-Nurses-and-Carers-090518
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 bribiehistoricalsociety@gmail.com

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.

REFERENCES:
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 bribiehistoricalsociety@gmail.com

Thursday, 28 February 2019

Bribie Barges 1961-1963

A recent email conversation between the Bribie Island Historical Society's secretary and past president Lynne Hooper and Jon White led to Jon writing up his memories from 1961-1963 when he worked on the barge between Toorbul Point and Bribie Island. Thank you Jon.

BRIBIE ISLAND
MEMORIES OF TOORBUL POINT 1961-1963

Jon White

As a young teacher at Toowong State School in Brisbane I met a senior teacher named Snowy Drennan who among many other things was the owner of the Bribie Barges. He wanted casual workers and invited me to work on Sundays at the Toorbul Point terminal for 4 pounds a day. I was to arrive early at Snowy's Queenslander in Lutwyche and travel in his salmon pink Morris Isis with his wife/cook Molly and dog Paddy who stood on Snowy's lap and barked at any and everything through the open window all the way to Toorbul Point. 

On arrival Molly went into the house, which had been relocated from Brisbane by another of Snowy's connections, and put on the mutton chops for lunch. Snowy took me round introducing me to the job and the personnel. I subsequently met other casuals and regulars Jack, Rex and Mick. Jack and Rex lived in humpies on the Toorbul Point side and Mick lived on the island, which made it handy for days when the barges ran both ways at first light.

1960. Barge loading point at Toorbul Point.
Jon may be the bloke in the white shire walking towards the barge.
Source: MBRC Library P1265 
Toorbul Point was nothing flash, unlike the early Gold Coast to which I was accustomed, but it had a country feel about it and when the barges were working and the weather was fine it was something special. The Passage was like a broad river and the whole atmosphere could be likened to a small river town. Facilities were crude and there was only a small caravan park kiosk run by the Do family of Chinese descent. I reckon Tony Do would still be around as he would be about 80. Snowy would then roar at someone about nothing and go inside to reconcile the week's takings or chat to a waiting driver. I was put to my first job which was to grind the words PROPERTY OF QUEENSLAND EDUCATION DEPARTMENT from the ends of a full carton of toilet rolls (this made them difficult to unroll) that somehow mysteriously appeared in the workshop. 
1960. A classic view of the barge arriving at Bribie Island.
Source: Baldwin family photo collection, BIHS.
The barges were a legacy of U.S. Army WW2 activities in the area and obviously well used. I guess the crossing points were left over from those days. Snowy never mentioned teaching on the island so I know nothing about that but if true it would help to explain his connection to the barges. (Snowy also had connections to U.S. troops in Charleville where the famous Norden Bombsight was being developed). The barges were initially powered by  port and starboard V8 petrol engines and were most uneconomical. The law required a permanent engineer on craft of 60 h.p. and above so Snowy had the motors replaced by a pair of Southern Cross diesels made in Toowoomba and detuned to guess what? 59 hp! This only required an annual inspection so each Christmas holiday the engineer would camp at Toorbul Point with his family at Snowy's expense. This detuning left the barges severely underpowered so when the tide and wind were unfavourable the barges struggled to operate and this happened regularly. Storms would blow down the passage and could be quite dangerous. I was in a hire tinny one afternoon and was heading up the Caloundra end when a huge blow caught me and overturned the boat, petrol tank, oars, me fully dressed all floating about. The one-eyed Dutchmen proprietor of the boat hire had me in sight through his binoculars and rescued me in his powerboat.  
1950s. Barge on the sand at low tide, Bribie Island.
Shows both propellers and rudders allowing for differential steering.
Source: MBRC Library P1683
It was Rex who taught me how to operate the barges: start the motors with use of decompression valve, wind ramp up and down load vehicles including backing on caravans and trailers and of course, drive to and from the island. I became a casual barge driver without any qualifications, exams, tests, or certificates. I hate to think what insurance problems could have arisen. All vehicles were backed on preferably by staff and all passengers to exit vehicles. There was an extensive ticket system approved by the Caboolture Shire and included car, trailer, boat, caravan, motorbike, truck, bicycle, foot passenger, you name it, it was there. Snowy told me he had applied tongue-in-cheek, tears dripping off the page and much to his delight all was approved. I forget most of the fees but a car one way was 10 shillings and foot passengers 2 shillings. Super ripoff!  
The heaps of photos sent to me by Lynne Hooper of Bribie Island Historical Society made it easier for me to recall much more detail about those years. I spent many months over the years camping both in a civilian and military situations and Toorbul Point to me was similar to the basic life that the barge people led. Some people waiting to cross, who missed the last barge, would sleep in their cars or annex. Others I guess would go home to Brisbane, we would not have known. Life was just like camping or living in a primitive caravan park except for the singularity of the reason for being in the queue to cross to Bribie (or return). Now when people cross the bridge, any bridge for that matter, how many of them look down to the little towns, kiosks and caravan parks along the banks when they are anticipating the next stage of their journey or in the case of Bribie their imminent arrival. The barges, LCVP (Landing Craft Vehicle & Personnel), the dirt roads the breakdowns and the waiting on the Toorbul Point side are not part of today. I thank you for receiving my fractured memories and hope you can make a little use of them.

I would like to finish with a couple of anecdotes. 

Annual Supply of Diesel Fuel.
Each year one of the barges would go down to the Brisbane River and from some warehouse to collect approximately 100 x 44 gallon drums of diesel fuel approx 200 kgs each. My job was to help unload and place them on the beach at an angle with the 2 bungs horizontal to prevent contamination by the elements. Also to be set at angle to allow drain off. The theory was fine. We arrived one Friday evening and there was the barge at high tide, door down and a great array of drums standing upright waiting for unloading to the sand dune. We put boards down to roll the drums on, two men to a drum we tipped them and rolled them almost horizontally to the beach stood them up and maneuvered them into correct position then headed off to get the next one. Snowy promised a full day's pay (4 pounds) to finish by midnight with a pound bonus for every hour before that. After a while we noticed we were pushing uphill and suddenly realised the tide was going out tipping the barge aft lower. Not only that we were stuck high and dry. Snowy was furious jumping up and down and waving his arms around and screaming obscenities: in fact having a ball! We had to prise the barge off using boards and now the barge was well below us and well out of reach. More and more boards and pushing and shoving uphill. We convinced Snowy to leave the barge where it was as it kept getting stuck. We eventually finished at 4.00 a.m. the next morning with the rotten stinking barge coming in on the high tide. As for the bonus, Snowy was no fool he knew it couldn't be done and even threatened a penalty for slack work! 

Getting the Sack 
Mick was to start the service from the island side one Sunday morning during a holiday when I was working full-time and I was to collect the fares from the Toorbul Point side. I slept in and was woken by the crashing of the door boards on to the ramp and the sound of cars racing off in to the distance in a cloud of dust. Mick laughed and told me five cars had got away. Snowy arrived about 10.00 a.m. and did his usual pantomime and roared at me that I was sacked. I handed him the money bag and ticket board but was told to finish the day. About 3 o'clock he told me I was reinstated. He was busting to tell me how he knew about it and said that one of the drivers went straight to his house to tittle-tattle and Snowy hit him for the fare! He reckoned that was a huge joke. 
1960. Loading cars at the Toorbul Point barge point.
The man in the white hat may be Snowy.
Source: MBRC Library P1468
Governor's Visit 
One sleepy Sunday afternoon a green Rover 90 pulled slowly in and from the back seat window an arm appeared with a 20 pound note in hand. I recognised the driver as Sir Henry Abel Smith and assuming the wife and Lady-in-waiting as the others. Having only just read the Barge Constitution, as laid out by the good citizens of Caboolture, blah blah I informed the lady that the Governor and his entourage were exempt from paying and must be rendered due deference etc etc, whereupon the driver's window went down and I got a handshake from the Man himself.  

Barges sinking  
I know of two barges sinking but there were probably more. The simplest way to sink one was to tie up at low tide with no slack in the ropes so as the tide rose the barge didn't. A storm sank another. No real damage, just pump it dry at low tide. 

1962. Bribie Island. View towards bridge construction.
Photo: Rosemary Beattie
Barge damaging bridge construction  
When the bridge structure was well under way in late 1963 a barge supposedly tied up on the island side got away and damaged the bridge causing small damage. Imagine that! 

The fate of the barges  
As the barge service was soon to be wound up Snowy looked for buyers. I know of one starter who made an interesting offer that I might have become involved in had I not been committed to the Army. A Pacific Island businessman wanted the barges, plus experienced drivers. Job: pick up and deliver full and empty trailers to shuttle timber between island forests and sawmills. He was talking big money and intended to fit out the rear of the barge with a proper cabin, kitchen, bathroom etc and company to cater for all needs. I do not know if any of this occurred.

1968. Barge point at Toorbul Point no longer in operation.
Showing crooked piles and messy pile of empty drums.
Photo: Rosemary Beattie
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT:
We thank Jon White for kindly allowing us to put his story on our blog.

REFERENCES:
Photos from Moreton Bay Local History online
Photos from BIHS Historical Database

Friday, 22 February 2019

1969 Bribie Island Festival

Bribie Island Festival Week
1969

2019 marks the 50th anniversary of the inaugural Bribie Island Festival Week which was held August 30 - September 7, 1969.


Poster for the 1969 Bribie Island Festival Week.
Image cropped from a Len Drummond photo
The idea for the festival week was put to a public meeting held at the Bongaree Bowls Club on May 27, 1969. The public meeting was convened by the Bribie Island Publicity Committee and the idea was received enthusiastically to showcase the many tourist attractions at the best time of the year for the flora and fauna - Spring time on Bribie!

FESTIVAL PRINCE AND PRINCESS - Saturday 30 August - The first event held was the crowning of "The Prince and Princess" of Bribie Island - Mr and Mrs Arthur Winston - with full festival regalia and the voices of The Happy Wanderers choir accompanied by an orchestra from the local Municipal Band members in full dress uniform.

Following the ceremony, the "Royal Party" and their entourage moved off to attend the FIRST ANNUAL AMBULANCE FALL which was held at The Blue Pacific Hotel at Woorim.


Crowning the "Ambulance Queen" Miss Shirley Schrag
by Hon. D. Nicholson M.L.A. with
flower girl Sharon Jensen and page boy Wayne Balmer.
Source: Bribie Star 5 Sep 1969
A special feature of the evening was the crowning of the Bribie Island Ambulance Queen. 

OFFICIAL OPENING - Sunday 31 August - The official opening of the Bribie Island Festival Week took place at 4pm [Bribie Time!] at which the Minister for Labour and Tourism officiated.

An AQUATIC CARNIVAL comprising of sailing events was conducted by the Humpybong Yacht Club in conjunction with the Bribie Island Boat and Yacht Club.

A FESTIVAL FISHING COMPETITION was a huge success with nearly 400 participating in the competition.

During the week there were daily amusement activities including Jack and Doreen's puppet show.



Festival Week on Bribie Island
Source: Bribie Star 5 Sep 1969
The Bribie Island Festival Committee had conducted a Festival Princess Quest to raise funds for local community services. On Saturday 6 September the judging of the Festival Princess Quest Entrants took place at the Koolamara Motel. The entrants were Miss Glenda Renton, Miss Shirley Schrag, Miss Judy Day, Miss Elizabeth Johnson, Miss Lyn Crouch and Miss DeGroot and the winner of the Festival Princess Quest for 1969 was Miss Judy Day. Miss Charity Princess of the Festival was Miss Shirley Schrag.

A FESTIVAL PARADE of over 20 floats and turnouts were accompanied by twelve teams of Marching Girls and led by the Royal Naval Reserve Band and the Air Training Corps No. 13 Flight R.A.A.F. Newspaper reports of the event declared the parade "a grand show".

There was a SURF BOAT RACE from the Bribie Jetty over an eight mile course in which three teams competed - Maroochydore, Caloundra and Bribie Island surf life saving clubs.

One of the final events was a FOUNDATION STONE LAID for "The House of Happiness" on land owned by the Brisbane Tram and Bus Employees Crippled Children and Orphans Committee at Woorim.


If you have photos or memories of the 1969 festival that you would like to share please contact BIHS at bribiehistoricalsociety@gmail.com

REFERENCES
"Festival Week" for Bribie Island. Bribie Star v7(24) 13 Jun 1969, p. 1.

Festival Events. Bribie Star v7(4) 5 Sep 1969, p. 1, 9, 10.


The above poster was cropped from a picture by Len Drummond entitled “Say hello to the 70s! Pant suit fashions promoting the Bribie Island Festival” Excerpted from the internet: Acknowledgement: @couriermail  http://www.imgrum.net/media/999633314576904139_519770042

Tuesday, 1 January 2019

The 80s

The 80s

The following photos are from The 80s!! - Digitised Local History Photographs 
from the Moreton Bay Regional Council.


1980 - Aerial view of Bribie Gardens Estate.
MBRC Image P0781

1980 - Aerial view of Bribie Gardens Estate.
MBRC Image P0783

1980 - Bribie Island Library, 31 March 1980.
Photo by Near North Coast News. MBRC Image P0795

1980 - Battery Observation Post on Bribie Island.
Photo by Ronald Powell. MBRC Image P1598

1980 - sample of souvenir fifty cents note printed to celebrate Bribie Island's mock secession
from the mainland on 12 October 1980.
Photo by Lyn Holt. MBRC Image P2153

1980 - Some of the people who participated in Bribie Island's mock secession
from the mainland on 12 October 1980.
Photo by Lyn Holt. MBRC Image P2267

1980s - Bribie Island Information Centre.
Photo by Denny Field. MBRC Image P2040

1987 - Anro Asia aground off Bribie Island in October.
MBRC Image P0784

1987 - Back of the Number 4 Naval Command Buuilding.
Photo by Ronald Powell. MBRC Image P1603

1989 - Aerial view of Bribie Island and Pumicestone Passage.
Highlighted area is the proposed development of Dux Creek.
MBRC Image P0808

1989 - A much-deteriorated wreck of the Cormorant, South Esplanade.
Photo by Ronald Powell.  MBRC Image P1593

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS: 
The 80s!! - Digitised Local History Photographs. Moreton Bay Regional Council.