top of page

Chronology of Bribie Island History


Timeline of Bribie's History through the ages.

1770:  Lieutenant James Cook sailed past Bribie Island on the HM Bark Endeavour.

1799:  Lieutenant Matthew Flinders landed on Bribie Island.

1822:  Captain John Bingle in the Cutter Sally sailed up the ‘Pumice Stone River’.

1822: Captain William Edwardson in the Cutter Snapper sailed up ‘Pumicestone Passage’.

1823:  John Oxley landed on Bribie Island and subsequently located the Brisbane River..

1823:  Castaway convicts lived with Bribie’s indigenous people.

1830/40s: Escaped convicts from the Moreton Bay Penal Colony and missionaries from the Zion Hill (Nundah) Mission made contact with the Bribie Island indigenous people during this period.

1861: Thomas ‘Martin’ Tripcony Snr selected 1100 acres on the Pumicestone Passage between Glass Mountains Creek and Hussey Creek in 1861.

1863: The Westaways ran cattle at Caloundra and sometimes swam them over to Bribie lsland where they had a drovers’ camp.

1868: Captain Douglas Douglas-Hamilton selected land on Toorbul Point for growing sugar and coffee.

1870: The Bishop, Freeman & Carnegie families settled at Toorbul.

1874:  The first oyster licences were issued.

1877: A ‘fishing establishment’ was established by Tom Petrie near present day White Patch for dispossessed Aboriginal people but closed after two years.

1881: James Campbell opened a sawmill near the confluence of Mellum Creek and Coochin Creek, Pumicestone Passage. Campbellville township was established.

1882: The Bestmann family selected 1400 acres on Toorbul Point and named their property “Best Park.

1885: Pumice Stone Channel surveyed and beaconed.

1887: The first survey of land was at Whitepatch and sale of 137 lots announced.

1889:  All land on Bribie opened for occupation leases.

1891: Archibald Meston describes Bribie Island as the most historically interesting island on the Queensland coast and the meanest pieces of country in Australia.

1891: An aboriginal mission and school established at Mission Point but it failed closing in November 1892.

1893: Record rainfall recorded near Pumicestone Passage resulted in the silting up of the Pumicestone Passage, drastically reducing the depth of the shipping channel, and impacting the oyster business.

1893: Paddle-steamer Natone offered excursions to Bribie Island.

1896: Bribie Island’s two manned lighthouses were built.

1896: Steamer Tarshaw offered excursions to Bribie Island.

1897: James Clark commenced the Toorbul Fish Company cannery at Toorbul Point selling under the Anchor brand. Charles Godwin was employed as manager.

1901-1912: The Tug ‘Greyhound’ took excursionists on weekends and public holidays to Bribie (but not on a regular timetable).

1908: Sarah Balls, a successful Brisbane entrepreneur, obtained a special ten-year lease of 8 acres on Bribie Island (near where the IGA is now situated) as a site for a fish canning works

1911 Brisbane Tug and Steamship Company applied for a 21-year lease of 12 acres of land on Bribie for tourism.

1911: SS Koopa purpose built in Scotland for the excursion tourism business of Moreton Bay arrived on 24 December 1911. She was licensed to carry 1153 passengers.

1912: The Lands Department completed a survey of the Bongaree area.

1912: The Bongaree Jetty completed for SS Koopa’s first visit on 4th& 5th May.

1912: Water tanks placed at the end of jetty (filled by the SS Koopa) for the use of campers and locals.

1912: Six weatherboard huts were built by the Brisbane Tug & Steamship Company at Bongaree. Later called ‘The Twelve Apostles’.

1912: Pastoral leases were offered on Bribie Island. Taku – 8 square miles, Yippi - 8 square miles and Tambour – 10 square miles. Rental £1 per square miles for term of 10 years.

1913: First mail service was commenced (twice weekly) via the SS Koopa. A receiving office was opened near the jetty.

1914: A petition to Caboolture Shire Council was received from Bribie Islanders asking for severance from the Shire or creation of a new division.

1914-1923: A motor-launch service commenced from Caloundra to Bongaree to connect with the Koopa.

1915: The Avon, a condemned coal barge was scuttled near Dux Creek to protect the oyster beds.

1919: The first car (a 1914 Talbot) took Messrs Hall & Bestman two days to drive on dirt tracks from Brisbane to Godwin Beach, and then floated over to Bribie Island.

1921: SS Doomba purchased from Scotland where she had been a minesweeper during WW1 called HMS Wexford. In 1923 she joined the SS Koopa on Redcliffe/Bribie run.

1922: Bribie was linked to the mainland by telephone.

1922: State Nursery established on the Island for experimental crops.

1923: The first Lifesaving patrols started at Woorim to safeguard the holiday crowds.

1924:  The first State School was built at Bongaree.

1924: District postal inspector reported there were now 50 permanent residents on Bribie Island which increased to 100 during summer.

1924: The first road built across Bribie to Woorim by the Brisbane Tug & Steamship Company to enable a bus service to Ocean Beach (Woorim).

1925: Bribie State Nursery conducts its first experiments to improve quality of smooth leaf pineapples suitable for the canning industry.

1926: The Ocean Beach Kiosk built at Woorim by the Tug Company.

1928:  The Church of England Hall in Foster Street was dedicated on 27th December.

1929: Closure of Bribie State Nursery.

1929: A new pavilion, bowling green and tennis court was built by the Brisbane Tug & Steamship Co.

1930: The Bribie Island Bowling Club was officially formed on 19 April.

1930: The Methodist Church was built in Banya Street and the first service was held on 23rd December.

1930:  Bribie resident population reaches 200 people.

1932: Bribie Island made a separate division of the Caboolture shire and allocated 1 member.

1933: First Councillor for Bribie was William Shirley for Division 5.

1933: Shirley bridge officially opened.

1937: First ambulance hut opened.

1939: Bribie Island Hotel built at Woorim

1933:  The Bribie Island Surf Lifesaving Club was officially formed.

1939:  Hotel Bribie constructed at Ocean Beach.

1939/42: World War years, Bribie occupied by Military.

1943: SS Koopa requisitioned by the Royal Australian Navy for WW2 service.

1943: MV Mirana (operated by Hayles Cruises) serviced Bribie Island during WW2.

1946:  Car ferry operates from Toorbul Point to Bribie.

1947: SS Koopa returned to the Bribie Island service.

1947: The first Catholic Church service was held in rebuilt army huts on land in Nulu Street, Bongaree.

1953:  Steamship Koopa ends 42 years of trips to Bribie.

1953:  Electricity connected to Bribie from mainland.

1953:  Famous artist Ian Fairweather moves to Bribie.

1961:  Bribie's unique underground water supply turned on by Governor, Sir Henry Abel-Smith.

1963:  Bribie Island Bridge opens with a toll of 10 shillings (return).

1964:  Bribie Public Library opened.

1974:  Artist Ian Fairweather aged 82, passed away.

1980:  Banksia Beach shopping complex in Sunderland Drive.

1981:  Mains Sewage laid on Bribie Island.

1975:  Bridge toll ends when Bridge paid for after 12 years.

1989:  Bribie Island State High School opens on First Avenue, Bribie Island.

1991:  Banksia Beach State School opens at Sunderland Drive, Bribie Island.

Compiled by Donna Holmes, Graham Mills & Lynne Hooper from information sourced from the BIHS Database.

bottom of page