Monday, 9 May 2016

Q150 2009 Bribie Wartime

Q150 Heritage Plaque - 12 of 16 - Bribie Island Wartime
The Bribie Island Heritage Plaques Waterfront Walk Bongaree consists of 16 bronze plaques located on the "Heritage Walk" along the walking path beside the Bongaree beach from the southern point of South Esplanade and finishes just north of Kangaroo Avenue.
These 16 bronze plaques set on a white concrete square record various aspects of the history of Bribie Island: Record Rainfall, South Esplanade, Campbell's Store, Camping Grounds, Bribie Island heritage quote from A. Meston, Ian Fairweather, First Shop, Bribie Island Heritage quote from Stan Tutt, First Avenue, Fishing Records, Welsby Parade, Bribie Island Wartime, First Car, Shirley Creek, Castaway Convicts and Fish Cannery.
The following excerpt is from the 2009 booklet produced prior to the plaques placement. The Heritage Plaques Waterfront Walk Bongaree project was a 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.
A copy of the map for the Bongaree Waterfront Walk can be found at 

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.

The Brisbane Line & Fort Bribie
> In the critical days of World War II the Australian Government had decided that an imaginary line would be drawn north of Brisbane across to the West Australian coastline. This line was the northern most limit Australian was prepared to defend and was known as “The Brisbane Line”. 

> Sites for the construction of a Fort to guard Brisbane had to be considered. The two major options were Caloundra or North Bribie Island.

> Bribie Island had many disadvantages: * No drinking water could be found. Bores
Intact military store in Caravan Park, Bongaree, 2009.
realized only salt water. Transporting water would be expensive. * There was no infrastructure on Bribie Island and all materials and equipment would need to be transported by barge. * Underground structures would be difficult because of the sand and water table. * Telephone links would need to be connected across Pumicestone Passage. 

> In spite of the disadvantages Bribie Island became the chosen site in February, 1940. The advantages for the Fort Bribie site was that both major shipping channels could be covered by guns on Fort Bribie, whereas guns in Caloundra could not.

> The building of the North Bribie Island Army Camp commenced in 1941. 

Fort Bribie Buildings

All buildings at the North Bribie Island Army Camp were constructed on sand hills because during high tides, underground water rose. All concrete used for buildings and other structures was mixed by hand.

Daily Roster Board at No. 1 gun emplacement, Fort Bribie.
> FORT BRIBIE. There were two gun emplacements at North Bribie Army Camp.The Number One Gun had to be available 24 hours a day. Number Two Gun was on standby. The Daily Roster Board consisted of a blackboard painted on the concrete wall, with lines and duties painted on, then soldiers names were marked in chalk for each shift. The remains of the roster board can still be seen.

Remains of No. 1 gun emplacement, Fort Bribie
on northern end of Bribie Island, 2009.
> MORTAR POSITIONS. To protect the back of the fort, mortar and machine guns were placed 45 metres apart at the edge of the tree line, and ran the full length of the 1.2 kilometre camp.

> SEARCH LIGHT. The northern search light was situated behind sand hills. Today, because of beach erosion the remains are on the beach.

> TOILET BLOCKS. Four separate toilet blocks—officers, sergeants, male soldiers and female soldiers. Remains of the mens toilet block can be seen today.

2/4th Australian Armoured Brigade during training exercises at Toorbul Point, 1943.

Water Supply
> Initially the only water was a muddy water hole, which had to be filtered and carted by truck to the camp each day. It was decided to pump water from Bulcock Beach Caloundra with a windmill and pipe it across Pumicestone Passage, where it was collected by truck and transported to the Fort daily.

> After much searching fresh water was identified in an underground spring south of the camp. 

> The soldiers dug the soil above the spring to make a catchment for rain water. This trench is still there.

> Every building had a rain water tank. Soldiers were told by the medical officer to bathe in the ocean each day to help with tinea and other fungal diseases.

Mines in Moreton Bay
> The mines were underwater explosives anchored to the sea bed and linked by cables that went to the Mine Control Rooms located at north and south end of Bribie Island. 

> Induction loop cables were laid on the seabed east of Bribie Island. They were very sensitive and any passing vessel would be indicated by a signal sent back to the No. 4 Naval Control Station at the northern end of Woorim Beach. Operators could detonate appropriate mines to destroy enemy ships. 

> The No. 4 Naval Control Station at Woorim still stands today. 

Information from: John Groves “North Bribie Island during World War II” 2006, John and Janice Groves “Digging Deeper into North Bribie Island during World War II” 2007. 

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