Like Peel Island’s ‘Hole in the Wall’ Russell Island’s ‘Giant’s Grave’ has long been an easily designated favourite haunt for the fishermen of Moreton Bay.
David Willes, a descendant of John Willes the original European pioneer of Russell Island writes: ‘The Giant’s Grave used to be quite a landmark for the old mariners. Situated on the western side of Russell, just north of Brown’s Bay, this large mound of tree covered earth bore resemblance to the grave of an imagined giant.’
Of the Giant’s Grave Joshua Peter Bell writes in his book ‘Moreton Bay and .How to Fathom It’ : ‘This is simply a large, grave-like mound of earth and rock rising somewhat surprisingly from the partial swamp around it. Doubtless of natural origin.’
Steamboat Ken (alias Ken Goodman) writes in his monthly column for the Bay Island News of September 2016: Fellow Islanders, how many of you have heard of or visited the Giant’s Grave on Russell Island? It has intrigued people ever since being reported by Moreton Bay historian Thomas Welsby in 1907. An old oyster gatherer Jack Wall had a camp at the spot for many moons, but I’ll let Tom Welsby do the talking. In his book ‘Schnappering’. Tom says that 30 or 40 feet (9 to 12 metres) above Wall’s camp ‘there rises a curious lengthened mound or knoll. Standing on the southern end, one looks across from Little Rocky to Big Rocky…all appearing to run in the same direction, almost due south or a little west of south. The Giant’s Grave is a some 10 to 12 feet (3 to 3.6 metres) in height, about 20 feet (6 metres) or a little more across, and maybe 80 or 90 yards (73 or 82 metres) in length. The surface consists of pale red-coloured pebbles, with vines and small shrubs growing profusely. Towards the end, dipping in towards the island, there are a few fair-sized trees – the extreme part giving a view of lagoonish-watery country, that might grow something other than mosquitoes and flies, but I think not. One might pass this grave formation and take no heed. Nature’s formation of the mound is indeed curious, yet there it stands in summer boating days and winter’s silence.’
Ken Goodman continues: You need high water to get to the Giant’s Grave by sea. Heading south from the old salt works on Macleay Island towards Rocky Point, when abreast of Brown’s Bay on Russell Island on your portside, swing in towards the northern edge of said bay. The western tip of the bay’s curve is the location of the Giant’s Grave (as marked with an arrow on the accompanying map. Since then, about 40 feet of ground has gone between high water and the grave). Have a look sometime, examine it and wonder at what’s beneath this mound. But don’t linger on your high tide because Browns Bay dries at low water.