History of Oysters on the Islands

Sandy Beach Oysters on the rocks Russell island

The Islands have a rich history of Oysters. Southern Moreton Bay Islands | Redland City Council (Pdf can be downloaded here)

An 1884 map shows oyster leases 19, 40, 16 and 18 around Macleay and Lamb Islands. Oystering was biggest fishery in southern Queensland for years; at its peak the industry employed about 200 people.
Lamb Island – One of the earliest European settlers on the Bay Islands was Thomas Lucas, who was born near London in 1836 and came to Australia aboard The Queen of the South in 1865. He settled on Lamb Island at Corroboree Point and was a pioneer of the oyster farming industry in Moreton Bay. He married in 1886 at the age of 49, and died at age 58 in 1895. His grave is on the hill above the Lamb Island jetty, and is the only one on the island.

One of the main attractions of the oyster industry was in fact converting the shells to lime rather than the fish itself. Lime was much in demand in the building industry. One of the main sources was middens. As they ran out of middens and other deposits, but this practice was banned in 1863 and as a result the live oyster trade took over.

The oyster fishery died out because of mud worm 1895-1901, but recovered and re-built to a peak in 1910. At that time every available spot in Moreton Bay that would support an oyster was under lease. Licensed banks in the Bay totalled 849 leases covering 10,100 ha.

During the heyday of the industry, many oystermen lived in rough camps on the bay islands. Dwellings comprised simple shacks made of bark and slab, as well as sugar-bags, with two-room cottages being built as incomes improved. They used small cutters and flat-bottomed dinghies for transport.
In 1889 the need to control the industry was recognised and the Queensland Government gazetted 26 reserves around the Bay and Sandy Strait where for an annual fee oystermen could camp, build houses and fence small allotments etc.
One of the biggest oystering families in the 20th century was the Levinges, an Aboriginal family of North Stradbroke Island. Albert Levinge managed the Moreton Bay Oyster Company’s operations at Dunwich, and in 1916 he took over the company’s camp at Currigee. His sons also took up trade, and their company was named the Levinge Oyster Company after WWII. It went into receivership in 1965.

Oysters—Saccostrea sp.—once lived in abundance in the complex of estuaries between
Moreton Bay and Wide Bay in southern Queensland. Until the 1890s, these estuaries
were thick with intertidal and subtidal oysters. As the cities and towns of Queensland
grew from the 1860s, locals demanded more oysters from the fledgling oyster fishery. A
lover of oysters could buy these Queensland foodstuffs as close as Maryborough or Brisbane or as far away as Sydney and Melbourne. This early trade between 1860 and 1900
saw the destruction of largely self-sustaining populations of oysters. As settlers scrambled to sustain this industry, fishing communities moved from being oyster harvesters
to oyster farmers.

These were embayment estuaries, where fresh water from the rivers poured into the large salty
bays that were partially sheltered from the ocean swells by barrier islands. There were
four ocean-facing sand islands: Stradbroke, Moreton, Bribie, and Fraser. In between
the islands and the mainland, the bays were dotted with further islands large and small.

………Born free-moving animals, oysters become spat when they attach to substrate
material. In both intertidal and subtidal areas, the best substrate for oysters is the older
oyster shells anchored together as reefs. In principle, oyster reefs form in the same
way as coral reefs: as older animals die, new animals grow on the residual matter. For
coral, the skeletal limestone remains of individuals compound into solid structures to
house new animals. For oysters, the new animals anchoring onto old shell eventually
build enough layers to create large, three-dimensional assemblages. Like coral reefs,
oyster reefs are home to a range of other plants and animals. In addition to being food
for some species, they are especially important as shelter for juvenile fish and shellfish
of the estuary. Additionally, oysters play an important role in filtering the sediment from
upstream in southern Queensland rivers. They extract micronutrients for themselves
and remove the detritus from the water columns, contributing to the water quality of
each estuary.

Local Aboriginal people left huge middens of oysters and other shellfish all over this
region. Archaeologists date the earliest remains in these middens to 3–4,000 years ago,
although Aboriginal people contest this date, arguing that their occupation was from
the beginnings of time. The Dandrabin-Gorenpul peoples of Quandamooka deployed a
range of strategies to ensure that subtidal oysters were plentiful in Moreton Bay. They
carefully monitored the oyster reefs, translocating young oysters to enhance growth and
introducing spent shells to build new substrate

The first settler groups to move into the estuaries from the 1860s were not interested in
the stewardship of oysters. They were only intent on extracting as many oysters as possible from any given place to reap a financial reward. To meet the growing demand in
the cities, oysterers travelled along the coast to find the fattest oysters. While oyster fishers hand-picked oysters from the mudflat areas, they also harvested the reefs by dredging from small boats. In the intertidal area, this entailed breaking the reefs apart with a
steel spike to allow oysters to be bagged into 120-dozen lots for market. In the deeper
water, fishers dragged a wire-dredging basket along the estuary bed, destroying the
reefs as they went. Using these methods, fishers worked oyster reefs for approximately
three years, taking off every animal, before moving to the next spot in the estuary. They
called this “skinning” the reef, replicating a stage in the processing of terrestrial animals
for meat. Oysterers expected that reefs would regrow naturally and that, after a period
of time, they would be able to come back to the reefs and start again. To their surprise,
they found that once destroyed in this manner, the reefs did not grow back

Mudworms, Polydora sp., like oysters, are also estuary creatures; they co-exist with oysters all over the word. Mudworms co-habit with oysters, boring into the interior shell,
collecting sediment courtesy of the filtering from its host, and then secreting a muddy
This content downloaded from
https://www.jstor.org/stable/pdf/26241428.pdf on Tue, 14 Jun 2022 01:22:06 UTC



Coucal in the Tree Nextdoor

Trees are being cleared next door and soon the coucal will lose its home

Birds Australia

Coucal in the Tree next door

I heard a scrabble in the discarded tree branches and saw a movement. Thinking it could be a snake, I moved closer, and a coucal flew out of a hollow in the trees and sat on a branch. Silently, I went inside and got my camera and took the first shots through the verandah posts. As the coucal stayed there, I slowly moved to get a better view and took some photos. He watched me warily, and deciding he had had enough, flapped his wing and flew away

You might recognise the Pheasant Coucal by its distinctive ‘oop-oop-oop-opp’ call. A coucal is one of about 30 species of birds in the cuckoo family. All of them belong in the subfamily Centropodinae and the genus Centropus. Many coucals have a long claw on their hind toe (hallux). The genus name from Greek kentron, a…

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Corroboree Point

Corroboree Point at Low tide

On Macleay Island, Corroboree Point is believed to be a ceremonial ground and dreaming site. There is also a midden (a collection of shells, tools and bones formed after hundreds of years of gathering at that spot by Aboriginal people).  https://southernmoretonbayislandstourism.wordpress.com/tag/history/

 Corroboree Point. Well known as an important aboriginal site right from beginning, Corroboree Point was camp of oysterman Thomas Lucas.

Named by Surveyor James Warner after Alexander Macleay, Colonial Secretary of NSW, 1825-1837 Aboriginal name uncertain – either “Alcheringa” or “Jencoomercha”. Most maps use the former, whereas most council and government information refer to it as Jencoomercha. It was regarded as an aboriginal meeting place of spiritual importance, mainly for the women of the tribes. Later it was unofficially named Tim Shea’s Island after a convict who lived alone on the island for fourteen years, a name that lingered for many years after being named officially as Macleay. Jencoomercha – is the Aboriginal name for the island

Corroboree Place and Lions Park Macleay Island:
This site is highly significant for Nunukul people, whose ancestors used it for millennia. The remnants of a midden are under the soil cover at the northern end of the park. The midden, dated at 4,000 years old, has been severely damaged by subsequent development of the island. The waterhole in the Cotton Tree bushcare reserve would have been used by the Aboriginal people and, later, by white settlers. These settlers modified the waterhole to create the dam now seen.
In the slope above Boat Harbour Avenue was a cave the Nunukul people mined for quartz and ochre. In the 1980s the cave was filled in after subsidence. About 20 metres north of the end of Boat Harbour Avenue is a scar tree. The shape of the scar indicates that the bark of the tree could have been used by Aborigines to make a canoe. The tree is now subject to a tree protection order. A ticket-of-leave (paroled) convict, Thomas Lucas, was the first known nonindigenous person to live at Corroboree Place. He arrived on the island in the 1850s as an oysterman, and set up his camp at Corroboree Place. He later moved to Lamb Island, where his grave remains.

Cabarita Beach Pony Club

Cabarita Beach NSW

I found this wonderful place at Cabarita that was actually affordable as well as being truly beautiful. https://cabaritabeachpc.wixsite.com/cabaritabeachgrounds

I was so excited… I called to discover I was welcome, as long as I have a horse. Now the chances of me owning a horse in 2 weeks time is not possible, but I am welcome to visit and take photos of the resident horse there. Sounds good, and that is what I hope I get around to doing. I was told the weather has been wet and the grounds are muddy too.

The Pony Club Grounds are well appointed with all the facilities you need …Horse Pens


Picnic Area

Picnic Area

Washroom Block


For Your Horse

Our wonderful locations is coupled with some great facilities. Your 4 legged friend will be well housed, in either open yards or our new undercover yards. We can comfortably house over 100 horses. There are two undercover yards that are suitable for the larger horse (ask Grounds Manager for yard location). We also have wash bays, round yard, big ring, and undercover grandstand.


The bathroom facilities are large with many warm showers available, even on the busiest weekend! We have disabled bathroom facilities available as well. The general camp facilities are basic, with a few picnic tables available,  camp fires are acceptable when their isn’t a fire ban ( normally the fire ban sign will be attached to the front gate) and firewood can sometimes be available form the designated piles.

Sounds Great… All I need is a horse….Smile!!

Off to check what Hastings has to offer…

If you like to fish you’ll love Tweed Holiday Parks Hastings Point. Overlooking a long sandy stretch of beach, as well as Cudgera Creek, the park’s secluded location offers a great combination for year-round swimming, surfing, and fishing. The park also features a new walkway access ramp from the park to the creek.

Located just 25kms south of Tweed Heads, Hastings Point features a great selection of caravan and camping options, including camping in a Surfer tent with ensuite and large tourist sites with synthetic grass and spectacular ocean or creek views

Fingal Heads NSW

I am on my way next week…This is a wonderful place to visit…

Sunrise Today...

Fingal Bay and Shark Island NSW

I searched for a Caravan Park this Christmas on the Gold Coast, and the only one that had room for a small campervan was Fingal Bay. I discovered a beautiful location with pristine beaches, an island, and amazing sunsets and sunrises over the sea as well as great walking tracks and an excellent fish and chip shop next door. The sand bar is exposed at low tide and completely covered by the ocean at mid to high tide. The coastal views from the island are pretty amazing as well. The most popular way to visit Shark Island is to walk there. Note that the National Parks and Wildlife Services website advises not to walk there for safety reasons, because of the dangers at Fingal Spit. If you plan to walk to Shark Island,make sure you cross the sand spit at low tide

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Cleveland Queensland

Sunrise Today...

It was Sunday, and I was waiting on a train to the city to change to a train for the Gold Coast. I decided to have breakfast at Hog’s Breath Cafe, right on the waterfront at Cleveland Marina. It was a perfect day


The Marina was very quiet. One yacht had moored on the public pier, and the owners came ashore. When I returned, the same pier had a collection of fishermen with their rods and buckets fishing, mostly older grandpas and grandsons. Next to the Marina are some apartments which I assume are mostly inhabited by the retired and the elderly. I doubt that anyone else can afford to own properties along the Marina. I know that every time I have seen someone, which is not often as residents in these areas keep themselves well hidden, they have been much older than me, and that is old.

There was…

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My Home Town

Cleveland was the traditional territory of the Koobenpul clan of the Quandamooka. European settlement of Brisbane and surrounding areas was banned from 1824 until 1842, due to the Moreton Bay Penal Settlement ( where convicts were detained on an island named St Helena, infamous for its barbaric cruelty) though the area to become Cleveland was first […]

My Home Town

Cleveland Aerial

Pats Park Macleay

Pat’s Park Macleay Island

Pats Park, at the bottom of Macleay Island, is a beautiful picnic area and Swimming enclosure, and its also a great coastal walk over rocks and stones rich with shells and debris from the sea. You can walk as far as you like at low tide. At high tide, the waterline encroaches onto private properties. Low tide also has oyster catchers getting the early oyster from the rocks. This area is mainly barnacles and limpets washed by the waves to shore and many different coloured rocks, and some ochre rocks in browns, golds and reds and the odd mangrove clinging desperately to what is left of the shore.

The swimming enclosure is coarse reddish sand, and to the left of the enclosure, the rocks are solid and black and home to many mangroves, rock oysters and debris left from the tides. Here is a rocky area where cars can drive to leave and take away small craft, and it is also a good fishing area.

This park was the site of one of the island’s two main oyster camps. While the first oystermen and lime burners set up camp anywhere, by the late 1880s they were encouraged to camp in various reserves that were set up around the bay.

Tweed River NSW

Eco Cruise on the Tweed River…Marina Tweed Heads

Tweed Eco Cruises offers trips to Stott’s Island NSW from Tweed Heads Marina.

Tweed River and Rainforest Lunch Cruise

Join us on our  Tweed River and Rainforest Lunch Cruise on the Tweed River and relax into the surrounding nature and scenery. Enjoy locally sourced foods and beverages from the Northern NSW region.

Along with a busload of Seniors from Cleveland, we boarded The Golden Swan to travel to Stotts Reserve and back with a running commentary by Captain Jeff. The River Tweed is a tributary tidal inlet and the shores were lined with mangroves. The banks had been strengthened with a retaining rock wall. Further up the river where a retaining wall had not been built, there was erosion. This was also the area where sugar cane was growing.

We saw man made osprey nests on top of electricity pylons, and an osprey was in residence in one of the nests. It was really a room with a view

The Stotts Island Nature Reserve is a protected nature reserve containing the Stotts Island, a river island, that is located in the Tweed River, in the Northern Rivers region of New South Wales in eastern Australia. The 141-hectare reserve is situated near Tweed Heads and 12 kilometres northeast of Murwillumbah. The island was named after James Stott, an early cedar cutter. Originally an Irish convict, he was sentenced in 1826 to seven years transportation to New South Wales.

Stotts Island is composed of alluvium deposited from the Pleistocene to the present. It is prone to flooding, during which times silt and weed material accumulate on the island. The island is continuously being reshaped by erosion. The reserve contains an intact 77-hectare (190-acre) segment of lowland sub-tropical rainforest. Most of this rainforest type has been destroyed for agriculture, mining or housing. Stotts Island is declared critical habitat  for the endangered Mitchell’s rainforest snail, rediscovered in 1976, 47 species of bird, 6 species of lizard, 3 species of snakes and 3 species of frogs have been recorded on Stotts Island Nature Reserve.

The tour boat stopped in this area and fed Birds with fish. Two Osprey circled the boat and it was mainly seagulls that came to the feeding.

There were two major types of mangroves growing in this area…the Grey Mangrove and the Red Mangrove, which is also known as Stilt Mangrove. The Stilt mangrove looks like feet running over the water…

Mangroves roots perform a number of functions for a plant, they support it and they obtain essential nutrients and oxygen.

In unstable, sometimes semi-fluid, soil an extensive root system is necessary to keep the trees upright. As a result, most mangroves have more living matter below the ground than above it. The main mass of roots, however, is generally within the top 2m—mangroves do not grow deep tap roots, probably because of the poor oxygen supply below the surface.

Roots have different functions and 3 different forms. Radiating cable roots, punctuated by descending anchor roots, provide support. From this framework sprout many little nutritive roots that feed on the rich soil just below the surface and collect oxygen.

Little oxygen is available in fine, often waterlogged, mud. Many mangroves adapt by raising part of their roots above the mud. These roots are covered with special breathing cells (lenticels) which draw in air. The lenticels are connected to spongy tissue within the roots. When the roots are submerged by water, the pressure within these tissues falls as the plant uses up the internal oxygen. The resulting negative pressure means that when the root is re-exposed when the tide drops, more air is drawn in through the lenticels.

Grey mangrove (Avicennia marina) grows a series of snorkels or peg or pencil roots, (pneumatophores). Experiments with related Avicennia species have shown that plants growing in coarse coral sand, with a good air supply to the roots, were able to survive after their pneumatophores were removed. However, those living in poorly aerated soil died when the pneumatophores were covered. In one situation, where they were covered with oil, the plants responded by growing aerial roots.

Grey Mangrove

Lunch was a generous serve of Fresh King Prawns and a platter with ham, salami, quiche, cheese and melon and orange with a generous serve of fresh bread and Olive oil. It was delicious. Drinks were from locally grown coffee and tea, and a bar service offered the usual drinks and snacks. The return trip was relaxing as we lunched and made our way back to the Marina past a line-up of fishing vessels at the Jetty. Then it was bus back to Cleveland and home.

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