Part 6 – Lamb Island

Lamb Island in Southern Moreton Bay – Queensland Australia

Originally called Ngudooroo, Lamb Island has a similar history to the other bay islands. After millennia of indigenous occupation, it attracted timbergetters and oystermen in the early days of the Moreton Bay settlement. Farmers followed once the area was opened to settlers in the 1860s and a century or so later residential and holiday landowners moved in.

Clark’s Point is named after early oysterman Edwin Clarke, who worked his oyster beds on the eastern side of the island in the 1860s. like so many other early oystermen, Clark also burnt the shells for lime. Lucas Passage is named after another oysterman, Thomas Lucas.

The first land was released about 1866 with intending lessees including none other than the first Premier of the new State of Queensland, RGW Herbert. However, his application for a lease under the coffee and sugar regulations did not proceed. By 1871 the island had its first freehold owner, John Harris. John and his brother George had a shipping and importing business in Brisbane from the late 1850s to the 1870s. By the end of the 1880s the land had been subdivided and the resulting land parcels had been mostly taken up by farmers by the turn of the century.

Pineapples were introduced to the islands from Hawaii in 1905, and the Lovell, Hine, Brook and Robertson families were noted growers. They did not restrict themselves to a single crop, though, and like most farmers also grew bananas, tomatoes, and pawpaws and, later on, passionfruit and avocadoes .

Lamb Island jetty shed

Farmers built most of the early jetties, sheds and other transport facilities over the years. Most have since been replaced, but Lamb Island still has its original jetty shed. It was built by J Gibson and RC Scott from Macleay Island for the Lamb Island Fruitgrowers Coop in September 1939. Later, it was used as an ambulance shed, for Progress Association meetings, and as a general storage shed. On one occasion it even served as a temporary morgue, holding a corpse that was being taken to the mainland.

Tomas Lucas grave – Lucas Drive, jetty area

Ticket of leave (parolled) convict Thomas Lucas worked as an oysterman on Macleay Island for many years. He moved to Lamb Island in the 1880s and died in 1893. His grave is on the hill above the jetty.

Mango Trees and Farmhouse – near 24 Tina Avenue

Four mango trees bordering the road were planted by Leslie Corrie, the president of the Acclimatization Society in 1890 and later Mayor of Brisbane.

The old farmhouse was built by Eric Noyes in 1911 and doubled as the post office until 1968. Noyes was the postmaster on Lamb Island and also ran the telephone exchange here and on Macleay Island.

Lamb Island Pioneer Hall – Lucas Drive

Listed on the Old Heritage Register

This was the original home of the Hine farming family, built by Cecil Hine in 1924 on land he bought in 1916. Hine extended his farmhouse, reputedly in the mid 1930s, and sold the property in 1956. It came under the control of the Redland Shire Council in 1974.

Lamb Island
Courtesy RCC Local History Collection

In 1976 a meeting was held in the ‘old farmhouse’ to re-form the Lamb Island Progress Association. The farmhouse, by then in a deteriorated condition, was repaired by the community in 1977 and became known as Pioneer Hall. The official opening of Pioneer Hall was held in May 1978. It continues to be used extensively as a venue for community functions and other group gatherings, and is understood to be one of few extant early 20th century farmhouse buildings on the island.

Harry Brook Reserve, house and farm buildings

Brook Haven, Lamb Island

The 2-hectare reserve contains middens and mature forest red gums, one of the species logged by the earlier timbergetters. The land was part of a larger parcel purchased and mostly cleared by Harry Brook, his brother Sam Brook, and Colin Price in the 1920s. Harry subsequently bought out his partners and continued farming part of the parcel until he died in 1963. His widow, Peggy (later Saunders), donated the land to the Redland Shire Council in memory of Harry.

House at 8 Brook Haven: This house was built by Harry Brook in the 1920s from locally hewn stumps and timbers. For many years, its extensive gardens hosted garden parties and other events that raised funds for many local groups, including the ambulance, the Country Women’s Association, the Rural Fire Service and progress associations.

Shed: The shed was used for packing the first consignments of pineapples grown on the islands from 1905. At one stage, every Lamb Island fruit-grower used the shed. Harry Brook lived in the shed until his house was built.

Harry Brook's 1920's humpy - Lamb Island
Harry Brook's 1920's humpy was typical of the early island housing - Courtesy Peggy Saunders and RCC Local History Collection

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