(Jack Borey, Dunwich)

One of a large family of Boreys from Portuguese and Aboriginal parentage, Jack was to combine the navigational skills of his father, Johannes Borey, with his mother’s inherent Aboriginal knowledge of Moreton Bay. In the words of Ray Barrett, one of his closest friends, Jack practiced conservation in times when the word had not been popularised.  Ray explains:

“Jack had a fisherman’s eye and he could see fish in what was just empty water to my untrained eye.  I remember I was with Charlie Campbell at the One Mile on one occasion, when Jack predicted it was going to be an early winter.  When I asked him why, he pointed out all the hardigut mullet coming in.  I still couldn’t see any, but Jack estimated there were enough fish there to fill 150 cases.  When I urged them to go and get them immediately, Jack merely said that they’d still be there tomorrow.”

Jack and Ray often went fishing off Peel Island.  With the efficiency of a true pro, Jack would line up his marker points, drop the pick and even bait Ray’s hook, much to Ray’s disgust.  However, when he immediately pulled up a huge sweetlip, Ray’s enthusiasm was ignited.  When they had caught four such sweetlip, Jack thought it time to up anchor and go.

“But we’ve just got onto them,” protested Ray.

“Can you eat more than four?”

“No.  I’m flat out eating one.”

“Well, leave ’em down there, they keep fresher in moisture.”

So they took the four sweetlip which Jack reckoned would feed his family and Ray, went back to the One Mile, filleted the fish and collected four or five dozen oysters.  The fish-heads and backbones he would put into the cooking pot with the oysters to make a delicious soup.  Jack would never waste anything.

Often, Jack would take his whitie mate, or townie, as Ray describes himself then, on his walkabouts through the bush on Stradbroke.  There were no roads then, and walking on the hot sand at the back of Myora forced Ray to up the pace.

“Slooow down, Ray, sloow down,” Jack urged.


“You’ve got to come back.”

Jack was a real bushie.

On another walkabout Jack and Ray went into the scrub.  They had to cross the stream coming down from the Brown Lake and Jack said, much to Ray’s puzzlement: “We’ll cross on the wallaby pads.” Apparently, the wallabies laminated the long spindly grass growing beside the creek, and by laying them one on top of the other, they were able to hop across on top of the water.  Jack and Ray were able to emulate this practice by taking a run onto the pads and cross the short creek.

When townie Ray would get tired of walking, Jack would clear away the leaves to make a fire, cook up some snags, boil the billy, and tell Ray to have a sleep while he’d go off into the bush.  When Jack returned, he’d pour the remainder of the now cold tea over the fire and replace the leaves which he had carefully put to one side in exactly the same way that he had found them.

“In the old days,” Ray Barrett recalls. “Jack Borey and I would swim at Myora springs which then had a waterfall from Brown Lake.  Jack was able to point out the different age stratas in the Aboriginal middens there, but now, since someone built a cement causeway over the creek, it has silted up and the middens are ruined.  So much for so called progress.”

At about 8.30 pm on April 1st 1961, the launch “Jennifer” with members of the Maile family aboard was anchored about 400 yards (metres) from the Ropeway Jetty at Dunwich.  With little warning, a storm blew up with gale force winds of up to 50 knots.  Amid heavy rain and lightning, the launch was carried towards the jetty and was damaged against a pipeline.  After an unsuccessful attempt was made to get Dorothy Maile on to the jetty, Alfred (Junior) crawled along the pipeline to the shore to get assistance. At 11 pm, without regard for his own safety, Jack Borey took a small row-boat and rowed out to the “Jennifer”. Intending to try to tow the launch from its position under the pipeline, Jack tried to throw it a line but the heavy seas made this impossible.  He then rowed to a diesel yacht “Patricia T” which was anchored nearby.  He boarded the boat and, after explaining the situation to its occupants, was able to enlist their help. Eventually the “Patricia T” was able to attach a line to the “Jennifer” after it broke clear from the pipeline, and the drifting boat was towed into the jetty and tied up.

Recognising the risk to which Jack Borey subjected his life in the high wind and heavy seas, and the danger of his small dinghy being swamped with little chance of personal survival once being thrown into the heavy seas, a submission was made to the Royal Humane Society of Australasia that Jack’s courageous and resourceful action be recognised.  In 1962, Jack Borey was awarded the Society’s Certificate of Merit.                

Jack was always invited onto peoples’ boats because he knew where the fish were.  He never refused, and he could never do enough to help them.  On shore, Jack was a member of the Royal Antediluvian Order of Buffaloes’ Bayview Lodge 99 (being its secretary from November 1952 until December 1953) then the Stradbroke Lodge 142 at Dunwich. As well as comradeship, he advanced to its highest order, the ROH.

Jack Borey died on the 28th September 1979 and is buried in the picturesque cemetery beside the water at Dunwich. “When Jack died,” recalls Ray Barrett, his lifelong friend.” he was 63, the age at which I am now, and it was a great loss to both the island and to humanity.” Just offshore from the cemetery, at the entrance to the One Mile, the Jack Borey Beacon still remains a constant memorial to the unselfish contribution to bay life of John Henry Benjamin Borey, one of Nature’s gentlemen.

View of Peel Island from the Dunwich cemetery 1986 (photo Peter Ludlow)

Extract from Moreton Bay People – The Complete Collection’.


(Ray Barrett, Dunwich)

When the Queensland Cruising Yacht Club was formed, fashioned after its Sydney counterpart, yachting here was dominated by Doug Drouyn who ran a music shop called Drouyn and Drouyn.  His boat was a double ender which he sailed in the Sydney Hobart Race, and when he returned to Brisbane, he, Ray, and others started the QCYC, on the premise that it only takes two boats to have a race. Then they started the Brisbane to Gladstone race. “In those days, we were farmers, really, and how we ever made it to Gladstone I’ll never know.  We started at Humpybong, and it was a matter of leaving the bay and turning left.” Freddie Markwell was another of the early participants.

When Ray left for London at the end of 1958 to try to break into films overseas, he sold his boat “Countess” to fellow yachting enthusiast, Noel Stanaway. The only film work Ray had done at that stage was a TV show with Spike Milligan in Sydney. Whilst in London he did the “Troubleshooters” series, and became a well-known face on TV screens around the world.  Although the work was high pressure, it suited him because he was able to have three months off at a time to sight-see around Europe.   A floor manager at the film studios had a house on a Spanish island and offered it to Ray to have a break from filming.  He immediately fell in love with the place, bought a block of land nearby, and built his own home there.  He still owns it to this day.

Insert image Ray-Barrett-pic

Actor, Ray Barrett

 When Ray returned to Brisbane in the 1970s, he was visiting his brother’s boat showroom at Breakfast Creek.  It so happened that Noel Stanaway was in the showroom at the same time.  They got talking about the fun that each had had on the “Countess” during their respective years of ownership, and Ray wondered where she had ended up.  Remarkably Noel had just seen her sail past on Breakfast Creek on the way to Tripcony’s slip. Thirty-five years had elapsed since Ray had begun building the “Countess”, so after a few beers at the Breakfast Creek pub to fortify his nerve, Ray ventured round to the slip to see if Noel was right.  Sure enough he was!  There was a fellow underneath the boat painting its bottom.

“Who owns it?” Ray asked him.

“Got her up for sale,” was the reply. “It’s got a good bottom in it, you know.”

“Yes, I know.  I built it.”

The fellow’s mouth fell open “You Ray Barrett?”

Ray nodded, and the fellow went into Tripcony’s shed and came out with spars, and the old stainless-steel bolt which a German toolmaker had made for Ray during the war.  He gave them to Ray as souvenirs.

Ray’s son, Reggie, was then about 5 or 6, and Ray bought the “Countess” back for him.  He’d always had a painting of it in his bedroom in London. The pair used to bring it over to Dunwich where they kept it on the bank at the One Mile, and they would come over and go fishing on it. They cruised all around the bay and met a lot of people.  It was a great thrill for Ray to take his son out on the boat he had built some 40 years previously.  When Ray’s work forced him to move away from Brisbane again, he didn’t want to leave the “Countess” rotting on some bank, so he gave it to the girls’ Sea Rangers at Sandgate to use as their mother ship, and as far as he knows, it is still there today.

Later, when Ray returned again from overseas, he lived in Brisbane.  He’d sold his house in London, and he decided to buy a boat here, called the “Odette”.   He met his second wife, Gay, through sailing in Sydney, and they used to visit Dunwich regularly on the “Odette” to see Ray’s boating friends.  Ray had often thought that he would like to live at Dunwich, and it so happened that this property was on the market.  The pair bought it as soon as they saw it. He also had a mooring at the One Mile. It had been his original intention to stay in Australia only for six months, and perhaps do some fishing up the reef.  But the film industry here was going through a resurgence at that stage, and he was offered a lot of work, so he decided to stay on.  

During these later years as a resident of Dunwich, Ray and his wife have taken up the cudgel to ensure that progress doesn’t destroy the intrinsic nature of North Stradbroke Island.  As a member of Water Watchers, he’s added his high profile to the islanders’ negotiations with the Redland Shire Council to prevent the council pumping Stradbroke water to the mainland. “All these islands are sand islands with huge reserves of subterranean waters.  Pumping them away is likely to interfere with the freshwater swamps upon which so much of the island’s fauna and flora depend.  There were well over 100 Stradbroke residents who turned up at the Dunwich hall.  But even as we negotiated with the council, the council had already laid the pipes.”

Ray also supports SIMO (Stradbroke Island Management Organization) and FOSI (Friends of Stradbroke Island) and is ever willing to make a resounding speech on their behalf.  Other conservation measures also concern him: “I know that trawlers have to earn a living, but I am against them dropping their nets at the One Mile which upsets the young crustaceans, and spawning grounds.  Ellie (Durbidge) and I think it would be marvellous to stop all trawling inside the bay for 3 or 4 years to give everything a chance to regenerate.  The trawlers don’t seem to be doing so much netting of late, so our protests must be doing some good.  My young son just recently came back from the Dunwich jetty with the biggest bream I’ve seen in years, so it has given me heart that there is still some hope for the fisherman in the bay.

“Up at Myora beyond the springs they want to put a huge sandpumping pipeline all across the Fish Habitat to the deep water of Rainbow Channel. You can imagine the shipping constantly coming up there would ruin the fish habitat. The Myora Fish Habitat was declared on the 23rd of January 1969.  It was Queensland’s first habitat reserve, and now they are in danger of destroying it.

“From the One Mile all the way to the Point at Myora beacon, all the sandy flats are full of crabs and yabbies.  Mangroves line the shore.  The mangrove must by the most amazing tree in the world.  The leaves drop and rot, and the roots aerate and cleanse the soil, so much depends on them.  Arthur Borey was one of the older fraternity who had arranged to show three Redland Council engineers the swamps and danger areas.  The engineers never even bothered to turn up.”

            On the way back to the ferry, Ray shows me Jack Borey’s grave in the picturesque cemetery overlooking the water. Nearby is the site of Bonty Dickson’s first shop, on the bank of the creek just beside the present caravan park.  The shop was just a corrugated iron shed, two roomed, with a counter with a piece of corrugated iron which he held up with a stick.  He had a pianola in the shop although it had only a mud floor, and the rum would be passed around and there would be great sing songs whenever Ray came down.

Bonty Dickson’s store at Dunwich (photo courtesy Ray Cowie)

Extract from Moreton Bay People – The Complete Collection’.

The Dunwich Benevolent Asylum

Dunwich Benevolent Asylum early 1900s (photo Antony Love)

The asylum’s function was not to help the weak and crippled but to hide them, the outcasts of society “whom nobody owned”. There were other asylums in Moreton Bay: the prison at St Helena, and the quarantine station and later the leprosarium at Peel Island.

The Dunwich Benevolent Asylum operated from 1865 until 1946 to provide support for those who could not look after themselves, particularly the aged but also epileptics, alcoholics, and those suffering from TB. By the 1920s there were 22 wards with 800 beds for male inmates and 7 wards with 150 beds for females. Another 150 men were in tents. A total of 21,000 inmates were housed there over the period of the institution.

The Queensland Government supply steamer ‘Otter’ visited Dunwich twice a week on Tuesdays and Thursdays with supplies and visitors for the institution. As well as Dunwich, the ‘Otter’ also serviced the prison at St Helena and the leprosarium at Peel while they were in operation.

Visitors to the Benevolent Asylum paid a shilling (10 cents) for the round trip, leaving at 7am from Brisbane at William Street, just near the Victoria Bridge, down the Brisbane River and calling in at St Helena and then Peel Island. Then the boat sailed on to Dunwich where it stayed for about two hours.  This gave relatives time to visit residents or walk around the area.  Then the Otter returned to Brisbane at North Quay, arriving at 6 pm.

The Otter at Dunwich Jetty (Photo courtesy Ossie Fischer)

As well as providing accommodation for the inmates, the asylum provided employment for many of the Aboriginal population of Stradbroke, and when the institution was closed and shifted to what was to become Eventide at Sandgate, many of the island’s former employees were left without work.

Prelude to Peel Island’s Lazaret

In Queensland, the first case recording symptoms resembling those of Leprosy was in 1855, a Chinaman, Oun Tsar, at the Brisbane Hospital.  He was to die in 1859 ‑ undiagnosed. At this time, too, the hospital was recording many cases of Islander “Toe Disease”.  Leprosy once again diagnosed incorrectly. 

 For the next 35 years there was a steady increase in the number of reported Leprosy cases, all confined to Chinese and Islander immigrants, and the aborigines who “caught anything”. By 1889, although the public at large still thought Leprosy to be a “foreigner’s disease”, the Government deemed it prudent to segregate some Chinese cases at Cooktown.  The following year, an official Leper Station was established there. 

     The notion of Leprosy as purely a foreigner’s disease was dispelled in 1892 when a Queensland born white by the name of Quigley contracted the disease.  After being kept in forced isolation in a tent for six months at the Brisbane Hospital, the Government sought to legalize such segregation by passing the Queensland Leprosy Act of 1892. This Act formalized the detention and segregation of all those suffering from Leprosy in special areas known as lazarets or Leprosariums.  Coloured patients were sent to Friday Island in the Thursday Island Group.  White patients went to Dunwich on Stradbroke Island. 

Queensland Lazarets (The coloured patients were transferred from Peel Island to Fantome Island in 1940)

The following article from The Week newspaper of 4 November 1904 reflects the terms and thinking of that era:

Lepers Going to Friday Island

General Clearing Up

Recently the Home Department felt that owing to the slight increase in leprosy among the kanakas of the State, it was desirable to collect the patients and send them to Friday Island, where the lazarette for coloured races has long been established. There were two coloured lepers at Dunwich, two came from Bundaberg on Monday, three from remote parts of the State, and there are three yet to be brought down from the northern coast. So far all those who have arrived in Brisbane have been placed on board the auxiliary schooner Rio Loge, where they will be kept until the remaining patients arrive before being taken to the lazarette on Friday Island. The official number of black lepers are set down as males, 9; females, 1.

The idea is to rid the State of this collection of leprosy in one shipload instead of segregating the patients at different towns. If is likely that the Rio Loge will be ready to sail for Friday Island at an early date.

Doctor Horace Tozer, Superintendent of the Dunwich Benevolent Asylum, was placed in charge of both Leprosariums.

By 1906 there were 21 inmates at the Dunwich lazaret which was housed in buildings adjacent to the Asylum’s Men’s Quarters to the south.  As had been the practice for some years, the dull lives of the Asylum’s inmates had been brightened by the theatrical performances of the Postmaster, a certain Mr Agnew and his son Noel (“Laddie”).  The lazaret patients were also allowed to attend.  Little heed was paid to the close contact between the Leprosy patients and the old folk until Noel Agnew contracted the disease.  It was then that the Government decided on total segregation of the Hansen’s patients and they were moved to a new lazaret in the north western corner of nearby Peel Island.

The Peel Island lazaret opened in 1907 with the segregation of 17 white patients.  Not only were they segregated from society but also from each other according to sex, race, and form of the disease.  Later in the year, their number was swelled by the transfer of the 40 coloured patients from the Friday Island lazaret after its closure.

(Extract from ‘Peel Island History – A Personal Quest)

Working on the ‘Otter’ 

22.05.2021 – Working on the Otter 

The Otter at Dunwich Jetty (Photo courtesy Ossie Fischer)

The Otter was the supply ship for the old people’s home (Benevolent Asylum) at Dunwich on North Stradbroke Island. It had previously also been the supply ship for the prison at St Helena but this had closed a few years prior to the war. However, the ringbolts for the shackles for the prisoners’ chains were still in the forward cabin in the forecastle, which was part of our quarters. There were also two long forms on either side where the prisoners sat in their chains while being transported to St Helena.

Dunwich was our regular run, on Tuesday and Thursday. We would load up with stores on Monday, leave at 7 am on Tuesday. Passengers who were visiting relatives at the old people’s home at Dunwich had to be aboard by a quarter to seven, and it used to cost them 1/- (one shilling, or 10 cents in today’s money) for the round trip. The Otter left Brisbane just near Victoria Bridge. We’d unload the stores at Dunwich and return to Brisbane by 5pm. The trip itself took about 3-4 hours. On Wednesday, we’d load stores again and make another trip on Thursday, same conditions. On Fridays we would clean up. Everything had to be scrubbed and the brass polished.

At Dunwich there were rail tracks along the jetty and the stores would be transported along these from the shed at the end of the wharf where they were stowed as they were unloaded. We also supplied stores for the Lazaret (Leprosarium) at nearby Peel Island. However, the Otter was too big for its jetty so their launch, the Karboora, would have to come over when the Otter berthed and collect their stores from the end of the jetty at Dunwich. Bonty Dickson was the skipper of the Karboora at that time.

What was interesting was that we also used to bring back the bodies of the old people who had died at Dunwich. We would load the coffins onto the top deck onto big stools. It wasn’t a very pleasant job because if the person had died on Friday and had to wait until we bought them back on Tuesday, the body liquids would have started to seep out of the coffin. We used to have to hose the deck down afterwards. In spite of this, working on the Otter was a very good job – probably one of the best jobs I ever had and I liked it very much. It was lovely trip down the river and across Moreton Bay. I was working on the Otter when the war finished because I remember going up to town with another deckhand, Alan Nagel, for the celebrations on VJ Day. However, I left about a month after that. 

During much of the war, Otter had been on examination service, where she used to meet vessels incoming to Brisbane. However, by the latter stages of the war, when I worked on her, all the war’s fighting had moved further north towards Japan and she was back on the service to the old people’s home at Dunwich. After the war, the Otter was getting old and her condition and the expense of servicing Dunwich were given as reasons for shifting the old people’s home to Sandgate. However, there was a lot of politics involved. I myself thought that Dunwich was a very pleasant place for the old people. Most people seemed to enjoy being there and their relatives could enjoy a beautiful trip down the bay to see them – for just one shilling!

Alex King with a dredger bucket at the Maritime Museum

(Extract from ‘The Port of Brisbane, Its People and Its Personalities’)

A Visit to Minjerribah (Stradbroke Island)

This week, as part of a group from the Redlands National Trust, I paid a visit to Goompi (Dunwich) on Minjerribah (Stradbroke Island). The ferry schedule was the only timetable I needed there, for at Minjerribah, everything goes by island time. Well perhaps I shouldn’t even call it time – it’s more a feeling of relaxation. For time stops at the jetty. 

Right across the road from the jetty is Goompi’s famous Cemetery which contains the graves of the ill-fated passengers and crew of the Emigrant who died of typhus in 1850; the graves of 8,000 of the former inmates of the Benevolent Asylum (Old Peoples Home); as well as Aborigines (First Nation People). People of all types in the cemetery made equal in death.

Dr Ballow and Dr Mitchell still overlooking the graves of their Emigrant cares

Nearby were the graves of John and Mary Cassim whom I wrote about in my recent post of 10.04.2021 (Where’s Toondah? – Part 2). And right next door, my personal connection to the cemetery, the grave of Dr Frank Carroll, who came to our rescue in 1978 when our daughter had a severe asthma attack in the middle of the night – twice.

The grave of Mary and John Cassim
The grave of Dr Frank Carroll

Our main quest however was a visit to the North Stradbroke Island Historical Museum.

In 1992, I interviewed Ellie Durbidge for my proposed book ‘Moreton Bay People’. The following extract concerns her involvement with the setting up of the museum at Dunwich:

‘When the North Stradbroke Historical Museum Association was formed and incorporated, Ellie presented the museum with an aboriginal axe as its first catalogued exhibit.  Since then, they have started a day book which one day will be computerized. 

‘When the old Queensland museum was moving to its new premises at South Brisbane, the Association wrote to them asking for old shelving and metal cabinets for storage. After being palmed off by various departments, it went to the old building itself, selected its furniture, had it fumigated and took it away. By similar direct negotiations, the Association obtained cataloguing drawers from the Redland Shire Council, and exhibits such as a Convict‑built bed from the Dunwich Benevolent Asylum, and an old telephone from the Post Office.  Then the museum asked the Earl of Stradbroke for permission to use his crest.  Not only did he consent, but he came for the opening and offered the use of videos about his family as a means of raising funds. 

‘With promises from the Redland Shire Council to restore a building given by Consolidated Rutile, and with the donation of a large private collection of aboriginal artifacts, the future success of the museum seems assured.’

The North Stradbroke Island Historical Museum

At the museum, there are a range of permanent displays about the Quandamooka people, convict history, shipwrecks and maritime history, the story of sandmining on the island, as well as lots of photos of the old fishing shacks, boats and buses that helped kick off the tourism industry on Minjerribah. There is also a room dedicated to sharing the story of the Dunwich Benevolent Asylum, and they have a range of photographs and documents to assist family historians.

After morning tea, Howard Gill gave a lecture about the island’s history. Here are the main points:

  • Aboriginal population prior to occupation estimated at 600-800 on Mulgumpin (Moreton Island) and 800 on Minjerribah (Stradbroke Island). BY the end of the 19th century total for both islands reduced to under 200
  • The convicts Pamphlett, Parsons, and Finnegan were cared for the Aborigines in 1823
  • A pilot station was established at Pulan Pulan (Amity) in 1825 and a garrison and trans shipping station at Goompi (Dunwich) in 1827
  • Armed conflict most prominent 1831-1932 led to the withdrawal of the garrison
  • Mulgumpin ‘cleared’ of Aborigines in 1847 with around 40 killings
  • Moongalba Mission established at Myora 1893 (came under Protection Act in 1897) closed 1943
  • Its residents moved to One Mile which in 2018 still lacks reticulated services

We then walked to the one remaining ward from the Benevolent Asylum (Ward 13) which was built in the 1890s. It is currently in the process of nomination to the Queensland Heritage Register. It will join Dunwich Hall, St Marks Church, and cemetery as State Heritage.

On our return walk to the ferry we glimpsed the convict built rock causeway and the privy pit – the only two remaining remnants of early convict occupation.

Rocks from the convict built causeway are still to be seen

Conveniently situated beside the jetty is the Little Ships Club where we had lunch and a beer while waiting for the ferry’s timetable to kick in and take us back to the mayhem of mainland life.

Incidentally, Minjerribah translates as place of mosquitoes, but I didn’t see any that day.

Working at Dunwich (Noel Brown)

My father, Mark Brown

My grandfather, George Brown, was a descendant of Fernandez Gonzales, a ‘Manila man’ who Tom Welsby once described as ‘the Patriarch of Moreton Bay’. George married Granny Mubue, an Aborigine from the mainland, and their children included my father, Markwell “Mark” George Brown, and my five aunts Daisy Campbell, Tilly Martin, Ethel Close, Vera Perry, and Mabel Brown (she remained unmarried). Our family lived at the Two Mile, which as the name implies was a community situated two miles north of Dunwich. Mark Brown, my father, worked at the old people’s institution at Dunwich as an engineer. He looked after the gas and steam engines there.

Apart from fishing and oystering, the old people’s Institution was the only source of employment for the people of Stradbroke Island. So, when it closed down in about 1947, my father worked at the Lazaret (leprosarium) on Peel Island just across the water from Dunwich. He remained working there until the sand mining started up on Stradbroke Island. At this stage our family moved from the Two Mile to Dunwich. My father worked for the mining in the carpenters’ shop until he retired and went to live at Southport.

Noel Brown

I went to school in Dunwich and when I left, I worked with Bonty Dickson, one of the personalities of Stradbroke and who later became its first Councillor. I worked with him on his oyster leases, then started boat building with him. One of the things I remember about Bonty was that he rode a three-wheeled bike.

Bonty Dickson’s store at Dunwich (photo courtesy Ray Cowie)

When the sand mines started up, I worked on the dredge on Main Beach. The dredge was used to pump the sand mix into the separating towers where the heavy mineral sands were separated from ordinary sand by centrifugal force. Then I helped put through the ropeway from Main Beach to Dunwich, via the Blue Lake and the 18 Mile Swamp. This ropeway (wire) was to transport the mineral sand in buckets across Stradbroke Island to Dunwich from where it was taken by barge to Brisbane and thence overseas.

The company mining the mineral sands then was called Tazi, which was located at Tazitown on the 18-mile swamp. This is now called Con Rutile. Now (1996) there are two sand companies, one at Dunwich (Con [Consolidated] Rutile) and the other at Amity Point.

 (Editor: Consolidated Rutile was a fixed mining operation on North Stradbroke Island with a workforce of up to 150 men housed in accommodation centered at Dunwich. The mineral concentrates were barged to Meeandah near Brisbane airport for separation into heavy mineral components.)

D9 Bulldozers hitched up to move a section of the plant on N.Stradbroke c.1976 (Photo courtesy Felix Fries)

Noel Brown, Southport, 1996

(Extract from Peter Ludlow’s book ‘Moreton Bay People 2012’ (now out of print)

(Editor: Sand mining ceased on Stradbroke Island in 2019).

Stories from Stradbroke Island – 1 – The Lost Beer Keg

A beer keg similar to that lost by the Buffaloes.

The kegs were being loaded at Cleveland on a wet and windy Friday night onto the Flirt to be consigned to the Buffaloes’ Stradbroke Lodge. One keg had been carried down the stairs of the Paxton Street Jetty and placed on the landing prior to being loaded. The other keg was being carried down the steps when the carrier slipped in the wet conditions and the keg he was carrying knocked the first keg, so that both kegs finished in the Bay. The Lodge advertised to let it be known that finders could have the contents as long as the Lodge got the kegs back, because there was a £7 deposit on each keg. One was returned very promptly but the other remained missing for some time until a party returning from Cleveland to Dunwich found the keg embedded on Cassim Island and which had been exposed by a very low tide. The contents were said to be in good condition.

Story by Ben Coghill, Dunwich

(Extract from Peel Island History – A personal Quest)

BOHEMIA – An Agnew Family Odyssey now showing at the Redland Museum.

The association of the Agnew family with Moreton Bay began with the appointment of Philip Palmer Agnew as a Government Clerk and Telegraph Officer at the Dunwich Benevolent Asylum (Old People’s Home) in 1894, a position he held until his retirement in 1917. Philip became involved in the presentation of musical productions at the newly opened Victoria Hall for the Residents of the Dunwich Benevolent Asylum and the Lazaret (Leprosarium), which was to the south of Dunwich. The cast consisted of the members of his family, inmates, and community. He named the troop ‘The Koompie Minstrels’. The Agnew’s home was called ‘Bohemia’ a name well suited to the family’s artistic talents.

Noel Agnew entertaining one of his sisters.

The Agnew’s world was rocked when their youngest son Noel, or ‘Laddie’ as he was affectionately known, contracted leprosy (Hansen’s Disease). This proved a catalyst for the sufferers on Stradbroke Island to be relocated to nearby Peel Island in 1907 for fear the disease would spread to the greater island population. Noel was to become one of the first and longest serving patients in the lazaret’s 52 year history. He used his time in forced isolation to record a highly detailed record of the bird life of Peel Island (76 species in total), which was published in the RAQU Journal The Emu in 1913. A further list was published in The Emu in 1921.

Between 1921 and 1923, a brief remission from the disease enabled Noel to return to his family in Dunwich. Unfortunately, the symptoms returned, and eventually the disease claimed his eyesight and the use of his hands and he was bedridden. Laddie died in 1937 and was buried in the Peel Island cemetery. Philip Palmer Agnew also died in 1937, three months after the death of his son, Noel.

The exhibition, which honours several generations of the pioneering, artistic and benevolent Agnew family, continues at the Redland Museum through until the end of February 2018.