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.