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Thomas Welsby


Thomas Welsby, who owned a holiday home on Bribie, was an intellectual, a polymath and a voracious reader and collector of books.

Welsby Parade is named after Moreton Bay historian and enthusiast, Thomas Welsby (1858-1941), who was a respected politician and sportsman. During the latter period of his life he had a holiday home on Bribie Island.

His association and love of the Moreton Bay region began as a young man and carried on throughout his lifetime. Welsby sailed throughout the bay fishing and this passion and intimate understanding of the vicinity drove his writings and greatly contributed to the social and local knowledge of Moreton Bay.

Seven books were penned by Welsby, the last written when he was aged 79 about the fictitious character Bribie the Basket Maker, a convict basket-maker who lived on the island sometime around 1842 with an indigenous woman.

Welsby claimed that maps showed Skirmish Point, named originally by Flinders, as being on the ocean side of Bribie Island, Welsby argued it was on the bay side at the southern entrance to Pumicestone Passage. This claim he said was substantiated by a chart in the possession of the Survey Office constructed by Leopold Tranz Landsborg, and lithographed in Sydney in 1861.

Welsby was a foundation member of the Royal Historical Society of Queensland and served as a councillor, vice-president and president. During his life he donated many letters, newspaper cuttings, documents, scrap books, and copies of his published books and in his will he made a bequest of his library of more than 2,000 volumes. The society's library was amalgamated with the Welsby collection and was opened as the Welsby Library on 15 March 1947 in Newstead House. The Welsby Library is now housed on the second floor of RHSQ's Commissariat Store.

Thomas Welsby, survived by two daughters, died on 3rd February 1941 at New Farm, Brisbane.

Written by Brian Russell from information sourced from the BIHS Database and the public domain.

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