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Queenslander Newspaper Saturday 1st March 1902 on Humpybong A favourite seaside resort.

Updated: Feb 15, 2023


(By Our Special Commissioner.)

"I had put in a dreadful day, and the thoughts of being simply stewed or baked alive in Brisbane made one think of getting away, if possible, but where to? that was the question.

" Why not go down to Humpybong on the Emerald" some one suggested."Humpybong

For goodness' sake where's that, and what kind of a place can it be with a name like that ?"

Well, since then I have been, and seen, and been conquered, and now it is my business to try and give some idea of one of the most charming watering places to be found near Brisbane. You go down to the wharf right alongside the Custom-house on Tuesday or Thursday or Sunday morning before 9.30, or 1.30 on Saturday afternoon, and there you will find the Emerald, a beautifully fitted up steamer, built specially for the Humpybong Steamship

Company about two years ago by the well-known Sydney marine architect, Mr. Walter Reeks, of Pitt-street, who has designed some of the finest yachts and steamboats afloat.

The Emerald cost over £14,000, and is of the type of the fine steamer Manly, so wellknown in Sydney, plying between Circular Quay and that renowned seaside resort after which the boat is named. The Emerald is up-to-date both in her machinery and other appointments, having a fine saloon and ladies' cabin, splendid bar, and promenade decks, with the lavatories and fitting up of a first-class P. and O. vessel. She is lighted throughout with electric lights.

A magnificent set of engines is well looked after by the genial engineer, Mr. Crawford, who was born on the Isle of Cumbra, Clyde, and was apprenticed at Port Glasgow, where he learnt his profession. He served fourteen years in Chinese coastal steamers, and seven years as chief engineer of the Chinese Peng-chow-Hai, which was used for chasing and dispersing the hordes of pirates and smugglers in the China Seas.

It is quite a treat to have a "pow-wow" with this adventurous engineer, and he can tell of some exciting incidents that occurred during his adventurous life. He was also chief engineer on board a magnificent private yacht belonging to Mr. Patrick Henderson, a wealthy shipowner, of Glasgow.

He arrived in Queensland in 1881, and was Government inspector of machinery till 1891. He also erected the machinery of the Eagle Farm Meat Works in 1892, and joined the good ship Emerald in June, 1901. The catering, which is of the very best description both as regards liquors and other good things, is well managed by "Barney" Phillips, of the Queen's Hotel, Brisbane, who most carefully looks after the comfort of the hundreds of travellers between Humpybong and Brisbane. Last, but not least, comes the hale and highlyrespected skipper, Bengt Fridolf Bengtsson, one of the finest old "sea-dogs" one could wish to meet.

Born in Sweden, he was at sea when only 6 years old, and was master of the barque Beatrice, from New York,when she was condemned in Brisbane some eighteen years ago.

He joined the Humpybong Steamship Company's boat, the Garnet (now plying in Sydney), as master. He has made over 4000 trips between Brisbane and Humpybong, and there is not a more popular man in the city than " old Bengtsson." Every year he is the recipient of a handsome and substantial present from the travellers, who know his sterling worth. Mr. T. P. M'Lennan is the secretary of the company, and most ably and successfully carries out his duties. The company consists of many of the leading citizens in Brisbane, and almost every inhabitant in Humpybong is a shareholder. Mrs. Robertson, mother of the go-ahead managing director of the company, Mr. W. G. Hayes, is one of the largest shareholders and original promoters of the company. Both have very fine residences at Redcliffe. Messrs. A. Hobbs, solicitor (of Foxton and Hobbs), Charles Knights (the well-known picture framer of Queen-street), and A. Borgeson, of the Gresham Hotel, are the other directors. Their last year's balance-sheet shows that the company is in a very flourishing condition, and that their enterprise in acquiring so fine a boat is greatly appreciated by the public.

The fare charged is a moderate one, being 2s. 6d. for the return trip if made on the same day, and 3s. 6d. if not. The trip usually takes about two and a-half hours to Woody Point, returning at 3.30 every Tuesday and Thursday, and 6 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

The boat also goes down in time to return at 6 a.m. on Monday.

The Emerald can also be chartered for moonlight excursions or day picnics at very moderate charges, full particulars of which can be obtained from the secretary at the office, next to the Custom-house.

The trip to Humpybong is always a pleasant one, either in summer or winter, and even on the hottest day a lovely cool breeze is to be met, as the comfortable steamer makes her way down the river, past lovely residences, and some of the prettiest scenery round Brisbane is viewed. Crossing the Bay a distant view of Sandgate on one side is seen, while Humpybong shows up ahead about seven miles off.

The first stopping-place is Woody Point, where a solidly-constructed pier runs out to deep water from a beach of sand and shingle. The most prominent building that catches the eye is Mrs. Moxley's commodious and comfortable Great Western Hotel, on the top of the cliff, overlooking the Bay. Mr. Fred. Warbrick has a nice place at Woody Point, called Edgewater. He is a brother of the celebrated footballer, who lately died in New Zealand. Close by the pier is another comfortable hotel, the Belvidere, kept by Mr. Tom Snooks who has been a resident for nearly thirty years. He was at one time sugar-boiler to Mr. Dodds, who had a sugar-mill in the vicinity.

There is also a post and telegraph office. Mr. J. H. Robinson keeps a really good general store, where everything can be purchased from a needle to a bale of hay.

Mrs. Edds has a very comfortable boarding-house in a good position, which is constantly filled. She is another old resident, and has lived at Cambridge House for many years.

Mr. W. H. Jones, connected with Brisbane City Ambulance Brigade, has some nice property adjacent to the beach, and intends erecting a house shortly.

Mr. T. H. Henzell, a well-known Brisbanite, also has a large property, and Mr. McWhirter, of the drapery firm in the Valley, has a splendid house, just erected at a cost of £1200.

Mr. J. Weyman has a very comfortable boarding-house, Fernville, and is also proprietor of a line of 'buses and waggonettes, which ply between Woody Point and Redcliffe.

Any one desiring a drive at any time over the splendid roads all over the district can obtain comfortable traps from him at a reasonable cost.

About half-a-mile round, on the shore of Bramble Bay, is a fine house, with a lookout tower on it, built and owned by Mr. Jacob Pearen, who has resided here over eleven years. He has a nice garden, filled with the choicest flowers, while his magnificent fruit garden, with grape vines, fine mango trees, and pineapples galore, keeps the inhabitants well supplied with fruit. He was one of the pioneers of the now celebrated Gympie goldfield, and a chat with him about old times is well worth the time spent. He was born near Exeter, in Devonshire, and arrived in the colonies over thirty-five years ago.

Not far away you come to a model estate, beautifully situated, and well kept, with a splendid house overlooking Bramble Bay. The grounds cover an extent of over 300 acres, and the house is one of the best built in the district, with a magnificent garden well laid out, flro paddocks, good water, and every convenience usually found in a well-kept country home. The owner, Mr. Silcock, has resided heremany years, but he is desirous of disposing of it, and will be pleased to give any one full particulars. The boat stops a short while at Woody Point before proceeding on her way round to Redcliffe, two and a-half miles further round. If so disposed, traps and 'buses can be obtained and a lovely drive through pretty bush scenes on splendid roads, well kept by the Divisional Board, bring you to Redcliffe.

As the steamer goes round many pretty homes are to be seen. One of the finest, facing the Bay, with Moreton Island visible in the distance, is a lovely house standing in a large extent of garden, known as Wandi, and a suggestion has been made to the Government that it should be purchased as a seaside residence for the Governor. A more beautiful home could not be wished for, everything being right up to date, good stables and outhouses, &c.

Another beautiful home, also facing the sea, is Ferny Lawn, belonging to Mrs. Robertson, one of the leading ladies of the district. A beautiful avenue leads up to the house. Mrs. Robertson, who is one of the leading promoters of the welfare of the three pretty watering places on the Humpybong peninsula, has resided here for many years, being close on to 80 years of age. Redcliffe is the undoubted capital of Humpybong, or "Umpiebong" (dead houses), as the natives called it in the olden days, when it was the original settlement in Queensland for convicts. Remains of the old chimneys built of convict-made bricks are still to be seen. Mr. O'Shea's store stands near, if not on, the original site of the first house erected. Mr. O'Shea is the proprietor of the vehicles which ply thrice a week between North Pine (twelve miles off) and Redcliffe, so that there are two ways of reaching this charming seaside resorts—by train and coach, or by the Emerald. Driving from Woody Point to Redcliffe, as we bowl along in the fresh and salubrious sea air, one feels the exhilaration produced by inhaling the ozone from the sea. Turning down a long well-kept road through the bush, we come out on the esplanade overlooking the sea."

Close by, in a fine position, is the commodious Orient House, one of the most comfortable boarding-houses to be found anywhere, owned by Mr. H. Ibberson Tubbs (locally known as " Doctor," as he is always ready to help both human and animal kind with medicines, and likewise performs many minor operations in the dental line). Mr. Tubbs has resided in the district over thirty years, and his beautiful house and gardens are well kept, with fine croquet lawn and shady trees and verandas, making up an ideal place to spend a holiday. His brother Mr. Robert Frederick Tubbs, who has been in the district over thirty-six years, lives with him. Mr. Tubbs has a horse called Viscount, which has been trained to stretch himself out so as to lower his back, thereby making it an easy matter for his master to get on to the saddle.

Down on the fine shelving sandy beach are a number of bathing-houses, used by those fond of a dip in the briny. The bathing is perfectly safe, for a reef runs right round, keeping out the predatory shark. The rocks are covered with oysters, and many a one falls a victim to the happy holiday-makers, who are always hungry while at this delightful resort.

We now drive up to the well-known Redcliffe Hotel, kept by the genial " Tom" Moxley, who is one of the go-ahead members of the community. His hotel is well kept, and the comfort of the numerous boarders is well looked after by his estimable wife. It stands right on top of the cliff, from which the place is named, the fresh sea breezes blowing in from the sea even on the hottest days. "Tom" is in great demand with the ladies as a teacher of swimming, while their little daughter Maisie looks like a young mermaid as she sports and splashes in the early morning bath. He is a great fisherman, and many a " good" yarn he can tell of big hauls and fierce combats with rock cods, groper, and sharks (vide photo.).

Here again the succulent oyster is supplied every morning at 11. "Tom" is largely interested in the Emerald, and is secretary to two Masonic lodges and the local, which is about a mile distant, on the north side of the main Brisbane-road. on a reserve of nineteen acres on the highest and most healthy part of the district. It was built entirely by voluntary contribution in 1888, and was opened in April of that year by the present teacher, Mr. Arthur Ashmole, who was then appointed by the Education Department.

There is an average attendance of twenty-eight. Mr. Ashmole was born the year after the death of the Duke of Wellington, and was named after that famous general. He was educated at Ilford College and at Harmer House School, Gravesend, England, and came to Queensland in 1886. He is lay reader to the St. Mary's Church of England, secretary of the Masonic Lodge, I.C., 341, member of the Royal Geographical Society of Queensland, secretary of the local Progress Association, and of the School of Arts Building Committee, and the trustee of the cemetery.

There are three Masonic lodges at Redcliffe—namely, the Redcliffe Lodge, 241 Irish Constitution, who hold their meetings on the Saturday before or on each full moon ; the Courtenay Luck Lodge of Master Masons, No. 526, E.C.; and the Courtenay Luck Lodge of Royal Ark Mariner Mark Masons, who meet first Saturday in March, July, September, and December. Mr. T. C. Moxley is secretary to the last two lodges.

There is a Post and Telegraph Office close to the police station facing the beach at Redcllffe, where Sergeant Thomas Dyer, formerly of Mount Perry, resides and looks after the safety of the public morals, &c. " Sam Buckley"—not the " chance" Buckley—is quite an identity ; he has a fine fishing boat, which he lets out for fishing parties on moderate terms. Mr. A. Stevens has a lovely residence, Sea Brae, and has a large business in the carpentering and building line. Mr. J. E. M'Gregor has a first-class general store, and he is also a builder. It is likely that he will be the builder of the new Redcliffe Divisional Board Hall.

The district's welfare is most ably looked after by the Redcliffe Divisional Board, which has temporary offices at Woody Point ; but a fine new building is shortly to be erected close to the jetty at Redcliffe. The area of ground to be looked after covers fifty square miles, and was separated from Caboolture on 5th April, 1888.

The estimated population is 700. There are 185 houses and 1690 ratepayers. The rate is 1¼d., capital value of ratable property on selections £5500, on freehold 179,222 ; total value £184,726.

The rates payable for 1901 amount to £933 9s. 4d. onfreehold and £29 12s. 11d. on selections, receipts on 1900 rates endowment from Government, £438 7s. 9d.; general rates received 1901, £745 10s. 6d.; other sources,£28 15s. 3d.; total receipts, £1212 17s. Expenditure on public works, £838 1s.; in redemption of loan, £154 15s.; office expenses and salaries, £376 2s. 2d.; total, £1368 18s. 2d. Rates in arrears at end of 1901, £2508 5s. 5d.; other assets, office furniture, road plant, maps, and bridges loan, £1140 14s. 2d. Outstanding liabilities : loan from Government, £811 2s. 5d., exclusive ot £400 just received for new office at Redcliffe. Mr. Copeland Spode is the clerk to the Divisional Board. He is the youngest son of the late Josiah Spode, of Shooter's Hill, New Norfolk, at one time chief police magistrate of Hobart ; arrived there in 1817 in the ship True Briton. Left Hobart tor England in 1854, taking young Spode with him, then about 15 years old. Copeland Spode was educated at " Brunswick's" and the old Hutchin's School, Hobart, and later on at Nelson House, Wimbledon Common, and the old Wamington Grammar School, in England. Having a taste for agriculture, he became a resident pupil on large agricultural farms both in England and Scotland. On the death of his parents he returned to the colonies in 1860, landing in Melbourne by the ship Yorkshire. Went over to Hobart, and from there to New Zealand during the gold fever, spending over four years in the Middle and North Islands. Arriving in Queensland 1866, he settled on the Brisbane River, farming for twenty years, and then became a divisional board clerk, acting as such for five years on the old Indooroopilly Board. He was eight years on the Pine Divisional Board, and has been three years in his present position. Mr. Spode lives at Woodlands, Woody Point.

Mr. Dodds (Government Auditor) has a fine orchard, well laid out with oranges, lemons, and other fruit trees in flourishing condition on King's-road, Redcliffe. Moreton Island is directly opposite Redcliffe, about fifteen miles distant. There is very good fishing off the jetty, especially in winter. The climate of Humpybong is 10deg. warmer in winter than Brisbane, and is a favourite resort during the winter as well as in summer. The religious requirements of the people are well catered for, as there are churches belonging to the Church of England, the Rev. H. C. Beasley being the clergyman, whilst the Rev. Father John Ryan looks after the Roman Catholic Church. There is also a Congregational Church, being the first church erected in Redcliffe over thirty years ago. There is no resident clergyman, but various local preachers in connection with the Wharf-street Congregational Church, Brisbane, attend. There are several good boarding-houses in Redcliffe, among them being Mrs. Olsen's, who also keeps a restaurant, where meals can be obtained at all hours. Mr. E. Underhill has a first-class hotel called the Moreton Bay Hotel, near the Jetty, and is always very pleased to see any of his old Brisbane friends.

Mr. Fred. Cutts keeps an excellent general store, where everything required for housekeeping purposes can be obtained ; so that people coming down to put in a month at Humpybong need no hamper themselves by bringing groceries, &c., from Brisbane, as everything can be purchased at town rates.

The butcher's shop is kept by Mr. R. B. Barron, where fresh meat can be obtained daily. There is a good opening down here, either at Woody Point, Redcliffe, or Scarborough for a real, live, up-to-date confectioner, as there is a scarcity of cakes, buns, scones, and other delicacies so dear to children and ladies. Mrs. Moody has a very comfortable boarding-house known as Wicklow Villa, where every comfort of a home can be obtained. Mr. E. T. H. Jenkins, the local blacksmith, has a novelty in signboards, which reads: "Classical shoeing forge, horses shod decently and agreeable to nature.

Two and a-half miles further around the Bay, through a long avenue cut in the bush, on a good road, you come to Scarborough, another charming spot. Here Mrs. Walsh has a large and well-furnished hotel facing the beach. A more comfortable retreat for a weary, worn-out city man could not be desired.

A few hundred yards from the hotel is Deception Bay, where splendid fishing is to be got, and a lovely sandy beach, where you can bathe in perfect safety. There is some very good land to be had cheap round Scarborough, some splendid sites for a seaside retreat.

The Bay View Hotel was the first hotel on the peninsula, and was built by the Scarborough Land Syndicate many years ago, but has been very much enlarged by Mrs. Charlotte Walsh since being in her possession. Mr. William Walsh also looks after the general run of the hotel. About eight miles from Redcliffe, on the shores of Deception Bay, Dr. Thomas Bancroft manufactures his " Pemmican," which is used for the military " emergency ration" now being served out to the troops in South Africa. In March, 1893, a cyclone, called by Mr. Wragge "Mu," paid a visit to the district, coming in at Scott's Point, and crossing to Hayes's Inlet, and demolishing Mrs. Bell's house in its pathway through the bush, completely turning round and lifting over a fence a house containing a family at breakfast, not even upsetting the milk jug or disturbing a hen sitting on a clutch of eggs in the kitchen. " Dr." Tubbs vouches for this! Humpybong holds a very good record as regards large fish, as a few years ago an " angel" fish or flying ray was caught there, which measured 10ft. 6in. from tip to tip, 5ft. 6in. from nose to tail, and which had also a long whip, and a mouth of enormous capacity. Again " Dr." Tubbs goes bail for this yarn. Taken altogether, Humpybong, "including Woody Point, Redcliffe, and Scarborough, is undoubtedly an ideal resort for all those who enjoy pretty scenery, lovely bathing, fresh sea air, good fishing, the luscious oyster, and almost everything else that helps to make up the comfort so necessary to the city and " backblocks" people desirous of a healthy change to the seaside ; and it will not be long before Humpybong, with all its magnificent advantages, will be one of the most favoured watering- places of Southern Queensland."

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