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Ormiston family


Jim & Elsie Ormiston made a home on Bribie in 1919.

James (Jim) Ormiston and his wife Elsie (Sullivan) came to Bribie Island in 1919 from New Farm, Brisbane with their son James and daughter Eileen to escape the Influenza pandemic brought back by soldiers returning from World War 1.

Jim was born in 1888 in Kogarah, NSW, and married Elsie, who was born in 1899, in Queensland in 1914.  Elsie died in 1848 and Jim died in 1964.

They travelled to Bribie Island on the steamship Koopa to set up one of the first permanent homes at Bongaree. At first, they camped on the foreshore and lived on fish, crabs, yabbies, prickly pear fruit, and small animals such as goanna and snakes. Bread was brought over from Toorbul (township) once a week.

Jim Ormiston acquired land from the Government on a 99-year perpetual lease. Some of the land was in Nulu and Banya Streets and Nulu and Banya Lanes and he divided the land into long narrow blocks which formed the beginning of the township of old Bribie (Bongaree).

Jim made a living by picking Boronia and other wildflowers and sold them to the day trippers from Brisbane and Redcliffe who came on the KOOPA and other ships. He made tent pegs from the trees and sold them to the holiday makers who camped on the ‘hill’ where the library is today.

He also established a grocery store in 1920 called ‘Ormistons’, it was situated close to where the Bakery in Toorbul Street now stands. Jim also ran a Real Estate business from the shop premises.

Elsie and James had five children (James, Eileen, Eric, Mavis and Gordon) and they all worked hard from a young age in their father’s and mother’s businesses.

Written by Brian Russell from information sourced from Pam (Crouch) Smith and the BIHS Database.

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