Sunday 25 July 2021

1920 Entertainers on the Koopa

 One of the attractions of travelling aboard the Koopa on an excursion to Bribie Island in the 1920s were the various musicians that entertained guests. The following story is from Mrs Gwendolyn Vasco who husband Vasco Loureiro, a sketch artist, had entertained excursionists with "quick fire" sketches.

Around Australia, a Mandoline player

Those who were much in Brisbane in prewar days will remember Vasco, the caricaturist, who used to "do" the Bay boats and the sporting grounds, and other public places, and whose ability to portray likenesses with a few rapid pencil strokes, was notable. He enlisted, and ultimately made the supreme sacrifice. His widow some time later began to play her mandoline on the Bay and river ferry boats, and also became well known in the northern capital. She is now in Sydney, after nearly five years of wandering around Australia, and tells the following story, which presents one other aspect of the courage and resource with which women, bereaved by the war, faced the future :-

In 1918, when I received word from the military authorities that my husband had died at the "front," I though the end of the world had come, and it was only after many months of abject misery that I managed to pull myself together sufficiently to carry on musically with my mandoline, which I have always loved.

 Obtaining permission from the Brisbane Tug and Steamship Company, and also from the City Council, I played on tho excursion boat Koopa to Redcliffe and Bribie, as well as the Edward-street and Customs-house ferries, for three years.

steamship Koopa at Bribie Jetty, 4.6.1912
Photo: SLQ IE96552

In her later years, Gwendoline Vasco moved to Caloundra and was living there when she passed away in 1953, aged 76.


Around Australia, a Mandoline player.
The Sydney Morning Herald 5.2.1926 p. 6

Photograph - steamship Koopa at Bribie Jetty, 4.6.1912
State Library of Queensland, ID96552

Sketch "The Coffee Fiend" by Vasco, 1916
New South Wales State Library, Vasco Loureiro World War I sketches, 1915-1918