Monday, 9 May 2016

Q150 2009 First Avenue

Q150 Heritage Plaque - 9 of 16 - First Avenue
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 


Originally named Campbell Road, 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.

Buses at Bongaree Jetty 1925
Construction of the road to Ocean Beach.
¨ On Bribie Island, a pioneer tourist industry was growing by 1913, but anyone disembarking from the SS Koopa and wishing to go to the surf beach at Woorim, had no real choice but to walk.
¨ In 1914, Mr GP Campbell of the Brisbane Tug and Steamship Company, obtained the lease for a  ‘right of way’  from Bongaree jetty to Woorim intending to provide a steam tram for passengers, but World War I interviened.
¨ After the First World War, the Brisbane Tug & Steamship Company employed William (Bill) Shirley to supervise the building of the road between Bongaree and Woorim.  This was initially named Campbell Road but later changed to First Avenue.
Horse unloading road metal 1923.
     ¨ In 1923 Blake Brothers were contracted to supply and transport gravel and porphyry stone from a quarry at Windsor to a riverside wharf in Brisbane from where it was taken by ship to Bongaree. 

   ¨ A temporary wooden jetty was built at Bongaree to unload the road materials using a  steam-driven derrick to lift the stone into the skip on the jetty. 

Temporary jetty on left for unloading
road metal 1923.
¨ Blake Brothers provided the trucks and men for the construction work. Lack of roads and bridges on the mainland, plus having to load trucks on to a cattle barge to cross Pumicestone Passage added to the difficulties of road building.
¨ Owing to the nature of the sandy soil, workmen cut saplings to be laid across the track in corduroy fashion so that trucks and gravel didn’t sink into the sand.

Finished road 1924.

First Avenue

    ¨ Bill Shirley, having served with the Army engineers in World War I, came to Bribie Island to supervise the building of the a road to Ocean Beach.  It was hard manual work and he camped with the workmen on the island.  Returned servicemen were employed, some of whom were TPI pensioners.

    ¨ With the completion of Campbell Road to Woorim in 1924, Bill Shirley converted work trucks into simple buses with plank seats, which became part of the Bribie Bus Line, conveying passengers from Bongaree Jetty to Woorim.

¨ Bill Shirley was the local representative of the Tug & Steamship Company as well as the company’s toll collector on this road,  and with his family was proprietor of a large guest house at Woorim Beach.
¨ Tourism rapidly expanded and Bill Shirley was very active in promoting trips up the beach from  Woorim to the lagoons.   
Campbell Road (First Avenue) 1950.

First Avenue — a Vital link

¨ During World War 2 Bribie Island was of strategic importance to Australian Defences of Moreton  Bay and Brisbane.  It was a major training area for United States and Australian troops.  The road across the island (First Avenue) was the artery from Pumicestone Passage to military installations on Ocean Beach.

¨ First Avenue remains a vibrant part of island life linking Bongaree Village to the light industrial and business area, recreation fields and to the surf club and village of Woorim.

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