Saturday, 23 January 2016

Bribie Heritage Plaques Walk

Bribie Island Heritage Plaques Waterfront Walk

Bribie Island Heritage Plaques Waterfront Walk Q150 Community Funded Program.  Initiated by the Rotary Club of Bribie Island and supported by Moreton Bay Regional Council in conjunction with Bribie Island U3A and Bribie Island Historical Society. 2009.

The opening ceremony for the unveiling of the 16 Heritage Plaques held Saturday 1st August 2009.  The program was initiated and managed by Barry Clark.

A 40 page book produced to document and launch the waterfront plaque walk at Bongaree.

Record Rainfall

South Esplanade

Campbell's Store

Camping Grounds

Bribie Island Heritage - A. Meston

Ian Fairweather

First Shop

Bribie Island Heritage - S. 

First Avenue

Fishing Records

Welsby Parade

Bribie Island Wartime

First Car

Shirley Creek

Castaway Convicts

Fish Cannery

The greatest daily rainfall officially recorded anywhere in Australia fell near Pumicestone Passage on 3rd February 1893.  After 3 weeks of continuous rain, a record total of 907mm was recorded at Beerwah by Inigo Jones, in this one 24 hour period.

From the 1920’s many large guest houses operated along here.  Proprietors met the “Excursion Ships” and carried guests luggage over creeks and sand tracks, offering the attraction of specialty food and entertainment.

In the 1890’s Joe Campbell was an Oysterman in the Passage.  In the 1930’s his son Reg had a General Store & Boat Shed by this creek, when it was much larger and used as a boat harbour by campers and Dugong fishermen. 

In the 1920’s there were few shops, no services, and less than 100 permanent residents.  Many thousands came every week by Ship from Brisbane and pitched their tents here to enjoy cheap and healthy holidays.

“Bribie Island is one on the meanest pieces of country in Australia ….. A howling desert of tea-tree swamps, rank aquatic vegetation and unimaginable cussedness”. 
Archibald Meston (1891) - explorer, Author and Politician.
After a lifetime of travel and adventure, in 1953 at the age of 62, this world famous artist came to live in isolation in a grass hut inland from here.  He created some of his finest paintings in this hut over the next 21 years until his death in 1974.

A.H. “Artie” Bestmann kept bees and dairy cattle here from 1903.  Alfred Hall, a Brisbane grocer, built a house next door in 1913 and together they provided basic goods to visitors from a spare room.  In 1921 they built the “Hall and Bestmann Store” on this corner.
Further information at

“It might not be too much to claim, Pumicestone Passage and Bribie Island contain more history, written and unwritten, than any other place in Queensland”. 
Stan Tutt (1981)  -  Sunshine Coast Historian

Originally named Campbell Rd., for the Director of the tug Company who had the road built from Bongaree to Woorim in 1923.  It was planned to be a four lane road and steam Tramway, but this did not eventuate although initially it was a toll road.

“Bribie jetty and its environs must be the most remarkable fishing place in Australia.  More black Groper have been caught here than any other spot in Australia.  A man known as the “Groper King”  caught many over 500 lbs”. 
Ted Shields (1947)  - Fisherman and Barge owner.

This road named for Thomas Weslby, Brisbane businessman, Historian, Sportsman and Author, who in 1937 at the age of 80, wrote the book “Bribie the Basket Maker” and thus created a legend about the Island and its name.

Bribie Island and Toorbul point (now Sandstone Point) were major training bases for Navy and Army forces during World War 2. Many military structures are still visible along the Ocean beach, and a small Arms Store can be seen across this road.

In 1918 A.H. “Artie” Bestmann drove the first car, a 1914 Talbot, to Bongaree.  With a young Ian Hall as his passenger, they did the 2 day drive from Brisbane along beach and bush tracks, and then by barge from Godwin Beach across the Passage.

Bill Shirley built the first road from the jetty to Ocean Beach in 1923.  He ran a bus service and a Guest House and became Bribie’s first Councillor.  A wooden bridge replaced a single plank walkway here in 1935 as his first Council works.

In 1823 three Sydney convicts in a small boat were caught in a hugh storm which dumped them close to death on Moreton Island. They walked around Moreton Bay, thinking Sydney was nearby, and were the first white men to live on Bribie Island, being there for many months before recapture.

A Fish Canning factory operated near here from 1910 to 1914 owned by Mrs Sarah “Mum” Balls.  She also had many Hotels and Refreshment Rooms in Queensland and in 1929 built “Santa Barbara”, one of Brisbane’s grandest homes.

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