Sunday 22 April 2018

1925 Bribie Island The Rising Resort

The following advertorial appeared in the 1925 brochure entitled Mountain and Seaside Resorts from Noosa to Tweed which was compiled and issued by the state Tourist Bureau. 

Bribie Island The Rising Resort
December 1925

Bribie Island, or Bribie, as it is more conveniently called, is reached by continuing the steamer trip in the s.s. Koopa or Doomba past Redcliffe to its furthest limits. It is 38 miles from Brisbane, and is reached after a three hours run from the city, the steamers berthing at a short, well-constructed jetty. Bribie Island and Moreton Island, which lies opposite at a considerable distance, form the most northern outposts of Moreton Bay. Bribie Island is about 20 miles long, from 2 to 3 miles broad, and is well timbered.  

Near the jetty there is a commodious refreshment-room, where fish and oyster dinners are obtainable, and also stores at which campers can purchase requisites. A large pavilion, bathing-sheds, and other conveniences for the use of visitors have been erected. Accommodation is provided for by a number of boarding-houses, and, as a further inducement, the steamship company has erected twelve huts of a standard design and size (14 feet by 12 feet) along the inner beach. 

On application to the caretaker, Bribie, these may be let at the following rates:- Ordinary weekly tariff, 6s.; Christmas, New Year, and Easter, 10s. per week; week-ends, 3s. 6d. 

For the excellence of its fish and oysters, Bribie is known far and wide, and during the summer months the company run their steamer to Bribie every alternative Saturday to afford city folk and anglers an opportunity of a week-end at this resort. 

The Amateur Fishermen's Association has erected a fine cottage for the convenience of members. It is situated about half a mile from the jetty. 

Bribie has made rapid and substantial progress during the past two years. An excellent road has been constructed from the jetty across the island to the Ocean Beach, where a handsome and commodious kiosk has been erected by the Brisbane Tug and Steamship Company for the convenience of visitors. 
The main ocean beach is ideal for surfing, and excellent fishing may be enjoyed nearly all the year round. This beautiful hard sandy beach stretches for miles along the eastern side of the island. Motor 'buses meet all steamers and convey passengers to the ocean beach.

 There is a Government experimental station a short distance from the jetty. Visitors will receive much assistance and useful information from Mr. Bob Davies, at his store near the jetty.

Travelling from Bongaree to Caloundra through Pumice Stone Channel
December 1925

Caloundra can be reached by a through smooth trip from Brisbane. The glimpses of scenery obtained during the passage through the winding channel are such that must be seen to be appreciated. Leaving Bribie, Toorbul Point, on the mainland, is passed; thence the old fish-canning works. Presently an old iron hulk is viewed; then are seen what appear like fenced selections on the sea, which are really licensed oyster banks protected by this means against the enemies of the shellfish.

Looking further northward one perceives the green-carpeted sward of the banks on which hundreds of aquatic birds, from the large pelican to small snipe, are peacefully feeding, whilst further away great flocks of black swans are gracefully swimming.

Ever and always about us are the towering peaks of the Glass House Mountains, their grey trachyte sides viewed first from the south-east, thence due east, and again from the north-east. By proceeding from the metropolis to Caloundra Via Bribie, and returning via Landsborough by rail to Brisbane, or Vice versa, a splendid round trip is afforded tourists.

Mountain and seaside resorts from Noosa to Tweed. (1925) Compiled and issued by The Queensland Government Intelligence and Tourist Bureau, 10 December 1925. Bribie Island the rising resort [text and photos] pages 94-94. Travelling from Bongaree to Caloundra through Pumicestone Channel [text and photos] pages 67-70. Viewed on the Internet Archive  

Thursday 5 April 2018

Nostalgic Reflections of Bribie 50 years ago

The following article was printed in The Bribie Islander, issue 44, March 2018, pages 30-31.

History Page
By Barry Clark
Bribie Island Historical Society
50+ years on Bribie residents plaque, Brennan Park.
Photo: Barry Clark

The following item of “Nostalgia” was first written by Ted Clayton back in 2004, and is one of several documents he has shared with me recording his memories of Bribie Island. 

Ted has over 80 wonderful and challenging years of memories to look back on, and has lived on the island since he married in 1954. Ted and Pat Clayton are one of the “50+ years on Bribie” pioneers that I had commemorated on a plaque in Brennan Park. 

 Ted’s parents Ernie and Marion met on Bribie Island in the 1920s when they had rental properties and lived most of their time here until 1984. Ted grew up in Brisbane but spent much of his early childhood on family holidays on Bribie, attending the Primary School for periods during the 1940's.

Bribie Bridge under construction 1963.

In 1954 Ted married Patricia and they came to live on Bribie in a house Ted built himself at No.11 South Esplanade. As a carpenter Ted did contract building work and together they ran a bait and tackle store. Their family of three daughters and a son grew up on the island.

During the construction of the Bribie Island Bridge in the early 1960's Ted was the General Foreman.

Ted Clayton, Fishing
World cover, Dec 1978.

Photo: Barry Clark
Ted Clayton was also one of the islands most renowned fishermen and from 1970 wrote regular articles about fishing, and became a regular contributor and field editor for "Fishing World" for over 20 years. Ted's articles about fishing around Bribie Island created nation-wide interest.
Ted Clayton + big fish.

There is not a square inch of Bribie Island that Ted has not explored in his 80 years roaming the island.

In 1990 Ted and Pat moved from South Esplanade Bongaree, to live a quieter life at Whitepatch.

The following document is one of several that Ted has written to document and share some of his memories of Bribie Island, and I hope to bring you more of his great memories in the months ahead.


Fifty years ago when Pat and I were married we settled permanently on Bribie. The Place was paradise – there is no other description for it.

Making a living was a starvation pastime but that was the only drawback. 

In my Batchelor days I worked in the scrub in North Queensland. My parents had more use for my spare cash than I did and they repaid the favour with an allotment in South Esplanade. To make it vacant I had to move a small house that was on it to the back of the allotment to the south. My parents owned that block. It already had one house on the front. It was my first house move and I undertook it with more guts than brains. Looking back I wonder at my parents feelings. It was their house and they had a lot at stake. You are a bit thoughtless when you are young.

My partner and I moved a couple of big houses from block to block with the Council tree puller. A bit of sherbet could get you that. Tthere was no dirt for filling on the Island but sometimes a truck would conveniently break down outside the job. All perfectly good natured. Life was a bit simpler then.

The process with the houses was to jack them up – put longitudinal timbers on the stumps then place some more crosswise. The faces of both of these where they met was liberally rubbed with laundry soap (‘Velvet’). The tree puller was attached to the house and once the thing moved the timbers glazed and went quite well. There was a bit more to it than that of course. One had one metre stumps that were rotten and as soon as we started pulling half of them snapped and we had to get under it to salvage things.

I was very fit – I built our house in my spare time in twelve months. We had no floor coverings or curtains, we bathed in a basin. The Rentons were next door and both houses survived on 1,000 gallon tanks.

The Renton’s system, in the kitchen sink, was to wash themselves, wash the kids, wash the dishes then do the laundry. I made our furniture at night at a work bench in the main room. The Council would have a fit these days but no one thought it odd at the time. The toilet was a thunder box out the back. Pat accepted it all in good spirit.

The best advantage was the position. In front we had a pristine beach where one could swim and sunbake. Our children grew up with that. You could not put a price on it. Going fishing was as easy as crossing the road and stepping into a dinghy.

The roads on the Island were simply wheel tracks in the sand. That was South Esplanade – two-wheel tracks. There was not a shovelful of road gravel anywhere.

Early on we had a special Island Registration fee for our vehicles. In theory they couldn’t get onto the mainland.

Mostly we bought old ‘bombs’ that couldn’t run on main roads. One, I forget the make, needed an eighteen inch piece of flooring jammed between the gear lever and the dash panel to keep it in top gear. It had no brakes at all. You turned off the ignition coming into a corner and turned it on again as you came out. I had one vehicle, a Dodge Six, that had as much guts as any four-wheel drive that I have ever driven. 

Its failing was the steering box. It took about six turns of the wheel to have any effect. On a bush track you had a very active time. I used to drive it through the scrub to Dux Creek chasing mud crabs. That area is where Bellara now stands but in those days it was a very pretty marshy place with a lovely fresh water creek running through it. The old Dodge would chug through across a ‘corduroy’ of logs and up a greasy slope on the other side as easy as you like.

One of my most respectable was a Chev, a 1934 I think, that I bought in Brisbane for the equivalent of fifty dollars. It was fully registered, I even took it on the mainland once.
Today’s car buffs would cry. We did some shocking things to some lovely old cars but they were cheap and all that we could afford.

I once went to Brisbane car shopping with my building partner. He finally found one out near Mt. Gravatt. It was a Rugby in immaculate show room condition – hood, upholstery, the lot. He got it for the usual fifty bucks. I drove it back to Bribie. The barge was running by then. We took a hacksaw and cut it off behind the front seat down to the chassis. Everything but the front seat was thrown into the scrub. He fixed some rough hardwood on the chassis and called it a utility. It lasted three years. 

One of the jobs that I took on for a while was driving an eight-ton Bedford truck for the Rentons. Driving to the Darra Cement Works for cement was one task. A bit hairy because at first I had no idea how to get there. Cement had the advantage of being warm. If I missed the last barge I would crawl under the tarp and go to sleep.

I have told you that gravel for building was worth a fortune on the Island in the early days. I later did trips to S&S Gravel at the Pine River for gravel. What one was allowed to put on a truck was foreign to us all. ‘As much as it could carry’. It certainly never occurred to me that anyone would give you more gravel than you paid for. I paid at the office for the load and they directed me to an excavator that would load it. I stood back and watched. After a while the operator looked at me and raised his hands and his eyebrows. Apparently it was up to me to say when. I got to the gate and the mob in the office had a talk. The portable scales were working somewhere so they told me to take a dirt back road to avoid them. Things went OK until I reached a very steep hill and didn’t have enough power to get over it. All that I could see half a kilometre back down the track was a very rickety and narrow bridge. Fortunately I had Pop with me. I stood on the brakes, pulled on the hand brake, turned the motor off in gear and got Pop to put some big rocks under the wheel. Then I got into it with a shovel and put a pile of it into the gutter. You live and learn.

Another choice run was to Attewell’s saw mill at Caboolture for timber. Again you simply loaded all that you could get on. The long stuff piled up on either side of the cabin until you needed to be a snake to get into the seat. I had to back it down onto the barge and at low tide and that was a spooky business.

Another job that I took on for money was an eviction out at Woorim. The tenant wouldn’t get out. It required someone to stay full time on the front verandah for three days. I knew the bloke vaguely and he took it quite well. The inside of the place was a complete pig sty.

I put in a price and got the job of erecting steel towers along the Ocean Beach for the Coordinator Generals Department, and I also renovated one of the old navigation lights at the top end of the Island.

I put the lookout cabin on top of A.P.M.’s (Australian Paper Mill) one-hundred-foot fire tower. Most of it got put together on the ground and was lifted by a crane but I did the finishing touches hanging on like a fly. Anything for a quid.

Ted Clayton, 2004.

Clayton, T. (2018) Nostalgic Reflections of Bribie 50 years ago. The Bribie Islander issue 44, March 2018, pages 30-31.