Barge Service

1946 - 1963

Bribie Barge ca1960
Bribie Barge ca1960

Courtesy Holly Shiach.

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On the Barge to Bribie
On the Barge to Bribie

Courtesy Holly Shiach.

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Barge unloading at Sylvan Beach ca1960.
Barge unloading at Sylvan Beach ca1960.

Courtesy Holly Shiach.

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Bribie Barge ca1960
Bribie Barge ca1960

Courtesy Holly Shiach.

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Before the Bridge to Bribie Island was built people would queue for hours to load their vehicles onto barges.

During WW2 the military built a road from Caboolture to Bribie Island and the American garrison established the first barge service to Bribie Island. The Barge departed from Toorbul Point and landed close to where the Volunteer Marine Rescue (VMR) is now at Sylvan Beach and at a ‘Military Jetty’ built at Bongaree.


After the war, as motor car ownership increased, a car ferry service became the popular way to travel to Bribie Island.


The first vehicular barge was an old landing barge bought at an USA Auction in 1946 by the Shields family and run by Gordon Shields. Popular demand soon had two barges plying the route.


In the early 1950s Ben Tesch and son Ivan took over the barge service and they transported the first ambulance to Bribie Island. 


Bill Woods started operating one barge after the Tesch family sold one barge to a Russell Island Company. Bill Woods was joined by Walter Snowy Drennan, a school teacher, who added a second barge. When Woods defaulted on their agreement Snowy took over the entire business.


The final barge trip was made in October 1963.


Written by Lynne Hooper from information sourced from the BIHS Database.