Courtesy SLQ. Acc: 86-10-4.
Courtesy SLQ. Neg. 118220.
Courtesy SLQ. negative 8439.
Courtesy SLQ. Acc: 86-10-4.
A Petition sent to the Deputy Postmaster-General in 1913 requested a twice-weekly mail service from Brisbane to Bribie.
Before the Brisbane Tug & Steamship Co. built the Jetty at Bongaree in 1912, there were only about 20 people resident on the island, mainly involved in oyster farming, fish canning, cattle grazing and bee keeping.
Steamships came to the new jetty at Bongaree from Brisbane in 1912, bringing passengers, luggage, materials, drinking water, personal items and provisions. As the resident population and visitors increased, the benefits a regular postal service were recognised.
A Petition sent to the Deputy Postmaster-General in 1913 requested a twice-weekly mail service from Brisbane to Bribie. The PMG agreed to a Post Receiving Office agency being set up in one of the few houses on Bribie, that of the Tug Company caretaker, just north of the jetty.
The first caretaker George Jacques and his replacement Alan Layton, both went to serve in WW1 and in 1917, Tom Lawrence became caretaker, and his wife Henrietta looked after the post and a small general store in their house, until 1921.
A few years later a request was made for a telecommunications service to be provided to Bribie Island. The Tug Company agreed to supply telegraph poles and labour, for a line along the Caboolture River, and under Pumicestone Passage. When completed in 1922, both the Post and Telephone operated from a new house, where “The Jetty” restaurant stands today, with Ted Freeman as caretaker and his wife Jessie as Postmistress.
When the telephone service started the resident population of Bribie was just 50 people, but increased to over 1000 at weekends and holidays. Initially there were just 8 private telephones on Bribie serving the businesses of Bestman, Campbell (Shops), Davies, Moyle, Stone and Wilkinson (Guest Houses) Ormiston (land Agent) and Shirley (road construction). In those days, making a telephone call was unusual, expensive and quite time consuming.
Regular ships and phone service improved the isolation of Bribie. Several stores, kiosks, guesthouses and dining rooms opened near the Jetty, Banya Street, South Esplanade and Woorim, and by the 1930’s many thousands were coming to camp, fish and enjoy holidays on Bribie.
The Tug Company managed the Post and Telegraph service for 20 years until military occupation of Bribie during WW2. After the War, licensed postal services resumed for a while, reporting directly to the PMG Department, with David Sked as Postmaster, until he tragically died at work in 1954 and his wife Lilian took over for a few months. The Tug Company withdrew, wound up and sold its various assets on Bribie in 1952. The Post Office was relocated to the new house of Postmaster Tom Fenwick in 1956 at 45 Toorbul Street.
In the 1960’s another Post Office agency also operated in a building close to the beach at Woorim, where the cafes are today.
FIRST OFFICIAL POST OFFICE
By the early 1980’s, with the Bribie population approaching 5000, the Government decided to establish the first “official” Government Post office on Bribie. This was built in 1983 in Bellara, on the corner of Warana and Eucalypt Streets, in a modern residential style, with PO boxes, air conditioning and parking. The first official Postmaster was Jim Bell, and it served the growing community needs until the mid-1990 when the Corporate Post Office relocated to the newly built Woolworth’s shopping centre. Licensed Post Offices now also operate at Woorim and Bongaree.
Written by Barry Clark from information sourced from the BIHS database.