Living together, learning to live with Early Settlers in Deception Bay

Some Gubbi Gubbi people continued to live in the area for a period after the early settlers arrived in Deception Bay  in the 1800s. By this time Joseph and Thomas Bancroft observed the Gubbi Gubbi people interacting with Europeans, trading food to supplement decreasing traditional food sources. An indigenous man called Sam, who was also known as Sammy Bell lived in his ‘gunya’ at Deception Bay. According to local stories he made a shelter from saplings and tin which was located just south of the dividing fence on Thomas Bancroft’s property. Sam died in 1913 and is buried in nearby Redcliffe Cemetery.

Camp on Bribie Island early settlers and aboriginals lived together

It is not certain how many South Sea Islanders worked in the Bay area between 1885 and 1904, but it is known that Joseph Bancroft made use of South Sea Islander labor to dig drainage canals to the north of the Bay – these are still known locally as Kanaka Cuts. Indentured labor may also have been employed to cut marine pools and baths out of the sandstone rocks. The Queensland Labor Trade was wound down under the Pacific Island Laborers Act of 1901.

Throughout its history, the Deception Bay community has demonstrated an inclusive capacity to accept cultural diversity. The Deception Bay Maoto Fono/Samoan meeting hut is remarkable as the only one of its type built outside Samoa. The meeting hut,which is used by people from various cultures,is a wonderful example of people from many nations living together.

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