Further Research into the baths
THIS SURVEY HAS REVEALED important evidence about the history of Deception Bay. It has been a modest survey, constrained by time and budget. Some of the issues surrounding the location of ‘Mrs Bancroft’s
Bath’ has been resolved. It is now evident that at least two baths were made at Deception Bay. Further, it is evident that the Fisheries Bath (Bath No. 1) was the bath Joseph Bancroft had built for his wife Anne and not the Boardwalk bath (Bath No. 2). Questions still remain about when and why Bath No. 2 was constructed. The excavation of Apex Park reveals that about no substantial material evidence of the meat canning works survives.
Further archaeological investigations could be undertaken at Deception Bay. Specifically an examination of the ‘Kanaka drains’. The purpose of these drains were discussed by Marks and Bancroft in their history of the Bancrofts. Discussing the various agricultural experiments, Joseph Bancroft undertook, they noted:
Rice was another crop investigated. The Botanic Gardens were too infested with sparrows for rice to be successful, so samples of all varieties were transferred in 1882 to Kelvin Grove where they were irrigated with `perfectly fresh water’ and seeds were gathered. At Deception Bay, teatrees on a flat watercourse were felled, rice chipped in among the stumps, and the patch fenced with marsupial netting. An American and an Indian variety of rice grew well after rain. Joseph employed Melanesian labourers on his rice project. A piece of swamp land on Burpengary Creek was reclaimed by damming out the spring tidal water and here Japanese rice was grown successfully. The labourers cleared the ground and dug drains of 1 to 1½ ft (0.3-0.45 m) wide and 1 ft (0.3 m) deep running over the flat, allowing drainage into Burpengary Creek. No doubt Joseph’s surveying skills were called on in planning these drains which were known locally as ‘Kanaka cuts’, and they were still open in 1972. Difficulties in obtaining suitable labour ended the rice project.8
Local informants attest that this drains still survive today. A 1955 aerial photograph indicates the existence and extent of these drains north of the Fisheries complex in the intertidal zone. The regularity of these canals indicate that are human construction and not natural features.
A survey of these drains could contribute to an understanding of their purpose, method of construction and importantly provide material evidence of the agricultural experimentation undertaken by Joseph Bancroft at Deception Bay.
1. E Ford, ‘The life and influence of Joseph Bancroft, MD’, Medical Journal of Australia, 4 Feb 1961
- Doug Smith and Vivian Tucker, personal communication, March 2004
- Charles Oliver, ‘Report on Bancroft’s Bath at Deception Bay for Caboolture Shire Council’, January 2002, 3.
- Oliver, p.5.
- Queenslander, 4 December 1869
- Elizabeth Marks and Josephine Bancroft, ‘The Bancrofts’ in J Pearn and L Powell, eds, The Bancroft Tradition, Brisbane, Amphion Press, 1991, 21.
- Marks & Bancroft, ‘The Bancrofts’, 21.
- Marks & Bancroft, ‘The Bancrofts’, 16.