Saturday, 27 February 2016

Small piece of history returns

Small piece of history returns
Dinner plate recovered from the seafloor donated to the Seaside Museum 
for display in the Koopa cabinet

Article published in The Bribie Weekly, Friday, Feb 26, 2016, page 23.

An exciting item of Bribie's past came to light in December 2014 when Danielle, an 8-year-old girl from Brisbane, was fishing with her grandmother and brother from the Bongaree jetty. No fish had been caught that day but suddenly the young girl thought she had a monster on her hook and had to get help to pull her fishing line in.

Koopa discovery: Eight-year-old Danielle with the
Koopa dinner plate she discovered in the water at Bongaree.
Photo: Bribie Island Historical Society
What Danielle had hooked on to was an old dinner plate.  Not just any dinner plate, but one with the crest of the Brisbane Tug & Steamship Company on it.

The plate was covered in shells which broke off almost as the plate was placed on the jetty, but it was still intact.

The pottery plate, about 25cm diameter, had the makers name of 'Dunn Bennetts - Burslem' factory in England marked on the back, with the crest of the Brisbane Tug & SS Company on the front. The words 'patent unscratchable surface' are also beside the maker's name.

The steamship Koopa started its trips to Bribie Island in 1912 and the steamship Doomba in 1923.
Other than the period when requisitioned for duties in WW2, the Koopa continued until May 1953. The Doomba was not returned.

At some time during one of their many days berthed at the Bongaree jetty, this dinner plate must have fallen or been thrown overboard, and has remained on the seafloor ever since.  How long it was there is anybody's guess but it certainly was not less than 61 years, and possibly over 100 years.

Considering the extensive maintenance activities carried out at the jetty over the decades, it is amazing that it was still there, complete and in one piece, and even more remarkable that it managed to get hooked on a fishing line.

Danielle showed the plate to Seaside Museum staff when it was first found at Christmas 2014, but the family have held on to it until recently when they were contacted by Graham Mills, past president of the Bribie Island Historical Society.

The family advised that they would like to loan the plate to the Seaside Museum for display. This kind offer was accepted and Danielle came to the Seaside Museum on Bribie Island on January 15 to donate the plate for display to future visitors.

The plate is now on display in the Koopa cabinet at the Seaside Museum as a very special addition to our local history.

For details about the location of the Bribie Island Seaside Museum go to

No comments:

Post a Comment