“For about seven weeks (during the Depression) I was shovelling black mineral sands at Tug Creek on the east side (of Moreton); not for money, for tucker. It must have been the first sand mining in Queensland and I don’t think anybody really knew about it. The only trouble was the stuff had to go to America to be electronically separated.”
Harry Wadsworth, “King” of Moreton.
“In 1969, I was working for Bruce Hope doing offshore drilling for mineral sands in Moreton Bay. We were camped at Cowan on a concrete block beside the house of Harry and Jessie Wadsworth. We had a big diesel generator (ex army) which we used to run for our refrigerators etc. Harry had been having trouble starting his clanky old generator, so we offered them our electricity. We got very friendly with them and Jess was always bringing us fish cakes and other culinary delights. Harry had a lawn out the front of their house on which he used to play bowls. He used to challenge us to a game, and always won because he knew every bump!”
Jason Hassard, Offshore Driller.
“Australia is such a vast continent, and the mineral wealth in Queensland is so great, why can’t they leave a little island like Moreton for the people to enjoy? If they have granted 90 percent of it as National Park, why not the lot? We don’t want it mined, but if it’s going to go ahead we will just have to put up with it, I suppose.”
Jessie Wadsworth, “Queen” of Moreton, conversation 1981.
“In the sugar season which started in the first week in August, they used to run sugar from Steiglitz. The cane was equally divided between Jimmy Gibson who owned the fruit boats and the Kleinschmidt’s. Jimmy had the run up the Albert and Logan Rivers to get the rum in the “Ivanhoe” and the “Roo”. The old “Ivanhoe” had been requisitioned by the military during WWII and was subsequently blown up. After the war, Jimmy bought the “Brither” which became the new “Ivanhoe”. He was later killed in the vessel in an accident while loading cargo.
“A depot was built by Scott Moffatt just before WWII alongside the Kleinschmidt’s at Southport to handle the mineral sand mined on the beaches from Broadbeach to Fingal. The depot was called MDS (Mineral Deposits Southport). They used to separate all their sand there. They had massive vibrating tables to separate out the sand and you couldn’t sit at the table in our house next door while they were working. Just after the war, Kleinschmidt’s started transporting mineral sand in bags from Dunwich to Southport using the “S’port”. After separation, the sand was sent back to Brisbane and over to Yankiland. The crew on the “S’port” was dad, Dot and Nancy Mackie. When this folded the MDS barge (owned by Riverside Coal) took over and this was towed by the “Ena” but it took too long and used to run aground. The channels used to change.
“After WWII the “Florant” came back from war service at Thursday Island. The two Huth boys and Rudi were still working her for a couple of years from 1947 until 1949. Then the Huth’s sold out and the firm became the “Kleinschmidt Brothers”. Then in 1950 we came into the picture and Kleinschmidt put it to dad we go 60/40, so the firm became Willoughby and Company, the Willoughby’s being George Senior, Tom, George Junior, and with myself on the payroll as a deckhand. They’d taken the “S’port” off the Southport run in about 1948/49 and had her towing the “Stockton”, an ex-refrigeration barge from the war. The “Florant” was left on the Southport run. This finished in 1952 when we gave it away and Kleinschmidt sold out to Bay Transport which was owned by Aubrey Matthews. After 1952 I spent 39 years in gravel on the Brisbane River, mainly on the “Maid of Sker” from 1952 to 1975.”