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Amateur Fishermen’s Association QLD

1904 to now

The fishing club was founded on 10th May 1904 with 70 fishermen signing up as members. Thomas Welsby, a respected historian, held the post of Vice President for the first two years then President until 1921 and Patron from 1922 to 1941.

The Association was formed to safeguard the fishing tradition against practices that would see a decline in fish supply. By 1905 members were reporting on the illegal catching of undersized fish and illegal netting practices to the Department of Fisheries. Plans were made to establish a museum of fish species and the bottled fish were kept at the J Douglas Ogilvy Cottage which opened on 29th November 1925.

The capital cost of the Cottage was in the vicinity of £230 which included £75 for the freehold of 26 perches of land which faced the Esplanade and commanded a splendid view of the Bribie Channel and the mainland. The cottage had two tiers of bunks down each side providing sleeping accommodation for 20 persons. The full length on either side at the top of the walls were shuttered so that there was ample ventilation. Dining tables, a water tank, stove and all kitchen and dining paraphernalia was provided with cupboards for storage and a pillow and mattress for each bed.

Around the middle of 1960, a nearby property owner, fearing the disastrous results of the continued erosion on the waterfront, purchased the old disused hulk, S.S. Cormorant and had it positioned nearby. Initially it was placed in a North/South direction in front of the cottage, but the Association subsequently had a channel dug to re-position the hulk, placing it in and East/West direction. The wreck eventually became a hazard and was destroyed and taken away as scrap metal in the early 1980s.

The Cottage was extended in 1996 by the addition of a sundeck and in 2000 by an upstairs shower and toilet. It has been repainted and renovated several times. 

Membership is at or near the current capping limit of 80. The Association’s fishing heritage has been revitalized and a look at the Calendar on the site will show the variety and multitude of competition events planned. The Association’s Minute Books, commencing at its beginning in 1904, have been placed in the John Oxley Library for posterity.

From commencement members of the AFAQ have collected, identified, and preserved specimens of fish to track the changing quantity and quality of fish stocks in Queensland waters. More than 300 of the preserved fish are still in the collection, with a number on display at the Bribie Island Seaside Museum.

Written by Graham Mills from information sourced from the BIHS Database and the public domain.

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