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 jetty and its environs must be the most remarkable fishing place in Australia. More black Groper have been caught here than any other spot in Australia. A man known as the “Groper King” caught many over 500 lbs”.
Ted Shields (1947) - Fisherman and Barge owner.
The waters off Bribie Island, Pumicestone Passage and Moreton Bay have long been renowned for the abundance and variety of seafood found there. Indeed, before European settlement, the local aboriginal people enjoyed a healthy diet which included fish, shellfish, turtle and dugong. The annual mullet migration continues to this day.
In the 1890s Queensland’s major industry was the oystering operations in this area. The oyster industry was decimated when worms infected the oyster beds, contributing to the growth of a commercial fishing industry.
As a few families settled on Bribie Island in the early 1900’s, it wasn’t long before fishing and crabbing was enjoyed by an increasing number of visitors to the Pumicestone Passage.
When steamships transported passengers from Brisbane to Bongaree, fishing weekends and holidays at Bribie became very popular. The Amateur Fishermen’s Association of Queensland (AFA) build its members cottage at South Esplanade, and great catches and competitions were enjoyed by members.
|Groper caught at Bongaree jetty.|
The AFA created a unique collection of preserved fish specimens from this area in the 1920s and 1930’s, many of which can no longer be found today. Bribie Island built a reputation as a place where the fishing was always good.
|Bribie Island Fishing Club. White Patch 1929.|
The Bribie jetty had always featured in the “great” fishing stories. It deserves this special mention, as the waters here at the jetty have produced a record number of Groper (or Black Cod) to be caught in Australia.
Peter Rich, known as “The Groper King”, is said to have caught over 200 of the species at this spot from 1911.
|Displaying photos of catches by the "Groper King"|
The weight of these fish caught was between 60 and 500 lbs, the average weight being around 200 lbs. Groper were caught on huge hooks suspended from a wire trace off the jetty at Bongaree.
Many a story has been told of the deep caverns under the coffee rock, which forms a shelf beneath the beach on the passage side of Bribie. It was here under the rock shelves by the jetty the Groper lurked in the deep, dark water.
Stories have been told of children being swallowed whole by giant Groper!
|Ted Shields fishing at Bribie|
Fishing is still the most popular holiday recreation on Bribie Island and anglers can be seen at the waters edge all over the island. Unfortunately, catches today are nothing like those of the past.