Bribie Island is one of the more tranquil of the inhabited Moreton Bay islands. But things weren’t always so peaceful on the 31 kilometre-long wildlife sanctuary at the northernmost reach of the bay.
Indeed, the first conciliatory contacts in 1799 between the Moreton Aborigines and explorer Matthew Flinders weren’t all that encouraging.
After a friendly start, things got out of hand over a misunderstanding about Flinders' hat, and British shots were fired. Peace was restored within days, but the most easterly promontory on Bribie is still known as Skirmish Point.
Shots are seldom fired in anger these days and certainly not within the national park which preserves most of the island and its flora and fauna.
Bribie is the only offshore island connected to the mainland by a bridge, which spans the beautiful Pumicestone Passage, a stretch of sheltered water that attracts fleets of pleasure craft and fisherman every day.
Ferries cruise the passage and charter craft specialising in game fishing and coral reef diving ply the waters beyond Moreton Island.
The Pumicestone Passage Marine Park was gazetted in 1986, and protects not only the waterway but also a large piece of the island. The park was created primarily to preserve the environment upon which so many migratory and native birds, fish, marine mammals (dolphins and dugongs) and native fauna depend.
The benefits to flora and fauna aside, the big winners are Bribie Island residents and visitors, who can enjoy the crystal clear waters, the dolphin displays, the bush, and, of course, fishing the passage.