Thursday 17 December 2020

Living on Bribie in 1960

60 years ago! 

The following articles and photos provide a glimpse of life on Bribie in 1960.

Living on Bribie in 1960

Shore is a mystery! 

NEARLY HALF a mile from the nearest water, lined up on stumps in a street of conventional houses on Bribie Island in Queensland's Moreton Bay, is an old boat converted into a comfortable dwelling with electricity laid on and a rainwater tank at the back door.

There is some mystery about the boat. Neither its present occupier nor anyone else appears to know how it got there, or when, or why.

Time has defeated those curious people who have tried to find out whether the boat has even been in the water or if it was built in its present position by an enthusiast who then decided he liked boat-building better than boating.

Whatever the answer, she's a watertight little craft and will be very handy if ever the area floods when the occupied can cast off from the stumps and sail to high ground.

Photo and article from Australasian POST June 16, 1960, page 25

Update Jan 2021: The boat may have been owned by Sam Hawkins and could have been located in Nulu Street.


Wanderer's Rest!

BACK to her old home after more than 50 years’ service in a variety of jobs, one of Brisbane’s earliest pilot vessels, Cormorant has at last retired.

From 1902 Cormorant was stationed at the southern entrance of Pumicestone Channel, which separates Bribie Island from the mainland.

Eventually Cormorant was replaced and served as a coal barge and gravel carrier on the Brisbane River until she was beached.

Recently, however, the owner of a block of flats on Bribie Island, finding his property threatened by erosion, bought the Cormorant and had her towed to her final resting place.

The old ship is now at home only a few hundred yards from the station where she began her career as a pilot ship.

Photo and article from Australasian POST October 13, 1960, page 29.

Wednesday 18 November 2020

Story 18 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.  

Reminiscences of Wendy McNeil (1988) 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Wendy McNeil nee Harrison’s (1931-1994) parents were John Harrison (1882-1956) and Kathleen Harrison (1895-1983). Kathleen Harrison nominated Charlotte street be named for local identities Charlie Brown and Lottie Tripcony (Char-lotte). 

For the 25th anniversary of the opening of the Bribie Bridge in 1988, Wendy McNeil shared her personal reminiscences in an article entitled The Harrison family – Reminiscences which was published in the Bribie Times, 3 October 1988, page 22. 

My mother used to travel to Bribie way back in the days of the Koopa for holidays and did so over fifty-five years ago. 

As a child, I have lovely memories of going to Bribie on the Koopa, staying at the cafe boarding house on the beach near the jetty and throwing my line in from the cafe verandah and catching my first fish! (A gar.) 

We used to go out on the second jetty up near the creek entrance and watch 'Old Deafie' catch pilchards in his net to sell for bait. 

In those days, there was a little kiosk right at the end of the jetty selling fish and oysters freshly caught and crabs too. 

We used to ride on an old tilly with seats across the back (wooden of course), no roof; over to Ocean Beach and that was joy untold. 

The first road to Woorim beach.
Photo: Wendy McNeil
Outside Winston's store on the corner (First Avenue and Toorbul Street) that is now a supermarket, there were seats and a flight of 4 wide steps up into the shop and a big tree just in front with seats around it and all the old identities used to gather under the 'tree of knowledge' and expound on world affairs. 

In later years when the Koopa ceased to run, we came across on the barge for 50 cents later $1. That was in our old utility and the road from Caboolture was unsealed and corrugated and one time my brother lost a wheel barrow out of the back and we were always 'doing in' springs etc. 

Whiting used to be very plentiful and easily caught from the beach. I remember on our honeymoon at Bribie thirty-two years ago my husband and I caught very large delicious rock whiting up at White Patch and some flathead as well. 

My mother had lived on Bribie at Charlotte Avenue for thirty-two years up till the 6th Jan 1983 when, due to failing health, she came to live at Gatton with me. She rode her push bike for many years up till she was 84 years and was a well-known sight on it. 

She learned to ride the bike when she took over the postal run (66 years old) at Bribie while my sister Alice who was the mail contractor had her daughter Sylvia. Mum helped Alice sort the mail for a long time too. 

She and Alice inaugurated and ran the Bribie youth club for years and very successfully too. She belonged to and held office in the Pensioners League, the Progress Association, G.A.P. Country Womens, Toc H and raised funds for the school, ambulance and the Methodist church. She was organist at the church for many years also. At 79 she asked to be made Scout Mistress but was turned down due to her age! 

I know she was the only person who publicly stood up against the bridge being put over to the island as she foresaw, and rightly so, that it would be the end of an idyllic age when life was peaceful, calm and unhurried. 

It spoilt the Bribie that we knew and loved so well but created a new Bribie that the modern generation enjoy in a different way.

Friday 2 October 2020

1954 Bribie Island cyclone

 1954 Bribie Island Cyclone

by Paul Clark and Christine Lloyd (nee Clark)

written in 2006

Our 1954 holiday was most unforgettable. We went to Bribie Island camping. After about a week, a cyclone was coming down the coast. We tried to get off the island, but the wind and the seas were already rising, and the barge to the mainland had stopped its run before we got to its terminus. Waves on the Pumicestone Passage were already high, and we saw a yacht dragging its anchor as it was being blown down the channel. We went back to the ocean side of the island, and camped behind a bougainvillea bush for the first night. When it got too windy, we moved into one of the concrete gun emplacements left from the war.

At the height of the cyclone, we could not go outside, and we could hear and feel the waves pounding on the other side of the fort. Cyclones were not rated in those days, but I have read since that it would have been a category three today. After it was over, we went out to look at the devastation. When the wind died down, we went for a walk along what was left of the dunes. In the area where people walked to the beach, there were lost coins each sitting on top of a cone of sand. They had compacted the sand enough to stop the wind blowing it away.

We could not leave because the road on the mainland was covered with trees which had blown down. An electricity line crew was on the island, and they used their gear to clear the road and restore power. The beach was cut back about 100 metres, and the lifesavers' surf boat, which had been hauled to the top of the dunes, was gone. Some houses on high stumps were leaning at crazy angles.

Chris' memories from this time: I remember huge trees crashing around our tent on the first night. I was grateful that Dad was an Army man and knew how to pitch a tent wisely. Some tents were ripped to shreds. I was also aware that we were running out of food and money. We could not leave the island as the car ferry was not operating. Dad checked this on an old "wireless" with very poor reception.

We collected many eugarie bivalve shells (called pipi in NSW) that came in with the tide and were trying to bury themselves quickly in the sand. We had to dig them out with our feet and Mum cooked them to make soup. I was not fond of the taste but beggars can't be choosers. I also remember the vile smell of the underground fort which had been used as a toilet. In those days public toilets were very scarce. 

I have checked the internet and found out that this cyclone was called the GOLD COAST CYCLONE by the Queensland Bureau of Meteorology and occurred from 17 February to 19 February 1954. Clement Wragge named cyclones in the late nineteenth century but this lapsed with his retirement in 1902. Names were reintroduced by BOM in 1963.

We went for walks along the beach and found an old car upside down on the beach. It had apparently floated on its tyres from the mainland. The sand from the dunes had formed a sand bar out to sea and some fishermen were out on this fishing towards the Pacific Ocean. Fishermen on the beach were catching fish in the trough, so the ones on the bar simply turned around and fished back towards the shore. As the bar was under water, it looked strange. We saw swans out at sea, and sharks cruising off the beach.

When we went over to the channel side of the island, there was a mess. Trees had fallen across boats, and the sea had risen into the houses in a storm surge. 

Cyclone damage to roof of building on Bongaree Jetty,
February 1954

Photo: Barbara Henderson - BH99_034

While we were driving back along Toorbul Point on the mainland, we stopped to look at some flowers in the bush. We could hear a low droning noise when we got to the flowers, and suddenly we were attacked by a huge cloud of mosquitoes. We had to race back to the car and drive with the windows open to blow them out of the car. We later heard that this cyclone had wrecked the Redcliffe Jetty and houses along the coast as the storm surge lifted surf into the houses.


This article is reproduced with permission. Thank you to Christine Lloyd (nee Clark) and the Ipswich Genealogical Society Inc.

Bribie Island Cyclone by Paul Clark and Christine Lloyd (nee Clark). Bremer Echoes: the journal of the Ipswich Genealogical Society Inc., v.24(1) March 2006, p. 14-15.

Photo - Cyclone damage to Bongaree Jetty, February 1954 - Thank you to Barbara Henderson. BH99_034

Sunday 30 August 2020

1928 Hazardous boat journey to Bribie

The following article appeared in The Telegraph, 27 April 1928 and gives a descriptive account of the journey from Brisbane to Bribie to collect a sick man and convey him to a hospital in Brisbane.

A Hazardous Trip. The Storm Flayed Bay.

At 4.30 p.m. on April 18 [1928] a full south-east gale was raging in Moreton Bay with very fierce cloud bursts of blinding rain.

At this time, Mr James Crouch, of Byron Street, Bulimba, proprietor and skipper of the passenger trading launches Radio (65 feet) and Twilight II (48 feet 6 inches), and the 18 feet racing boats, Queenslander III and J.C., received an urgent telephone message from Mr James Clark, of New Farm, of pearl shell fame, and who also is a veteran in local sailing racing, and owner-skipper of many boats for pleasure, trading and racing.

Mr Clark had previously received a message from Toorbul, Bribie, stating that his elder brother, Steven (1), was seriously ill. Having failed to obtain transport aid from other regular sources, owing to the severity of the weather, Mr Clark approached Mr Crouch (2), and the latter immediately undertook the hazardous journey within an hour of receiving the message. With his two sons, Bert and Cecil, and other assistance, they provisioned the ship, and at 5.30 p.m., with an ambulance bearer and invalid stretcher and equipment aboard the Radio, left for Bribie. Radio is a comparatively new launch that has served the sailing clubs as a flagship, and she had not previously been tested in heavy weather in open waters. She is purely a pleasure boat for passenger service, and has a very large awning, her beam being 14 feet and draft 4 ft. 6in., with high bulwarks all round, and watertight raised decks covering the fore and aft cabins and the engine room, the latter being amidships. The power equipment is a 45 h.p. Palmer marine engine, which was the sole propelling power, so that any engine trouble meant danger in the sever circumstances. 

The Radio cut out ten miles an hour, but it was dark when she entered the heavy seas at the Pile Light House, whence a course was set due north by the compass. So black did the night become that those on board could not even see each other at arm’s length.

The Pile Light House
on a calm day
SLQ 39669

When the wide expanse of the Bay was reached mountainous seas were encountered, and there was great excitement among those aboard the Radio. The boat was severely tossed about. Neither a beacon light nor a land mark was discernible; all those aboard knew was that they were proceeding north. The compass told them that.

The storm raged and the Radio raced on the billows at the rate of 20 miles an hour until the wave pace beat her and let her down gently in the trough for the next sea to take and toss her like a cork. So formidable did the strain become at this point that the engine had to be put into neutral and the launch travelled under storm pressure only for nearly half an hour. Heavy steering was necessary to hold the course. At 9.30 p.m. the Bribie leading lights were picked up and Radio was berthed at Mr Clark’s Toorbul jetty at 10 p.m. to the great relief and comfort of the party. Mr Clark’s chief concern was for the comfort and safety of his sick brother, and he was anxious to get him aboard to enter on the return journey without delay. But the weather was against this, and it was not until 4.30 the next morning that the patient was brought aboard and made snug on the main cabin deck. The launch proved her mettle to the fullest degree during the two and a-half hours’ battle against big head seas and a howling gale. She rolled decks awash repeatedly and the seas lashed from stem to stern, which she would plunge from billow to billow and frequently have her head pointing heavenward.

The severity of the sea smashing on the hull tore the metal sheathing from the under-bow. The trip was completed at Mr Thos. Welsby’s waterside residence at New Farm, after a four-hours journey from Bribie and the patient was conveyed by ambulance to Holyrood private hospital, where, despite all the efforts to save his life, he died.

(1) Stephen Clark (1850-1928), a master mariner, who lived at White Patch in his latter years. He was the elder brother of James Clark (1857-1933) of "pearl shell fame" as mentioned above.

(2) James Crouch (1879-1966) and his sons Bert (b. 1902) and Cecil (b. 1906).

Sailing. A Hazardous Trip. The Storm Flayed Bay. By "Seabreeze". 
The Telegraph Fri 27 Apr 1928, p. 2

Image - Pile Light in Moreton Bay, ca 1909.
State Library of Queensland, negative 39669

Sunday 26 July 2020

Bongaree Jetty Heritage signs 2020

Bribie Island Heritage site signs 
near Bongaree Jetty along the Bongaree foreshore walk

Recently the three "Heritage signs" (on the walking path near the Bongaree Jetty) which had been facing into the weather since 2004, were replaced with new signs.

To view the 2004 signs [Bribie Jetty, Jetty Precinct and Twelve Apostles] go to

1. Bribie Camping Ground and Twelve Apostles
2. Bribie Jetty and Tourism boom
3. Building Business, Having Fun

1. Bribie Camping Ground and Twelve Apostles

Bribie camping ground
Relaxing in a fresh sea breeze, sleeping under the stars, cooking over a fire…camping on Bribie Island has long been popular.

During holiday periods a sea of tents stretched either side of the jetty. Campers carried their kit to a selected site, and hastily erected tents and set up camp all before the sun set.

Enterprising locals would hire out ready-cut tent poles, sell firewood and have water boiling to fill campers’ tea-pots.

1st Caption: Camping on Bribie, ca 1922
2nd Caption: View towards jetty from Bribie Bowling Club Hill, ca 1923-24
3rd Caption: Bribie 1922

Twelve Apostles
Twelve holiday shacks, dubbed the Twelve Apostles, were a distinctive local identity along the Bongaree foreshore.

Built by the Brisbane Tug and Steamship Company in 1916, each hut offered an unfurnished single-room measuring 14x12 feet (4.5x4 metres). Holidaymakers carried in everything including stretchers and bedding, tables, chairs, cooking pots and pans.

In the 1920s hiring an ‘Apostle’ for the week cost 6 shillings (60c). Weekend rates were 3 shillings (30c). But during peak holiday periods the price soared to 10 shillings ($1),

Caption: In front of one of the Twelve Apostles, 1920

Dance, Study, Church 
A favourite haunt for holiday makers was the Bribie Island Dance Pavilion. Swim, fish and relax by day – kick up your heels at night! The dance hall also functioned as a community hall, and on Sundays, a church. It accommodated Bribie Island’s first school in 1924. Later, the hall was lowered and relocated to become the first clubhouse for the Bribie Island Bowls Club.

2. Bribie Jetty and Tourism boom
Bongaree Jetty ; Tugs and steamships ; Flying fish - ss Koopa ; Sister ship - ss Doomba
A new road ; No tolls for us ; Buses and barge ; Bribie Island Bridge

Bribie jetty 
At the turn of last century, excursion steamers could be seen plying the waters off Bribie Island. 

Passengers soaked up bay views and island vistas while enjoying on-board luxury saloons and music ensembles. As pleasure cruising grew in popularity, the company running the tours, the Brisbane Tub & Steamship Company set their sights on creating a holiday resort on Bribie Island. But first, a jetty was needed.

From its inception in 1912, the Bongaree Jetty was designed to cope with large crowds. It spanned 66 metres of solid ironbark with a mahogany T bar at the head. As the Island’s popularity grew, the crowds became larger and more frequent and a visitor’s shelter shed with adjacent vendor’s storage were added.

By the mid 1920s, Bribie Island was a well-established tourist destination. In 1926, two additional walkways were added and the T bar, widened, all of which helped delineate arrivals and departures. A third central walkway was converted to a narrow-gauge tramway for the transport of supplies and luggage.

Caption: ss Koopa berthed at the newly finished Bongaree Jetty 1912

Bongaree Jetty was built by the Brisbane Tug and Steamship Company. They boasted a large fleet of impressive and popular vessels. They had started their fleet with three tugs, the Boko, Beaver and Greyhound, and later added the Koopa and Doomba – the latter two becoming Bribie Island regulars.

Luxurious, modern and fast, the 62-metre flat-bottomed steamship, Koopa was aptly named after an Aboriginal word meaning ‘flying fish’. The ship was licenced to carry 1,153 passengers. There was a 100-seat dining saloon famous for delicacies such as oysters with buttered bread. Entertainment was provided by a small orchestra along with passengers singing and dancing. Alcohol was only served once the ship was three nautical miles from home berth.

With the outbreak of WWII, ss Koopa was requisitioned by the Royal Australian Navy. The ship was returned to the Bribie Island route in 1947. After a total of 40 years of Moreton Bay service, the heyday of steamship pleasure cruises was waning. She was retired in 1960.

Caption: ss Koopa 1923-24

As visits to Bribie Island increased, ss Koopa needed a sister-ship. The Tug company purchased HMS Wexford from the UK and renamed her ss Doomba. She was an odd choice, for she had been built as a mine-sweeper, but after a refit she was licenced to carry 1,547 pleasure cruising passengers. Doomba and Koopa sailed the Bribie Island route together between 1923 and 1928.

ss Doomba served in the Royal Australian Navy during the war, when she finally got to use her mine-sweeping infrastructure. She was deliberately sunk off Long Reef NSW in 1976.

Caption:  ss Doomba, on the Bribie Island run, 1924.

Tourism boom
The second decade of the 1900s was an exciting time of development at Bongaree. Despite the harsh realities of WW1, tourism here continued to build. (sub-heading)

After completing the jetty, Brisbane Tug & Steamship Company added bathing sheds, toilets and water tanks to the foreshore. They erected a caretaker’s residence near to the end of the jetty from which refreshments were offered. Soon after, a general store and dining room were built serving fresh fish and shucked oyster dinners.

Caption:  Bribie Jetty 1923

Soon after the jetty was built, the Brisbane Tug & Steamship Company obtained a lease to build a tramway to transport people from Bongaree to Woorim – the ocean side of Bribie Island. The idea remained just that for a decade, after which the tramway idea was replaced with a regular road.

In 1923 construction began on, what eventually became First Avenue. Local gravel was unavailable – Bribie is a sand island – so rock was shipped in and moved from ship to shore via a temporary jetty, built alongside the passenger terminal.

Caption: Tramway at Bribie Jetty, ca. 1920. State Library of Queensland.

NO TOLLS FOR US! (heading)
The newly completed road transported visitors in four model T-Ford buses to guest accommodation at Woorim, all courtesy of the Brisbane Tug & Steamship Company. The Company also erected a toll gate, charging any vehicle other than their own. Residents were outraged. Several protested by cutting their own bush tracks to Woorim.

Caption: All terrain vehicle on Bribie Island, ca. 1930. State Library of Queensland.

During WWII, when the army was stationed at Toorbul Point, the military built a road connecting Bribie to Caboolture via a barge service between Sylvan Beach and the mainland’s Toorbul Point. There was also a military jetty at Bongaree.

After the war, a barge service to transport cars became the popular way to travel to the Island until the opening of the Bribie Island Bridge.

Caption: Buses meeting passengers from the SS Koopa, 1945 & Barge 1950.

The Bribie Island bridge was an impressive undertaking. It opened in 1963 with a span of 831 metres making it the longest precast pre-stressed concrete bridge in Australia. To recoup the construction cost a toll gate was erected on the bridge. It remained until 1975.

3. Building Business, Having Fun
Hmmm... fish & chips ; fresh oysters ;
First Post Office ; Fun days ; Best store in town

Building business, having fun

The 1920s were golden years for Bribie Island tourism. With the number of holidaymakers ever increasing, residents grabbed opportunities to service the multitudes. (sub-heading)

As the ships neared shore, a tantalising aroma of fish and chips greeted passengers, enticing them to rush to one of the dining rooms. The closest was next to the Caretaker’s Cottage – which later, in 1929 became Moyle’s Guest House and continued in business until the early 1950s.

Campers could buy fresh fish, seafood and groceries at the adjacent kiosk and cook up their own meals.

Caption: Refreshment rooms at Bribie, 1929

Campbell’s Oyster Kiosk was located at the entrance to the jetty and sold fresh and bottled oysters. The family was well experienced in oyster farming, with Joe Campbell having arrived in the area in 1905 to supervise an oyster farming venture located in the Pumicestone Passage.

The Campbell family also hired out boats for fishing and recreation for as little as 5 shillings (50c) a week.

Caption: Campbell’s Oyster Kiosk, ca. 1926

The Brisbane Tug and Steamship Company built a second caretaker’s cottage to the south side of the jetty – towards Brennan Park. This would later become the island’s first post office.

Peak periods, like Christmas and Easter holidays, could see as many as five ships berthing at the jetty. Companies and clubs held end of year picnics on the foreshore and schools ran annual sports days. Visitors frolicked in the waters, played beach games, fished, went bushwalking and picked wildflowers.

Captions:  Christmas Sports Day, ca 1922
Captions:  Passengers waiting to embark on the SS Doomba for Bribie Island, ca. 1924 State Library of Queensland

With the jetty completed in 1912 and more ships arriving, Alfred Hall and Artie Bestmann seized the opportunity to run a store in Bongaree. Alfred had access to supplies – he owned a grocery store in Brisbane.

Artie was running the Island’s first dairy. In 1918, they began selling supplies through the bedroom window of Hall’s Bribie Island holiday cottage. In 1923, the men built Bongaree’s first general store, which they called, Hall & Bestmann Bribie Store.

Interested in the history of the Moreton Bay Region? Discover council’s many Heritage Trails at

To view the 2004 signs [Bribie Jetty, Jetty Precinct and Twelve Apostles] go to

Thank you to Lynne Hooper for the above photos and text details.

Celebrating 50 Years of Bribie Island living

Celebrating 50 years of loving Bribie Island!

Recently the "50 Years" sign (on the foreshore walking path at Brennan Park) which had been facing into the weather since 2007, was replaced with a new sign.

01: Celebrating 50 years - Ted & Pat; 
Stella ; Sally ; Kling family
Photo taken by Lynne Hooper.

02: Celebrating 50 years - Margo ; 
Frank ; Betty ; Tesch family
Photo taken by Lynne Hooper.

In 2005, residents who had lived a continuous 50 years or more on Bribie Island were interviewed. All have made a lasting contribution to the island’s community. 

‘Fifty years ago, when Past and I were married, we settled permanently on Bribie. The place was paradise – there is no other description for it’. Ted Clayton.  (italic text)

It was on Bribie Island that Ted’s parents fell in love in the 1920s. Ted had spent holidays here, even periodically attending the primary school.

After marrying Pat in 1954, they moved to Bribie Islands and raised three daughters and a son. Carpenter, Ted built the family home at 11 South Esplanade. He built the furniture as well. Ted was also General Foreman during the Bribie island bridge construction.

The couple ran the Bait and Tackle Store. Ted’s fishing skills became legendary. In 1970, he began a 20-year stint writing for the magazine, ‘Fishing World’.

To view the 2007 sign details - Ted and Patricia Clayton

After the war in 1946, newly-weds, Stella (nee Aroney b. 1919) and returned solider, Percival Ray arrived on Bribie Island. They purchased land at 4 Spowers Street (for around $45 in today’s currency) and erected two small ex-army huts. They, along with daughter, Glenda lived there without electricity, running water or sewerage before completing their new home in 1980.

In the early days, the couple ran a boat hire business and caught and sold yabbies. As tourism grew, Stella worked in the boarding houses, cafes and take-away shops.

Bicycle Stella: The family never owned a car, so Stella rode her bicycle everywhere. At the age of 75 she was hit by a car but recovered to continue her active life.

To view the 2007 sign details - Stella Ray

Beautify tree-lined Brennan Park, where you stand today, is named in recognition of the community service shown by Sally and Bernie Brennan.

Sally (‘Sarah’ nee Herbert, b. 1920) and Bernie Brennan settled into Bribie life a year after marrying in 1940. Sally was the daughter of publicans – she was born in the hotel they ran in Sandgate. The family had also lived on Bribie Island for a few years in the 1930s.

Sally and Bernie raised three boys. They opened ‘Brennan’s Store’ in 1945, using a small wooden house they had purchased in Toorbul Street (almost opposite this sign).

The store sold a wide variety of goods and produce, proving very popular with holiday makers, most of whom in those days pitched tents along the foreshore. The family ran the shop for 33 years.

Gold Ticket: In 1965, Brennan’s Store sold a winning Golden Casket Lottery ticket to Island resident, Stella Ray.

To view the 2007 sign details - Sally Brennan

Three members of the Kling Family may hold a record for the longest continuous Bribie residency: Mavis arrived 1920, Fred, 1935 and son, Peter, 1945.

Mavis (nee Ormiston) was born on Bribie Island in 1920. In 1937 she married baker, Fred Kling who had arrived here for work.

During the Second World War troops moved onto Bribie Island. Residents, aside from those few who could service the troops, were evacuated. The Kling family purchased the Island’s bakery from Tom Read, (who had operated it since 1931) and supplied baked goods to the troop here and at Toorbul Point.

The bakery was located at 18 Banya Street for 55 years. When son, Peter took over the business, it was relocated to Cornett’s Arcade on Welsby Parade. Peter retired in 2001.

Community dedication: Aside from running the bakery, Fred was a 1949 founding member of the Bongaree Bowls Club, and their other son, Richard, became a doctor to the Island’s residents.

Margo was one of the first pupils to enrol in the new Bribie Island State School in 1924. Generations of Margo’s family all attended the same school. 

In 1918, at the age of six, Margo (Madeline) Whitney’s family moved to Bribie Island. Father, George worked in road construction. He helped construct the road from Bongaree to Woorim using coal cinders from the furnaces on the ss Koopa.

During WWII, when most residents were evacuated from the Island, Margo stayed and worked in the local stores and a temporary hotel (relocated from Woorim). After the war, she opened a shop at Mac’s Corner on Third Ave selling fruit, vegetables, poultry and fabric.  In 1962, she opened ‘Pretty Girl’ frock salon in Toorbul Street, and in 1970, ‘Coast Casuals’ in the new shopping block on First Ave. For 87 years Margo contributed much to the character and commercial development of the Island. She was also a founding member of the Bongaree Ladies Bowls Club in 1952.

The ‘Twelve Apostles’: These were holiday huts that once lined this foreshore. Margo, her two sisters and mother, Louisa lived in one for a while.

To view the 2007 sign details - Margo Whitney

Frank Lee’s knowledge of commercial fishing contributed to sustainable fishing practices for Bribie Island.

The Lee family arrived on Bribie in 1953 when Frank was a young boy. It was fishing that caught Frank’s interest, and he immersed himself among the Island’s fishing community.

Frank became a commercial fisherman. Over the years his knowledge and experience of environmental and conservation fishing grew and he opened his own training company for sustainable fishing practices and accreditation. 

Island burial: Frank’s father was a soft drink manufacturer. He became one of only two buried on the Island. When the land was wanted for development, he was exhumed and relocated to the mainland.

To view the 2007 sign details - Frank Lee

After serving in the British Air Force during the war, Betty (b. 1920), along with her mother, arrived in Australia. It was 1951.

They were following Betty’s younger sister who had married an Australian solider and were now living in Caboolture. A couple of years later Betty met Horace Lougheed, a keen fisherman and they moved to Bribie Island.

Here Horace became involved in property and building. Their home at 179 Welsby Parade was known as Avalon. It was set opposite the bay, although in those days wind-beaten trees and swamp bushes obscured their view to the water. Today, the home has an expansive bay vista.

Duck Inn: In the early days, Betty’s local store (now Cornett’s Supermarket) was nick-named the ‘Duck Inn’ – you had to duck in, as the doorway was set below street level.

To view the 2007 sign details - Betty Lougheed

The Tesch family have made a huge contribution to Bribie Island, including running a cinema, a barge service and an electrical repairs business. 

Ben and Myrtle Tesch ran a cinema in Caboolture n the 1930s. Their son, Ivan, became their projectionist. The cinema was working round the clock during the war years entertaining the troops.

After the war the family moved to Bribie Island and Ivan married Clare. They built a unique round house at 17 Banya Street in 1950.

In the 1950s the Tesch family set up a cinema in the Anglican Church Hall where Clare played the organ during church services. The cinema moved to its own premises in Cotterill Ave, but attendance waned as TV’s popularity grew. It closed in 1973.

Ionosphere: In 1967, the University of Queensland established an ionospheric Research Centre on Bribie Island to monitor signals in the upper atmosphere. Ivan was their laboratory manager for the electrical workshop, a position he held for 18 years.

At the bottom of the sign in a coloured band.
For more information about celebrating 50 years of loving Bribie Island, visit or email

Research by historian and Rotarian, Barry Clark to commemorate the centenary of Rotary International in 2005. Moreton Bay Regional Council would like to thank all families for generously donating their memories.

Wednesday 17 June 2020

Motor launch to Bribie

Motor launch to Bribie
1920s to 1950s

Through the 1920s to the 1950s small motor launches plied the Brisbane River offering excursions. Some were also licensed to carry passengers into Moreton Bay and onto islands like Peel Island, Stradbroke Island and Bribie Island.

One such vessel was the Nancy III. Her first owner was Mr Gould who sold her in 1927. Nancy III was built by Arthur White and her dimensions were 49ft long, with a 14ft beam and draught of 3ft 6in and licensed to carry 110 in River and 40 in Bay. 

(F. Gould owner) regular flagship of the South Brisbane Sailing Club. ... The picture
shows her in the Milton Reach, following the club's opening skiff race last Saturday... 

source: The Telegraph Sat 27 Sep 1924 p. 6

Unloading right on the beach at ?
source: State Library of Queensland neg. # 134186

1946 KING'S BIRTHDAY HOLIDAY - Off for Day on Bribie. Boat trips attracted hundreds of Brisbane people who set out today to make the most of the fine King's Birthday holiday. This picture shows a happy party moving off down the river to spend the day on Bribie Island. Source: The Telegraph Mon 17 Jun 1946 p. 3 

on the Brisbane River
source: State Library of Queensland neg. # 178422
1951 EASTER - Easter rush amazes transport officials ... Almost 1,000 people, including hundreds who should have been work, went this morning in the pleasure boats Koopa and Mirana to Bribie Island and Stradbroke Islands. The Koopa will make a second trip tonight and three boats will run tonight to Stradbroke. source: Brisbane Telegraph Thu 22 Mar 1951 p. 1 

(built 1934)
approaching the jetty at Amity Point
source: State Library of Queensland neg. # 52611
The Mirimar was built in 1934 and in the 1950s took over the Brisbane to Bribie Island via Redcliffe service from the Koopa.

Mirimar approaching Amity Point Jetty ?
Title: Mirimar (ship)  Negative number: 52611 State Library of Queensland

Nancy III. [PICTURE] (F. Gould owner) regular flagship of the South Brisbane Sailing Club. ... The picture shows her in the Milton Reach, following the club's opening skiff race last Saturday... source: The Telegraph Sat 27 Sep 1924 p. 6

Nancy unloading right on the beach at ?

Title: Nancy (ship) Negative number: 134186 State Library of Queensland

South Brisbane Sailing Club ... The flagship Nancy will leave North Quay at 2.30 p.m. ... source: Daily Standard (Brisbane) Thu 21 Oct 1926 p. 12

Auction of the very fine Motor Launch Nancy III, length 49ft., beam 14ft., draught 3ft 6in ... licensed to carry 110 in River and 40 in Bay ... built by Arthur White ... source: The Brisbane Courier Sat 16 Jul 1927 p. 36
Thirteen members of the Commercial Swimming Club visited Peel Island last week-end in the Nancy III. At daybreak on Sunday they got among the squire, and a good haul resulted. source: Sunday Mail (Brisbane) Sun 6 Nov 1927 p. 22

Title: Mirana (ship)  Negative number: 178422

Title: Mirimar (ship)  Negative number: 145262.
Summary: The Mirimar was built in 1934 and took over the service to Bribie Island via Redcliffe from the 'Koopa' and 'Doomba'. The Mirimar was taken over by the navy during World War II for use in the Brisbane and Moreton Bay region. (Description supplied with photograph)

Off for Day on Bribie. Boat trips attracted hundreds of Brisbane people who set out today to make the most of the fine King's Birthday holiday. This picture shows a happy party moving off down the river to spend the day on Bribie Island. Source: The Telegraph Mon 17 Jun 1946 p. 3

1951 EASTER - Easter rush amazes transport officials ... Almost 1,000 people, including hundreds who should have been work, went this morning in the pleasure boats Koopa and Mirana to Bribie Island and Stradbroke Islands. The Koopa will make a second trip tonight and three boats will run tonight to Stradbroke. source: Brisbane Telegraph Thu 22 Mar 1951 p. 1

Saturday 9 May 2020

A day-trip to Bribie

Almost a century ago, a day-trip to Bribie for local community groups was a popular excursion destination. The following descriptions from 1923 and 1924 almost allow the reader to feel the wind on their face and hear the shrill whistle of the steamers!

Lockyer Schools. Annual Excursion.

It has been the custom for a number of years for the whole of the schools in the Lockyer district to co-operate in an excursion on Moreton Bay, and this year's outing took place yesterday. The rain which fell during the afternoon affected the visitors but little, as at that time they were aboard the Koopa just outside the river. Two trains were requisitioned to carry the crowd of holiday-makers to the city, the Central station being reached shortly after 9 o'clock. No time was lost in making for Kennedy wharf, where the Koopa was boarded. In an atmosphere of animated good-fellowship, the run down the river and out into the bay passed all too quickly, and tying-up operations were begun shortly before 13 o'clock at Bribie Island jetty.

Some elected to dine on board, but a great number went ashore, and picnic lunches were almost immediately in full swing. It was not very long before some of the more adventurous spirits disappeared behind convenient trees and huts, emerging clad in costumes for the water.

Just before 3 o'clock the warning whistles began to blow, and in twos and threes and laughing little companies the trippers re-embarked.  Kennedy wharf was reached again about 5 o'clock, but as another hour yet remained before they had to board their trains, they soon scattered again, and for a little while Queen-street was filled with happy, sunburned faces. Two trains were again provided for the run home, and punctually at 6.18 the second division pulled out from Central station.

Source: The Daily Mail (Brisbane) Thu 22 Nov 1923 p. 10

Bread carters have happy day at Bribie. 

Bribie was again chosen by the bread carters for their annual outing. The day was a glorious one, the weather doing its best to co-operate with the bread carters, their wives and friends, to make the day an enjoyable one. The steamer Doomba was well patronised, about 1100 attending, and the trip down was rendered most enjoyable by selections from a fine orchestra. On arrival at Bribie each child was handed a parcel of lollies and fruit, which they greatly appreciated.

Sports were commenced immediately, the results being:- ... Boys' Race... Girls' Race ... Members' Handicap ... Open Handicap .. Single Ladies' Race ... Married Women's Race ... Old Buffers' Race ... Committee Race...

Dancing took place in the hall, the music being supplied by the courtesy of a friend of the committee. Those who did not partake in the sports or the dancing were busy fishing, and everybody thoroughly enjoyed the day.

The thanks of the committee are due to Mr. Davis, of the jetty kiosk, for the excellent way in which he has prepared the course, and the way he had carried out the arrangements asked of him by the committee.

At 3.15 p.m. a loud call from the siren of the Doomba hastened the picnickers aboard, and the return journey was commenced. Fruit was distributed amongst the passengers. The trip was again enlivened by choice selections from the orchestra. Presentations followed ...

The Doomba berthed again at Brisbane at about 6.10 p.m., everybody thoroughly happy and contented. The bread carters' picnic committee feel sure that all who attended this trip will do so again and recommend these outings to their friends. ...

Source: Daily Standard (Brisbane) Fri 10 Oct 1924 p. 6