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Large Sawfish, Groupers and Sharks caught off Redcliffe

Updated: Feb 29

Comparing catches - Woody Point Jetty c.1913 - Photo John Oxley Library

The giant grouper has a wide distribution throughout the tropical waters of the Indo-West Pacific. One of the largest recorded was 9.8 feet (3 m) and weighed more than 882 lbs

Photos from our Pictorial History of Redcliffe Book 1824-1949 - available to purchase at the following link:

The following photo is titled as a Grouper in Redcliffe c.1909, however we think this is Redcliffe in West Australia, as there are Lobsters in the shop window in the background.

Woody Point fishing:

Thurecht Jetty Scarborough:

Darling Downs Gazette Thursday 11th January 1912 Page 4

Shark at Redcliffe

At Redcliffe the well known holiday resort, this week a large number of persons, including a well known Toowoomba citizen were bathing, when a full-sized shark was seen swimming towards them. Fortunately the Toowoomba citizen saw the shark approaching and at once warned the other swimmers. Beyond a little excitement nothing startling happened and all swimmers reached the shallow sandbanks in safety.

The Courier-Mail Fri 11 Nov 1938 Page 4


With this saw, held by. Mr. Arthur Ridgeway, a 17ft.sawfish at Scarborough yesterday ruined 150 yards of net valued at £6, broke two one inch manila ropes, slashed the side of a dinghy, and almost capsized the craft. Mr Ridgeway and nine other fishermen tried to drag the fish ashore with ropes after it had become entangled in a net. When placed on to the beach it lived for several hours. Ridgeway was hauling in a net 200 yards from the Reef Point jetty when the sawfish became entangled. The saw tapered from 7in. to 3m. in width, and the 'teeth' of the saw were 6in. long. The fish was 7ft. wide at the lateral fins.


The largetooth sawfish possibly reaches up to 7.5 m (25 ft) in total length, but the largest confirmed was a West African individual that was 7 m (23 ft) long.


With the Tangalooma Whale Station operating from 1952 , there were some large sharks caught in Redcliffe during this time. The station closed in August 1962.

A shark on a Scarborough beach in 1956 - photo from the Petty family.

Brisbane Telegraph Monday 22nd January 1951 Page 6:

This huge tiger shark caught from the jetty at Oyster Point, Scarborough today by M. Wilson, H Pickford, T. George and L. Kubler, Ten-year-old Trevor Hanson, of Scarborough showed he wasn't afraid of the man-eater — when it was lying dead on the beach.

Page 9:

Claimed the biggest ever landed in Moreton Bay, a 15 foot tiger shark was caught by, two Scarborough fishermen today. The fishermen are Mr. M. Wilson, of Jeay Street, Scarborough, and his partner, Mr. T. George. "This is our eighth shark caught since January 1, and not one has been under seven feet," Mr. Wilson -said. "The bay is alive with sharks . and it is getting worse." "About 8.30 this morning we were inspecting our crab pots about a mile and a half off the Scarborough jetty, towards Bribie Island."We baited our large shark hook on a clothes line, with half a dozen mullet heads, and threw it behind the boat. "The big shark immediately took the bait, and went for its life. It dragged us about the bay for two and a half hours before we could get it to the side of the boat, and lash it securely with the anchor rope. "We then towed it to the beach."

The Courier Mail Tue 23 Jan 1951 Page 1

AFTER a 14ft. Tiger shark had dragged their small boat around Moreton Bay for two and a half hours yesterday, two professional fishermen battered it to death with an iron bar. They were Trevor George and Michael Wilson, both of Jeays Street, Scarborough. The men were rebaiting their traps about a mile off the Scarborough jetty when they noticed the shark in the water eating the old baits which they had thrown overboard. Throwing out a line baited with six mullet heads, they hooked the shark and fought it for more than two hours. After it had weakened they dragged it alongside and killed it with an iron clutch handle. "I think it is one of the biggest tiger shark ever caught in the bay," Mr. Wilson said last night. The area near the Scarborough jetty is a popular camping and swimming spot.

From the Brisbane Telegraph 22nd Dec 1951:

Waiting for shark

A Redcliffe beach inspector is waiting with a .38 revolver on Scott's Point beach for the return of a 6-foot shark. This morning the shark, a grey nurse, twice swam to within a few yards of the water's edge. It threshed the water and darted away to sea when stoned by bathers. Children fled from the beach in terror when the shark first appeared at 9 a.m. As it lurked in a few feet of water a small boy threw a stone and it swam away from the shore. It returned, watched by nearly 50 people lining the shore.

As it browsed a few feet from him, Mr. L. . T.- Robinson. of Grace Street, Corinda, struck it on . the nose with a rock. The shark swished its tail and streaked away again.

Redcliffe Council beach inspector, Mr. John Stapleton, said he would wait with a .38 Smith and Wesson revolver for the shark's return.

The Courier Mail Monday 14th April 1952 Page 1

A 20 ft. 2000lb, sawfish was caught in Moreton Bay about a mile on the Bribie side of Redcliffe jetty, at .10.30 a.m.yesterday. It was not caught by a big-game fisherman. 14 .303 bullets fired from a trawler killed the monster after it had attacked and ruined the trawler's £200prawn net. The trawler, the 72ft. Nanango, is owned by commercial prawner, Mr. M. Drinan, of Woody Point. Mr. Drinan said the sawwfish apparently attacked and got caught in the prawn net as it was being dragged along the bottom in 30 feet of water. SIX FEET SAW Only for the rifle bullets the fish would have threshed its way out ofthe net. Its saw measured about six feet. It took the crew of five and a guest to operate the winch to lift the saw fish. The Government ichthyologist (Mr. T. C. Marshall) said sawfish were not uncommon in Moreton Bay. Some found there had been up to 21 feet long. FUTURE OF THE SAWFISH

The fishermen are likely to save the saw for a souvenir. The fish will be sold for about £50 as food.

Brisbane Telegraph Friday 23rd February 1951 Page 8

Tiger shark caught at swim spot:

A Scarborough resident last night caught a 7ft. tiger shark 80 yards from shore at the main Scarborough swimming beach, He is Johnny Genn. a 21- year old carpenter. Using a 601b breaking strain line baited with mullet, and fishing from a dinghy, Mr. Genn played the shark for an hour before landing it. Mrs Genn said today that the shark was caught in a popular swimming area. "This is the closest that a shark has been caught to the beach," she said "Easter campers would be advised to take precautions."

Max Moody Snr, Mr Leo and Mr Rainey - Unloading their mullet catch at the Scarborough Jetty. Photo from the Moody family.


The Courier Mail Friday April 26th 1957:

"The Tiger Shark was hooked 400 yards out at 6am on a line set by three. Margate textile salesman Wally Stoddart, Doug Cowlishaw and Frank Carter.

They left the shark thrashing under the two four gallon drums and 20lb. iron weight anchoring the line until mid morning.

But when they went out in their 12ft dinghy, they found the shark full of fight.

"It broke away from the anchor, charging the boat and swished its tail within a foot of Wally's face." Carter said.

"We tied another 15lb. anchor to the line before it made things too uncomfortable for us" he said.

After lunch Woody Point builder Ron McGahey went out in his 7 h.p motor boat with Noel Ward and Jock Monteith of Redcliffe.


Dragging the drums and the weights the shark thrashed its way 1 1/2 miles out to sea before the men could get close enough to fie at it with a .22 rifle and a shotgun.

"I caught nine sharks over the Christmas holidays and this was the liveliest one I've ever seen" McGahey said.

Its tail was still thudding against the side of the motor boat when the three men towed it to shore at 4pm watched by a crowd of 500.

Local residents said dozens of sharks has been sighted cruising off the Peninsula in the last few weeks."

Photo and newspaper clipping donated by Harley Cowlishaw.


Vic Hislop with a 5.8m Great White on display at Scarborough 27th July 1980


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