Evelyn Jarvis(nee Day) writes…
Frank Day married Sylvia Campbell (daughter of Robert Perkins Campbell) on May 6, 1914. They started their married life together on Bribie Island. I, Evelyn, was their first born of four children. Dad worked for Colin Clark. He was manager over the Kanakas who worked the oyster banks at Toorbul Point. They then shifted to Amity Point where he went fishing with his brother-in-law, Bob Campbell when the sea mullet were in season. Owing to ill health he took on oystering on Moreton Island in the 1920s from which he sold cultured oysters until World War II broke out and Moreton Island was closed to everything except military operations. For four years he worked with the Water Transport Board. Dad had a forty foot boat, the “Valiant” and it was commissioned by the army to carry all their food, ammunition, and supplies which had arrived at Amity Point from Brisbane aboard the “Mirimar” to ship them across the South Passage Bar into Day’s Gutter. The Army called it Day’s Gutter because that was where he lived when they took over. His boat was also used for towing large target boards out over the South Passage Bar for practice shooting. The boards did a lot of tossing through the rough waves.
Mum and dad’s home became the Army Hospital and it was declared an official hospital the day the first sick soldier was brought in. The telephone had been installed before the war at dad’s home and a line connected to the lighthouse at Cape Moreton, so he was given the job of Post Master of Moreton Island, as all the calls had to come through him.
The Red Cross ship “Centaur” was sunk by a small Japanese sub. Only one person, a nurse, survived. She swam to the beach on Moreton Island. Mum and dad were then told to be prepared in case they had to leave the island. One small house was made into a shop where the Army would buy cigarettes and tinned goods, and the soldiers were not allowed to go further North than our place. Dad’s house was named “Whimberel”, the proper name for the Curlew.
Fred Eager (of Eagers Car Sales) was a regular visitor to Moreton Island, coming over in his boat “Tangalooma”. He had a truck parked in a shed next to the house, which they would drive to the outside beach to go fishing. Once, while they were out there, the “Tangalooma” started to drag anchor, and Bobby my brother went out to secure her from running aground, for which Fred Eager gave him a watch in appreciation. He also gave dad a double-barrelled shotgun, which became his pride and joy.
I can remember dad telling me that there was a beacon marking the entrance to Day’s Gutter where he has seen the clear water turn pink from so many Schnapper swimming around it. After the war, the oyster banks died out from not being worked, so he set about to restock them, but with declining prices for oysters it was not worth the effort, so he sold up and moved to Southport where he managed the oyster banks for the Moreton Bay Oyster Company, coming back to Moreton Island in later years to live there until his death on May 15, 1976.
Evelyn Jarvis, June 2002
(Extract from Moreton Bay Letters Peter Ludlow 2003)