Tuesday 26 December 2017

The Cormorant

The Wreck
Popular landmark on Bribie ca1955-1990
ex-steamer Cormorant

Around 1955 the hulk of the wreck Cormorant was placed off South Esplanade, Bribie Island, on the shore in front of the building known as the AFA hut.

Ship wreck on Bribie Island, ca 1955.
Photo: Roy R. Ross
Source: Picture Queensland 261128

The hulk became known simply as The Wreck and was a popular landmark on Bribie Island. As the years rolled by The Wreck slowly rusted and by 1990 it was deemed too dangerous to be on the foreshore. In October 1990 the remains were removed from the beach.

The Bongaree wreck, Oct 1990.
Photo: Lynelle Court
Source: Bribie Times 31 Oct 1990.

1900-1930 - Q.G.S. Cormorant

The tug Cormorant, built by Messrs. Fleming and Ferguson, of Paisley Scotland for the Queensland Government (for service with the Lindon Bates dredges), left the Clyde on 10 September and arrived in Brisbane on 26 December 1900. The Cormorant was a vessel of 161 tons, drawing 6 feet of water, with a steaming rate of 10 knots, length 106 feet, breadth 21 feet and depth 8 ½ feet.

Caption: Familiar to Mariners who visit Brisbane, the
relief pilot boat Cormorant, which at present is laid up
at the northern capital. 

[publication and date unknown]
Clipping held by the State Library of Western Australia,
Collection of Jack Edward Miller

photo 1923
The Q.G.S. Cormorant which has been acting as pilot steamer and
returned to port last night as the result of the strike.
Source: Daily Standard (Brisbane) Thurs 6 Sep 1923, p. 1

photo 1926
Pilot steamer Cormorant.
Source: The Telegraph Sat 17 Apr 1926 p. 15
Masters of Q.G.S. Cormorant
George Irvine - pilot and master (circa 1903)
Captain Michael Brennan - master (circa 1910)
Captain John McVey - master (circa 1912)
Frederick Markusen - master (circa 1919)

Circa 1955 - the hulk towed to Bribie and laid on the beach at South Esplanade

Les Bax shares his knowledge of how the hulk of the Cormorant arrived on Bribie Island circa 1955: 

Les Bax in 2016: ‘I was on the fishing boat that towed the hulk of the ‘Cormorant’ to its final resting place on Bribie Island. The ‘Cormorant’ had been purchased by Bribie resident, George Sharp, with the object of using it to stop the erosion of Bongaree foreshore frontages. As planned we arrived at Bribie at 5:00pm at the top of the tide. Arrangements had been made to meet up with Council employees, who would help put the hull in place, but there was no sign of anyone from Council, after a short time, we decided to go ahead and beach the ‘Cormorant’ ourselves. We fitted ropes to the shore, attaching one to a tree and the fishing boat guided the hull into position. The ‘Cormorant’ rested on the bottom about half way up the beach. Billy Woods had been engaged for the following morning to blow a hole in the hull, ensuring it was to stay where it was placed. He arrived as planned and assuming the hull was where the Council put it, proceeded to place the explosives in the hull and detonate them. 
The ‘Cormorant’ would remain exactly where me and my mate, Ron Duell, had beached her until 1990 when its remains were removed for safety reasons.’


1. Islander Extraordinaire - Les Bax by Kellyanne O'Hare. 
The Bribie Islander July 2016 page 31.

2. Stories from Bribie Island - 1 [27 Aug 2016]
features recollections from Les Bax . . . Also photo of s.s. Cormorant (hulk at Bongaree) . . 

Further Information:
At the June 2017 BIHS meeting our guest speaker was David Jones on Shipwrecks of Northern Moreton Bay.  One of the wrecks mentioned by David was that of the Cormorant.

Thursday 9 November 2017

WW2 Memorial Sandstone Point

Pebble Beach War Memorial
Toorbul Point / Sandstone Point

On Sunday 17th September 1995 a monument was unveiled at Sandstone Point as an "Australia Remembers" project.

The entry for the memorial on Monument Australia says: 

"Memorial commemorates allied personnel engaged in amphibious training exercises at Toorbul Point between 1942 and 1945 during World War Two.

Toorbul Point and Bribie Island were military/defence areas during World War Two, with Toorbul being used for amphibious and commando training. Both Australian and American personnel were involved, and Toorbul Point eventually became known as 7th Amphibious Training Centre under US Naval command."

Pebble Beach Memorial, Toorbul Point
Photo: Peter Ludlow's Moreton Bay History blog
At the base of the monument is the following inscription:

Erected by Caboolture Shire Council
as an "Australia Remembers : 1945 - 1995" Project
to commemorate the Toorbul Point Combined Operations Centre
and the many allied personnel who engaged in amphibious training exercises here
during World War II
Unveiled on September 17, 1995.

Australia Remembers, 1945-1995
'Australia Remembers, 1945-1995' was a program of activities organised by the Federal Government to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the end of the Second World War and culminated in key national ceremonies held in Brisbane on 15 August 1995 to mark the 50th anniversary of Victory in the Pacific.

Australian War Memorial entry for Australia Remembers, 1945-1995.  https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/ARTV09186/

Bullets and Beans post of Saturday 3 December 2016, Peter Ludlow's Moreton Bay History blog https://peterlud.wordpress.com/2016/12/03/bullets-and-beans/comment-page-1/

Pebble Beach War Memorial entry on Monument Australia.

Further Reading:
Donald, Ron (1995) Fort Bribie, 1939-45: the story of wartime Fort Bribie and Toorbul Point.

Donald, Ron (2010) The Yanks called it "Terrible Point" : the story of the big Allied amphibious training base at Toorbul Point, Moreton Bay, Queensland in World War II.

Recording Bribie History

Books that record aspects of the history of Bribie Island

Abrahams, Audrey (1999) Brothers of Bribie Heritage by Audrey Abrahams (daughter of Jim Maloney, one of the brothers). 

Amateur Fishermen's Association of Queensland: official history 1904-1997 (1998)

Bribie Island Lions Club: the first 25 years 1970-1995 (1995)

Bribie Island Surf Club: 75th anniversary: the history of the Bribie Island Surf Lifesaving Club 1923-1998 by P.J. Adams (1998)
Bribie Island Surf Club: 80th anniversary pictorial by P.C. Morey and P.J. Adams (2004)

Bribie State School 1924-1974 Golden Jubilee. (1974)

Caboolture: The Beauty & Lifestyle of our Shire, Vol 1, 1997.  Vol. 2, 2002.

Changing visions : Bribie island State School 75th anniversary 1924-1999. (1999)

Donald, Ron (1995) Fort Bribie, 1939-45: the story of wartime Fort Bribie and Toorbul Point.
Donald, Ron (2005) Moreton Bay, Queensland in World War II.
Donald, Ron (2008) Queen of Moreton Bay: an historical novel. [steamship Koopa].
Donald, Ron (2010) The Yanks called it "Terrible Point" : the story of the big Allied amphibious training base at Toorbul Point, Moreton Bay, Queensland in World War II.

Edwards, Chris (1998) In the Shadow of the Glass House Mountains: A chronological guide to the history and development of the Caboolture Shire and surrounding region, once covered by the original Caboolture Divisional Board, from 1770 to 1998.

Federick, Gladys & James G. Lergessner (2009) Bribie Island: a pictorial history.

Fischer, C (2011) Bribie Island’s Banksia Beach : the journey of a sleepy settlement to a vibrant seaside suburb.

Gill, JCH (1988)  Missing Coast : Queensland Takes Shape.

Groves, John (2006) North Bribie Island during World War II.

Groves, J.F. & J. (2007) Digger deeper into North Bribie Island during World War II.

Guthrie, Margaret D. (1999) The First Tourist : Commemorating the Bicentenary of Matthew Flinders’ Voyage in the Sloop Norfolk to Bribie Island and Moreton Bay 1799 - 1999.

Historic North Stradbroke Island by the North Stradbroke Historical Museum Association, 1994.

Holthouse, Hector (1982) Illustrated history of the Sunshine Coast

Horton, Helen (1983) Islands of Moreton Bay by Helen Horton, with drawings by Elizabeth McKenzie; colour photography by Steve Parish.

Jones, D & C. Jones (2015) The Lady of the Water [steamship Koopa].

Latcham, Ralph (1991) The mistique and philosophy of artist Ian Fairweather.

Lergessner, James G. (1993) White Specks on a Dark Shore : the Pumicestone Passage castaways.
Lergessner, James G. (2005) A Shrine to the artist Ian Fairweather.
Lergessner, James G. (2005) Bribie the convict weaver.
Lergessner, James G. (2006) I, Thomas Welsby.
Lergessner, James G. (2006) Oysterers of Moreton Bay.
Lergessner, James G. (2006) Seaward, South Esplanade, Bribie Island.
Lergessner, James G. (2009) The Sacred Ibis.

Love, W.R.F. (Bill) (1991) Bribie Dreaming: The Original Island Inhabitants.

Ludlow, Peter (2000) Moreton Bay People : the complete collection 2000. [revised edition published in 2007]
Ludlow, Peter (2007) Moreton Bay reflections.

McArthur, Kathleen (1978) Pumicestone passage : a living waterway.
McArthur, Kathleen (1985) The little fishes of Pumicestone Passage by "The Old Woman of the Sea".

Moongalba (Myora) sitting down place by Bernice Fischer, Rose Borey, Estelle Bertossi, Elle Durbridge, Jenny Cooke-Bramley, 1997. North Stradbroke Island Historical Museum Association.

Outram, Warwick (2002) Boorabee : Bribie's Koala heritage.
Outram, Warwick (2002) Bribie the Legend.
Outram, Warwick (2007) Journey to Bribie Island.
Outram, Warwick (2008) Bribie and the koala.  2nd edition, 2008.
Outram, Warwick (2008) Bribie Island Memories, or, taking up residence in 1974 and learning of a small community's outstanding promotions, and amazing publicity ventures.
Outram, Warwick (2009) Bribie's Golden Era.
Outram, Warwick (2009) Treasures of Bribie Island.
Outram, Warwick (2010) Birthday Girls at Bribie Island.
Outram, Warwick (2010) Bribie Island Before the Bridge.
Outram, Warwick (2010) Cradle site of Queensland.
Outram, Warwick (2011) Bribie from the beginning.
Outram, Warwick (2011) Bribie People and places.
Outram, Warwick (2011) Revisiting Heritage Tales of Bribie Island
Outram, Warwick (2012) Bribie a fascinating isle : a centenary project.
Outram, Warwick (2012) Bus to Bribie : a brief look at events, particularly in 1950-1963 when the community depended on a Bribie Island - Brisbane bus service.
Outram, Warwick (2012) Historical Snapshots of Bribie Island.
Outram, Warwick (2013) 50th birthday Bribie Island Bridge: a golden anniversary project.
Outram, Warwick (2013) First People on Bribie Island.
Outram, Warwick (2013) Frequently Asked Questions.
Outram, Warwick (2014) Answering Visitors questions about Bribie Island.
Outram, Warwick (2014) Bribie Golden Age centres.
Outram, Warwick (2014) Bribie or Boorabee : same place - different language.
Outram, Warwick (2014) Bribie’s first Aboriginal mission: established June 1877 at White Patch on Bribie Island, closed January 1879 / researched by Ron Powell.
Outram, Warwick (2014) In the footsteps of spirit ancestors; with photos and documented information / as told by Ron Powell.
Outram, Warwick (2014) Joondoburri Park: a Bribie community wish.
Outram, Warwick (2014) Two Bribie Suburbs.
Outram, Warwick (2015) Dual centenary 1912-2012.
Outram, Warwick (2015) Forty-two years at Bribie, the cradle site of Queensland.
Outram, Warwick (2015) In memory of Jessie Freeman: a friend to all / as told by Ron Powell to Warwick Outram.
Outram, Warwick (2015) Mission Point: Bribie Island site of the second Aboriginal Mission 1890-1892.
Outram, Warwick (2015) Passing the baton in the relay of residents joining, participating, then leaving the Bribie Island Community.
Outram, Warwick (2015) Prewar Bribie Island: 90-103 years ago as seen through the camera lense by Vera Campbell who entrusted her original prints to Ted Clayton.
Outram, Warwick (2015) Qld First Tourist Resort.
Outram, Warwick (2015) S S Cormorant : protecting Bribie Island 1958-1990 / research and cover painting by Ron Powell.

Pearce, Chris (1993) Through the eyes of Thomas Pamphlett: convict and castaway. [Preview on Google Books]

Pioneer families of the Sunshine Coast Pre 1920 Index 2004.

Steele, J.G. (1972) The Explorers of the Moreton Bay District 1770-1830.  Published by University of Queensland Press, 1972, reprinted 1983.
Steele, J.G. (1984) Aboriginal Pathways in Southeast Queensland and the Richmond River.

The collected works of Thomas Welsby volumes 1 and 2 edited by Andrew Kilpatrick Thomson, 1967.

The Petrie Family - Building Colonial Brisbane. By Dimity Dornan and Denis Cryle. 1992.

Tom Petrie’s Reminiscences of Early Queensland by Constance Campbell Petrie. First Published: 1904, 2nd Edition 1932, Qld Classics Edition 1983.

Toohey, Ted (2009) A Chronological guide to Caboolture Shire History

Trim : a biographical tribute to the memory of Trim [the cat] (2001) Written by Matthew Flinders.  Illustrated by Annette Macarthur-Onslow.

Tutt, Stan (1973) Caboolture country : stories of the area once controlled by the Caboolture Divisional Board, Shire of Pine Rivers, Caboolture, Kilcoy, Landsborough, Maroochy and City of Redcliffe.
Tutt, Stan (1974) Pioneer days : stories and photographs of European settlement between the Pine and the Noose Rivers, Queensland.
Tutt, Stan (1977) By many campfires : stories and photographs of European settlement between the Pine and the Noose Rivers, South Eastern Queensland.
Tutt, Stan (1979) From Spear and Musket 1879-1979 Caboolture Centenary : stories of the area once controlled by the Caboolture Divisional Board.
Tutt, Stan (1995) Sunshine Coast Heritage.

Voices of the past : stories of Caboolture Shire by Rutherford, M., & Buchanan, R. (Eds.). (2000).

Welsby, Thomas (1937) Bribie the Basket Maker.

Wild White Men of Queensland (1959) By Sir Raphael Cilento and Clem Lack.

Young, M.M. (1992) Bribie Island: a collection of information for students.

1928 Motorcycle race on Bribie Island

Sporting Events held on Bribie Island
1928 - Motorcycle racing

In 1928, the sandy Ocean Beach at Bribie Island was the scene of a novel race, a unique one-off event that generated a lot of interest at the time. Sensational speeds of over 70 m.p.h. were reached by Eddie Smythe on his "Ariel" motorcycle at the Brisbane Motor Cycle Club's racing carnival.

Below is an article on the race as well as two photos from The Brisbane Courier Monday 19 March 1928 p. 7 and 16.

Racing on Bribie Beach. 
Eddie Smythe Excels. 
By “Wayfarer”

The Brisbane Motor Cycle Club’s racing carnival held on the ocean beach at Bribie Island yesterday was a very successful fixture.  The racing was witnessed by a huge crowd, and it was noticeable that, despite their enthusiasm, the spectators were at no time a source of trouble.  They kept clear of the course and observed the barriers erected in the interests of their safety.
   The racing was staged on the tide-washed section of the beach at low water, which was beautifully hard and level.  As the day wore on the sharp turns at either end were torn up by skidding wheels, and as the rising tide encroached on the course the men had to race on the softer sand of the upper beach, and the spills were more numerous.  The course was a mile in length, comprising two straight runs each of half a mile, with hairpin turns at each extremity.  

Sensational speeds were made in the straights that attained by Eddie Smythe’s Ariel, which proved itself the fastest machine of the day, being calculated at well over 70 m.p.h.  In one race this rider came off twice, and then registered an average of 46 ½ m.p.h., which was wonderful speed, considering that the race included ten extremely sharp turns.  

Besides moving fast in the straights, Smythe showed a mastery of the art of broadsiding around the turns in little more than a machine’s length.  He was easily the best rider of the day in every department, and particularly in negotiating the turns.  Smythe won the two-mile B.M.C.C. handicap, and was just beaten by A.R. Walton in the five-mile open handicap, in which, however, he registered fastest time.  

The rapidity with which the tide rose caused the cancellation of one event, a three-mile club handicap.  Details:- [of the results – name of the rider and type of cycle] . . .

Racing on Bribie Beach. Eddie Smythe Excels. By "Wayfarer". The Brisbane Courier, Mon 19 Mar 1928, p. 7 http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article21234347 

Thursday 5 October 2017

Bridge Anniversary 19 October 2017

The Bribie Island Bridge at sunset.
Photo: Janet Shorthouse, 2013, ABC Multiplatform.

Barry Clark, Bribie Island Historical Society

The arrival of Matthew Flinders on the sloop “Norfolk” in 1799 was a very significant date in the long history of the original people of this land.

Perhaps the most significant social and economic event in the 164 years after that was the building of the Bribie Island Bridge. When the bridge to Bribie Island opened on October 19th, 1963 life on Bribie Island, and in Queensland, and Australia, and the rest of the world, was very different from today. Depending how old you are reading this article, you may need to be reminded of some other things that happened back in 1963.

In 1963 when the Bridge was built
U.S. President John Kennedy assassinated in Dallas...
Queen Elizabeth & Prince Philip visited Australia...
Government announce Decimal currency to come in 1966...
Charles Perkins “Freedom Ride” to end aboriginal segregation...
The first National Television Network was formed...

Australia was largely an agricultural economy and primary produce accounted for 77% of Australia’s commodity exports. Also in 1963 the Commonwealth Marriage Act came into force legitimising children born out of wedlock by the subsequent marriage of their parents. Now in 2017 we have some similar issues occupying our thoughts, including concerns about an additional bridge, or a replacement bridge, and when and where it might happen.

Bribie a quiet holiday destination
In 1962 the resident population of Bribie Island was less than 600 people, with many more coming for weekends and holidays, but Bribie Island was still a quiet and peaceful holiday destination. There had been much speculation about building a bridge to Bribie island for over 30 years. In those days, even with a small population, there were two Councillors representing Bribie on Caboolture Shire Council and the community worked hard creating what they needed with their own volunteer efforts.

Steamship excursions from Brisbane to Bribie had carried thousands of people for weekends and holidays since 1912, but this had stopped in 1953. A car ferry service had become popular since 1947, after the military built a road from Caboolture in WW2, and motor car ownership increased. Politicians talked about a bridge to Bribie during election campaigns in the late 1950s, and had considered having it paid for by developers, in exchange for land on the island. This did not eventuate, but in 1961 a Contract was awarded for a bridge to be constructed at a cost of 358,000 pounds. 

The Bridge was opened by Premier Frank Nicklin on 19th October 1963 and was the longest precast pre-stressed concrete bridge in Australia. The complex construction had involved driving 206 piles, weighing 12 ton each, laying 38 spans of concrete beams to span the 832-metre length. 

Just weeks before the opening an expensive Toll was announced, to be paid by all vehicles coming to the island. The 10-shilling Toll was a significant cost and came as a complete surprise, people were very disappointed, and it impacted growth and development for some time. Better roads and increased car ownership had led to population growth on both the Gold and Sunshine Coasts, but this did not immediately eventuate on Bribie Island. In 1963 the 10 Shilling Bridge Toll would have paid the cost of Petrol to drive a car from Brisbane to the Gold Coast and back, and you could buy a pound of Beef for 2 shillings. The Bribie Bridge toll was 10 times that on the Hornibrook Highway, and was the most expensive road toll in Australia. Land prices and rates on Bribie had risen significantly in anticipation of change, but the expensive Bribie Bridge Toll lasted 12 years and was finally removed in 1975 when the bridge had been paid for by the money collected. The much lower Hornibrook Highway toll was also lifted in 1975 having been in place for 40 years. 

Bridge Opening celebrations
Bribie residents were outraged at the expensive toll and threatened to boycott or disrupt the opening ceremony. The opening day was however a big success, with large crowds and processions of floats, horse drawn carts, vintage cars, marching bands and hundreds of vehicles driving  to the island for the first time. It was so busy that the bridge was declared “One-Way” on to Bribie in the morning, and then “One-Way off in the afternoon.

This photo, taken on the opening day, shows the two lanes of vehicles coming onto the island. 

If you look carefully at the photo you will see many things that are different today.……. footpath handrail, overhead lights, sealed road …… how many more differences can you see ?

The Aerial photo of the mainland end of the Bridge, taken on the opening day, shows the huge number of buses, cars and people that gathered for the event, with the Toll Gates in the divided road surrounded by people waiting to walk across for the first time.

The “Bribie Star” local newspaper of the day produced a special complimentary souvenir edition documenting some fascinating history of the island by many of the pioneer residents. 

There had been an expectation that Bribie residents would not have to pay the toll, and eventually they did get a small concession. Books of tickets for multiple crossings could be purchased at a small discount and there was an exemption for Ambulance, Fire Brigade, Royal mail and Government vehicles. 14,000 cars crossed the bridge in the first week it was open, paying 7000 pounds to the two toll collectors, who were each on an annual salary of 5000 pounds. Many of the new visitors were very disappointed with inadequate parking facilities and amenities on the island, and may never have returned. In the first two years of the new bridge over 300,000 cars crossed over, but population growth was much lower than anticipated reaching just 2000 by 1975 when the toll was lifted.

50 years of Anniversaries
For the 10th Anniversary in 1973 the toll was still in force, but by the 20th Anniversary in 1983 the toll had been lifted and a major celebration was held in conjunction with the “Bribie Island Festival” organised by the Lions Club, who sold “Passports” to the Island as a fundraiser. 

In 1988 a “Silver Jubilee Carnival” was held for 25 years, together with a special edition of the local newspaper, and a souvenir T-shirt was produced.

The 30-year anniversary in 1993 was held in conjunction with a “Bribie Aquatic Festival”. 

I had only just come to live on Bribie Island in 2004 and knew nothing at all about Bribie History, or the significance of the Bridge, but I organised a fundraising walk for Rotary in which several teams of 10 people each walk over the bridge and back  4 times. So each sponsored team walked 40 kilometres and raised $4000 for Rotary causes. As a result of organising this event I met Stella Ray, a very long-term resident of the island, who sparked my interest in the unique history of this Island's community.

In 2008, I and many other enthusiastic people founded the Bribie Island Historical Society, and in 2013 the Historical Society placed a 50 year commemorative bronze plaque on a stone beside the bridge, and invited people involved in the bridge construction to participate. 

The Past …and Future
There has been much talk in recent years about the age and limitations of our 54-year-old bridge, and the need for a second or replacement bridge. There are some who say, “Bring back a Bridge Toll” and other who say “Blow the bridge up” and return to the peaceful days of water access only. Six years from now in 2023 the Bridge will be 60 years old, and will no doubt still be very much in use, whatever decisions are made about the location and timing of a second bridge.

Some readers of this article may have personal memories and photos of the original bridge opening, or photos and souvenirs from subsequent anniversary events. The Historical Society is keen to hear from you and capture your memories. 

Please contact us on bribiehistoricalsociety@gmail.com if you have photos or stories from attending a Bribie bridge anniversary celebration from 1973, 1983, 1988 or 1993.

Capturing memories


At the September 2017 meeting of the Bribie Island Historical Society, Don Mullen was our honoured guest as he shared his memories of Bribie Island.

L-R: Barry Clark, Anne Mullen, Don Mullen, Graham Mills
September 2017 BIHS meeting
Photo: Barry Clark
Don Mullen first came to Bribie as a small boy in 1937 when his grandparents had a cottage here. He continued to have memorable weekends and holidays on the Island, coming by steamship and catching loads of big fish, for many years. When he later graduated as a Pharmacist and married his nurse girlfriend Anne in 1960, he purchased the one small Pharmacy business on Bribie Island and set up shop in Toorbul Street.

Over the next 50 years Don moved the growing Pharmacy business to other locations in First Avenue and later to Benabrow Avenue, where with his business partners he developed new commercial premises. As well as being the only “go to” person on the Island for heath and emergency needs, he involved himself in  many community projects and committees as a willing volunteer. He served on the Volunteer Fire Brigade, Ambulance, ANZAC Committee, RSL sub-branch, State School P&C, Catholic Church, Caboolture Rotary, Meals on Wheels and developed the Bribie Island Golf Club. He was also invited to be Patron of Chamber of Commerce, RSL, Golden Age and the Bribie Island Golf Club…..and has served this community long and hard for so many years.

Founder of the Bribie Island Historical Society, Barry Clark, conducted a filmed interview with Don a few months ago to capture, first hand, Don's recollections of life on Bribie over the past 80 years or so.

This video recording was then edited by past President Graham Mills with the addition of several hundred old photos from the Historical Society Database collection, illustrating the subjects spoken about by Don during the interview.

Don Mullen was a guest at the Historical Society September 2017 meeting where the video was first screened to the public, to a large and appreciative audience of over 80 members and friends. The video recording runs for just over an hour and is available for showing to interested groups on request.

Society President Lynne Hooper paid tribute to all the work Don and Anne have done over so many years and invited them to speak and answer questions. Both Don and Anne are still very active in the community and have contributed much to the success of the Historical Society. The large crowd also paid tribute to Warwick Outram who died last week after more than 40 years, writing more than 50 books about Bribie Island history, and also contributing to many of the same organisations as Don. Warwick Outram was invited to be the inaugural Patron of the Historical Society and has left a lasting legacy of the rich history of the Island.

We are reminded of how much some of the long-term Island residents have contributed to the wonderful community facilities we enjoy here today.

The Historical Society plan to conduct further interviews and capture other peoples stories while they can, so please contact us on bribiehistoricalcociety@gmail.com if you would like to offer some information.


Warwick Outram in 2013.
Photo: Barry Clark
Few people have served the Bribie Island community in so many important ways, over so many years, as Warwick Outram. He passed away peacefully on 7 September 2017 in the company of his loving family.

Warwick lived 43 of his 90 years on Bribie Island, serving in many business and community roles, and documenting the rich history of the Island. He came with his wife Dot and family in 1974, at the time of the Brisbane floods, and took over the lease of the Bongaree Caravan Park for his retirement.

Born and educated in Newcastle Warwick grew up during The Great Depression, and became the youngest trainee technician with Burroughs Ltd during WW2. As a young man in a pioneer Information Technology industry he was required to take on significant responsibilities, travelling extensively to service customers with Adding and early Computing machines. Over the next 31 years with the company he progressed through the ranks, managing the transition to decimal currency, until a major job in a Capital City became inevitable.

That’s when Warwick and Dot decided to opt for a different lifestyle for their family, and came to live on Bribie Island to run the Caravan Park. Over the next 43 years Warwick was committed to his new home, devoting his energy and business skills in so many ways for the good of Bribie Island community. He served as President and Vice President of the Chamber of Commerce for 10 years, and for 20 years compiled the “Holiday Guide and Business Directory” to promote the Island's tourism and services. He volunteered on numerous community committees and Projects, including the Golden Age, Heritage Walks, the concept of Museum for Bribie Island, and for Council to recognise the value of the Island's rich history.

It was Warwick who coined the phrase “Bribie Island – the Cradle site of Queensland” in recognition of the first landing by Matthew Flinders and Bongaree in 1799. He started writing articles for the local “Island and Mainland News” newspaper in 1993, which led eventually to him writing his first book of “Heritage Tales”. The more he wrote, the more the fascinating stories emerged from long term residents, and over the last 20 years he has written, and personally published 57 books about Bribie Island History and heritage.

His wife Dot became very sick and they gave up the Caravan Park while he nursed her to her end in 2001, while developing commercial fishing interests and representing the Queensland State Fishing industry. With his Information Technology background, he worked hard to keep pace with modern computer developments, capturing historical records and an extensive photo collection.

In 2006 he moved to Bribie Cove Retirement Village where he continued his prolific writing, resulting in Bribie’s most extensive history book production. All typed, compiled, illustrated, printed, bound and distributed by an octogenarian who had a passion for the Island's rich and colourful past. As each of his 57 books were produced, copies were sent to both the National and Queensland State Libraries, as well as Queensland University and the Royal Historical Society of Queensland, and local Libraries. Warwick was also commissioned to write a “Remembrance Handbook” for the RSL Community Link, and the History of the “Chamber of Commerce”. He was invited to be the Patron of the Bribie Island Historical Society when it was established in 2008, and dedicated several of his books to the Historical Society including the “Bribie Bridge 50th Anniversary” in 2013.
Warwick was still writing about his beloved Bribie Island until just a few weeks before he died.

Warwick recently celebrated his 90th Birthday with 24 of his children, grandchildren and great grandchildren who have all remained living in the area. He was a very determined and generous man, who stood by strong principles and was determined to leave a legacy for future generations. He believed firmly in the old saying 

Happiness is found along the way, not a reward at the end of the journey”.

Barry Clark
Bribie Island Historical Society

Sunday 17 September 2017

Ian Fairweather in Postcards

Ian Fairweather (1891-1974)

Thirty years ago, a lecture at the Australian National Gallery in Canberra entitled East and West in the Art of Ian Fairweather, continued an interest in the art of Bribie Island's most famous artist that had only increased after his passing in 1974.

Over forty years ago on a quiet street in Bongaree, a carving of the artist was rendered into a living tree by a local man to keep the memory of Ian Fairweather fresh for visitors and tourists.  Nearby at "The Tourists Corner" was a display of postcards featuring Fairweather.

Postcard caption: Bribie Island's Ian Fairweather,
who, by his very seclusion enriched this island.
This evergreen carving shall enrich his memory.
Source: NAA 5286567
The following postcards are those that were displayed at "The Tourists Corner".  This set were sent to Canberra in 1975.

Postcard caption: Bribie Island's artist,
Ian Fairweather's likeness hewn into a tree
to commemorate his love of nature.
Source: NAA 5286567

Postcard caption: Ian Fairweather receiving
the Bronze Medallion at his hermitage on Bribie Island in 1973. This great honour was bestowed upon him by The World Art Society for his contribution to Art.
Source: NAA 5286567

Postcard caption: Artist Ian Fairweather was awarded
this Bronze Medallion in 1973 by The World Society
of Artists in appreciation of his contribution to Art.
Source: NAA 2586567
Postcard caption: Ian Fairweather (1891-1974)
Bribie Island's world famous abstract artist's image,
sculptured into a living tree as an evergreen tribute.
This tribute stands in a shaded and secluded section of Webster Street, Bribie Island, at the southern end of Bonham Street, where his many admirers freely come and go as they pay homage to this man of nature.
Photo by Peter G.D. Barkham.
Source: NAA 2586567

Postcard caption: Bribie Island's world-famous master artist,
Mr. Ian Fairweather relaxing in the surroundings from where
he impressed art critics throughout the world.
Source: NAA 2586567
East and West in the Art of Ian Fairweather. Lecture by Barbara Brinton, Wed 19 August 1987 at Australian National Gallery, Canberra.  [source: The Canberra Times, Mon 17 Aug 1987, p. 29 http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article132153528]

Postcards from "The Tourists Corner" Artist - Ian Fairweather.  1975. National Archives of Australia. NAA 5286567.

Further information:
Bernard Kuskopf - postcard collection.  Queensland Places website, Centre for the Government of Queensland. 

poem Nostalgia

Fifty-five years ago the following poem appeared in the Bribie Star newspaper.  Take a moment to enjoy the scene painted by these evocative words - trusty steed and all!


High in the rosy hills at dawning,
Far in the woodland's fragrant cones,
The rolling mists of early morning,
Breathe o'er the rugged mountain domes,
Though with splendour so enthralling
Here I greet the morn divine,
My lonely heart is softly calling,
Bribie - Island in the pines.

Nature's now with magic jesting,
Far where hill and valley meet,
While my foaming steed is resting,
From the climb with aching feet.
But my lonely heart's devotion,
Longs for dear familiar scenes,
Scented pines and rolling ocean,
In the island of my dreams.

Soon this lovely scene of grandeur,
Will be folded from all ken,
Night - with jewelled dusky langour,
Will her wooing spell begin.
Then you'll hear me softly calling,
In the night wind's fragrant sighs,
May each lonely echo find you,
Bribie - Island in the pines.

Anne Jensen, "Creek Bend", Sylvan Beach, Bribie Island.
August 1962.

Nostalgia (poem) by Anne Jensen, 1962.
Bribie Star, 24 Aug 1962.

Wednesday 16 August 2017

Bongaree Jetty Heritage

Bongaree Jetty and Bongaree Esplanade
Heritage site signs
Bongaree Jetty and park area, Aug 2017.
Photo: Donna Holmes

A walk along the Bongaree Jetty and Esplanade precinct is very pleasant and allows an opportunity to read the information contained on several Heritage site signs.

In this picturesque area there are three Heritage site signs which were unveiled in 2004.

For those folk who are not able to walk through this lovely area, below is a copy of the signs and information about their unveiling.

The Bribie Jetty, Jetty Precinct and Twelve Apostles Lookout Heritage site signs were unveiled on Sunday 5 December 2004 at the Official Opening of the newly refurbished Bongaree Jetty and Bongaree Esplanade Improvement Project.

Source: BIHS database GEN_011
Source: BIHS database GEN_011

Program for the Official opening of the newly refurbished Bongaree Jetty and Bongaree Esplanade Improvement Project.

                       The Heritage Site signs give a brief history of:

Bribie Jetty           Twelve Apostles Lookout        Jetty Precinct

     Bribie Jetty [Heritage Site sign]
Source: BIHS RP2_001_jetty2004

1911 The Birth of Modern Tourism in Queensland

Caption: The Brisbane Tug and Steamship Company established the first Island tourist resort in Queensland on the 153 sq km Bribie Island. Prior to this, the Tug "Greyhound" and then "Beaver" had opened up a service to Bribie in 1901.
SS Koopa photo by permission of the Hall Family.

1912 The First Jetty at Bongaree
Caption: The Brisbane Tug and Steamship Company built the first jetty at Bongaree and commissioned the SS Koopa to transport tourists from Brisbane and Redcliffe. Since then the jetty has been expanded, reduced and rebuilt many times.
Photo by permission of the Campbell Family.

1920s The Golden Years

Caption: Prior to the great depression, up to seven ships were tied up at the jetty. Thousands of tourists disembarked on first one walkway then two and then three, with an extended head connecting the multiple walkways. It is interesting to note that in 1917 a competitive destination "Umbigumbi" opened, this is now known as Surfers Paradise.
Photo by permission of the Campbell Family.

1911-1961 ss Koopa Luxury Steamship
Source: BIHS RP2_009_Heritage
Caption: This 62-metre vessel could carry up to 1200 passengers and at one time even had an orchestra for entertainment. The travel time from Brisbane to Bribie was a leisurely three hours. To cope with shallow waters in Pumicestone Passage it had a flat bottom hull to achieve a draft of two metres. As per the 'Packet License' regulations at the time, at three nautical miles from the home berth, the stewards opened the lavish bar on the lower forward deck. On the intermediate deck, patrons could enter the casino, where they mostly played poker. Excellent food was also served. For example: Oysters with buttered bread were 1/- (one Shilling) per plate. At night the ss Koopa was an impressive sight as she was well lit with a total of 159 lamps. During WWII the Royal Australian Navy commissioned the ss Koopa in 1942. After her war service she was returned to public service. The locally formed Moreton Bay Development Company bought the Koopa and began operation in early 1952. Their objective was to keep the Koopa operating until the bridge was built bu ceased operating in 1953. The Koopa continued on various runs until finally scrapped around 1961. The bridge opened in 1963 ending this era of steamship transport.
Photo by permission of John Oxley Library.

1923-1939 ss Doomba 
Caption: This 70-metre vessel could carry up to 1524 passengers. Formerly H.M.S. Wexford, the vessel was built in 1919 and arrived in Brisbane in November 1923. She was refitted as a passenger ship with a promenade deck added to seat up to 280 passengers. The Wexford was then renamed the ss Doomba. Her fastest run to Bribie was two hours (excluding berthing in Redcliffe) and she touched a top speed of 19 knots. The Royal Australian navy re-commissioned the H.M.A.S. Doomba in 1939 and she served once again as a minesweeper, mainly in Bass Strait. After the war she was sold and used as a bulk carrier and finally as a barge. She was eventually scuttled in 1976.  Photo by permission of the Hall Family.
1920 Campbell's Kiosk

The Campbell's Oyster Kiosk was very much a family affair. They were a great fishing family with the father Joe Campbell registered as an oysterman having taken charge of local oyster farming operations around 1905.  The Campbell's also hired out boats at 5/- (Shillings) a week and went on to open a cash store on the Esplanade in 1953.
Photo by permission of the Hall Family.

1921 Camping Grounds on the Foreshore at Bongaree

Caption: Looking towards what is now Brennans Park the scene would have looked very different in the 1920s. In the top left hand corner of the photograph is the Brisbane Tug and Steamship caretaker's residence. Underneath this building was the location of the first post office on Bribie Island.
Photo by permission of the John Oxley Library.

1923 Bongaree Streetscape

Caption: View of the township of Bongaree in 1923. The large building on the left hand side of the photograph was the Hall and Bestmann general store. In the centre of the photograph are stacks of tent poles for hire.  The elevated building on the right hand side of the photograph was the caretaker's residence.
Photo by permission of the John Oxley Library.

1924 Road from Bongaree

The road from Bongaree to Woorim was completed and four Model T Ford passenger buses take holiday makers to the Brisbane Tug & Steamship Company Hotel at Ocean Beach.

1951 Bribie Island Bus
Caption: The photo shows a more modern Bribie Island bus meeting the passengers from steamships. The buses operated between the Jetty and Ocean Beach Woorim.
Photo by permission of the John Oxley Library.

1963 The Bribie Island Bridge
 The 831 metre Bribie Island bridge officially opens at a cost of £358,156 and the era of water transport is effectively over. To recover construction costs a 5/- Shilling toll was placed on the bridge until 1973.
Special Thanks to local historians Warwick Outram and Ron Powell for their invaluable assistance with historical research.

1999 Celebration of the Bicentennary of Matthew Flinders' Landing on Bribie Island 16 July 1799

Acknowledgement: This plaque also acknowledges a commemorative ceremony held on 16 July 1999 to celebrate the Bicentenary of Matthew Flinders' Landing on Bribie Island 16 July 1799.

The 1999 ceremony focused on the planting of a Flindersia australis species (crows ash) tree by His Excellency Major General Peter Arnison AO Governor of Queensland, Honourable Peter Beattie MLA Premier of Queensland and Cr Tom McLoughlin Mayor of Caboolture Shire.

 Twelve Apostles Lookout [Heritage Site sign]
Source: BIHS RP2_001_jetty2004

1925 Dance Hall, School and Bowls Club
Source: BIHS RP2_009_Heritage

Caption: Near to this site was the Bribie Island Dance Hall. This was also where the first School on Bribie Island was conducted. Later the stumps were removed and the hall was re-located to become the first clubhouse for the Bribie Island Bowls Club.
Photo by permission of the Hall Family.

1920s Twelve Apostles
Source: BIHS RP2_009_Heritage

Caption: Around 1918 just after the war the Brisbane Tug and Steamship Company constructed twelve huts on their foreshore leasehold just behind the Bribie Jetty.

In the foreground of the photograph is a temporary jetty for unloading road metal (gravel) during construction of the first road to Woorim.

The aim was to provide cheap holiday accommodation for visitors who did not wish to camp. 

In later years these twelve apostles, as they became popularly known, were to provide more permanent accommodation to the Island's pensioners.
Photo by permission of the Hall Family.

1901-1912 Tugs on the Leaning Fig
Source: BIHS RP2_009_Heritage
From 1901-1912 the tugs 'Beaver' and 'Greyhound', which had been refitted to carry passengers, transported early visitors to the Island.

Prior to the Jetty (shown in the photo just completed in 1912) passengers were transferred to the shore in a square end Punt with seats all around. The Punt was hauled ashore and secured to a tree. That tree is believed to be the leaning Fig adjacent to this site.

Photo by permission of John Oxley Library.

Welcome to the Jetty Precinct [Heritage Site sign]
Source: BIHS RP2_001_jetty2004

1932 Hall and Bestmann General Store
Source: BIHS RP2_009_Heritage
Caption: In 1913 Alfred Hall and Artie Bestmann started what was to become the first general store at Bongaree. Alfred Hall owned a grocery store in Brisbane and started by bringing up some groceries and selling them through the kitchen window. In 1921 they built the purpose built store shown in the photograph next door to their residence.
Photo by permission of the Hall Family.

1924/25 Toll Road and Early Transport
Source: BIHS RP2_009_Heritage
Caption: To recover the construction costs, the road from Bongaree to Woorim had a Toll of 1/- (One Shilling). During its construction road material was brought from Brisbane and crushed at Bongaree. A horse attached to a skip by rope pulled it up a ramp. A truck drove under a level section of the elevated ramp and workers tipped the skips to drop the road base into the truck. The 1925 photo here shows a self-made roundabout for tour buses. 
Source: BIHS RP2_009_Heritage
 Model T Ford passenger buses take holidaymakers to the Brisbane Tug and Steamship Company Hotel at Ocean Beach Woorim. Bus fares ranged from 9d (nine pennies) for children to 1/6 (One Shilling and sixpence) for adults.
1920 Holiday Time at Bribie in the Early Days

Caption: This is the scene you would have seen in the 1920s. Tents and the ss Koopa tied up at the Jetty. 

Photo by permission of John Oxley Library.

1920s Shops and Guest House - Northern Side of the Jetty
Source: BIHS RP2_009_Heritage

Caption: The facilities available in the 1920s included a Cafe, Museum and Boarding House. The Cafe's veranda reached out onto the water's edge.
Photo by permission of Mr. Sam Hawkins.

The Jetty Precinct looking towards First Avenue
Source: BIHS RP2_009_Heritage

This photograph shows a view of the Jetty, Camping Area and First Avenue going straight ahead to Woorim. To the left of the Jetty is the temporary gantry for unloading the road metal.
Photo by permission of the Campbell Family.

The above photos have been collected by the Bribie Island Historical Society for the BIHS Historical Database, particularly from the collections of Peta Newcomb, Robert Price and Donna Holmes.