Saturday 29 June 2024

Road to Toorbul Point

 The following letter to the editor dated Sep 1926 was sent by James Clark (1857-1933) regarding the question of a road to run through his property at Toorbul Point thus allowing public access to the Bribie Passage and at the same time not interfere with his business at Toorbul Point.
In his letter to the editor James Clark refers to a sketch of the road on a map of the district which accompanied his letter dated 28 July 1926 to the Caboolture Shire Council.

Road to Bribie.

Letter dated Sep 1926 by James Clark
to the editor of the Daily Mail (Brisbane)

Sir, - For some time past the question of a road to Toorbul Point to give access to Bribie Island has been under consideration by the Caboolture Shire Council. For the information of those interested I may state that the following letter offering a road was sent by me to the Caboolture Shire Council on July 28:

“Re Toorbul Point road: Some time ago a deputation waited on the council and petitioned that a road be opened through my property at Toorbul Point. After various visits to the Point by the council and inspections by the council engineer, it was decided by the council to let the matter rest in abeyance.

Building on James Clark's property, Toorbul Point.
Daily Mail 16.12.1924 p.16
“Since then I have been approached by several residents and people interested in Bribie Island, and have promised to write to the council with the object of having a road made available that would give access to Bribie Passage and at the same time not interfere with my business at Toorbul Point. With the object, therefore, of obtaining the council’s assistance in the matter, I enclose portion of a map of the district under discussion with a proposed road sketched on it that I think would be satisfactory to all concerned. I would erect at my own cost the fence shown on the map. I would lease the land on the northern side of the fence to the council for road purposes for say 29 years, at a nominal rental. I would donate £100 towards the expense of making the road. I retain all rights of the land, with the exception of the easement for road purposes granted to your council.

“No buildings, with the exception of a shed at or near the proposed jetty to be erected without my permission.

“The public telephone at present at my cottage at Toorbul Point to be removed and placed in the shed at the proposed jetty. The council to clearly mark the new road to Bribie Passage with suitable signposts so as to avoid any mistake being made and also to assist me in closing the present private track.

“I would also ask your council to definitely accept or refuse this offer within three months from the present date, and, should the council accept, to be prepared to start the work on the road immediately. Should the council wish to discuss the matter with me, I would be pleased to attend a council meeting.”

No doubt those interested will perceive that I do not wish to prevent the public from getting access to Bribie Passage provided my business and valuable oyster leases at Toorbul Point are not interfered with. The road proposed by me leads to the passage at Ninghi Creek Point, where there is the deepest water to be obtained anywhere around the property, and where the expense of erecting a suitable jetty would be very little. I may say that up to the present no reply has been received by me from the Caboolture Shire Council,
Yours, etc., JAMES CLARK (per J.C. Clark).

Source: Letter to the editor "Road to Bribie" by James Clark (per J.C. Clark). The Daily Mail (Brisbane) Wed 22 Sep 1926 p. 3 

Further Reading

Patricia Mercer, 'Clark, James (1857–1933)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, published first in hardcopy 1981, accessed online 30 June 2024.

Friday 14 June 2024

Bongaree Heritage Trail 2022

Bongaree Heritage Trail - 2022 

12 signs along the Pumicestone Passage that tell Bribie's unique history

In June 2022 the Moreton Bay Regional Council in collaboration with the Bribie Island Historical Society installed twelve 2m high free-standing signs for a Bongaree Trail showcasing Bribie's history and natural environment.

The signs commence near the IGA store at Kangaroo Avenue and are installed along the Pumicestone Passage, ending at the end of South Esplanade.

1. Bribie in a can - the history of fish canning on Bribie Island.

Bribie was home to several fish canneries in the early 1900s – when fish were plentiful and people were few. ‘Anchor’ and ‘Lighthouse’ brands were produced at the northern (lighthouse) end of the island, opposite Golden Beach, and ‘Diver’ at this site here at Bongaree.

The Diver brand and cannery were built by savvy Brisbane businesswoman Sarah Balls, known as ‘Mum’ for her hands-on approach to business. At its peak, the Diver cannery employed 20 people and was capable of processing two tons of fish and around 10,000 cans per day.

The factory comprised a state-of-the-art refrigeration room and four pressure cookers. The fresh water needed for the canning process was drawn from springs once used by the local Indigenous people. Fishermen delivered catches of mullet, whiting, snapper, bream, flathead, tailor, kingfish and jewfish to an adjoining jetty here.

The long-term viability of the Bribie canneries was compromised by the fact that our warm water fish are not ideally suited to canning – and dwindling fish stocks.

The environmental impact of large commercial operations like the canneries led to the establishment of the Amateur Fishermen’s Association of Queensland and the regulation of fishing practices. The original clubhouse still stands on the waterfront at the end of South Esplanade – about 1.5 kilometres south of here.

Although nothing remains of Bribie’s fish canneries today, there are plenty of places along the foreshore here where you can enjoy the local catch of the day.

“The popularity of the Diver brand is increasing every day. The public welcome the advent of mullet, bream and schnapper caught and canned in Moreton Bay.” Brisbane Truth 1908.

2. Every street tells a story - Bestman and Cotterill Avenue are named for two friends who were behind Bongaree's first general store and Dairy.

The nearby Hall, Bestman and Cotterill Avenues take their names from the friends and families behind Bribie’s first general store and dairy farm.

Arthur Bestmann was born at Toorbul Point in 1887 and lived on Bribie from the early 1900s. Alfred Hall was a Toowong merchant and regular visitor to Bribie.

Artie and Alf became mates and business partners, establishing Hall and Bestmann Bribie Store in 1914. An early advertisement declared “We stock the best brands of goods procurable … at Brisbane prices.”

The store was located near the corner of today’s Toorbul Street and First Avenue.

(Bestmann subsequently came to favour the spelling ‘Bestman’ – which is why the street and store are spelt differently.)

In the 1920s, Artie and Alf developed a dairy farm on several hundred acres here. Alf’s niece Emma and her husband Wilf Cotterill migrated from England to work on the farm. The Cotterills ultimately took over the operation, which came to be known as Cotterill Farm.

As Bribie at the time was home to just a handful of residents, the many campers and day trippers were valued customers of Cotterill Farm. And of course Hall and Bestmann Store was their main outlet. In the early 1940s, Cotterill Farm also supplied fresh milk to the military forces located on Bribie and at Toorbul Point (now Sandstone Point).

Cotterill Dairy continued to operate until 1960, as the farmlands were gradually subdivided for housing. The original Cotterill farmhouse remained on Hall Avenue until 2008.

3. A creek called Shirley - named for Bill Shirley an early enterprising resident of Bribie.

Shirley Creek is named for Bill Shirley – an early trailblazer and enterprising resident of Bribie.

After serving with the Australian Army Engineers in the First World War, Bill established a contracting business in Brisbane. In 1923, he was contracted by the Brisbane Tug and Steamship Company to clear a path across the island.

This would pave the way for the construction of a road from the Steamship Company Jetty to Ocean Beach – today’s ‘Woorim’. Bill was subsequently appointed construction supervisor and then tollkeeper of the new road. This ‘Ocean Beach Road’ is today known as ‘First Avenue’.

In 1927, the Shirley family relocated to Bribie. The enterprising Bill established a bus service, became a land agent, and developed and operated the Ocean Beach Guesthouse – near where the surf club now stands at Woorim. The two-storey guesthouse comprised comfortably appointed guestrooms, sundeck, dining room, dance hall, post office and shop.

By 1933, Bill – the unofficial ‘Bribie Mayor’ – was appointed the first Honorary Councillor representing Bribie Island. To attend monthly meetings at Caboolture Shire Council, he would travel by steamship to Brisbane, stay overnight, then continue by train to Caboolture. He eventually swapped the three days of return travel for a motorboat, running across Deception Bay and up the Caboolture River.

Bill’s first major achievement as Bribie Councillor was to replace a plank walkway across the creek here – pictured above – with a substantial bridge in 1935. This opened up vehicular access for the burgeoning settlement of Bongaree.

4. The legend behind Welsby Parade - is Thomas Welsby - historian, businessman, sportsman, politician and novelist.

Welsby Parade, which runs along the foreshore here, is named for one of the great characters shaping Moreton Bay and Bribie – the landscape and legend.

Thomas Welsby (1858 – 1941) was a popular and respected businessman, sportsman, politician, historian and novelist. Above all, he was a seafarer, spending a lifetime exploring Moreton Bay. He was the author of numerous books of local history, as well as personal accounts of the region’s waters and islands, their sailing, fishing and shipwrecks.

Welsby was a founding member and early president of the Royal Historical Society of Queensland. He bequeathed his 2000 volume library to the society, whose collection today is known as the Welsby Library.

Welsby was a founding member of the Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron, publishing a history of the club in 1918. He was an early president of the Amateur Fishermen’s Association of Queensland, whose clubhouse is on Bribie.

Spending his later years here, Welsby’s final book was ‘Bribie the Basket Maker’. It tells the story of a basket-weaving, fish-hawking convict named James Bribie. This likeable larrikin allegedly gave Bribie Island its name.

Despite a fondness for the story among locals, there are no records of a convict named ‘Bribie’ or similar. It’s probably a romantic retelling of another yarn – perhaps to further the Bribie Island legend!

5. Paving the way to Brisbane's closest surf beach - tells the story of how the road to Woorim was paved in 1924 and the commencement of the Surf Club.

At this site in 1924, with the opening of the Ocean Beach Road, Brisbane’s closest surf beach became that much closer and more accessible.

The Brisbane Tug and Steamship Company, which provided passenger services to Bribie, consulted the Royal Lifesaving Society about forming a club to patrol Ocean Beach (today’s ‘Woorim Beach’) over the summer holidays.

It was soon discovered that two Steamship Company contractors – Bert and Harold Blake – held lifesaving certificates. A lifesaving reel was procured, and Bert and Harold conducted the first patrols of Bribie’s Ocean Beach.

The Steamship Company eagerly promoted surfing at Bribie and offered free passage for members of Brisbane’s Metropolitan Life Saving Club in return for patrolling the surf beach.

In 1927, the Steamship Company donated a prefabricated house to serve as a clubhouse. Donations were collected on the trip to Bribie to fund fitout and equipment.

In 1933, the Bribie Island Surf Lifesaving Club was officially founded. The clubhouse was destroyed by fire in 1964, but with fundraising a new clubhouse was ready for the summer holiday season.

‘First Avenue’ as it’s known today (opposite here) remains the main route connecting Bongaree with the oceanside and Woorim – and connecting Brisbane with its closest surf beach.

6. A legendary retriever named Ranger - Bribie's own "red" dog who was the surf lifesavers pal in the 1930s.

Arguably Bribie’s most famous dog, Ranger had no one owner, but he had many friends and carers. A black retriever, Ranger was an honorary member of the Surf Life Saving Club and an important part of their team.

Legend has it, when the steamships from Brisbane would dock here at Bongaree, Ranger would be there to greet the new arrivals. He would then race off down Ocean Beach Road, covering the five kilometres to the surf club in ample time to be ready and waiting when the bus arrived.

When the lifesavers were on patrol, so was Ranger. He was first in and last out. He would swim out beyond the farthest swimmer, staying in the water for hours. The legend of Ranger even made the pages of the Sydney Morning Herald.

When Ranger the legendary retriever died in 1936, the flag at the surf club was flown at half-mast. The lifesavers buried Ranger beside the clubhouse, overlooking the sea. For decades, a small wooden memorial stood among the sand dunes. The epitaph is reproduced above.

Bribie is the perfect place to walk, run and swim your own legendary companion. But we no longer let our dogs free-range like Ranger. Much of Bribie is a wildlife sanctuary and national park.

So while many areas are dog friendly – and some off-leash – others are strictly off limits

7. Bribie's indigenous people - describes their rich culture and traditions.

Like all of Australia, Bribie had a rich Indigenous culture prior to European occupation. Information gleaned from early colonial accounts and today’s archaeological research portray a thriving society with complex social structures.

The bountiful landscape supported a largely sedentary society. The Indigenous people of Bribie lived in small communities, in semi-permanent dwellings. They lived in balance with the natural environment, with the seasons, custom and lore governing their way of life.

Being saltwater people, their diet was largely marine based, including fish, shellfish, crustaceans, dugong and turtle. ‘Tow row’ fishing nets were woven from plant fibres. Fish traps were assembled with stones – remnants of these can still be seen today.

Plants and fruits were also an important part of the diet. The rhizome of the Bungwall fern, for instance, was pounded with stones, then roasted to make a ‘damper’. As there is no naturally-occurring stone on the sandy Bribie, all stone was introduced.

Early descriptions of the local Indigenous people note their tall stature, robust health, friendliness and generosity. This warm welcome turned to hostility as Bribie’s first people were driven from their country and their livelihoods were taken away.

Archaeological research reveals the once-thriving first people of Bribie. By studying the bora rings, scarred trees, stone tools and shell middens they left behind – some dated at around 3500 years – we can see how the local Indigenous people once lived. And how their descendants – today’s traditional custodians – maintain their connection with this wonderful place.

8. Bribie's first European guests - three men, in 1823, lived for over three months with Bribie's indigenous people.

The first Europeans to live on Bribie were three convicts who were marooned in Moreton Bay in 1823.

Ticket-of-leave convicts Thomas Pamphlett and Richard Parsons, along with convict John Finnegan, had been assigned to work on a timber-getting expedition. They had set out from Sydney in March in a 10-metre open boat heading south for the Illawarra. Caught in a violent storm, they were blown far off-course to the north.

After 25 days lost at sea and disoriented, they became wrecked on Moreton Island in April. A fourth member of their party, John Thompson, died at sea.

Aided by the local Indigenous people, the trio travelled to the mainland and up the elusive and yet to be surveyed and named ‘Brisbane River’. Returning to the river mouth, they headed north, thinking they were south of Sydney. They reached Bribie in September.

Welcomed by the local Indigenous people, the trio remained in the area for several weeks. It was only when they were stumbled upon by Surveyor General John Oxley in November that the castaways came to realise how far off-course they truly were.

The castaways returned the favour by leading the surveyor to the large river that had thus far eluded him and those who came before him.

9. Bribie's oldest house and Australia's first opera - Emily and Norman Coungeau bought land on Bribie in 1912 .

For more than 30 years in the late 19th and early 20th century, Emily and Naoum (Norman) Coungeau ran a hugely popular café and wine bar in Brisbane’s Queen Street. The ‘Olympian Café’, as it came to be known, grew to occupy two city buildings. The Coungeaus lived in an apartment above the café. That is, until they retired to their favourite holiday spot – Bribie.

The Coungeaus purchased land in Bongaree and commissioned Brisbane architects Hall and Dods to design their home in the Queensland style. Their Bribie retirement retreat was built in 1915–16.

Norman was a keen surfer, and regularly hiked the five kilometres across the island to the surf beach. Emily was a widely published and highly regarded poet. With much of her work penned while living on Bribie, she is an early exponent of a uniquely Queensland verse. Her work ‘Princess Mona’ – a fantastic interpretation of the ANZAC legend – provided the libretto for Australia’s first professionally staged opera ‘Auster’.

The Coungeaus’ commercial success saw them become generous philanthropists and patrons of the arts. Emily was a passionate supporter of women’s causes. The Coungeaus bequeathed their beloved Bribie home to the Anglican Church.

‘Coungeau House’, as it’s known today, is now owned and operated by the Toc H organisation, providing holiday accommodation for people in need. Located about 500 metres from here at 36 Banya Street, Coungeau House is the oldest home built on Bribie that is still standing today.

10. Campbell's Boat Shed and Cash Store - the story of a family who played a key role in Bribie's early history.

This creek was originally known as Campbell Creek. It was named for a family that played a key role in servicing Bribie’s early visitors and the growing settlement of Bongaree.

In 1905, Joe and Clara Campbell managed an extensive oyster farming operation on the Pumicestone Passage. After World War I, Joe and son Reg opened a boat shed on the creek near here, hiring out boats to campers. The creek was much larger at the time, providing a natural harbour.

In 1933, Reg married Vera Huet and they established Campbell’s Cash Store. Reg and Vera’s local knowledge of the best fishing spots, bait and tackle was much in demand and freely shared with their customers. Campbell’s Cash Store remained the heart and hub of South Esplanade and the Bongaree community until the mid 1960s.

The Campbells also operated a popular oyster kiosk near the Steamship Company Jetty – so visitors could fill up or stock up for the trip back to Brisbane. Today, there are lots of places along the esplanade here where you can enjoy the local catch of the day.

Coincidentally, it was another Campbell – George P Campbell – who played a major part in developing the early steamship services and accommodation that would see Bribie become one of the most popular destinations in Australia, receiving up to 5000 visitors each week. Campbell Street here in Bongaree is named for George.

11. A birdwatcher's paradise - Bribie Island is world-renowned for its wonderful natural environment.

Bribie is world-renowned for its wonderful natural environment. In 1921, the island was declared a wildlife sanctuary. Today, much of the coastal fringe and all of the surrounding waters are protected under the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands of International Importance.

From September each year, thousands of migratory shorebirds arrive in the region from as far afield as Siberia and Alaska. Species such as Bar-tailed Godwits, Eastern Curlews and Red-necked Stints come to escape the northern winter, setting off again for the northern summer breeding season from March.

Resident waders – such as Australian Pied Oystercatchers and Red-capped Plovers – can be seen on local beaches throughout the year. Native ducks – including Chestnut Teals and the occasional Shoveler – can be seen at wetlands. If you have a keen eye, you may even spy a Black-necked Stork or Glossy Ibis.

One of the best places to experience Bribie birdlife is Buckley’s Hole Conservation Park – about 650 metres further along from here. This 88-hectare site comprises a freshwater lagoon, bird hide, forest and beach. Some 290 bird species have been recorded here, rivalling Kakadu.

According to local legend, a fisherman named Sam Buckley favoured a pocket of deep water offshore from here. This area, along with the lagoon, came to be collectively known as ‘Buckley’s Hole’.

12. Amateur Fishermen's Association of Queensland - is one of the longest running organisations of its kind in Australia.

The Amateur Fishermen’s Association of Queensland is one of the longest running organisations of its kind in Australia. It was established in 1904, when around 100 concerned local anglers lobbied the Queensland Government to regulate fishing practices due to widely reported declines in fish numbers.

This led to the establishment of rules and regulations around fish species size, catch limits, seasons and equipment used for both recreational and commercial fishing – to protect fish stocks, prevent overfishing and safeguard the fishing tradition. AFAQ members reported the catching of undersized fish and inappropriate netting practices to the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Stock.

The members collected, identified and preserved specimens of fish from Moreton Bay to document and monitor fish stocks. The collection today comprises more than 300 specimens, a selection of which is often on display at the Bribie Island Seaside Museum.

If you walk a further 100 metres from here past the end of the esplanade, you can see the original clubhouse and museum – J Douglas Ogilby Cottage, built in 1925, which remains the AFAQ headquarters. A prime, absolute waterfront location and a top fishing spot!

The clubhouse was named in memory of ichthyologist James Douglas Ogilby who worked at the Queensland Museum and curated the AFAQ’s early collections of specimens, books and memorabilia.

Bribie Island Historical Society webpage's-heritage-trail-signs

Monday 27 May 2024

Bribie Passage Estate - 1962 - Ningi Creek - Toorbul Point

The lots of land mentioned below were first offered for sale in 1920 and advertised as The Koopa Estate. In 1962 construction began on the new Bribie Island Bridge and the final stage of the bitumen road to Toorbul Point increasing the potential interest in building holiday homes in the area.

Bribie Passage Estate, Toorbul Point - in 1962

158 lots - the estate would later become known as the township of Ningi

Follow the Bruce Highway to Caboolture. Turn right at the Caboolture Post Office and continue on along the new Toorbul Point Road...

This is the resort area of amazing potential - The Bribie Bridge, unlocking the island playground, is already nearing completion. Work on the final stage of bitumen road to Toorbul Point is now underway, and will be completed within two months. 

Land already in strong demand - last year the first section of this estate (consisting of 140 blocks) was sold out within a few weeks.

Only 35 miles from Brisbane - less than an hour's drive on bitumen roads from Brisbane...

from a full page advertisement for
Bribie Passage Estate Toorbul Point
source: newspaper 12 May 1962

No finer fishing, swimming, boating - Bribie Passage has long been recognised as one of the finest fishing grounds in the State. ... Swimming enthusiasts may choose between the white sandy sheltered beaches of the Passage, or make the two-mile bitumen run to the ocean-side surf.

Managing Agents: Ross McCowan, Queen Street (next door Allan & Stark), Brisbane.

Source: Full page advertisement by Ross McCowan, newspaper 12 May 1962

Related article:
The Koopa Estate - 1920 - Toorbul Point - Ningi Creek

Thursday 25 April 2024

Field Hospital Bribie 1965

In September 1965 a Field Hospital was set up at Woorim as part of the field training of the 3rd Clearing Station of the Australian Army. The 50-bed hospital set up was open to public inspection for a day and many local people took the opportunity to visit. Below are two articles which appeared in the Bribie Star at that time.

Field Hospital Training at Woorim (September 1965)

Field Hospital

An Army group is to visit Bribie Island in September to set up a Field Hospital of 50 beds. The Field Hospital will be located near the partly constructed Koolamarra Motel from the 13th to the 17th September. The Commanding Officer, Lt. Colonel Wainer, has issued an invitation to the public to visit the hospital which will be open for inspection on Thursday 16th September.
Source: Bribie Star, v.4 no. 5, 27 August 1965, p. 2

Aerial view (cropped) 11 July 1967.
Moreton Bay and Adjoining mainland,
run 3, 24,000 ft. QAP1747 frame 24.

Field Training for the Army (September 1965)

Bribie Island was chosen for the field training of the 3rd Clearing Station. This is an element of the Army that includes in its training the setting up of a Field Hospital in various places each month.

Although this element would depend on other Army services such as supply and engineers, it is a complete hospital of 50 beds, the job of the staff being to take care of urgent casualties whose lives would be further endangered by a lapse of time taken to get them to a permanent or general hospital.

In modern times these casualities are very often picked up by helicopter directly from battalion or patrol positions and taken to the advanced field hospital.

The 50-bed hospital set up on Bribie was open to public inspection on the 17th September and was fully equipped to handle all emergencies. It is all under canvas. These canvas centres are very cool, having a double roof, allowing a passage of air between the inner and outer canvas and are dug in in war areas.

The hospital has a reception room for receiving patients. The next step is a resuscitational centre for pre-operational treatment. This theatre is fully equipped with a portable X-ray machine complete with dark room and sterilizing equipment. ... From the operating theatre the patient is transferred to a main ward, also under canvas. The hospital is also equipped with a very well stocked pharmacy and also a sick bay for its own staff of 75 men who are fully trained to the standards of the nursing staff of other and civilian hospitals. To cater for this staff the unit has to carry all the necessary equipment to feed them and care for their everyday needs.

The Head Teacher of the Bribie State School was pleased to accept an invitation to the staff and children to visit the Army Field Hospital at Woorim.

Pupils travelled by bus and bicycles for the hour-long tour over the hospital on 16th September.

A number of Army personel explained the procedure and functioning of various party of the unit. Real patients who aided in illustrated talks aroused in the children particular interest and sympathy. Equipment for blood transfusions, X-rays and blood tests were all demonstrated. Visitors also saw techniques used for resuscitation.

A highlight to conclude the occasion was a drink of water from a large aluminium Army mug!
Source: Bribie Star, v.4 no. 7, 24 September 1965, p.4


Aerial view (cropped) 11 July 1967. Moreton Bay and Adjoining mainland, run 3, 24,000 ft. QAP1747 frame 24. QImagery.

Field Hospital. Bribie Star, v.4 no. 5, 27 August 1965, p. 2

Field Training for the Army. Bribie Star, v.4 no. 7, 24 September 1965, p.4

Thursday 28 March 2024

Bribie State School anniversaries and events

In 1907 the Lightkeepers in Charge of the Marine Department's Light Towers on northern Bribie Island requested a half-time school be established on Bribie Island to educate their children. A teacher was appointed and a suitable room found for the 8 to 10 pupils who attended. During 1908-1909 this fledgling school had two teachers, Miss F.E. Emery and Miss Stanieg however following Miss Stanieg's resignation in November 1909, the Department of Public Instruction did not appoint another teacher. [1]

Bribie State School Anniversaries
and Events of Interest

1923 July 21 - public meeting held to elect a School Building Committee : BONGAREE BRIBIE STATE SCHOOL - A Public meeting of Residents and Property Owners of the Township and district will be held at the Kiosk, Bongaree, at 3.30pm on Saturday, the 21st instant, for the purpose of electing a School Building Committee in conformance with the provisions of the Education Act. For and on behalf of the Provisional Committee.– Harry Wright, Hon. Secretary.
Source: The Daily Mail, Brisbane, Sat. July 7, 1923, p. 17

1923 August - List of parents and children residing near proposed School at Bongaree, Bribie, dated July 30th 1923. [Ormiston, Creber, Campbell, Ball, Shields, Parsons, Bastin (their grandfather was H. Wright), Landells, Mountain View, Bribie.] Petition [date stamped received 2 Aug 1923] re opening a provisional school for children resident on Bribie Island – 15 children from Bestmann, Ormiston, Creber, Campbell and Parsons families. [1]

Report dated 27 Aug 1923 by W.E. Benbow, District Inspector re need for school and offer by the Tug Co. to use the local hall until a suitable building is provided for the school. [1]

Bribie Island. The school inspector, Mr Benbow, has made an inspection of the school site at Bribie.
Source: The Daily Mail, Sat 8 Sep 1923 p. 16 

Dance Hall and School on The Hill, 1925.
Photo: Vera Campbell Album / Ted Clayton collection
VC8_012, BIHS Historical Database

On 4 February 1924 the Bribie Island Provisional School was opened by the foundation head teacher Mr. L.F. Diplock in a building owned by the Brisbane Tug and Steamship Company and located opposite the Bribie Jetty. The building served as a schoolroom from Monday to Friday, a Dance Hall on Saturday and a Place of Worship on Sunday hence the term provisional school. A school building was erected in 1925 and the Bribie State School came into being. [2] 

1925 February 16 - building completed so Bribie Island state School established from former provisional school.
Source: Telegraph Fri 15 May 1925, p. 5

1925 November - The State School, which now has a roll call of 35, is in the charge of Mr L.F. Diplock, whose qualifications are so high that Bribie is extremely fortunate in having secured his services.
Source: The Brisbane Courier, Tue 10 Nov 1925, p. 15 

Bribie State School.  Friday last was a gala day for the pupils attending the Bribie State School.  Sports were held during the day, and in the evening a children's party and dance was held.  The school was tastefully decorated.  A bush house, erected under the guidance of Mr. J. Ewing, served as a refreshment booth.  In the sports, Walter Campbell won the championship event and the flat races.  The Ormiston brothers won the three-legged race, and M. Kerr the potato race.  Constance Turner won the championship events and flat races.  D. Shirley and M. Bestmann won the three-legged race, the former also winning the junior potato race and 75 yards handicap.  D. Moyle won the skipping contest, and A. Moyle the senior potato race.  Those in fancy dress in the evening were :- D. Moyle, R. Kerr, D. Shirley, M. Bestmann, A. Moyle, M. Cotterill, M. Kerr, J. Ormiston, W. Campbell, M. Campbell, T. Wright, M. Shields, N. Ison, K. Freeman, L. Shirley, P. Kerr, E. Ormiston, M. Ormiston, J. Creber, R. Creber and J. Creber.  The judges were Miss E. Davis and Mr. Lee.  A competition was won by W. Campbell.  Gordon Shields, R. Kerr and D. Shirley gave entertaining items.  Before asking the chairman of the committee (Mr. W. Freeman) to give each child attending the school a book present, the head teacher (Mr. L.F. Diplock) thanked the donors; the ladies' committee (Mesdames Ison, Creber, Ormiston, Ewing, and Wright) for their efforts to ensure a successful day; Mr. Lee, the Brisbane Tug and S.S. Co.; and Messrs. Ewing, Shields and Kerr for help.  After the distribution of presents, D. Shirley received a gold brooch; J. Ormiston and W. Campbell a gold medal for highest number of points.
Source:  The Brisbane Courier, Wed 16 Dec 1925, p. 19 

1926 September - On the occasion of the opening of a motor launch service between Caloundra and Bribie there was a visit by members of Landsborough Shire Council. ... The officials of the Bribie School Committee were alive to the presence of Mr. Warren and asked him to fix a date for the opening (official) of the school-room lately transported from Toorbul Point to Bribie.
Source: Nambour Chronicle and North Coast Advertiser Fri 17 Sep 1926 p.10 

1926 October - tender approved for 5 chains of new footpath, 6 feet wide, on street leading to school.
Source: The Brisbane Courier, Sat 23 Oct 1926, p. 3

1927 December - Bribie Island State School.  Yesterday was a red-letter day for the pupils attending the Bribie Island State School, the occasion being the annual breaking-up ceremony and distribution of prizes.  The event was held at Poverty Point, which is situated about eight miles up Pumicestone Passage, and approximately fifty pupils and fifty adults made the journey by boat.  An interesting programme of races and various sports was enjoyed, and the following were the winners of the principal events:- 75 yards handicap; Gordon North; Three-legged race, Percy Newton and Willie Kerr; kangaroo race, Willie Kerr and Eric Ormiston.  The function was completed with a most successful and enjoyable dance last night.
Source: The Brisbane Courier, Sat 17 Dec 1927, p.10 

1929 Feb - SCHOLARS INCREASING.  The attendance at the State school shows a steady increase, the number of scholars now on the roll being 44 as against 16 when the school was opened a few years ago.  The average daily attendance is 41.  A meeting of parents will be held during the ensuing week to elect a school committee.
Source: Telegraph Sat 23 Feb 1929 p. 19

1930 Apr - local overseer to set out the track work in the street leading towards the school. source: Nambour Chronicle and North Coast Advertiser Fri 25 Apr 1930 p. 5

The head teacher (Mr C.A. McCahon) and scholars 
of the Bribie Island State School. [3]
source: Brisbane Courier 21.6.1930 p. 13

1930 Jun - in keeping with the progress of the settlement of Bribie, the State School has 25 children and Mr C.A. McCahon as head teacher. [Article has a photo of Bribie School and head teacher McMahon - see above]
Source: The Brisbane Courier, Sat 21 Jun 1930, p. 13

1932 Nov - local health inspector visited the State school and found the water tank in very bad condition and the scholars wash basin missing.
Source: Nambour Chronicle and North Coast Advertiser, Fri 25 Nov 1932, p. 3

1935 Jun - School Committee asked the local council for the road to school be cleared and levelled.
Source: Nambour Chronicle and North Coast Advertiser, Fri 28 Jun 1935, p. 3

1936 Dec - school committee held a euchre party and dance to raise funds for the breaking-up picnic.
Source: The Courier Mail, Wed 2 Dec 1936, p. 14 

1936 Dec - children's fancy dress ball at which Joan Dorsett and Afton Robertson were awarded the prize for the best fancy dress, Violet Coston and Billy Braund won most original costumes. 
Source: The Courier Mail Thu 17 Dec 1936 p. 5  

1937 May - Arbor Day observed, head teacher gave the children a nature study lesson and tended the growing trees, committee and parents provided afternoon for the school and visitors.
Source: The Courier Mail, Tue 25 May 1937, p. 23 

Bribie State School, 1938.
Principal Mr F. Kinne
source: Bribie State School 1924-1974 Golden Jubilee booklet
1974, p. 9

1942 Feb - Bribie State School was one of 506 schools to open again after the Government's closure of schools in the coastal belt since the Christmas vacation. The guiding principle would be: "No shelter, no school".
Source: The Courier Mail, Thu 19 Feb 1942, p. 3

1944 Apr 15 - State Elections held and Bribie Island School was one of the Polling-places.  
Source: Nambour Chronicle and North Coast Advertiser, Fri 10 Mar 1944, p. 2 

1944 Apr - Mr George Robert Samuel McKeown, head teacher, State School Bribie to relocate to Bluff Colliery.
Source: Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton), Tue 11 Apr 1944, p. 2

1950 - Mr W James transferred from Raglan School to Bribie Island School.
Source: Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton) Fri 20 Jan 1950, p. 9

1950 - mobs of 20-30 cattle roaming through Bongaree and concern expressed that children are not safe walking on account of the streets being occupied by "camps" of the cattle.
Source:  The Courier Mail, Wednesday 1 March 1950, p2

Bribie State School, 1951.
source: Bribie State School 1924-1974 Golden Jubilee booklet
1974, p. 4

Bribie State School, 1951.
Mr Walter James with his pupils.
source: Bribie State School 1924-1974 Golden Jubilee booklet
1974, p. 9

1954 Jan - local children received an extra school holiday due to the electricity being "switched on". 
Source: Brisbane Telegraph, Sat 23 Jan 1954, p. 26

1954 Oct - the school has two teachers, about seventy children attend, local population about 500. 
Source: Truth (Brisbane) Sun 3 Oct 1954 p. 27  

1960 Sep - bush fires on Bribie and local residents fought to save Bribie Island school as flames encircled the building.
Source: “Blaze over Bribie” in Courier-Mail, September 29, 1960, page 1

1961 Nov 4 - Water supply switching on event. Mr D McNaught, head-teacher had charge of the pre-ceremony program and the children gave a display of folk-dancing.
Source: North Coast & Stanley District News, Thur 9 Nov 1961, p. 1 & p. 4. 

1965 Sep - The Head Teacher of the Bribie State School was pleased to accept an invitation to the staff and children to visit the Army Field Hospital at Woorim.
Source: Bribie Star, v.4 no. 7, 24 September 1965, p.4

1969 Sep - new school uniform for Bribie State School.
Source: Bribie Star 3 Oct 1969 p. 2

Bribie State School, 1974.
source: Bribie State School 1924-1974 Golden Jubilee booklet 1974 p. 10

50th Anniversary 1924-1975
In 1974 the staff of the Bribie State School consisted of Principal, six staff teachers, two teaching aides and one library aide with an enrolment in excess of 200 wrote Mr C.W. Douglas, Booklet p. 12.

Bribie State School 1924-1974 Golden Jubilee booklet

The 50th anniversary booklet has a photo (page 4) of Staff of Bribie State School - 1974 - PJ Robertson (gr 5); Mrs. Bourke (gr 2); BN Hounslow (Acting Principal, gr 6); Mrs. J. Taylor (Aide); MJ Woolnough (gr 7); Mrs. V. Box (gr 1); Mrs. F. Maudsley (Lib. Aide); Mrs. K. Melzner (Aide); Miss J. Carr (gr 3); Mrs. T. Daamen (gr 4)

Changing visions : Bribie Island State School
75th anniversary 1924-1999.
75th Anniversary 1924-1999
The 75th anniversary Book Committee: Mrs Marcia Cross, Mrs Lesley English, Mrs Deborah Parry, Mrs Sandra Gorton, Mrs Rita McNaught.


[1]. Cheryl Thornely collection - CT01 docs 1-6. BIHS Historical collection.
Item 1: Copy of letter dated 29 July 1907 from Portmaster on behalf of the Lightkeeper in Charge of Bribie Island re undertake the establishment of a half time school at Bribie Island.
Item 2: Letter dated 17 September 1907 from Portmaster re appointment of teacher at proposed provisional school at Bribie Island.
Item 3: Letter dated 27 September 1907 re list of equipment for the proposed provisional school at Bribie Island for a probably attendance of 8 to 10 pupils.
Item 4: Letter dated 24 Sep tember1908 re appointment of Miss F.E. Emery to the recently established school at Bribie Island.
Item 5: Letter dated 18 February 1909 from Florence Emily Emery re resignation as provisional school teacher at Bribie Island at the end of March 1909, as her parents need her at home.
Item 6: Letter dated 16 Nov 1909 re transfer of Miss Stanieg from the Provisional School at Bribie island and not to appoint another teacher at present.

[2]. Diplock, L.F. (1974) The early days of Bribie State School. Bribie State School 1924-1974 Golden Jubilee, p. 2.

[3]. [Article has a photo of Bribie School and head teacher McMahon] The Brisbane Courier, Sat 21 Jun 1930, p. 13 


1974 50th anniversary.
Bribie State School 1924-1974 Golden Jubilee. 16 pages

1999 75th anniversary.
Changing visions : Bribie Island State School 75th anniversary 1924-1999. 160 pages.

The National Library of Australia's online newspaper resource Trove is indeed a wonderful treasure-trove.    

Wednesday 28 February 2024

Cyclone Annie 1963 New Year's Day

In the early hours of 1st January 1963, Cyclone Annie crossed the coast near Noosa and left a trail of damage as it moved south. As noted in the article below, on the half-completed Bribie Island Bridge, one of the temporary huts was blown over into the water.

Campers spent a “terror” night

Hundreds of campers from Woody Point to Bribie Island packed in confusion and fled homeward at first light yesterday after a night of terror.

SHADED AREA on map shows the area in which Cyclone Annie was felt. Lines show how the cyclone's centre – located by the Weather Bureau radar at 3 a.m. yesterday 60 miles east-north-east of Tewantin – split in two. Late last night the bureau said one cyclone centre was still in the Gayndah area, but was filling in. The other prong  swept over Brisbane early yesterday bringing winds of up 53 miles an hours. A total of 34 points of rain fell at the Weather Bureau yesterday.
Courier Mail Wed 2.1.1963 p.1

Scores spent Monday night crouched in rain-sodden tents, holding them down against wind gusts which ripped many to pieces. Crashing trees in some camp areas were an added hazard.

At Beachmere, on the northern shore of Deception Bay, a 3 ft.-thick tree crashed near two tents crowded with men, women and children.

By 10 a.m. yesterday all camping reserves were half deserted. Exhausted people were lying in a watery sunshine, snatching a few minutes rest after a sleepless night, before packing up and travelling home. Redcliffe City Council supplied two trucks with drivers to help campers who were without transport.

The cyclone battered the half-completed £236,000 Bribie Island Bridge, but no structural damage was done. The winds caused a pile-driver to drag its many anchors, and a floating crane was swept 20 yards from its moored position.

Workmen’s huts and buildings housing equipment were blown over and smashed. Part of one hut, erected on the bridge, was blown over into 30ft. of water.

ROADBLOCK caused by one of several big trees uprooted by yesterday's cyclone.
 It was thrown across the Bruce Highway north of Caboolture. The road, which is skirted by timber
from Caboolture on, was yesterday covered with branches and debris. Courier Mail Wed 2.1.1963 p.5

Two die when cyclone rips into coast. Courier Mail Wed 2.1.1963 p.1, 3, 4, 5, 7, 11.
article and photos

Campers spent a "terror" night. Courier Mail Wed 2.1.1963 p.3.

 Cyclone fury rips Caloundra tents as campers flee winds. Courier Mail Wed 2.1.1963 p.5.

Saturday 27 January 2024

The Koopa Estate - 1920 - Toorbul Point - Ningi Creek

Over a century ago, in 1920, 18 lots of land were offered for sale in "The Koopa Estate" which was described as "situated on Toorbul Point, frontage to Ningi Creek". The following advertisements give details about these 'seaside farms'. 

The items below refer to accompanying lithographs - if you have a copy of a lithograph of the Koopa Estate from 1920 please send us an email at 

The Koopa Estate. For Sale.  [Large advertisement] 18 Beautiful Farms, 30 to 85 acres each. Situated on Toorbul Point, frontage to Ningi Creek, within half an hour’s trip by motor boat from Bribie Island.  Ideal citrus, pineapple, and banana land, splendid dairying country.  All subtropical products grow to perfection.  This is an exceptional opportunity to secure a Seaside Farm, in the beautiful locality, easy terms, only 1/10th deposit, 9 years for balance.

The Koopa Estate. For Sale.
18 Beautiful Farms, 30 to 85 Acres Each
The Telegraph 23 December 1920 p. 10

The numerous products of the adjoining lands are well known to the large crowds of Bribie visitors. Buyers can inspect this fine Estate by motor boat, leaving Bribie Jetty at 8 a.m. on Wednesday and Thursday, 29th and 30th December, or by application to the agents from Caboolture. Lithographs, further information and prices obtainable from Morton & Davis, Property Salesmen, 298 Adelaide Street (opp. Howard Motor Coy.), Brisbane and Caboolture or from the Office of the Brisbane Tug Company, and from J. Campbell, Bribie
Source: The Telegraph 23.12.1920 p. 10


Koopa Estate, 18 beautiful mixed Orchard and Dairy Farms, situated on Toorbul Point, handy to Bribie Island, or by road to Caboolture; £4 to £8 per acre. 9 years’ terms. Morton & Davis, Property Salesmen, Caboolture.
Source: The Daily Mail, 28.12.1920 p. 8

The Koopa Estate.
Choice farms, 30 to 85 acres,
each situated on Toorbul Point,
30 minutes by motor boat from Bribie.
Splendid fishing and boating.
The Telegraph Sat 29 Jan 1921 p. 16


The Koopa Estate. For Sale. [Large advertisement] 18 Beautiful Farms, 30 to 85 acres each. Situated on Toorbul Point, frontage to Ningi Creek, within half an hour’s trip by motor boat from Bribie Island. 
The Telegraph Thu 23 Dec 1920, p. 10 

The Koopa Estate. [Large advertisement] Choice farms, 30 to 85 acres, each situated on Toorbul Point, 30 minutes by motor boat from Bribie. Splendid fishing and boating.
The Telegraph Sat 29 Jan 1921 p. 16

Koopa Estate.
The Telegraph Thu 23 Dec 1920, p. 10

Koopa Estate, Toorbul Point.
The Daily Mail Tue 28 Dec 1920, p. 8

Related article:
Bribie Passage Estate, Toorbul Point - in 1962