History Snippets – by Warwick Outram

Old timers said, “After Bongaree was subdivided in 1912, in these two streets, Banya and Foster, lived the majority of permanent residents.”
With formed bitumen streets, it is hard for us to visualise that in prewar Queensland its most successful tourist destination had only sand tracks running between trees. In that era, camping at the seaside was the most popular type of holiday and on the island, there was only one or maybe two private cars in addition to company owned buses that ran from Bongaree Jetty to Woorim. This resort at Bribie Island was the dream of the Directors of James Campbell and Sons who set out to establish a healthy seaside resort within a few hours steaming from the centre of Brisbane. As saw millers they had a range of prefabricated homes, the smallest they named ‘Bribie’ and sold and erected here several of these cottages. James Campbell and Sons were part owners of Moreton Bay Tug and Steamship Co. Ltd. Toward the end of the nineteenth century, their ships were bringing a few people to Bribie, and Artie Bestmann would ferry the passengers ashore in his punt. Based on this nucleus they ordered a special purpose-built ship from Scotland and the SS Koopa arrived in Brisbane December 1911, licensed to carry 1600 passengers and freight from Brisbane to Bribie Island, calling at Redcliffe en-route.