Thursday, 9 March 2023

Matthew Flinders Exploration

The following article describes the official opening on 16 July 1988 of the Matthew Flinders memorial at Banksia Beach.

A voice from the past speaks

by David Thomas

Bribie Times Wed 20 July 1988

Visitors to Bribie Island are now able to have a short, personal chat to the first white man ever to land anywhere in Queensland.

Saturday's opening of the first of Bribie Bicentennial Committee's 'Talking Monuments' - the Matthew Flinders Memorial on Solander foreshore - is seen as a very positive step in providing a unique service to the Island's tourists.

The monument designed by a young QIT student - Kirsty Simpson - and sculpted by Tom Farrell, was officially opened in true Naval tradition by Lt Commander Don Kidd in front of a large crowd in superb sunshine on Saturday afternoon.

Not to be outdone by Australia's modern Navy, old Matthew Flinders himself (a la local identity Tom Abblett) started proceedings off with a somewhat inglorious arrival when his dory, crewed by three Navy Cadets from 'T.S. Moreton Bay' ran aground and became stuck about 20 metres from shore.

But, for a man of old Matty's skills and aplomb, a small setback such as this was no problem - after all, he managed to start the first and only non-nuclear war ever to be experienced in Queensland when he needed an event to commemorate the name 'Skirmish' for a certain part of the Island (unknown to many is the fact that Skirmish Point was actually named after Matty's second cousin by marriage, Frederick Amadeus Skirmish of Frogsbottom-by-the-Sea, Harts.)

After finally extricating himself from the sandbar by sending his crew overboard to push (one of whom disappeared splutteringly below when they finally hit deep water again), the rest of the impressive ceremony went 'by the book'.

After finally making it to shore, Matthew Flinders was escorted to the monument by members of Bribie's Navy Association.

In her opening address, President of the Bicentennial Community Committee, Margaret Guthrie, paid tribute to the many people who had helped bring about the Flinders Talking Monument.

Matthew Flinders Exploration memorial
Photo: John Huth, 2 Feb 2018

For specific mention, she singled out the Committee's Secretary, Frank Miller; Tom Farrell, the sculptor; Terry Reader, who did the electrical work; Brian Taylor, whose voice tells Matthew Flinder's story; and Vercorp Pty Ltd, developers of Solander Shores Estate, for landscaping, paving and help with funding the project.

Before officially declaring the monument open, Lt Cdr Don Kidd RAN gave a brief history of Matthew Flinders and honoured Australia's first and greatest navigator.

The flats of Australia, Queensland and the Bicentennial Authority were raised by Cadets from "T.S. Moreton Bay' as the audience sang "Advance Australia Fair'.

Mrs Guthrie then handed over the monument to Caboolture Shire Council for maintenance and upkeeping. Deputy Shire Chairman, Joy Leishman accepted on behalf of the Shire Chairman, who have to leave the ceremony early to fulfill another appointment.

Cr Leishman congratulated the Committee and promised on behalf of the Council, that the monument would be kept in good order by the Council.

The other two talking monuments - which will be opened later in the Bicentennial Year - are to tell the story of Bribie's original aboriginal inhabitants, situated at the new Community Arts Centre; and the third will tell of the early white pioneers who settled Bribie Island, to be situated near the Air Sea Rescue in Bellara. Both will be Talking Monuments as well.


Thomas, David (1988) A voice from the past speaks.
Bribie Times v3 no44, 20 July 1988, page 4.

Matthew Flinders Exploration monument, Banksia Beach - entry on Monument Australia
Captain Matthew Flinders, Royal Navy (1774 – 1814) was a distinguished English navigator and cartographer, who made three voyages to the southern ocean (August 1791 – August 1793, February 1795 – August 1800 and July 1801 – October 1810).
Online at

Matthew Flinders Memorial

 The following information and photos are sourced from Monument Australia

Matthew Flinders Exploration - Talking Monument

The talking monument commemorates the landing of Matthew Flinders.

Front Inscription:
Matthew Flinders Story

Matthew Flinders Talking Monument
Banksia Beach
Photo: John Huth, 2 Feb 2018.
Left Side Inscription:
The Concept Of This Monument Was Designed By
Miss Kirsti Simpson Depicting The Earth`s Northern And
Southern Hemispheres Joined By Early Navigators.This Piece
Of Helidon Stone Was Sculpted By Mr Tom Farrell To Depict
The Matthew Flinders Story

The Work Was Sponsored By The Australian Bicentennial
Authority Federal Heritage Programme, Vercorp Developers
                  Of Solander Shores
The Bribie Island Bicentennial Community Committee

This Monument Was Unveiled On The 16th July.
The Anniversary Of Flinders Landing
Lt. Commdr D. M. Kidd, R.A.N.E.M.

Matthew Flinders Talking Monument
Banksia Beach
Photo: John Huth, 2 Feb 2018.
Captain Matthew Flinders, Royal Navy (1774 – 1814) a distinguished English navigator and cartographer, made three voyages to the southern ocean (August 1791 – August 1793, February 1795 – August 1800 and July 1801 – October 1810).

The above photographs by John Huth were supplied to Monument Australia. 

Saturday, 4 February 2023

Jobs by Bribie women

The following article from 1967, gives a glimpse of jobs taken on by Bribie Island women, their partners and their families over 50 years ago.

Island of no discrimination : Women in Men's jobs. 

Courier Mail, circa 1967.

Bribie Island "for sun, surf and fishing, the ideal family holiday centre," say the glossy brochures. The ideal place for doing as you please, say the Bribie women.

And what pleases the Bribie women is work "you'd never get away with in the city" - of the kind usually done by men!

Here, where development pace is fast - but not so fast-paced the island's pleasant back-woodsy atmosphere is threatened, and the loudest noise is the screech of parrots - the words "female discrimination" are practically unknown.

The island women wield as much power - if not quite as many hammers - in the local work force as the men, whether by helping tradesmen husbands, or in jobs they have competed for against them.

And in this event, competence, and not sex, is the deciding factor.

With one or two exceptions. There is some discrimination. One or two employers confessed to frankly preferring women.

Meet some of the male-job holding women. There are more, of course, the motel manager, the builder's wife who delivers timber to work sties, the plumber's wife who works out job prices and requirements, the hardware store co-owner (with her husband) who can measure timber quantities, within inches, by eye ... far too many to introduce.

But who says they are male-jobs? Not the Bribie women. Without exception the island's working women fraternity agree any job is for anybody who can do it.

Unless it is too muscle building. To a woman, they wouldn't have that on!

From sign-writing to mail delivering is a big switch, "but you get to meet and talk to more people," and so the switch was a welcome one for Bribie's "Postie," Mrs Val Mole. Her mail run takes her out six days a week, from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. and important to her, it takes her to see the 600 residents of the Bongaree township she serves. "A great way to keep up with the news!" she professes. But the real attraction is two-fold: "I enjoy people, first, and secondly, it would drive me up the wall to be at home all day."

10 a.m. and it's opening time for Bribie's Blue Pacific Hotel licensee, Mrs Jean Piva. An unusual job for a woman? "Not at all, it's an ideal job!" Mrs Piva reasons decent men "... and that means most ..." respect a woman. Her husband, "Bluey" co-manager with her, goes along with "... woman's influence is a quietening one" theory. Hotels can be trouble spots, but where a woman is at the helm, trouble is rare, they say. Mrs Piva was a nurse before her marriage. When she first became a hotel licensee, she was the youngest in the State. "There's no end to things women can do if they want," she says.

"Here's the pieman!" yell the children, as Mrs Evelyn Young and her pie-cart come to a lunch-time halt by the school Their sex identification may not rate top marks, but they're right about occupation. Mrs Young's husband, Angus, is a "pieman", too. They begin their working day together at 6 a.m., when they start the day's baking, and end it around 7.30 p.m. when the last round ... which they share ... is over. A long day, and at six days a week, a long week, "... but worth every minute."

Young George Dixon, at 15 months, is almost as knowledgeable about the butcher's run, as his mother, Mrs Lois Dixon. He's been doing it with her since he was old enough to travel. Mrs Dixon helps her butcher-husband, Sandy, in their shop for two hours a day, then does the delivery run. Meantime, Mary-Anne, their two-and-a-half-year-old, stays with dad. Mrs Dixon was a shop assistant before her marriage, and "I like seeing people every day, keep up with the local news, and I'm out and about, which I like."

Mrs Margaret Jensen is the island's holiday time midnight-to-dawn girl. For the rest of the year, she works a "soft" day shift, of three hours. She and her husband are proprietors of a milk delivery service, sharing working hours - and care of their two children, aged three and five - between them. It's "the healthy outdoor life" which appeals to Mrs Jensen, plus the fact she and her husband are working for themselves. Her job as a ledger machinist before her marriage wasn't as heavy - those milk crates weigh 59lb. - "... but it wasn't as much fun either!"


article: Island of no discrimination : Women in Men's jobs.
Courier Mail, circa 1967. [From the Brook family collection clippings.]

Thursday, 12 January 2023

Ted Clayton remembers

The Bribie Bridge will have its 60th anniversary on 19 October 2023. The following article contains a personal account by Ted Clayton, written for the 20th anniversary in 1983.

Building toward the future of a resort

Near North Coast News, 19 Oct 1983, page 20.

20th Bribie Bridge Anniversary
Near North Coast News, 19 Oct 1983, page 17

A local resident who can give a first-hand account of Bribie Island at the time of the construction of the bridge is long-time Shire resident Ted Clayton.

Mr Clayton worked on the bridge construction and here gives a personal account of how the work proceeded:

"The construction of the Bribie Bridge coincided with the big credit squeeze of 1963. The population of permanent residents on the Island at that time was quite small, and most of the cash inflow came from visitors and people building holiday homes.

"I was contract building at the time, and was also stuck with a 'spec' house that wouldn't sell. The engineer in charge of the bridge job (Mr Noel Tedman) was living in flats at the end of South Esplanade. I approached him about a job and started work at Toorbul Point as a carpenter shortly thereafter.

"The site of operations at Toorbul Point had been a major army installation during the war years, and the country between Clark's jetty and the old barge landing site was strewn with the remains of jettys and facilities.

"A lot of this heavy timber went into the construction of the overhead gantry and the slipway that was used for the launching of pontoons carrying prestressed concrete piles and bridge beams. The timber piles for this slipway were cut locally and the fact that unskilled labourers were put to work sharpening these with blunt adzes meant that a lot of them were also cut locally - mainly around the shins.
Caption: The Bribie Bridge comes close to the Island - and completion.
Picture: R. Loseby
Near North Coast News, 19 October 1983, p. 20

"The slip as such was a conventional one with rail lines extending from below the low water mark up onto the foreshore, where they ran down the centre of the overhead gantry. The gantry was equipped with heavy manually operated chain blocks. The concrete beams and piles were stored alongside the track and lifted into the launching pontoons as required. The initial plan was for these pontoons to be hauled out to the site of operations by a wire rope which ran from a winch on the pile frame.

"This plan was never totally successful, and as the bridge extended it became less so. The wire cut grooves into outcrops of rock projecting from the bottom of the channel and was forever jamming.

"By this time I had progressed to 'general' foreman and as such I inherited the problem and shared it with the engineer. We decided that the job of towing could best be done by some form of tug boat.

"My friend Phil Dinte had a boat about the 20-foot (seven metres) mark powered by a 10 hp diesel. I approached Phil, he took the job and stayed with it until the bridge was finished - towing pontoons and ferrying workmen as required. the 10 hp was a bit light for the job but what it lacked in power Phil made up for it with his knowledge of the winds and tides in the Channel.

"When you consider that the beams themselves were 72 foot 2 inches (about 26 metres) long and were floating in clumsy pontoons, and throw in a few other items like the fact that the tide turns a half an hour earlier at the Toorbul Point end of the bridge, and the vagaries of the wind and waves, it was no small feat of seamanship.

"The engineer in charge of the project, Noel Tedman, was killed with most of his family in a tragic accident a short time after the bridge was completed. I understand that he was on his way to start up a contract of his own. He was a fine person with a lot of energy and a good engineer. He left a lot of friends behind."


Building toward the future of a resort [Ted Clayton remembers]
Near North Coast News, 19 Oct 1983, p. 20.

Bribie Bridge 20th Anniversary, special supplement,
Near North Coast News, 19 Oct 1983, pp. 17-20.

Wednesday, 30 November 2022

Busy Fingers began 1981

 Busy Fingers ... From Rags to Riches

Bribie Times 12 Aug 1987

Bribie Island's Busy Fingers organisation is literally a Rags to Riches story and a tribute to a small group of Bribie residents who saw a need and acted upon it.

Busy Fingers takes the "rags" that people no longer want and turn them into "riches" to benefit the elderly residents of the Sir Charles Adermann Nursing Home at Bribie's Church of Christ Retirement Village. Inaugurated on the 31st March, 1981, the Busy Fingers Fundraisers were literally that ... a group of dedicated people, mainly women, busily using their fingers in kinitting, crocheting, making james, pickles, cakes and even plastic robots in their efforts to raise money for the newly planned Sir Charles Adermann Nursing Home at the Church of Christ Retirement Village. 

The first President was Mrs Peg Canfield. Her "offsiders" were Secretary Fay Jackson and Treasurer Enid Funnell, two of the organisation's stalwarts who still hold those positions. Planned to cost $842,000, the Sir Charles Adermann Nursing Home required to raise funds of over $400,000 to get off the ground. An appeal was launched in March 1981 to raise this money.

Busy Fingers began its fundraising by holding street stalls outside Cornett's Foodbarn. In their first year of operation, the organisation managed to raise $4,000 towards this total. It then took over the old theatre on the corner of Cotterill and Bestman Avenues on the 10th January 1983 as its main point-of-sale venue for the items made by the original 15 members. Regular Flea Markets that had been held at the Retirement Village were discontinued and the theatre became a centre for the sale of second hand goods donated by members of the public, as well as the new items made by members.

By April 1983, the Busy Fingers ladies and their long-suffering husbands, had raised over $15,500 for the Nursing Home. Their efforts were partially rewarded when they were present at the official unveiling of the dedication plaque in July 1983, by the then Federal Member for Fisher, Mr Evan Adermann, son of the late Sir Charles Adermann. A small but also very important recognition of the group's hard work had come in April 1983 when the founder and original Treasurer of Busy Fingers, Mrs Enid Funnell received a nomination as Queenslander of the Year. 

The building contract for the new Nursing Home was signed in May 1983 and construction commenced in October. At this stage, over $115,000 had been raised from the Bribie Island community for the appeal. On 2nd August 1984, the Nursing Home became operational and most of the 30 beds were almost immediately filled. 

Since that time, Busy Fingers has not been idle. The group had been responsible for the raising of over $150,000 in funds to assist the Home. Purchases they have made on behalf of the Home include a truck, a new bus, therapy chairs, water chairs and mattresses, bed pans, a microwave oven, air cooler, bookshelves and a gas stove. Busy Finger's latest donation of $17,000 on behalf of the Nursing Home, towards the Lions Ambulance Fund is also aimed at helping the elderly folk of the Home.

The group feels that an efficient ambulance service is a vital part of care for Bribie's elderly, and the age and condition of the Island's two old ambulances posed a threat and a danger to the need for quick ambulance transportation in the case of emergencies. But the ladies of Busy Fingers are quite self-effacing. They give all of their credit to their highly successful fund raising to the people of Bribie Island.

1987 - Big start for new ambulance. Busy Fingers donates $17,000 to Lions. The Committee ladies from Busy Fingers hand over their cheque for $17,000 to the Bribie Island Lions Club Ambulance Appeal. 
L-R: Lion Cec Weldon, Lions Treasurer; Wally Poulton, Lions President; Lion Nev Galton, Asst. Treasurer; Mona Frost, President of Busy Fingers; Enid Funnell, Treasurer; Lion Jack Shaw and Fay Jackson, Secretary of Busy Fingers.

Treasurer Enid Funnell is quick to point out that it is only through the donations of items for sale by Bribie Islanders that the Busy Fingers shop is such a success. "Without the publuc's support, we never could have been so successful", she told the Bribie Times. "It is the people of Bribie, who support us so well, that need to be congratulated".

But the residents of the Island are not so easily fooled ... without the dedicated work of the handful of ladies of Busy Fingers, turning other peoples "rags" in the community "riches", this Island would be just a little poorer in the glow that comes from their unselfish service.

Article: Busy Fingers ... From Rags to Riches. Bribie Times v2(47) 12 Aug 1987, page 11
Photo: Big start for new ambulance. Bribie Times v2(47) 12 Aug 1987, page 1

Monday, 24 October 2022

Hendon Hall

The following article describes the opening of Hendon Recreation Hall on 29th June 1962, the same day the first issue of the  Bribie Star newspaper. The Hendon Recreation Hall operated for almost two years when sadly, one of the directors, Henry Hart, drowned on 7 November 1963 off Ocean Beach. The company's assets were sold off and the Hendon Hall became the Bribie Cinema from 1964-1974.

However on opening night, optimism was in the air as the plans of the directors of Hendon & Co were shared with the folks on Bribie Island.

Opening of New Recreation Centre

Bribie Star Friday 29th June 1962

The opening of Hendon Recreation Hall in Cotterill Avenue tonight at 8 p.m. marks the turning point in Bribie's long-felt need of night entertainment for both residents and those visiting the island.

It has been said often in the past that Bribie lacked suitable entertainment for the teenagers. However, with the opening of Hendon Recreation Hall it is felt that suitable organised nightly entertainment for teenagers on the Island is now a reality.

In an interview with the directors of Hendon & Company, Mr. D.I. Iverach, Mrs T.E.J. Iverach and Mr H.W.T. Hart, we were shown over the Hall which has a floor area of over three thousand square feet. Apart from the skating rink and games area, it has a cafe, milk bar and grandstand. There is also a counter opening from the cafe to the street for the convenience of patrons who want outdoor service. We were also shown some of the large quantity of equipment that will be used in the Hall. There were roller-skates, indoor bowls, bowls mats, badminton racquets, and many other items.

The Hendon Hall building later became Bribie Cinema
Photo: Sam Hawkins, 1974.
Collection: Moreton Bay Region Libraries. Ref CLPC-P0645

Faith in the future of Bribie Island
The directors of this fine enterprice are to be commended on their foresight and their faith in the future of the Island. When they arrived in Australia from Rhodesia on December 6, 1961, Bribie Island was unknown to them. Ten days later, on the 16th December 1961, they began business on the Island hiring small outboard speed boats and row boats. They now have a fleet of over thirteen speed boats and a new 15ft 75 H.P. speed boat which is used for water-skiing, joy-rides and scenic tours. Since that time the Company has expanded to include the Recreation Hall, a T.V. hiring agency, an Insurance agency, a sporting equipment agency, and a boat and outboard motor selling agency.

As another example of their faith in the future of Bribie Island, the directors of Hendon & Co. intent a further extension of business. Future plans of expansion include the erection of a marine fuel jetty, workshop and cafe at their present boat site. The directors stated also that since the revival of minature golf, it is intended to have a course added to the attractions that will be offered to the public at the Hall.

Free admittance for opening night
During the invertiew with the directors we were informed that admittance for the opening night would be free.

Entertainment for young and old
We obtained a copy of the directors' intended programme for the Hall. The programme to be offered is varied and caters for the young and old. It consists of roller skating daily from 12 noon to 5 p.m. There will be teachers in attendance at roller skating sessions.

Monday, Tuesday & Thursday Nights
Indoor sports including indoor bowls, badminton, deck quoits, darts and deck tennis. The directors said that the members of all bowling clubs will be most welcome.

Wednesday Nights
Roller skating for which there is a large number of skates for hire.

Friday Nights
Roller skating

Saturday Nights
All types of dancing from the Twist and Rock 'n' Roll to the Waltz.

The building of such a project as Hendon Recreation Hall requires much planning and work. The directors of Hendon & Co requested us to express their thanks to the following people who contributed to its completion. They are Messrs G. Brook, Builder, Elliott's Hardware, J. Skelly (Electrical), A. Parnell (Plumber) and J. Lawrie (Sound Installations). Thanks is also extended to the Caboolture Shire Council for their willing co-operation.


Article: Opening of New Recreation Centre. Bribie Star, 29.6.1962, p.1, 3.

Photo: Hall built on the corner of Bestman Avenue and Cotterill Avenue Bongaree in 1962 (01/01/1974 - 31/12/1974),Moreton Bay Our Story, accessed 25 Oct 2022,

If you have any photos of this building when it was Hendon Recreation Hall (1962-1964) please contact the Bribie Island Historical Society at

Wednesday, 21 September 2022

Poem A Present from the Past

 The following poem was written by Ruth Inglis following her attendance at the May 2011 BIHS meeting. At that meeting a stone axehead, which had been found on Bribie Island in 1935, was shown to those present. 


Today I held a fragment of the dreamtime in my hand
A glimpse of how life once was lived by people of this land
How long? Too long to count the years it undetected lay
Buried in the sand, revealed by tide and wind today.

Stone axehead held by Betty McDermid, May 2011.
It was found in 1935 on Bribie Island.
Estimated to be 15,000 years old.

Photo: Barry Clark

And as I held it time rolled back (that formless thing so vast
its insubstantial curtain dims our knowledge of the past),
I saw a black man kneeling, he was chipping at a stone
To form a sharp-edged blade - sharp enough to cut through bone.

And chip by chip he deftly shapes the stone to his design
As patiently he crafts each flake so they will all align.
The surface is like scales of fish to give a rougher grip
his hand can hold while cutting, and will not let it slip.
The back edge has been sanded - round and smooth to fit his palm,
A weapon or a tool? his knife is fashioned to cause harm.

Did the man make many knives or this, his only one?
Was it perhaps a special knife, the best he'd ever done?
Was it used to feed his family, or was it a surgeon's knife
for initiations only - the sacred act in a boy's life?

How did it come to be mislaid upon a sandy beach
Or did it fall in water, lost beyond its owner's reach?
Was it buried in a midden with the shells they'd feasted on
And accidentally dropped there, unnoticed it had gone?
Was he sad when it was missing - did he even really care
The stone is mute - its story is not one that it can share.

Written by Ruth Inglis, 2011.

We thank Ruth Inglis for sharing her poem, which she gave to BIHS president Barry Clark at the BIHS meeting on 14 September 2022.