Today we went to Bribie Island; with an open ended time schedule, we headed off with lunch packed in the eski and maps of the entire Moreton Bay on hand. We had few expectations and little fore-knowledge other than understanding that the island lay just over twenty kilometres due east of us and that most of it was inaccessible to us, despite the bridge connection.
We spent about six hours on the island and have spoken of the possibility of returning whilst in the area, so needless to say, it more than met expectations.
|Back across Pumicestone Passage|
Of the whole area, 148 square kilometres, over fifty five square kilometres is national park and about another third of the island taken up with forestry plantations. The national park was established in 1994 and is accessible only by permit. Camping areas are at a premium at this time of the year, so had we wanted to drag the caravan up through the soft sandy tracks, we would have been unlikely to find space.
The southern section of the island where the national park does not work its geographical fingers, is densely populated, with a surprising 17,057 souls counted in the 2011 census, living in 9,574 dwellings, an average household of 2.2 persons, giving credence to our observations today; over half the population are over fifty five years old, in contrast to the median age of all Australians of thirty seven years; interesting is it not?
These mature folk live in the main suburbs of Bongaree, named after Matthew Flinders aboriginal guide who travelled here in 1799 mistaking Bribie Island for the mainland, Woorim, home to the token surf beach, and Bellara and Banksia Beach which boast the most delightful residential areas around a myriad of canals.
|Can't get enough of these birds|
Permanent settlement of the island did not really occur until the beginning of the 20th century. In 1901 a fish cannery was opened at the northern end of the island. Holiday makers came in their thousands from Brisbane for day trips, and campers for holidays. A school was opened in the 1920s at about the same time as a telephone link and a bowling club. By then a car ferry barge was operating but it was not until 1963 that the connecting bridge was constructed and duly opened for business.
At Banksia Beach, we wandered one way and then the other along the esplanade, admiring the wonderful birdlife including the now identified Eastern Curlews, probing the sandy shore with their long curved ibis-like beaks. Bright coloured parrots darted about the trees through the parks and we heard the first of the days thunder, rumbling about to the north. From here, looking to the north west, the odd silhouettes of the Glass House Mountains stood above the hazy horizon; they really are a fascinating sight.
Heading south again, we stopped at the Community Arts Centre, closed today, but still offering parking space for those wanting to walk along the edge of the National Park. Here we took the Banksia Trail, along a narrow sandy track through low grass trees and open banksia woods. It was late morning and the day was heating up, more from the humidity than the actual temperature; it was still only about 30 degrees.
|Along the Banksia Trail|
Here at Woorim there is evidence of the important role Bribie Island played during the last World War. Not only were fortifications constructed as part of the defence of South East Queensland, but the area was evacuated of residents and used as a training zone for Australian soldiers.
Today dozens upon dozens of holiday makers were enjoying this charming beach, so suitable for children, fishermen, and boaties. Elderly folk on mobility scooters sped along the footpath, flags flying, and we chuckled to think that we might do the same in another twenty or forty years. We popped into the Scottish Restaurant for a refreshing soft serve before heading back across to the mainland and toward home.
|After a little rain, from our camp|
This evening the skies have finally opened up, although not to the extent they have further afield. There have been reports of flash flooding and lifted roofs; we were just glad to have the temperatures drop. There were apparently 15,000 lightning strikes around here within two hours, a gobsmacking fact until Chris assured me that lightning strikes all about the place all the time. I still think that was amazing.
There are still strong wind warnings featuring across the screen but I do think we have had the worst of it. The ditch running behind us, busy with grazing ibis when we returned to camp this afternoon, is now a deep creek, but I suspect it will be dry again by morning.