Sunday 22 December 2019

1929 Boat Trip Through Bribie Passage

90 years ago! - An "on-the-water" tale from 1929

Two men in a boat 
by E.J.S.

Taking advantage of a holiday, a companionable friend, an outboard motor, and a serviceable boat, it was decided to achieve a long-cherished desire, and travel to Caloundra, by way of the Pumice Stone Channel, or Bribie passage as it is more generally termed.

That this waterway was mistaken for a river by its first visitors is understandable, for at the southern end it is an imposing stretch, deep, and at times turbulent. The upper reaches are more often shallow, and the course tortuous, as one portion, known as "The W's" testifies.

Though unrelieved by heights necessary to break the regularity of low islands, whose wooded shores are reflected in the quiet water, the scenery is delightful. Swamps abound where, in season, may be found wild boronia and Christmas bell - the largest and most resplendent of our wild flowers.

On the landward side distant some 12 miles are the bold outlines of Beerwah, Coonowrin, Beerburrum, Tibrogargan, and Tibberwowucum Mountains. These heights, thrown into relief by the morning sun, or silhouetted against a glorious winter sunset, are indeed beautiful.

From seaward, plainly heard across the narrow island, comes a continuous roll of muffled sounds. It is the surf breaking on the outer beach, affording a striking contrast with the placid land-locked waters which provide a home and sanctuary to all bird life.

Here, except at risk of penalty, the killer of the inoffensive may not follow his sport. Herons, curlews, snipe, cormorants, and black swans abound, the latter at times in flocks of hundreds. On the island the air vibrates with the sweet piping of terrestrial birds, whose melody is more pronounced when heard amid the harsh notes which seem to characterise our sea-birds.

One solitary brolga we saw dancing for no apparent reason other than the joy of life, for no mate to whom it might be making demonstrations of courtship was visible. With half-poised wings it pirouetted, now in a grave and stately measure, then breaking into a wild fandango till the noise of our approach warned it that not in all cases was the sanctuary respected.

Our boat, 14 feet long and five feet in beam, though well loaded with food, water, benzine, camp and fishing gear, afforded amply room and permitted us to sleep in it with comfort - that is, holiday comfort.

On the second day we made Caloundra, having navigated the Passage without touching a bank and negotiating Suez Canal with mishap. Suez is a deep gutter between two islands, not easy for a stranger to locate, and so narrow that, like its famous namesake, boats even so small as ours could not pass in it.

Caloundra is perhaps the most charming of our seaside resorts. Distant some 15 miles from the North Coast railway, lack of good roads, or, better still, railway extension, has retarded its progress. Fine beaches, rocky headland, the open seas on one side, Bribie Island and the quiet passage on the other, gave to this place a natural supremacy.

Here people were universally kind to us. Voyagers in a small boat, we probably presented an unusual spectacle, but from the fisherman who waved us from a wrong course, to the chubby angel of five years bearing a bowl of "pudden" and an invitation from Auntie to bring a billy and get some milk, we experienced welcome hospitality.

The return journey was uneventful but adventure awaited us. One very dark and hazy night we set forth on a fishing expedition and lost ourselves. Familiar objects no longer appeared so and strange features were wrongly recognised as old friends. The benzine gave out and for seven weary hours we pulled that boat.

Daybreak found us at Comboyouro Point, Moreton Island, 15 miles from home. Fortunately the sea was calm but with a heavy ground swell. How we avoided the numerous banks on which we might have been easily and quickly smashed I do not know.

Article caption: Doors of the boat shed decorated with facetious notices
On the following day, in response to our telephonic S.O.S., a motor launch came from Bribie and towed us ingloriously home to find the boat shed will decorated with humourous notices: "Shed for Sale - Owner gone abroad!" "In moments like this you need petrol!"  "Nightly service to Comboyouro!"

The lesson has been learned. Never again will we be caught short on petrol.

Two men in a boat : The beauties of Caloundra by E.J. S.
Sunday Mail (Brisbane) Sun 30 June 1929 p. 21

Wednesday 27 November 2019

Story 26 Describing Bribie Island

The following story is one of 27 stories presented in Describing Bribie Island 1865-1965: historical first-hand accounts of visiting Bribie Island produced by the Bribie Island Historical Society in 2017.

Bribie Walkabout by Zena Turner (1963)

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Zena Turner (b. 1911) lived on Bribie Island with her husband Ernest Turner (handicraft worker) from 1949. Zena continued to reside on Bribie after her husband passed away in 1958. Zena lived at Ocean Beach and contributed many articles to The Bribie Star in the 1960s.

Zena’s love of nature can be seen clearly in the following article, published in the Bribie Star v.2(9) 19th October 1963 (Bridge special edition) page 17.

Although Bribie is the Mecca of many thousands of near-by city dwellers, there are surprisingly few who turn away from the water-lapped fringes of the Island and go into the bush which, at no place on the Southern end of the Island, is more than one and half miles from the water. Anyone wanting to evade civilisation for a day can find no better place to go than into the Bribie bush where the atmosphere is as remote as the never never, and the chance of meeting another human being is as equally remote. The southern end of the Island is laced with tracks suitable for a day’s tramping in the bush, and the best ones are within easy access from either Bongaree or Woorim. Some of them are suitable also for vehicular traffic but many of the good tracks, made when the army was on the Island during war time, have become overgrown for want of use.

Trackless walking on the Island is for those with a sense of direction and experienced in bushcraft. A few yards off a track in the Bribie bush and every tree and every shrub looks alike, so anyone who goes bushwalking on Bribie should follow a track unless familiar with the bush and swamps which will be encountered.

The track best known and most used by bushwalkers is that from Cotteril Avenue, Bongaree, to the centre road which runs north and south through the entire length of the Island. From this road a number of tracks branch out to different places of interest, the two main ones leading to Woorim and Dingo Creek.

Along the track from the centre road to North Street, Woorim, is the springtime beauty spot of the Island. Here is a vast garden of wild flowers, predominantly Boronia, fringed with Tea-Trees and Banksias, with a clump of tall, slim Tea-Trees standing sentinel-like in its midst. Here, too, grows the beautiful wild blue Iris, the dainty Sun-Orchid and many little ground-hugging plants, colourful little things upon which one is reluctant to walk.

Brilliant Flash
To add to this panorama of colour are the Rainbow Lorikeets which make a brilliant flash as they sweep screeching overhead. In contrast to their screeching is the beautiful Throated Warbler. As the delicate, falling cadence comes drifting across the distance it is difficult to believe that such a melody, considered to be one of the sweetest of all Australian bird songs, can be produced by such a tiny bird. After passing through the Boronia plain the track winds on to Freshwater Creek where the Dusky Coral pea runs riot over shrub and tree, and the wild Lasiandra vies with tall, green bracken for a place in the sun. Here, too, are colourful little Wrens – the Blue and the Redbacked – flitting about in the reeds of the creek. A true family man, the Wren, for he is never alone. Always Jenny and the family are there with their happy, high-pitched twittering. A short distance past Freshwater Creek the track joins North Street and Fifth Avenue Woorim, and here, at the meeting of the roads, is another sand track leading north to the First lagoon.

Grove of Pines – The Cathedral
Some distance along the track is a grove of pines standing on the edge of the sea –beautiful, gnarled old trees that have withstood countless years of seasonal salt-sea winds and cyclones. It is to the credit of the many who picnic here that these beautiful old Pines are as yet untouched by man. This cannot be said of the grove that stands parallel with it across the water of the lagoon and which is reached by passing the sand-locked entrance to the lagoon and traversing trackless Pine Ridge on its western bank. Surely it was here in this Pine grove, known for many years as The Cathedral that a small part of Nature died. It was a place of beauty – tall Pines etched the sky, sun-dappled pine-needle carpet underfoot, Orchids, Staghorns and Ferns grew green and beautiful, and over all the still quiet of the bush broken only by the low murmur of the sea and the singing of birds. But, unlike the windswept old pines on the edge of the sea, most of the trees grew straight and tall – so straight and tall that their beautiful sky-reaching greenness marked their doom. No Pine trees could grow so high and so green unless they were millable. And so they died.

Today [1963] The Cathedral has no semblance of its former beauty and few go there. Those who do venture along Pine Ridge do so because of a remembered beauty, and with the hope that Nature may perform one of her rare miracles and restore what man destroyed.

Another one and a half miles north from the First Lagoon by beach or by trackless bush walking is the Second Lagoon which may be reached also by following the centre road north to the signpost giving directions to Dingo Creek and Second Lagoon. It is necessary if going by this road to go to Dingo Creek and then walk back a half-mile by beach to the lagoon.

This is a lovely spot lying undisturbed and looking much as it must have looked centuries ago when the black man roamed here. The harsh browns and olive greens of the bush and the lagoon lie hard against the silver and blue of the sea with Moreton Island hanging like a purple backdrop in the distance. Misty grey-green Casuarinas lining the seashore and the entrance to the lagoon lend a redeeming softness to this almost too brilliant picture, and a civilisation-left-behind atmosphere pervades the whole area – an atmosphere that belies a city of some 600,000 population lying just fifty miles to the south, and a progressive Sunshine Coast to the north.

Here in the environs of the Second Lagoon the Palm Lily grows. It is an oddity of nature that this plant with its spike of delicate, orchid-like pink blooms should curve swan-like and graceful to open its beauty to the ground and not to the sun. Behind the Second Lagoon the bush is trackless and wild with tangled bracken and undergrowth, but there are surprises here for the intrepid bushwalker. A picturesque little fern-tipped swamp nestles at the foot of a pine-clad ridge, and a Pandanus Palm, too far from its natural place by the sea, grows disproportionately high seeking the sunlight through the foliage of its towering bushland companions, while a King Orchid, oddly out of place in this Bribie wilderness, struggles for existence in the hot sand. No doubt it grew at one time in a shady Pine until ravaged by bushfire.

Oak Walk
Further north and over the terrace from Dingo Creek is the Oak Walk which, as the name implies, is a track winding its way through a thick belt of she-oaks. The track was made when the army was in occupation of the Island and it is still there, but only those who know of it can find it now for it has become overgrown at both ends and there is nothing to show that it is there.

Some three miles north of Dingo Creek is Mermaid Lagoon, and a few miles north again is Welsby Lagoon, or, as it is sometimes called, the Bird Lagoon. Here many aquatic birds, black Swan and wild Duck predominating, swim serenely through reeds and water lilies sheltered from the sea by high sand dunes, and from the west by high Tea-Trees so regular in growth that they lie against the sky like a straight, dark wall. On rare occasions a Jabiru may be seen stalking quietly about Welsby Lagoon in search of prey. If frightened it will take off into seemingly effortless flight and alight on the other side of the lagoon where it will stand motionless for so long that it seems to merge with its surroundings.

Welsby Lagoon
Welsby Lagoon is the ultimate of remoteness on Bribie, for it lies halfway between the northern tip of the Island near Caloundra and the southern tip in Moreton Bay. It is some 10 miles from Woorim by beach, but if alternating the walk by bush and beach it is some 13 or 14 miles.

The track from Dingo Creek back to Campbell Road, Bongaree, and Woorim is usually in good condition for vehicular traffic as well as for walking. It passes through large areas of Boronia, and in a reasonably clear section between Dingo Creek and the sign post are hundreds of grass trees growing luxuriantly in an area which had previously been swept by bushfire. Here, when the grass trees bloom, the parrots come to feed. It is a magnificent sight to see hundreds of Lorikeets feeding on the tall, cylindrical spikes of bloom, as many as six at each spike. They keep up an incessant chatter as they feed, fluttering their rainbow wings in an endeavour to gain a precarious foothold among the thousand minute blooms.

Common Sight
Emus, Kangaroos and Wallabies are a common sight along this track, and on rare occasions a flock of Brolgas may be seen. These beautiful birds take off into flight at the first sign of intrusion, and always their flight is northward to the far end of the Island, where, in a clearing in the vicinity of the lighthouse, they have been seen performing their graceful, long-legged dance.

The only track branching off to the sea once the Dingo Creek track joins the centre road is the one leading to Woorim. There are, however, several leading off to the Passage side of the Island. These have become rather overgrown and unless they are used by experienced bush-walkers it is well to bypass them and continue on to the track leading into Cotteril Avenue.

Some half-mile before reaching Cotteril Avenue along this track the whole bush is redolent of a delightful perfume identical with that of the wild Cherry Blossom. Nothing has been found to account for this perfume, so it is referred to simply as “a delightful bush fragrance”.

South of Campbell Road there are more good walking tracks, a number of which were made when the army was on the Island. Most of them had become overgrown, but last year some of them were cleared and it is now possible to leave Campbell Road at Boyd Street, Woorim, and re-join it at Bongaree, via Skirmish Point, Woody Bay, Bald Point and Red Beach.

These are interesting tracks for walking as they give access at intervals to the Bay beaches, and one branches off to what is considered to be the best Pine grove now standing on the Island. This is at Bald Point tucked well back from the south-east winds behind a protective line of Casuarinas and Banksias which stand well back from the waters of Moreton Bay.

It is from the Red Beach section of this track that an entrance to Skirmish Swamp is found. Tree-ferns grow luxuriantly here, but it is seldom possible to penetrate far into the swamp. During the 1946 drought it dried out completely and then it was possible to walk anywhere in the area.

Beautiful Beach
Although there are many miles of bush tracks for walking there are also many miles of beautiful beach for walking – clear, unbroken beach right to the northern tip of the Island, and picturesque Bay beaches from Skirmish Point to Pumicestone Passage.

Looking from Skirmish Point across Woody Bay is like viewing a vast, remote painting tinged with sadness, for Woody Bay is a graveyard of trees. Each year the encroaching sea, pushed on by the south-east winds that run rampant across Moreton Bay, cut further into the low, unresisting terrace and one after another the rangy old Tea-Trees and Pines topple to the beach where they eventually become sea-washed ghosts of their former beauty.

Nature is both bountiful and cruel here, for while Woody Bay is being cut away by the sea,
Bald Point which lies a few hundred feet away is building up. This build-up has been taking place over the years since the 1952 cyclone sliced through Bald Point so that it was possible to see, from the one vantage point on the beach, both Skirmish Point and the beacon at the entrance to Pumicestone Passage.

Bald Point
Marram grass and Beach Spinifex took control of this section of the beach, held the drifting sand, and now hundreds of young Casuarina trees have grown until Bald Point is better able to withstand a cyclonic gale than it was before the last cyclone ravaged it.

Sunset is the time for walking on Ocean Beach, for it is here that it is possible to walk on a rainbow. As the waves recede the reflections of the sunset light up the wet sand into a rainbow ribbon that stretches mile after mile into the distance until it loses itself in the sky. As the sun sinks the colours on the sand are ever-changing until the darkness blots out the sunset splendour which is equalled on Bribie only by the magnificent sunsets that encompass Pumicestone Passage and the Glasshouse Mountains.

Wednesday 13 November 2019

1969 Pumicestone Channel declared a Fish Habitat Area

Pumicestone Channel 
declared a Fish Habitat Area

Did you know it is 50 years since Pumicestone Channel was first declared a Fish Habitat Area? 

Also significant, over 130 years ago Pumicestone Channel was declared a reserve of native birds.

The Pumicestone Passage between the mainland and Bribie Island and most of Bribie Island foreshore, that we all enjoy today, has been known as a fish habitat area for over half a century. Our beautiful waterway is an important nursery ground for our local marine life and sanctuary for native birds and Bribie Island is a flora and fauna reserve.

Pumicestone Passage / Pumicestone Channel in 2012
Source: Qld. Dept. of Environment & Science website

Pumicestone Channel was one of seven areas declared in 1969 as Fish Habitat Areas, the other six areas were Deception Bay, Hay's Inlet, Jumpinpin - Broadwater, Kippa-Ring, Moreton Banks, Myora - Amity Banks.

Declaration dates of significance
23 January 1969 (original declaration of Pumicestone Passage Reserve)
19 November 1983 (original declaration of Bribie Island Reserve)
24 July 1998 (redeclared to cadastral boundaries and to combine Pumicestone Passage and Bribie Island FHAs)
11 November 2011 (redeclared to clarify boundaries and address management issues)

Declared Fish Habitat Area Summary - Pumicestone Channel
Declaration dates as of 2012
Source: NLA's Pandora Archive

Here's to the next 50 years as we continue to preserve our wonderful home.

Declared Fish Habitat Area summary - Pumicestone Channel. Declaration dates as of 2012Available online via NLA's Pandora archive

Declared fish habitat area network assessment report 2012. Compiled by Rebecca Batton, Kurt Derbyshire and Rebecca Sheppard, Fisheries Queensland, Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, June 2012. Available online at:

Frank Olsen - One Minute Archive.
Queensland State Archives YouTube video available online 
Frank Olsen played a key role in developing today's Queensland-wide network of Fish Habitat Areas.

Essay covering reserves for the protection of native birds. Rachael E.V. Marsh.
Queensland Times, Sat 16 Jan 1915, p. 10 via NLA's Trove online

Thursday 10 October 2019

Anro Asia 1981

Anro Asia (ship)
grounded off the northern tip of Bribie Island, 
29 October 1981

Anro Asia (ship) grounded off north Bribie Island.
Source: NLA's Pandora archive
Anro Asia (ship)
grounded off north Bribie.
Source: MBRC Libraries P0784

On 29 October 1981 the 213 metre 16,336 gross tonnage Ro-Ro container vessel, Anro Asia, grounded near the northern tip of Bribie Island while entering Moreton Bay.

Chinook helicopter near grounded Anro Asia
Source: Sunshine Coast Libraries M863575

The vessel sustained damage to several double bottom tanks and between 70 to 100 tonnes of bunker fuel was released into the sea. The vessel carried a total of 1100 tonnes of bunker fuel. Some oil reached shore on both Bribie Island and Caloundra beaches resulting in a clean up operation. 

Two Chinook helicopters, from the RAAF base at Williamstown, lifted off about 50 containers in preparation for an attempt to refloat the ship. 

The Anro Asia was refloated on 6 November 1981.

Image courtesy of Moreton Bay Regional Council.
MBRC Libraries online catalogue, photo 934457 P0784

Image courtesy of Sunshine Coast Council
Sunshine Coast Libraries online catalogue, photo M863575

AMSA (1981) Anro Asia, Bribie Island, Queensland, 29 October 1981.
Australian Maritime Safety Authority.
Collected by NLA's Pandora archive, webpage snapshot taken 18 Dec 2014.

Sunday 15 September 2019

1933 Field trip to Pumicestone Passage

The following article was written by Hector Dinning (1887-1941), a distinguished author and journalist. He was born in Maryborough and educated at the Brisbane Grammar School and the University of Queensland of which he was a foundation member. Enlisting in the A.I.F. in 1914, he served in Gallipoli, France and Palestine and was eventually seconded to the War Records Section, where he assisted in the compilation of the official history of the A.I.F. Following wide journalistic experience, on the outbreak of war in 1939 Mr Dinning turned his energies to a wartime occupation to the position of State Publicity Censor.

Easter 1933
Afield with the Bug Hunters
by Hector Dinning

Pumicestone Channel
The Telegraph (Brisbane) Sat 13 May 1933 p. 9
"A company of thirty-two souls - as they say in describing travellers by water - we left Brisbane by the Koopa on Easter Thursday for the Field Naturalists annual camp. ...

About to embark
The Telegraph (Brisbane) Sat 13 May 1933 p. 9
"The steamer that takes the Easter campers to Redcliffe and Bribie is bound to be a bit jammed. We got - after a search what we never expected at that late hour - seats. Both decks were as crammed as a boat of war time refugees. Only the kids looked happy as they slept, which they did early. ...  At Redcliffe, though we disgorged hundreds it made no apparent difference. Such is the growing lure of Bribie, it would seem.

"At Bribie pier we were met by the advance guard of the Field Naturalists, who had gone down by the morning boat, had pitched tents for the females in a one-night camp, and prepared supper for the lot. Having spent the day in this recreational style in God's own sunlight, they were in great form. Infected by this, and heartened by jorums of steaming coffee and Easter buns, we jaded and belated travellers revived a little.

The camp - mess tent and sleeping quarters.
The Telegraph (Brisbane) Sat 13 May 1933 p. 9

"The men, it appeared, were to sleep on the launch that was destined to take the party next day up The Passage to Caloundra, the permanent base of this expedition. A keen wind was blowing and the launch was tossing viciously. It was apparent that, except to those inured to the sailor's life (such as the skipper, his wife and family, stowed for'ard) there would be little sleep afloat that night. So it proved in the event, as related by all but the three of us who had the decision of mind desperately to snatch our sleeping bags from the launch as she cast off and spend the night on the hard, but stable, planks of the jetty. We slept not the less soundly for a notice over our heads that the electric torch revealed: "Camping on this jetty strictly prohibited." ... [on to Caloundra and then back on the Sunday] ...

"We embarked for South Bribie early on Monday. There was lunch and a scramble on South Bribie and a bathe in the easterly surf, and a race back by charabanc over that bizarre, undeviating road to catch the homeward boat. It was stuffed with campers who must at all costs (poor dupes!) be a work on Tuesday morning.

Ocean Beach, Bribie.
The Telegraph (Brisbane) Sat 13 May 1933 p. 9

"When we reached Redcliffe there was standing room only, and when they opened the pier gates the embarking host swept down upon the ship like a flood and swarmed over gangway and ship's side like a horde of boarding pirates. Soon they were standing as thick on the decks as in a London tube during an air raid.

"The engine room telegraph rang out and we began throbbing on the long, long voyage to Brisbane. But over that journey let us draw a veil.

Afield with the Bug Hunters by Hector Dinning. 
The Telegraph (Brisbane) Sat 13 May 1933 p. 9

Death of Mr Hector Dinning.
The Telegraph (Brisbane) Mon 24 Nov 1941 p. 4

Portrait of Hector Dinning, Brisbane, ca 1930s.
National Library of Australia, image 137952953

Wednesday 14 August 2019

1916 picnic scene

1916 Picnic Scene on Bribie Island

This lovely photo of a group of people having a picnic on Bribie Island in 1916 was featured in a newspaper article in 1990.
Old Photo Unearthed.
Photo from Mr Snow Sefton.

Source: Bribie Weekly, 1990.

Dear Old "Lady" Retired - At Last.
Photo of the Koopa and Mr Snow Sefton.
Source: Bribie Weekly, 1990.
The article in 1990 recorded that "Snow" Sefton had received this photo and several other photos from a chemist friend when Snow moved to Bribie in the 1960s.

"Well-known ex-automotive engineer "Snow" Sefton was given the photo by a chemist friend more than 30 years ago when he moved to Bribie Island to live. Mr Sefton, 79, said that, in the 1930s, Koopa used to leave the Customs House in Brisbane River and picked up passengers en route to Redcliffe and the island. He recalls with a grimace that "nice clean white clothes" worn by those on board the ship sometimes suffered from soot generated by its coal-burning engines."

At the end of the above article is mentioned "Oxley Library in Brisbane is keen to hear from people with old photos, newspapers or any other memorabilia of the early days of the island". 

Here we are, thirty years later, and there is still a keen interest in old photos, newspaper clippings and other memorabilia of the early days of Bribie Island! 

Recently, Lynne Hooper (BIHS Secretary) and Donna Holmes (Coordinator, BIHS Historical Database Project) spent many hours looking through photos held in the Heritage Collection (formerly John Oxley Library) of the State Library of Queensland.

One of the photos in the heritage collection was the picnic scene from 1916.

Bribie Island, ca 1916.
Photo 171084, Acc 86-5-4,
Heritage Collections, State Library of Queensland.
The next photo in the sequence shows a larger group of people with a background of trees. Could this photo also be on Bribie Island? Was the "group of four" part of a larger group?

Social gathering in the bush, 1910-1920.
Photo 171085, Acc 86-5-4
Heritage Collections, State Library of Queensland.
Other photos in the sequence shows staff from the Isis District Hospital visiting various places in southeast Queensland in 1915-1916.

If you recognise any of the people above or if you have any old photos of Bribie Island you would like to share, please contact the Bribie Island Historical Society on 

Dear Old "Lady" Retired - At Last. Photo of the Koopa and Mr Snow Sefton. 
Bribie Weekly, 1990. [Ormond Allan Sefton (1911-1991) RAAF #4747]
BIHS Historical database, Shirley family collection, S10_112_album_p48_to_p56.pdf

Old Photo Unearthed. Photo from Mr Snow Sefton. 
Bribie Weekly, 1990.
BIHS Historical database, Shirley family collection, S10_112_album_p48_to_p56.pdf

Social gathering in the bush, 1910-1920 [photo]
Heritage Collections, State Library of Queensland, 171085, Acc 86-5-4

Wednesday 10 July 2019

sailboat Marvel

Tom Tripcony's sailboat Marvel
from Bongaree to Caloundra

Tom Tripcony, a well-known resident of Pumicestone Passage in the early twentieth century, would convey excursionists from Bongaree to Caloundra aboard his sailboat Marvel

Below is a picture of the Marvel and a 1916 description of the journey.

Tom Tripcony's sailboat Marvel, ca 1915
NLA's Trove

"A pleasant way of reaching Caloundra is by water. The Koopa comes to Bribie Sundays and Thursdays, and if one writes beforehand to Mr Tripcony at Caloundra store he will meet the Koopa in his motor launch and land you in Caloundra before 6 p.m. 

The trip [from Brisbane to Caloundra] is thus several hours longer [than by train and motor coach] but it is very enjoyable as Bribie Passage, or Pumice Stone Channel, has its own beauties; and the views of the Glass Houses are very beautiful. At times these weird mountains seem startlingly near, and so many more are seen than from the railway, all different shapes and all eye-arresting." 
[Daily Mail (Brisbane) 4 Dec 1916]

The Marvel was 30 feet long with a 12 feet beam and also delivered stores once a month to the two light towers on North Bribie Island.

Caloundra: a holiday resort near Brisbane by "Mermaid". The Daily Mail (Brisbane) Mon 4 Dec 1916 p. 7

Advertisement for Win Fowles' most modern cash stores. The Brisbane Courier Thu 19 Nov 1908 p. 6

Win Fowles [rooster caricature]. The Truth (Brisbane) Sun 6 Sep 1908 p. 5

Sailboat Marvel [photo] Sunshine Coast Libraries P87050 accessed via National Library of Australia's online Trove

Saturday 29 June 2019

Brisbane region 1959

Bribie Island featured in a 
Block diagram of Brisbane region 1959

This year is 160 years since Queensland became the Colony of Queensland when it separated from the Colony of New South Wales in 1859.

Cover of Walkabout magazine
June 1959

Sixty years ago, in June 1959, the magazine Walkabout produced a souvenir issue to celebrate the centenary and courtesy of the National Library of Australia's wonderful online resource Trove, the souvenir magazine can be read online

Happy Birthday Queensland!

A Block Diagram of the Brisbane Valley.
Walkabout, June 1959, page 17
One of the illustrations shows a block diagram of the Brisbane Valley which provides a remarkable aerial view of Brisbane and surrounding country and Moreton Bay.

 As you can see Bribie Island is one of the islands depicted.

This block diagram had been previously published by Prof. Thomas Griffith Taylor in his book on Australia (7th ed., 1959, Fig. 61). 

Grif Taylor (1880-1963) was an English geographer, anthropologist and world explorer. He was a survivor of Captain Robert Scott's Terra Nova Expedition to Antarctica. 

Taylor, T.G. (1959) Australia: a study of warm environments and their effect on British settlement. 7th ed. Fig. 61: A block diagram of the Brisbane Valley.

Walkabout Magazine (1934-1978) produced by the Australian National Travel Association available online via National Library of Australia's Trove 

Sunday 28 April 2019

Allied Base at Toorbul Point in WW2

In the 2018 edition (#44) of Bribie magazine Holiday Guide & Business Directory (page 30) is an interesting article Big Allied Base at Toorbul Point in World War 2.

The following article is reprinted with permission, from 2018 Bribie Holiday Guide & Business Directory published by the Bribie Island Chamber of Commerce.


Further clues have come to light in the intriguing story of the big Allied amphibious training base at Toorbul Point in World War 2, writes Bribie Island war historian and author Ron Donald. (Toorbul Point is the mainland area where the bridge to Bribie Island starts but, in a wartime context, took in the big hillside expanse which is now the Sandstone Point residential area, as well as Spinnaker Sound Marine and extending west to the present-day township of Ningi. Aerial photos in 1943 show the whole camp dotted with army and navy huts and other buildings).

The newly-established Combined Training School (CTS) at Toorbul Point was an initiative of the Australian Army and was under the command of AIF 7 Div. Lieut. Col. Lionel Rose. Its primary purpose was to train Australian troops for amphibious warfare in New Guinea.

Rose compiled a report on the activities of CTS between July 19, 1942 and March 21, 1943, when the establishment was taken over by the US Navy for the ongoing training of sailors and troops for assaults on Japanese-held islands in the Pacific.

The craft used initially by the Australian infantrymen in simulated beach assaults on Moreton and Bribie Island were "contraptions" known as folding boats which could carry about 20 fully-armed soldiers and were towed by commandeered launches manned by RAN personnel.

As time went by, big, high-powered US landing craft began to arrive at the Toorbul Point establishment and the much-maligned folding boats were phased out. They were replaced mainly by Higgins boats able to accommodate 36 soldiers and by LCTs, landing craft 33m long and with a carrying capacity of five 28-tons tanks.

Assaults on Bribie Island's beaches were carried out under simulated battle conditions, including floating smoke screens, machine gun fire on shore and strafing and bombing raids by RAAF aircraft.

In his report, Rose listed the projects which had to be undertaken by Australian Army united before CTS commenced its first course on August 5, 1942. These included the construction of "dummy craft (landing) and a "ship's side"."

While the location of this training facility - in preparation for beach assaults from landing ships - was not specified, Australian soldiers, including artillerymen and tank crews, confirmed after the war how they had clambered up and down landing nets on the "ship's side" which comrades at the bottom swung the nets to simulate the action of a ship rolling in the sea.

Equally as intriguing is an official Australian Army survey map of the Toorbul Point area compiled in August 1942, which shows a "training platform" on the beach midway between Toorbul Point and Sandstone Point. Was this the site of the "dummy craft and mock ship's side" mentioned in Rose's report?

Recent clues, however, suggest that the Americans, during their occupancy of the CTS area, constructed wharf-like structures along the beach and extending as far around as what is known nowadays as Kal-makuta Drive, near Spinnaker Sound. These structures have disappeared with the passage of time.

A Brisbane businessman nearing retirement recalls exploring the foreshores of Ningi Creek with his younger brother during family holidays in a modest house near the waterfront in the post-war period. He recalled seeing wharf-like structures and tree trunks in which US personnel had carved their names and home addresses.

Another recollection comes from a man, now in high eighties, who visited the camp as a teenage apprentice with his employer to check on the US Navy's refrigeration set-up. His lasting recollection of the visit is that "all the Yanks seemed to be walking around eating ice cream". Surveys for residential development in recent years revealed the location of wells which supplemented the Toorbul Point camp's water supply. Unfortunately, nothing remains of the significant timber structures on the waterfront.

An official report shows that more than 20,000 Australian and US servicemen, comprising infantrymen, commandos, cavalry and artillery personnel and the crews of 28-tons tanks, trained at Toorbul Point. River tanks could be accommodated in the 105 ft (33m) US Navy landing craft at the CTS.

In addition to soldiers, there were 300 RAN personnel at the base in December 1942, and 400 US Navy members at March 21, 1943, when the area was taken over as a US amphibious training establishment. When the Americans left, Toorbul Point became a training area for barges and "soldier-sailor" crews of the Australian Army Water Transport Service prior to their going to the theatres of war in the Pacific.

Retired journalist Ron Donald is the author of numerous articles and three books on wartime Bribie Island. Most recent of these if "The Yanks Called It Terrible Point" - the story of the big Allied amphibious training base at Toorbul Point, Moreton Bay, Queensland, in World War 2.

2018 edition (#44) of Bribie magazine Holiday Guide & Business Directory (page 30) Bribie Island Chamber of Commerce

Donald, R. (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 2.