Wednesday 30 November 2022

Busy Fingers began 1981

 Busy Fingers ... From Rags to Riches

Bribie Times 12 Aug 1987

Bribie Island's Busy Fingers organisation is literally a Rags to Riches story and a tribute to a small group of Bribie residents who saw a need and acted upon it.

Busy Fingers takes the "rags" that people no longer want and turn them into "riches" to benefit the elderly residents of the Sir Charles Adermann Nursing Home at Bribie's Church of Christ Retirement Village. Inaugurated on the 31st March, 1981, the Busy Fingers Fundraisers were literally that ... a group of dedicated people, mainly women, busily using their fingers in kinitting, crocheting, making james, pickles, cakes and even plastic robots in their efforts to raise money for the newly planned Sir Charles Adermann Nursing Home at the Church of Christ Retirement Village. 

The first President was Mrs Peg Canfield. Her "offsiders" were Secretary Fay Jackson and Treasurer Enid Funnell, two of the organisation's stalwarts who still hold those positions. Planned to cost $842,000, the Sir Charles Adermann Nursing Home required to raise funds of over $400,000 to get off the ground. An appeal was launched in March 1981 to raise this money.

Busy Fingers began its fundraising by holding street stalls outside Cornett's Foodbarn. In their first year of operation, the organisation managed to raise $4,000 towards this total. It then took over the old theatre on the corner of Cotterill and Bestman Avenues on the 10th January 1983 as its main point-of-sale venue for the items made by the original 15 members. Regular Flea Markets that had been held at the Retirement Village were discontinued and the theatre became a centre for the sale of second hand goods donated by members of the public, as well as the new items made by members.

By April 1983, the Busy Fingers ladies and their long-suffering husbands, had raised over $15,500 for the Nursing Home. Their efforts were partially rewarded when they were present at the official unveiling of the dedication plaque in July 1983, by the then Federal Member for Fisher, Mr Evan Adermann, son of the late Sir Charles Adermann. A small but also very important recognition of the group's hard work had come in April 1983 when the founder and original Treasurer of Busy Fingers, Mrs Enid Funnell received a nomination as Queenslander of the Year. 

The building contract for the new Nursing Home was signed in May 1983 and construction commenced in October. At this stage, over $115,000 had been raised from the Bribie Island community for the appeal. On 2nd August 1984, the Nursing Home became operational and most of the 30 beds were almost immediately filled. 

Since that time, Busy Fingers has not been idle. The group had been responsible for the raising of over $150,000 in funds to assist the Home. Purchases they have made on behalf of the Home include a truck, a new bus, therapy chairs, water chairs and mattresses, bed pans, a microwave oven, air cooler, bookshelves and a gas stove. Busy Finger's latest donation of $17,000 on behalf of the Nursing Home, towards the Lions Ambulance Fund is also aimed at helping the elderly folk of the Home.

The group feels that an efficient ambulance service is a vital part of care for Bribie's elderly, and the age and condition of the Island's two old ambulances posed a threat and a danger to the need for quick ambulance transportation in the case of emergencies. But the ladies of Busy Fingers are quite self-effacing. They give all of their credit to their highly successful fund raising to the people of Bribie Island.

1987 - Big start for new ambulance. Busy Fingers donates $17,000 to Lions. The Committee ladies from Busy Fingers hand over their cheque for $17,000 to the Bribie Island Lions Club Ambulance Appeal. 
L-R: Lion Cec Weldon, Lions Treasurer; Wally Poulton, Lions President; Lion Nev Galton, Asst. Treasurer; Mona Frost, President of Busy Fingers; Enid Funnell, Treasurer; Lion Jack Shaw and Fay Jackson, Secretary of Busy Fingers.

Treasurer Enid Funnell is quick to point out that it is only through the donations of items for sale by Bribie Islanders that the Busy Fingers shop is such a success. "Without the publuc's support, we never could have been so successful", she told the Bribie Times. "It is the people of Bribie, who support us so well, that need to be congratulated".

But the residents of the Island are not so easily fooled ... without the dedicated work of the handful of ladies of Busy Fingers, turning other peoples "rags" in the community "riches", this Island would be just a little poorer in the glow that comes from their unselfish service.

Article: Busy Fingers ... From Rags to Riches. Bribie Times v2(47) 12 Aug 1987, page 11
Photo: Big start for new ambulance. Bribie Times v2(47) 12 Aug 1987, page 1

Monday 24 October 2022

Hendon Hall

The following article describes the opening of Hendon Recreation Hall on 29th June 1962, the same day the first issue of the  Bribie Star newspaper. The Hendon Recreation Hall operated for almost two years when sadly, one of the directors, Henry Hart, drowned on 7 November 1963 off Ocean Beach. The company's assets were sold off and the Hendon Hall became the Bribie Cinema from 1964-1974.

However on opening night, optimism was in the air as the plans of the directors of Hendon & Co were shared with the folks on Bribie Island.

Opening of New Recreation Centre

Bribie Star Friday 29th June 1962

The opening of Hendon Recreation Hall in Cotterill Avenue tonight at 8 p.m. marks the turning point in Bribie's long-felt need of night entertainment for both residents and those visiting the island.

It has been said often in the past that Bribie lacked suitable entertainment for the teenagers. However, with the opening of Hendon Recreation Hall it is felt that suitable organised nightly entertainment for teenagers on the Island is now a reality.

In an interview with the directors of Hendon & Company, Mr. D.I. Iverach, Mrs T.E.J. Iverach and Mr H.W.T. Hart, we were shown over the Hall which has a floor area of over three thousand square feet. Apart from the skating rink and games area, it has a cafe, milk bar and grandstand. There is also a counter opening from the cafe to the street for the convenience of patrons who want outdoor service. We were also shown some of the large quantity of equipment that will be used in the Hall. There were roller-skates, indoor bowls, bowls mats, badminton racquets, and many other items.

The Hendon Hall building later became Bribie Cinema
Photo: Sam Hawkins, 1974.
Collection: Moreton Bay Region Libraries. Ref CLPC-P0645

Faith in the future of Bribie Island
The directors of this fine enterprice are to be commended on their foresight and their faith in the future of the Island. When they arrived in Australia from Rhodesia on December 6, 1961, Bribie Island was unknown to them. Ten days later, on the 16th December 1961, they began business on the Island hiring small outboard speed boats and row boats. They now have a fleet of over thirteen speed boats and a new 15ft 75 H.P. speed boat which is used for water-skiing, joy-rides and scenic tours. Since that time the Company has expanded to include the Recreation Hall, a T.V. hiring agency, an Insurance agency, a sporting equipment agency, and a boat and outboard motor selling agency.

As another example of their faith in the future of Bribie Island, the directors of Hendon & Co. intent a further extension of business. Future plans of expansion include the erection of a marine fuel jetty, workshop and cafe at their present boat site. The directors stated also that since the revival of minature golf, it is intended to have a course added to the attractions that will be offered to the public at the Hall.

Free admittance for opening night
During the invertiew with the directors we were informed that admittance for the opening night would be free.

Entertainment for young and old
We obtained a copy of the directors' intended programme for the Hall. The programme to be offered is varied and caters for the young and old. It consists of roller skating daily from 12 noon to 5 p.m. There will be teachers in attendance at roller skating sessions.

Monday, Tuesday & Thursday Nights
Indoor sports including indoor bowls, badminton, deck quoits, darts and deck tennis. The directors said that the members of all bowling clubs will be most welcome.

Wednesday Nights
Roller skating for which there is a large number of skates for hire.

Friday Nights
Roller skating

Saturday Nights
All types of dancing from the Twist and Rock 'n' Roll to the Waltz.

The building of such a project as Hendon Recreation Hall requires much planning and work. The directors of Hendon & Co requested us to express their thanks to the following people who contributed to its completion. They are Messrs G. Brook, Builder, Elliott's Hardware, J. Skelly (Electrical), A. Parnell (Plumber) and J. Lawrie (Sound Installations). Thanks is also extended to the Caboolture Shire Council for their willing co-operation.


Article: Opening of New Recreation Centre. Bribie Star, 29.6.1962, p.1, 3.

Photo: Hall built on the corner of Bestman Avenue and Cotterill Avenue Bongaree in 1962 (01/01/1974 - 31/12/1974),Moreton Bay Our Story, accessed 25 Oct 2022,

If you have any photos of this building when it was Hendon Recreation Hall (1962-1964) please contact the Bribie Island Historical Society at

Wednesday 21 September 2022

Poem A Present from the Past

 The following poem was written by Ruth Inglis following her attendance at the May 2011 BIHS meeting. At that meeting a stone axehead, which had been found on Bribie Island in 1935, was shown to those present. 


Today I held a fragment of the dreamtime in my hand
A glimpse of how life once was lived by people of this land
How long? Too long to count the years it undetected lay
Buried in the sand, revealed by tide and wind today.

Stone axehead held by Betty McDermid, May 2011.
It was found in 1935 on Bribie Island.
Estimated to be 15,000 years old.

Photo: Barry Clark

And as I held it time rolled back (that formless thing so vast
its insubstantial curtain dims our knowledge of the past),
I saw a black man kneeling, he was chipping at a stone
To form a sharp-edged blade - sharp enough to cut through bone.

And chip by chip he deftly shapes the stone to his design
As patiently he crafts each flake so they will all align.
The surface is like scales of fish to give a rougher grip
his hand can hold while cutting, and will not let it slip.
The back edge has been sanded - round and smooth to fit his palm,
A weapon or a tool? his knife is fashioned to cause harm.

Did the man make many knives or this, his only one?
Was it perhaps a special knife, the best he'd ever done?
Was it used to feed his family, or was it a surgeon's knife
for initiations only - the sacred act in a boy's life?

How did it come to be mislaid upon a sandy beach
Or did it fall in water, lost beyond its owner's reach?
Was it buried in a midden with the shells they'd feasted on
And accidentally dropped there, unnoticed it had gone?
Was he sad when it was missing - did he even really care
The stone is mute - its story is not one that it can share.

Written by Ruth Inglis, 2011.

We thank Ruth Inglis for sharing her poem, which she gave to BIHS president Barry Clark at the BIHS meeting on 14 September 2022.

Thursday 11 August 2022

70th anniversary in 1999

In 1999, the Bribie Island Bowls Club celebrated its 70th anniversary. The following article was written by Melissa Boyle and published in the Island and Mainland News 15 September 1999.

Bribie's oldest Club celebrates 70th Anniversary [in 1999]

by Melissa Boyle

Island & Mainland News 15.9.1999 p. 1, 3.

Bribie Island's oldest club, the Bribie Island Bowls Club, celebrates its 70th anniversary this month, with a week full of activities planned for both bowlers and other members of the community.

In 1999, the Bribie Island Bowls Club celebrated its 70th anniversary
Photo: Bribie Island Bowls Club collection, BIBC_007

The Bribie Island Bowls Club was originally founded in 1929, by a committee of members of the Windsor Bowls Club. The original clubhouse was floated from Moreton Island to Bribie Island on 44 gallon drums and placed at its prime location on the waterfront.* The first green was built of sand and ashes obtained by the Koopa on one of its many trips to Bribie. Obtaining top dressing in those days was quite a job, and the soil was brought in from Goodwin Beach. It was sieved and bagged and sent to Bribie on a cattle barge.

The clubhouse - in those days - consisted of three rooms: the kitchen and dining room, the bar, and a ladies room, all lit by oil lamps. In 1947, the school teachers' cottage and school was bought by the club and converted into a double-storey bowlers hostel. Housing up to eight people, it was the only one of its kind in Australia.

The Bribie Island Bowls Club as it was in the mid 1950's.
source: Island & Mainland News 15.9.1999 p.1

The club progressed slowly during the fifties and sixties. With the building of the Bribie bridge came water and electricity connections, which improved both the Island and the club, and made a more modern approach to the game of bowls at the Bribie Island Bowls Club, and at Bongaree.

During the early years, the Bribie Island Bowls Club was the main source of fund-raising for the Ambulance. Raffles, sing-a-longs and dances featured prominently, and over the year the club has supplied several Ambulance vehicles.

The club also supported the local Fire Brigade, which was started at the Bowls Club's Hostel, where practise was carried out two nights a week.

The Ladies Bowling Club came into being in 1957, with 19 ladies turning up at the first meeting. The foundation Lady President was Rene Stanley when the Ladies Club was established formally on the 18th September 1958, with the opening performed by I. Grafton from the Queensland Ladies Bowls Association.

The Bribie Island Bowls Club was incorporated in October 1990, when the membership was about 400 men and 200 ladies, with a Board of Management charged with running of the club affairs, while the bowls and other activities managed by elected committees.

Achieving many distinctions both inside and outside the bowls arena, the Bribie Island Bowls Club and its members boast a proud tradition and record, not only on the greens, but also supporting the local community.

The Bribie Island Bowls Club as it stands [in 1999],
overlooking the picturesque Pumicestone Passage.
source: Island & Mainland News 15.9.1999 p.1

From its humble beginnings in 1929, the Bribie Island Bowls Club has evolved and is continuing to evolve, into one of Bribie Island's leading sporting clubs.

Help them celebrate their milestone this month by joining in on their 70th birthday celebrations, running from 21st to 28th September, organised by a group of tireless members including Carol Rogers, Ann Baird, Joan Rimmington, Jesse Neil and Rob Lister. The normal bowls competitions for each day will take place as sponsored days, costing only $4 per player and a 1pm start each day.

The week-long celebrations will culminate on Tuesday 28th September, with a special fancy dress game of bowls, starting from 12 noon. Costing $10 per player, the afternoon's events will include games of self-selected tripples, high tea, a special evening dinner, and entertainment from one of Bribie Island's lading country bands, 4 Grumpy Old Men & A Lady. For non-bowlers, tickets for the evening dinner and entertainment are available for only $8 each. Admission to this special event is available by ticket only, which are on sale now at the Bribie Island Bowls Club's office until the 23rd September.

- Melissa Boyle


Bribie's oldest Club celebrates 70th Anniversary by Melissa Boyle
Island & Mainland News 15.9.1999 pages 1 and 3.

* the history of the placement of the building that became the clubhouse is more involved than this sentence indicates.

Tuesday 26 July 2022

Ripping storm 1986

The following article was written by David Thomas, editor of the Bribie Times, in October 1986. David describes a storm that ripped over Bribie and left a trail of damage and debris ...

And it was a beautiful day on Bribie...

Eyewitness Account by David Thomas

Bribie Times, 10 October 1986.

At about 4.00 PM on Monday last, after having enjoyed one of its normal, beautiful Spring days, Bribie Island's peace and quiet was suddenly shattered by "the storm that came from nowhere". In the office of the "Bribie Times", situated right on the waterfront in Welsby Parade, Bongaree, the first warning I had of the approaching storm was an encroaching darkness, and thunder and lightning. Like most Bribie Islanders, I equated nothing more to this than a normal afternoon, Spring storm ... were we to be proved wrong!

When the storn hit at just after 4.00 PM its first act was that of a demented version of Dante's "Inferno". A howling wind signalled the storm's arrival ... a wide that, within seconds, stripped smaller branches, leaves and sand off the beachfront in front of our office. Then came the rain ... driven almost horizontal in the first frenzy of the storm ... interspersed with larger branches that were beginning to be ripped from the living timber of our beautiful, foreshore gums.

Across Kangaroo Avenue, the outside furniture from the Passage Milk Bar was bodily picked up and thrown hundreds of yards up the street. A sign, firmly fixed to the wall, was ripped from its fastenings and has not been seen since! The air was now filled with flying detritus and the windows of the office were actually bending under the pressure of the wind. In awe of the power of nature, we watched as this cyclonic blast of wind gradually blew itself out to be replaced by torrential rain.

But, it was not over!

About two minutes later the wind that did most of the real damage struck!

This raging, screaming second front, physically ripped limbs, as thick as a man's waist, from the trees. Driving these now lethal weapons at a force sufficient to impale anyone unfortunate (or foolish) enough to be caught outside, we watched in horror as two branches - flying as it thrown by a giant spearsman - arrowed straight through the front windows of the Passage Milk Bar and Muriel Wrigley's Travel office. The vacuum caused by the incredible power of this wind, actually opened the top of a steel Council rubbish bin across the street, and sucked the contents out as if it were a giant vacuum cleaner!

Although our office escaped any damage, Leane Clark had just managed to get back to the office in Jaccy Thomas's car before the storm struck.

Parked in Kangaroo Avenue with its back to the storm, the killer wind drove a tree branch of over 20 feet in length, through the back window of the car and ended up with its stump forced into the dashboard! The wind has physically pushed the car forward about four metres into the back of the car in front - and it had been in gear, with the handbrake on!

After the storm - large tree felled by the storm. 
Bribie Times v2(4) 17.10.1986 p. 6.

On driving along Welsby Parade to check on other damage the storm had caused, I was greeted with the sight of Mrs Donovan's two homes just past Schrag's Real Estate - one with the roof totally ripped off (it was found in the backyard of a house some distance away) and the other with major damage to the roof and windows at the front.

Power lines were down everywhere and broken tree limbs were hanging off all of the SEQEB lines along the Parade.

But, then I came across the real damage!

The Council Caravan Park at Bongaree must have been virtually in the "eye" of the storm. Virtually every caravan in the Park received some damage ... annexes were ripped down ... trees had fallen across vans - and how anyone was not killed was a miracle.

In the foreshore park opposite the Caravan Park, the damage was almost unbelievable. Trees that had been there for years were uprooted ... the steel power pole serving the sewerage pump station there had been bent level to ground level at its base plate ... wooden power poles were snapped off at the ground level ... and those trees left standing were virtually stripped of their foliage!

The Bribie Island Bowls Club lost part of its roof and suffered damage to its front awnings.

At BP South Pacific, the roof had totally disappeared from above Carmel Fry's shop and was lying partly up against the windows of the Cut Price Supermarket - having broken one of their display windows. Carmel's shop was totally flooded from the rain and the large, steel display column in the BP's driveway had bent at about a 30 degree angle! This column was made of rough, six inch steel and was guyed with steel wires!

The most seaward of Bribie's waterfront buildings, Plimsolls Restaurant, had taken the full brunt of the winds. The outside dining section was totally obliterated ... the roofing had disappeared and the wind had actually broken off part of a solid concrete column which must have weighed well over 200 lbs. and lifted it onto the roof of the restaurant!

Along The Esplanade, the roof of the "Bayvue" apartments was found some 300 metres away in the bush behind the Units. A tree, which must have been decades old, had been physically ripped up, leaving a hole large enough to swallow a family-sixed car. And all of this in just over four minutes of actual wind.

Having been comandeered by the Channel Nine News team (who were the first to arrive by helicopter) to drive them around to film the damage, they were absolutely astounded at how quick people had rallied around to help.

By 4.30 PM the Council teams had sprung into action, supported by virtually every contractor on the Island who had equipment that could be used in the "big clean-up".

Sgt. Chris Smith and the Bribie police were immaculate in their immediate call to action ... directing traffic ... assisting bewildered and shocked people to find their bearings again and begin the clean-up. At BP South Pacific, up to his arms in debris, Snr. Const. Terry Hickey was "mucking in" in clearing the road of pieces of roof from the BP service station ... Snr. Const. Peter Deasey came in off holidays to assist in the disaster ... as well as the Police from Caboolture who were here within minutes of the storm.

Possibly the best news to come out of the disaster was the fact that only one minor injury occurred. Brian Hughes of The Grange, Brisbane, received a minor cut to his forehead when two trees crushed his caravan in the Bongaree Caravan Park. The last I saw of Brian was him being bundled into a vehicle by Steve Eaton, Manager of the park ... two hours after the storm! Brian had continued to work in helping clean up before bothering to go for treatment!

The Bribie ambulancemen, with fortunately nothing to do in their area of expertise, were using their vehicles to assist the Police in road blocks and traffic direction.

The prompt and efficient action of Caboolture Shire and its workers was superb to see. Within half an hour of the storm hitting, Council workmen were hard at it ... chainsawing trees and loading them on trucks ... cleaning up the broken branches and rubbish that covered all of the foreshore and doing a myriad of other tasks to ensure that Bribie was as quickly back to normal as possible.

The whole population of Bribie owes all of our community services a massive "Thankyou" for the work that was done.

SEQEB workmen slaved through Monday night through to the early hours of Tuesday morning to restore power. For a group of men that this State was declaring "Open War" on last year, to see their dedication in unsnarling the absolute mess that the storm caused to our power grid deserves our strongest commendation.

Possibly the luckiest man on Bribie Island was Wally Polakow of Riverview, Ipswich. Wally was camped in a tent in the Caravan Park and, during the storm, was sheltering in his tent with his two young children. Two massive pine trees either side of his tent both snapped off at their bases. One tree, over 60 feet tall, fell diagonally across the top of the tent. Had it not been for this tree "hanging up" in another pine, it would have surely crushed all three in the tent. The other tree fell away from the tent after glancing off another tree!

When I questioned Wally as to the fact whether he had gone to church last Sunday, he said, "No, I didn't ... but you can bet your boots I will be there next Sunday!"

After two hours of running around the site of the damage, a feeling suddenly began to creep over me and the Channel Nine News team - a feeling of admiration for the people of Bribie Island from these hard-bitten newsmen ... and a feeling of immense pride from me, as I watched this wonderful community spring into action to help its fwllow man.

"Good on yer, Bribie" ... and today, it's a beautiful day on Bribie!


And it was a beautiful day on Bribie... Eyewitness Account by David Thomas.  Bribie Times v.2(3) Oct 10, 1986 pages 1-3.

Friday 1 July 2022

Arbor Days on Bribie

Planting trees on Arbor Day

A popular annual event since 1890 at Queensland schools has been planting trees on Arbor Day. The following articles give a glimpse of the event on Bribie Island through the years.

1937 – Friday 21 May – Arbor Day
Arbor Day was observed at the Bribie Island school last Friday [21 May], when the head teacher gave the children a nature study lesson, and tended the growing trees. The committee and parents provided afternoon tea for the scholars and visitors.
Source: The Courier Mail 25.5.1937 p. 23 

1966 – Friday 20th May - Arbor Day on Bribie Is.
A special Arbor Day tree planting ceremony was held on Friday 20th May when the 120 pupils of the school took part in planting many trees. The project was conducted in co-operation with the Caboolture Shire Council who supplied the trees. All were gum trees of different varieties.
This was the first stage of a plan to introduce koalas on a large scale to the southern part of Bribie Island. Caboolture Shire Councillor for the Island (Mr J. Rickman) said the idea followed the loss of much natural fauna in clearing of the scrub at Toorbul Point. The gum trees were planted in a cleared area near the water treatment works at Woorim.
Children were transported to the site after morning parade by bus and cars. Teachers at the school were encouraged by the obvious interest, by parents in this activity on Arbor Day. About forty adults (mainly parents of the school children) were present. The Head Teacher (Mr N.E. Adsett) planted the first tree. Later children in groups and their parents planted trees on the site. Jeanine Chialvo (a Grade 7 pupil) concluded the ceremony with a fitting address in which she referred to the days ahead when the koalas will live amongst the trees which the children had planted.
Source: Bribie Star 27 May 1966 v4(24) p. 3.

1967 – Friday 19th May – Arbor Day.
On Friday May 19 the children of the Bribie Island State School took part in Arbor Day activities.
They inspected the eucalypt trees planted last year as the beginning of a Koala Reserve and were pleased to note that most of the trees were growing. They then planted 120 trees further east of those already established. The Caboolture Shire Council cannot be too highly praised for its co-operation in this project. Trees were supplied and all holes dug, making the planting an easy and pleasant task.
Source: Bribie Star 9 Jun 1967 v.5(24) page 1.

1990 Arbor Day on Bribie
500 trees planted in park and 100 on school ground
Source: CT01 Cherly Thornely collection, BIHS historical database project

Further Reading

First Arbour Day in Queensland. The Queenslander 9.8.1890 p.247 

Arbor Day in Queensland. Brisbane Courier 29.4.1891 p.5

Saturday 4 June 2022

Toorbul on Elimbah Creek

 The following delightful letter was written in 1900 by 12 year old Essie for the "Children's Letter to Delphia" competition column in The Queenslander. Essie describes living at their house called "Elimbah" at the mouth of Elimbah Creek at Toorbul with her two older brothers and two older sisters.

Toorbul on Elimbah Creek (1900)

By Essie

Dear Delphia - Seeing in the Queenslander that you have a letter competition, I am going to try and win one of the three prizes. I cannot tell you much about this district, as we only came to live here about two months ago [Lawnton]. But I am going to tell you a little about the district, which I have just left [Toorbul].

It is a very quiet place called Toorbul and is situated on the banks of the Elimbah Creek, and about 12 miles out of Caboolture. What makes Toorbul so quiet, is the people live so far apart from one another, the nearest neighbours being a mile away ; some of them being three and four miles away from each other. I do not know how Elimbah Creek got its name, but I think it was from the black people as I hear that Toorbul and Bribie Island had lots of them some years ago. Our house was called "Elimbah" because it is situated just on the mouth of the Elimbah Creek. Bribie Is. is just opposite our house, so we had a lovely view of it down the passage ; as the creek runs in such a strait sheet across to Bribie. It is called the "Passage."

It was lovely to sit on the verandah and watch the waves rolling over one another. Mr. Bishop used to pass by our house in his cutter twice a week, we used to get frightened to see how his boat would lay over on her side, on a rough day. We were expecting every minute to see the water go over the side. Mr. Bishop brings oysters to Brisbane every week in his cutter from the oysters beds about here. I will tell you where the oyster beds are situated : Donney Brook, Ningi Creek, and Toorbul Point. There is also a Fish Company at Toorbul Point where they tin Schnapper, Bream, Jew Fish and Whiting, some of the latter they catch in the Elimbah Creek. The Sword-fish is very plentiful in the creek, and if you can catch them, and get their Sword, it makes a very pretty ornament. My sister has one a little over a foot long which she thinks a great deal of. On Bribie Island there is a nice lot of pretty shells, my brother went out for a sail and he brought me a few.

I was only once on Bribie Island : but my father and brothers used often to sail over in our boat. I could row it across the creek but my sister wouldn't let me go by myself very often. I have two brothers and two sisters, all older than myself. I am twelve years old and in third class. I go to the North Pine State School now.

At Toorbul there is only a Provisional School and only one teacher. Just a while before we left Toorbul, we got a new teacher our old one "Mr. Ross" went to the war with the Third Contingent. We were all sorry when he left our school. We had about 4 miles to go to school, and we had to cross the creek every morning and night in a boat. Toorbul is a great place for wild flowers, all varieties being numerous. The trees that grew there being :- Gum, Tea Tree, and Cyprus Pine, and Waterfowl of all kinds are also very numerous in Summer, but they nearly all disappear in Winter.

The Magpie and Butcher bird are very common up there. Dear Delphia, I must tell you a little about a butcher bird my brother caught. He got it when it was quite young, and we fed it on bread and worms, and he became quite tame, and learned to talk. He was very fond of milk, and would stretch his neck to look into the cups for some. I had a little wide necked bottle which I used to fill with milk for him, and he used to go to it whenever he wanted a drink. But I am sorry to tell you that one of the horses tramped on him and killed him. He used to get into the horse's box and somehow or other we found him dead, and we think the horse must have killed him.

My father keeps a lot of cows but only a few are milking, my brother and sister milks them. I am learning to milk. I milk one cow. We made butter when we were living at Toorbul, but we sell our milk down here and I can tell you I miss my drink of butter milk.

Lawnton, June 18th 1900

Dear Delphia, this is the first time I have written to you, next I hope to tell you about this district. I forgot to tell you that we are having a concert and Arbor day Picnic on the 29th of this month. I think I have made my letter long enough so will conclude with love from ESSIE


Children's Letter to Delphia, written by Essie of 'Elimbah', Elimbah Creek, Toorbul.
The Queenslander, 30.6.1900 p. 1215

Tuesday 19 April 2022

Summer trip 1939

The following article from the 19 January 1939 issue of The Birmingham Post gives a glimpse of Bribie Island as seen through the eyes of visitors from Europe.

Australian Island. Summer trip out from Brisbane (1939)

by E.H.

A three hours' sail from Brisbane, eleven miles down the river, then round the corner and up North across the calm waters of Moreton Bay for sixteen miles, will bring you to Bribie Island. Here the 115 inhabitants fish a little, garden a bit, gossip a great deal, chop wood for their fires, eat simple food and sleep the sleep of the carefree. The great event of the week is the arrival of a ship from Brisbane on Thursdays and Saturdays, bringing supplies of meat, vegetables, fruit and newspapers.

Australian Island. Summer trip out from Brisbane. By E.H.
The Birmingham Post, 19.1.1939, p. 15.

There they all are collected on the short broad jetty to watch our arrival - skinny brown fisherman in grey flannel shirts and short trousers; elderly matrons in cotton frocks and aprons; a dozen or so oldest inhabitants with sticks or crutches; one or two jolly-looking, middle-aged, shapeless half-caste women in gay old-fashioned European dress; fourteen thin bright-faced boys and girls, hatless and wearing as little as possible; and all the Bribie dogs getting in everybody's way. A dilapidated cart with an ancient horse attached to the shafts with a stout rope takes our luggage; and we go on a tour of inspection.

There is not an elegant building on the island; just half a dozen little stores and a handful of wooden cottages built anywhere, without path, road or fence to mark them off. Along the shore just above the sandy beach we discover a white cottage which is just what we want; four white steps leading up to the front veranda, a hall with a little bedroom on each side, and at the back of the house a long room with one side all windows.

Every morning we awake to the sound of waves, the sighing of the breese in the tall pines and the soft rustling of the grass and the wattles that rise from the bracken and turf along the shore. Then from the bush behind the cottage comes the call of the magpie, tender, long and low, and the wild joyful song of the butcher-bird.

All round the house a little army of scavengers awaits the end of our meal. As we throw out scraps of bread, eggshells, apple-peelings there is a cloud of white and black wings as the white ducks, the big drake with his little black cap, the black hens, an array of chickens and one solitary duckling try to get there first.

Three Miles Across

Along the shore are a dozen or so cottages. From their chimneys smoke is rising, and the air is filled with the sweet scent of burning cypress pine. Along the sandy beach white, fawn and black and white cows are slowly wandering, stopping here and there to eat the salt green weed. When the tide is high and the creek joins the sea, they wade across up to their necks with placid nonchalance.

From the shore white herons search for their morning meal, seagulls call, and in the water porpoises play. Boats are out in the bay, and from them quiet fisherman cast their nets or fling their lines for bream, whiting, flathead, mullet and tailor. In this crisp air with a keen west wind, the walk right across the island seems nothing at all. Twenty miles by three, it is carpeted with bracken, now half green, half gold. Slender shea-oaks have their autumn coat, and sway copper-tinted against the blue sky. There is the dark green of the great Moreton Bay figs, the grey green of the wattle with its golden tassels, the tender green of the feathery black wattle with its bright golden balls of fluff, the gums with tips of gold, scarlet and crimson, the flowering shrubs, white jasmine, yellow broom, lavender sarsparilla and everywhere the slender cypress-pine, whose scent reaches you as soon as you land on Bribie.

Enclosed in a circle of bush we came across wide plains covered with purple and white heath, pink boronia and golden broom. Here the pewit calls, the tit chirrups, and undisturbed the eagles rear their eaglets in nests of stick and bramble. Along the ocean beach on the other side of the island lie wild lonely lagoons on whose calm surface blue and orange water lilies float. Here flourish wild duck, white and grey heron, black swan and greedy cormorant.

As we return through the bush we come across one of those lonely encampments of which there are thousands in Southern Queensland. A shack built of old pieces of wood and tin with a roof of bark stands in a little clearing, dwarfed by great Moreton Bay figs, pines and gums. From the rickety chimney the smoke of the cypress-pine fire is rising. In a hutch is one white Angora rabbit; in another one black hen. A tiny black and white puppy is straining at his rope, and a tortoiseshell cat dozes near him. A very old horse grazes close at hand, and a short distance away a red cow and her tiny calf crop the short grass. An old, old man with one leg emerges from the hut and smiles at us, bidding us a cheerful "Good-day". 


Australian Island. Summer trip out from Brisbane. by E.H.
The Birmingham Post, 19.1.1939 p. 15
[copy purchased from British Library On Demand service]

Tuesday 22 March 2022

Donnybrook Pumicestone Passage

 The village of Donnybrook on Pumicestone Passage is noted as a fishing spot. The following article from 1939 paints a picture of what is was like over 80 years ago.

Do you know where Donnybrook is? (1939)

written and illustrated by Roy Parkinson

If you take up a map of Moreton Bay, turn to the northern end, and follow up the Bribie Passages towards Caloundra to Goat Island - easier with the pencil point than with a boat, since the shoals come thick and fast - you will notice that here the channel divides, and on the left-hand stream a little spot is labelled Donnybrook, or according to some charts, Bribie View.

The best way of getting to this place from Brisbane is to go by car to Beerburrum, there to turn off for the nine miles of bush track which leads direct to it. There is another road from Caboolture, but as residents of Donnybrook speak of it as "the bog," the conclusion is obvious.

The track from Beerburrum is quite good, and a pleasant surprise awaits the traveller at the end of it, for a quaintly attractive little place is found, typifying the fishing villages as described so graphically by Vance Palmer in "The Passage."

Donnybrook consists of about five tiny cottages and a kiosk, and the be-all and end-all of life is Fishing. The capital "F" is very necessary. At one end the Dux fleet of boats operates, and a quarter of a mile away the Benson navy rules the waves. Willie Benson, a bright lad of 14 who knows the channels as he knows the palm of his hand, and steers a boat with his eyes shut, has only once been up to Brisbane and wouldn't feel in the least put out if he never came again! At week-ends, when visiting anglers arrive, upwards of 50 boats may be scattered over the channel. After a day's fishing the correct thing to do is to repair to the kiosk for scones and strawberry jam!
Donnybrook - "A cleared and grassy area crowns
a high point of land overlooking the water..."
illustration and description by Roy Parkinson
source: Courier Mail 26.8.1939 p. 9

Of overnight accommodation for visitors there is none at all, and even supplies of bread, milk, and other necessaries should be arranged for at Caboolture. Mail arrives twice weekly, on Wednesdays and on Saturdays. It is little more than 50 miles from Brisbane.

A cleared and grassy area crowns a high point of land overlookint the water, and makes a capital location on which to pitch a tent or park a caravan. This is kept spotlessly clean, and a high belt of trees behind shelters it from the westerlies; it would be hard to find a pleasanter spot for a few days' camp. provided you are content to dream the time away in idleness or to spend the days fishing.

In the bush behind Donnybrook kangaroos, wallabies, and dingoes are plentiful, and foxes are often hear; even emus, I have been told, come close in sometimes.

On the edge of the water bird life reigns - weird croaks and cries rise from the flats where ibises, herons, and curlews poke about in the weedy sand, and an odd jabiru stalks with dignified air among the smaller fry, hawks rise the air-currents over head.

As the sun sinks over towards the peaks of the Glass House Mountains an owl hoots plaintively and monotonously "mo-poke, mo-poke," and the peace of night falls gently on the little settlement. Here man lives at one with nature - to bed with the sun, up at daybreak.

Do you know where Donnybrook is? 
by Roy Parkinson
source: Courier Mail 26.8.1939 p.9

Willie Benson, a lad of 14 (referred in the above article) was a younger brother of Reg Benson.
Reg was one of the local men who answered the call to serve in 1942. See R C Benson QX61294

> Bribie View (Donnybrook)
The first motor trip of the season to Bribie View ... this is becoming quite a favourite resort for fishing parties from Brisbane and Caboolture. An enjoyable time was spent by the excursionists.
source: Brisbane Courier 3.10.1924 p.19

> Donnybrook (Qld.) - photos on Moreton Bay Region Libraries Our Story website

Friday 25 February 2022

Oldest building

An old weatherboard building in Banya Street is believed to be the oldest building still extant on Bribie Island. This building had several incarnations before it was located on Bribie Island. The building was officially dedicated as a Methodist Church on 28 December 1930 by Rev. A.A. Mills.

Methodist Church, Banya Street.
Photo circa 1980
Photo: Viv Tucker

The first couple to be married in the Methodist Church in Banya Street on 26th January 1931 were Eddie Moyle and Mavis Shields.

Newly-weds Edwin and Mavis Moyle and well-wishers
walking along Banya street, 26 January 1931
Photo: Moyle Family collection

Oldest building on Bribie Island.
original building 34' x 18'6", hardwood boards post pit-saw age,
wood could be over 400 years old.
Photo 2017.
Photo: Viv Tucker

Thank you to Trevor Sutton for sharing his Moyle family photographs and story. Also thanks to Viv Tucker for photos of the building and his 2017 write-up "From Enoggera to Bribie Island : first Deception Bay School 1892-1905",

Moyle's Guest House at the Jetty 1925-1952's-guest-house-at-the-jetty

Methodist Church [Bribie Island] officially opened.
The Brisbane Courier 3.1.1931 p. 5

Monday 17 January 2022

1919 Holiday at Bribie

 1919 First two weeks of January

Holiday at Bribie

On Wednesday 1 January 1919, Elsie Jones (19) and her aunt Ivy Campbell (21) were staying at Toorbul and went across to Bribie Island to see the Beaver arrive and wave goodbye to one particular passenger returning to Brisbane. These details are recounted by Elsie in her diary which has been kindly shared with BIHS by her family.

For Elsie and Ivy, 1st January was a public holiday known as Commonwealth Day. They had travelled from Brisbane to Toorbul on the previous day and may have attended the concert that was held on Bribie on New Year's Eve.

The concert on Bribie had been arranged by a committee comprising Messrs. R. Davies, H. McLeure, T. Marshall, T. Carberry, F. Brockley and P. Daunt (chairman) and Miss Ackworth (pianist), for the benefit of the Ambulance Brigade and the St John's Ambulance. A newspaper article reported that 400 people attended the concert, the majority of whom were campers staying on Bribie Island for the holidays.


1 WEDNESDAY        Commonwealth Day – Public Holiday
Ivy & I landed at Toorbul yesterday.  All of us went over to Bribie in motorboat in morning to see the “Beaver” in, & to see Pte. Davis off.  In afternoon Ivy & I took books up into a tree on the beach – scrumptious.  Then had a yarn (revelations) to Miss Shepherd, & came to bed straight after tea.  Scrummy day!

Went over to Bribie again today.  Met Mrs. Dickson & had lunch there.  In afternoon, Ivy & I went up into tree on beach & wrote poetry!  People next door put telescope on us & also camera.  Miss Shep., Ivy & I walked on jetty at night.

In morning, Miss Shep., Jack S., Ivy & I fished out in rowing boat, then in afternoon, we three girls drove over to a fruit farm, had tea & bought fruit.  Slept & read for a few hours at midday & had a walk on jetty at night.

All the party of us went up the Channel about twelve miles, had lunch on Bribie, stayed a few hours & came home about 4.30 p.m..  Read till night.  Got a letter from Mum.

Went over to Bribie again, & then read all afternoon.

A party of us all went up to Caloundra by motor boat (30 miles).  Had a lovely walk along beach, collected shells, climbed rocks, etc..  At night slept in a tent, cows walked on us, etc..  Heavenly day.

Went up to Mrs. King’s Boarding House & met Mrs. Dickson & Oliver & spent morning on cliffs with them.  Came back from Caloundra in afternoon in boat.  I wrote a letter.  Pte. Davis came back.

We three sat in tree on beach in morning & talked.  In afternoon we read & talked to Alick (Pte. D. I mean!).  At night he played accordion & then gramophone to us.  I got a home letter.

Looked through Cottage in morning.  Then all went over to Bribie in launch, & met Mrs. Jubb there.  Doctors went home!  We read all the afternoon & had an argument at night – Miss. Shep. v. Alick Davis.

Read all the morning, and Ivy slept.  In afternoon the three of us took a walk into the bush and read.  Then had a bonser bathe.  Had a walk & some music at night.
"Bonser" bathing belles - Elsie and Ivy
Photo from Jones Family collection.

Read a whole book this morning – “Delphina”.  In afternoon, Miss Shep, Ivy & I drove about six miles & went to see Mrs. Hill & son.  Got home about dark.  Moonlight on jetty!

Saw Miss Shep. off at Bribie.  At night, sat on jetty, then Alick told us his WAR experiences.

All went round Skirmish Point on Bribie per launch for picnic.  Then Mr. Bar., Mrs. Bick (?), Alick, Ivy & I had a four miles walk round beach.  Had a glorious time.  Ivy & I had walk on jetty at night, tide in & moonlight, then a talk on verandah.

Packed in morning & Mr. Davis brought us over to “Koopa”, where we met Harold B. who took us up ‘aloft’.  Met Spurgins at Redcliffe & all came home together.  A storm & she rocked some!  Lost luggage, & I came home on 8 train & waited for Ivy till 10 p.m..

Elsie 'Queenie' Jones at Toorbul Point, 1919
Photo from Jones Family collection.

Ivy Campbell on holiday at Toorbul Point, 1919
Photo from Jones Family collection.


We thank Claire Wilson and the Jones family for allowing the use of diary entries and their photos.


The Holiday at Bribie. Concert for Ambulance Funds.
The Telegraph (Brisbane) Sat 4 Jan 1919 p.2
A very enjoyable time has been spent by the campers at Bribie Island, and through the energy of a committee comprising Messrs. R. Davies, H. McLeure, T. Marshall, T. Carberry, F. Brockley and P. Daunt (chairman) and Miss Ackworth (pianist), a concert was held on Tuesday 31st December from the veranda of Mr Leeder's house, for the benefit of the Ambulance Brigade and the St. John's Ambulance. The audience numbered about 400 people. Mr Leeder was kind enough to place at the disposal of the committee his piano and house, and also donated a Christmas cake and 6 dozen oysters, to be disposed of.... 

Jones, Queenie (Elsie Llewella) & Cook, Margaret & Pullar, Helen (2005). Queenie's diary : a schoolgirl's life : 1914-1915. Agneau Press, Bellbird Park, Qld.


1919 Bribie Island -- The Rising Resort

The Apiary.
Brisbane Courier 31.10.1914 p.13
Mr H.L. Jones presided at a committee meeting of the Queensland Beekeepers' Association ... A communication was received from Mr A.N.J. Hill [Toorbul] ... "... the best friend of the orchardist - the bees" ...

Monday 10 January 2022

1919 Bribie Island The Rising Resort

1919 Bribie Island ... The Rising Resort

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

The landing place is at Bongaree, on the calm inner beach of the island.  The Brisbane Tug Company have formed a road of about three miles to the main ocean beach, where surf bathing can be enjoyed.  Later on it is intended to construct a tramway thereto.

Near the jetty there is a commodious refreshment-room, where fish and oyster dinners are obtainable, and also two stores at which campers can purchase necessities.  A large pavilion, bathing sheds, and other conveniences for the use of visitors have been erected.  Accommodation is provided for by three boarding-houses, and as a further inducement, the steamship company has erected some twelve or more huts of a standard design and size (about 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 5d.  There are also several furnished cottages, which may be rented periodically.  

Campers and picnickers are assured of an ample supply of fresh water, large tanks having been erected by the company for that purpose.  As a proof of the increasing popularity of this resort it may be mentioned that during the recent holidays fully 1000 campers, apart from other visitors, were located here, and had further accommodation been available it goes without saying that this number would nearly have doubled itself.

For the excellence of its fish and oysters, Bribie is known far and wide, and during the summer months it is the intention of the company to run their steamer to Bribie every alternate Saturday at 2 p.m., thus affording city folk and anglers an opportunity of a week-end at this resort.

Advertisement from Telegraph 3 Jan 1919 p.5

Whole day trips are now made to Bribie (calling at Redcliffe both ways) on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays, leaving Kennedy Wharf at 9.30 a.m. and returning at 6 p.m.  Passengers are allowed 2 hours ashore on these trips.

Splendid motor boat trips may be taken northward through the picturesque Pumice Stone Channel, on the inner side of the Island, to Caloundra, a distance approximately, of about 28 miles.  Arrangements for this trip can be made by first communication with Mr A. Bestman, of Bribie, who also keeps a motor car for hire.  By this latter means tourists are enabled to enjoy a trip along the hard sand of the outer beach, and, when the ferrying arrangements at the northern end are completed, the journey to Caloundra may be completed almost wholly by motor car.

Visitors at Caloundra can also make arrangements through Mr A. Tripcony for their conveyance by motor boat through the Pumice Stone Channel to Bribie, connecting with the steamship Koopa for Brisbane. ...


Bribie Island -- The Rising Resort
Daily Standard (Brisbane) Sat 4 Jan 1919, p. 5 

Redcliffe, Bribie and Dunwich Bay Excursions from Kennedy Wharf [advertisement]
Telegraph (Brisbane) Fri 3 Jan 1919 p.5