Stories from Raby Bay

Raby Bay is that area of water in Moreton Bay between Cleveland Point and Ormiston. It was named by the surveyor James Warner on 1 July 1841, after the Duke of Cleveland who was also known as Baron Raby. In 1885, there was a land sale to the south of Raby Bay known as the Raby Bay Estate.

Raby Bay Estate
Raby Bay Estate

Merv Hazell:

“An Easter tradition was the 10 foot Sharpie races at Cleveland Point.  The race was conducted from Cleveland Jetty and was three times round a triangular course in Raby Bay.  The prize of £5 was presented to the winner at the Cleveland picture show that night. Incidentally £5 pounds ($10) was a substantial sum in comparison to the usual racing prizes of 2/6 or 5/- (25 or 50 cents.)” (a)

Ralph Munro:

“When I joined Queensland Cement I was dredging coral from Raby Bay. We had our own private island that was formed from ironstone pumped up while we were dredging. We closed it down for years, but when they built the Gateway Bridge, we opened it up again. All the coral sent up river to make the cement used in the Gateway Bridge came from Raby Bay.” (b)

Coral Dredge in Raby Bay (photo courtesy Ralph Munro)
Coral Dredge in Raby Bay (photo courtesy Ralph Munro)

Price Family:

“Norm Price is remembered for his vision as a fine diplomat and farmer, introducing the first  crude  channel irrigation system to the Redlands on his Cleveland farm, developing Shires roadways from dirt tracks to gazetted main roads and for his  farsighted proposal in the 1950’s to relocate the showgrounds from Shore  Street North (opposite the Grandview Hotel near the present day Raby Bay development) to its present location.” (c)

Kate Millar:

“Of an afternoon, I used to have to go up on my pushbike to Raby Bay train station, which was situated down a little dirt road that went down towards the water from where the Sands Hotel is now. I used to meet the rail motor from Manly, which used to get in about 5.15 in the afternoon, and pick up the bundle of “Telegraph” newspapers. Then I’d have to do a paper run on my bike to deliver them. One of my first deliveries was to the Sands Hotel, which at that stage was under Thurhect’s management. I used to take the paper in to the hotel and front up to the bar for a ‘double sars’. After I’d had my drink at the bar, I’d get on my bike and do the paper run which went all around the Raby Bay area, then down Middle Street, Oyster Point, and then along Cleveland Point. I’d always end the run in the darkness of night. All I had for a light was a battery operated torch that fitted in a holder between the handlebars. On one occasion, near the Police Station that was then situated near the Cenotaph, I was riding up towards Oyster Point and passed a beautiful old Queenslander home that belonged to the Ramsey family. The house was next door to the bakery of G.W.Walters – where all our bread came from. Actually all the houses in that area were owned by G.W.Walters and were used by the employees of his bakery. In those days, Cleveland was owned by virtually just a couple of people.” (d)

Peter Ludlow:

In June 1979 the Queensland Government approved a canal estate development in Raby Bay and construction commenced in 1983. The first stage was officially opened on 23 November 1984 with 158 blocks to be sold at prices between $53,000 to $96,000 each. By 1997 the final stage (Stage 15) of the Raby Bay canal development was completed, with the last canal flooded in December. (e)

Raby Bay Harbour before flooding
Raby Bay Harbour before flooding

Albert Benfer:

“Well the canal development at Raby Bay was one that I did agonise over for long time. I voted for it despite some of my friends who were vehemently against it and I’m pleased to say that we’re still friends, but I did vote for that, and today I do feel that it was a wonderful project for the Redlands. I feel that it made the Cleveland area quite a paradise, I feel that it made an impression on the Shire and I felt that you either have a massive big yacht marine centre or you have to canals where people can live and tie their boats up. I felt it was better to have people living there and their homes, spending their money in the centre, general economic development was much better for that to happen rather than a massive yacht squadron down at Manly, I never did like that kind of development. Even today, with the antifouling paints, there is massive pollution, heavy metals from that style of congregation of boats and I feel that this kind of Canal development is a better proposition.” (f)

55 - Raby Bay sunset
Raby Bay sunset Sunset on Raby Bay harbour


  1. (a) Peter Ludlow – Moreton Bay People – The Complete Collection 
  2. (b) Peter Ludlow – The Port of Brisbane, Its People and Its Personalities
  3. (c) Peter Ludlow – WW1 Heroes of the Redlands (still to be published)
  4. (d) Peter Ludlow – Moreton Bay People 2012
  5. (e) Peter Ludlow – Raby Quays Newsletter
  6. (f) Redland Shire Council Oral History Project

The Balderdash Archibald Prize

Last evening I had the pleasure to attend the gala opening of the Bald Archy prize for 2016 at Cleveland’s historic Grand View Hotel.

For those of you who, like me, have never heard of the Bald Archy competition, it is a parody of the Archibald Prize, an important Australian portraiture award. It usually includes cartoons or humorous works making fun of Australian celebrities. It is judged by Maude, a cockatoo. It began in 1994 at the Coolac Festival of Fun, in the tiny town of Coolac near Gundagai, New South Wales but is now a popular event presented in Sydney, Melbourne and other locations.

The Grand View Hotel is the first venue in Queensland to host the event, and last night we were treated to an opening address by the Bald Archy’s founder, Peter Batey OAM.

Peter Batey's opening speech to the Bald Archy showing at the Grand View Hotel
Peter Batey’s opening speech to the Bald Archy showing at the Grand View Hotel

Peter, now well into his eightys, has a long history of his involvement with the arts in Australia, and is perhaps best known for his contribution with Barry Humphries, to the creation of Edna Everidge, while his collaboration with Reg Livermore of many of his famed characters, starting with Betty Blokk Buster is widely acknowledged.

The Bald Archy showing will continue in the upstairs gallery at the Grand View Hotel for four weeks, and if you have a sense of humour and appreciation of irreverence, satire, larrikinism then this exhibition is for you to enjoy.

The Grand View Hotel at night
The Grand View Hotel at night

Weather or not in Ireland

Weather-wise, on a good day Ireland can be magical but on a bad one, it can be just as dreary as anywhere else! Fortunately for this visit, the weather Gods were merciful, and the rain held off for most of the week.

Phyllis walking down memory lane at Dromagh
Phyllis walking down memory lane at Dromagh

Our purpose this visit was to spend time amongst our memories in the North Cork towns of Mallow and Kanturk. They did not disappoint.

Kanturk - off the beaten tourist track, but a nice base for our explorations
Kanturk – off the beaten tourist track, but a nice base for our family explorations

When the sun did shine, we did the tourist thing and visited Killarney and in particular, Muckross House: still one of my favourite places on earth.

Muckross House at Killarney
Muckross House at Killarney.

For me, it ranks with Stourhead, near Bath. (see blog of Bradford on Avon) for sheer grandeur.

The View from Muckross House
The View from Muckross House

Tomorrow, we will have finished stitching together our patchwork of memories and will head back to Australia and our normal daily lives in the present tense.

Ireland from the air
Ireland from the air

London Bitter Sweet

Kensington Gardens
Kensington Gardens

Part of the idea I had when I came to London this visit was just to sit in Kensington Gardens and watch the grass grow while sunning myself in the gentle English light.

Oxford Street in the rain
Oxford Street in the rain

However the sunny weather Phyllis and I had experienced last week in the west of England sadly did not accompany us eastward to London. Yet in many ways reaching the capital felt like coming home: the overfamiliar landmarks, the crowded trains of the underground, the public Laundromat,…and the bleak cold weather that heralded in the first days of the English ‘summer’.

Tube station on London's Underground
Tube station on London’s Underground

Being back in London again after I first arrived here 48 years ago was a bitter- sweet experience: it was wonderful for us to tread the footpaths of the West End once again, but sad to realise that our bodies just couldn’t manage them as they once did so easily.

We visited our old Boots shop in Victoria Street where we had both worked but found it to be overrun by a mass of building work. As if to give a nod to the old days, some of the buildings’ facades were being preserved, but little else.

Facade in Victoria development
Facade in Victoria development

However Phyllis’ former flat at 33 Moreton Place, Pimlico and mine at 10 Nevern Square, Earls Court remain unchanged, still slumbering quietly as they have done in our dreams.