Lance’s Poem

An Introduction

For an introduction to this picturesque and largely protected anchorage, we could do worse than begin with the words of the late Joshua Peter Bell.

His seminal books ‘Moreton Bay and How To Fathom It’ are now highly-prized collectors’ items, spanning almost 40 years and nine editions. With prose that was at once eloquently evocative and rich with clear, first-hand navigational meaning, accompanied by deliciously hand-drawn charts, he captured the essence of a Moreton Bay on which many grew to salty adulthood and which is, today, largely a fond and fading memory.

JPB maintained a familiar framework and format through the decades – although the final edition was debased somewhat by the publisher’s introduction of some rather garish colours into the charts. Text and drawings were revised with each edition, as banks and beacons shifted and additional historical material came to light.

In the notes, Dunwich was addressed first, followed by the One Mile. We will reverse the order in the quoted text here, to begin with the anchorage on which the Little Ship Club is situated. [Editorial remarks draw passing attention to some of the changes in the intervening quarter-century!]

From the 1988 ninth (and final) edition, notes to Chart Three: The One Mile

“The One Mile is a very popular anchorage between Dunwich and Myora. It is landlocked by drying banks at low water, though a roll from south-westerly weather tends to come across the banks round Polka Point.

“On the green, tree-covered knoll to the south of the anchorage there is a small cemetery. Many of the tombstones are well-preserved in view of their age.

“William Cassim, an early Cleveland publican after whom Cassim Island near Cleveland is named, is buried here; so are Dr. Ballow and many of the Emigrant victims [see Dunwich text below].

“A short walk through the cemetery leads to the Dunwich township where stores and supplies are available. In rear of the public jetty is the clubhouse of the Little Ship Club. This is not a hotel; it is available to members and those of affiliated clubs only [not the case 30 years later – non-Members and visitors most welcome!].

“Three hulks are visible on the banks in the One Mile area. The most southerly [of the three], beside the mangrove point, is the dredge Hercules … Under the command of Capt. Bishop she played the major role in dredging the bar cutting at the river mouth and forming Bishop Island [now part of the Port of Brisbane wharves at Fisherman Islands]. Later she dredged coral at Mud Island for the Queensland Cement and Lime Company and finally was used by the late Mr Bonty Dixon of Dunwich for oyster research.

“The two on the bank between the Hegarty beacon [today, the Nim Love Beacon] and Myora Light, and sometimes referred to as the Norman wreck, have been harder to pinpoint. Dr G. Roderick McLeod, President of the Queensland Maritime Museum Association, advises that the larger and more obvious of the two is the Dugong, an Australian Steam Navigation Company vessel built in 1875 (one fails to find the name in the A.S.N. Co. fleet list) and was ultimately a lighter in Normanton; and that the smaller, now barely visible, is the Undine.”

From the 1988 ninth (and final) edition, notes to Chart Three: Dunwich

“To many, Dunwich is the prettiest spot in the Bay. The promontory was known to the natives as Goompee (“round”, “spherical”), but the early [Europeans] called it Green Point and then Freshwater Point. It received its present name on July 6th, 1827 in honour of Capt. The Hon. H.J. Rous, Viscount Dunwich – this gentleman, you will notice, having been drawn on somewhat comprehensively for the supply of local place names.

“In 1828 Dunwich was made a convict timber depot and staging camp for supplies en route by sea to the main settlement at Brisbane. Ships from the south discharged their cargoes there to be taken on to Brisbane in light draught vessels. In post-convict days, in the early ‘forties, it was put to no official use until July 15th, 1849, when it became the main Quarantine Station.

“In August of the following year the ship Emigrant arrived with typhus fever raging aboard. Amongst the forty deaths was that of the ship’s surgeon. Dr Mallon, in charge at Dunwich, also got the fever but later recovered. He was relieved by Dr D. Keith Ballow of Brisbane, who died at the end of September. Ballow Chambers, in Wickham Terrace, Brisbane, and Mt Ballow, in the Macpherson Range, are both named after him. He was replaced by Dr Kearsey Cannan who, tempering valour with discretion, put his tent up on Bird Island and escaped infection.

“Many of the victims are buried in the scattered but attractive little cemetery at the One Mile.

[Bird Island was a large sand cay, held together largely by the roots of a healthy, and once-prominent, clump of casuarinas and pandanus trees, at the northern end of the ridge which ends in Goat Island; later a popular picnic visiting spot, Bird today is an ‘island’ in name and memory only: the shoal is barely uncovered at very low water.]

“Shortly after this the South Brisbane Benevolent Asylum moved in on the Quarantine Station and Dunwich must have been a hive of activity.

“In the late ‘seventies [1870s], however, the Quarantine Station was moved over to Peel, and for seventy years the Benevolent Asylum monopolised Dunwich. This era ended in October 1946, when the Asylum moved to Brighton.

“As an anchorage, the water off Dunwich is deep and rather open to all but easterly weather. Good shelter can be had in the bay near the old aboriginal camp of Deanbilla to the south of the promontory.”

The stories of Dunwich and the One Mile – indeed, and Peel Island and Moreton Bay – have been taken-up by later historians, such as acclaimed writer Peter Ludlow, and preserved in the North Stradbroke Island Historical Museum at Dunwich.  Both are highly-recommended for further investigation.