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Tripcony family


Thomas Tripcony Senior was one of the early oystering pioneers of Pumicestone Passage.

Thomas Martin Tripcony was born in Cornwall, England and served in the Royal Navy. During the Crimean War and later joined the merchant marine. When serving in the ship “Agincourt”, he arrived in Melbourne in 1859 where he obtained a discharge and went to the goldfields. This was unsuccessful, so he tried his hand at shearing, and worked his way north to Brisbane.

In 1861, Thomas Brisbane, he married Catherine Buchanan (1835-1903) and went to work for Captain Whish on his sugar plantation on the Caboolture River plain. From Caboolture he moved on to Deception Bay, lime burning for James Campbell and Sons, and moved from there to Toorbul Point and finally to Cowie Bank, where he settled for the remainder of his life. Cowie Bank is directly across Pumicestone Passage from Mission Point and Lime Pocket on Bribie Island.

Thomas obtained an Oyster Licence in 1874 but diversified into cattle, fishing etc. when the oyster industry downturned.

Thomas and Catherine had three sons. Constantine became a sub-inspector for oystering in Moreton Bay and managed the Pacific Oyster Company. Andrew ran the first store in Caloundra at his Black Flat residence in 1910 and Thomas (Tom) Jnr owned and operated a shallow raft oyster cutter named ‘Cowie’ which transported oysters throughout Moreton Bay. 

After the death of his father in 1897, Tom Jnr took over the family property “Cowie Bank’ and ran cattle.

Cowie Bank homestead stood until the 1920s when, except for the chimneys, it was demolished by a cyclone. Three of their houses were destroyed by cyclones/fire at different times.  

The sailing boat 'The Shadow' commissioned by Tripcony, surveyed and put the first beacons in Pumicestone Passage in September 1879. Tripcony Bight was named in honour of Thomas Tripcony.

Written by Lynne Hooper from information from the Sunshine Coast Council and the public domain.

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