History of Deception Bay

The Bay’s Appeal is No Longer a Secret.

Compiled by Mrs. Patricia McLoughlin – 1996

When compiling the History of Deception Bay I have been very fortunate over the years to be able to talk with long time residents of this lovely area of the Caboolture Shire.  What follows are the results of those conversations together with extracts from publications that have been printed from time to time.

Deception Bay was so named by Lt. John Oxley in 1823 who thought the Bay was a river and because of his mistake and the shallowness named it Deception Bay.

In the early days of Deception Bay the area was mainly bush.  The Bay was a pretty muddy place with only two small sandbanks, some rocks and the remains of an old jetty.  Near a small creek there were a number of dead stumps.  There were plenty of crabs and oyster-fish as well.  Black swans were abundant and many other water birds.

In 1881 Dr. Joseph Bancroft bought 150 acres (60 hectares) on Burpengary Creek at Deception Bay.  He gradually added to it until by 1890 he owned 3780 acres (1512 hectares) between Deception Bay and Burpengary.  Some isolated blocks may have been chosen for their different soils or vegetation, and a large area was for the pasturing of cattle.  A block with a long sea frontage was bought in 1883 and here he built a house overlooking the bay.  He traveled at weekends by train to North Pine (Petrie) or Narangba where he was met by an employee with a buggy, who drove him to the property at Deception Bay.

In or about 1890 Dr. Joseph Bancroft built a meatworks at Deception Bay to produce his pemmican.  Dried vegetables and mullet were also processed.  At first the venture was not remunerative but shortly after Joseph’s death, the British War Office placed orders for the Army as part of their emergency rations.  He bequeathed his estate to his wife, and to his son and daughter as tenants in common.  His wife and daughter taking houses at Brisbane and Deception Bay.  Dr. Thomas Bancroft (his son) took most of the Deception Bay farm including the meatworks and built a new house to which he moved with his bride Cecilia Mary Jones in 1895.  He assumed control of the pemmican factory which was profitable until 1904 when the War Office did not renew its contract.  At that time the price of cattle rose sharply and the operation was no longer viable.  Thomas sometime later moved his house to Brisbane where he built a tannery from the building materials from the Deception Bay meatworks.

Dr. Joseph Bancroft also spent considerable time and money on plant hybridisation experiments producing new varieties of strawberries,wheat,grapes and castor oil plant.He established experimental plots for testing potentially useful plants at Deception Bay.  He was also instrumental in attempts to produce a rust-resistant strain of wheat suited to the local environment. Dr. Thomas Bancroft like his father was interest in economic plants and did some work on cultivating cotton and castor oil in Deception Bay.

It is said that Dr. Thomas Bancroft did his best work at Deception Bay.  His marine collecting is attested by his specimens of fish in the Queensland Museum.  It was here that he collected algae, fruit-flies, mosquitoes and where he distributed giant panic grass.  It was here that he did his classical work on the transmission of filariasis.

Today a memorial cairn stands on the foreshore on Captain Cook Parade to commemorate the work that these two Bancrofts undertook.  The rough hewn pyramidal block of granite highlights the towering biological achievements of these two doctors and flags their lives as role-models for medical practitioners and biologists of the future.

The Bancrofts built several well close to the beach and also cut out a hole in the sandstone rock for Mrs. Bancroft to bathe in.  This is still there today and one can note that it is self drain on the turn of the tides.

By 1907 the Poultneys who has a sawmill at Everton Park had cut out the best of the mill timber around Deception Bay and left with the exception of Harry Poultney who stayed on and passed the time fishing and carried out odd jobs for a living.  It has been suggested that timber from the Everton Park sawmill was probably used to build the first school in Deception Bay in the 1890’s.  Some of the early pupils were Jimmy Sparkes, Morton Poultney and Percy Lipscombe.

There were no property roads in the Bay and a winding track in from the Redcliffe Road was made among the trees with some sandy patches and at times these were very boggy.  Mosquitoes were thick and fierce and one had to use a switch to keep them at bay.  It was a slow trip in as there were no motor cars in the early days.  The Bruce Highway,now Deception Bay Road was surveyed and built between the two World Wars.

About 1890 F.L. Henzells, Real Estate Agents of Brisbane listed for sale on behalf of the Ellensvale Land Company quite a number of allotments, mostly 16 perch, in the lower area of Deception Bay. Some were priced as low as one pound and front blocks were listed at twenty pounds.  On the map produced streets were not named but it is possible considering some of the present names they were named during the later part of Queen Victoria’s reign.

In 1907 there were a number of houses along the sea front.  At the southern end there was the Sparkes, then Webster’s large shingled roofed house and their caretaker’s cottage, and two Poultney houses, one of which had a shingled roof.  Fred Pedwell had a twin cottage built mainly of timber washed up during the 1893 flood.  Then William Wallin had a few acres.  The Reserve (now the Library Park) separating them from Bancrofts large paddock with their large house on the northern end of the Bay.

William Wallin, who owned the Royal Exchange Hotel at Aspley, had heard in 1900 that land was up for sale and bought about 30 acres from a Mr. Smith.  The whole of the property was covered with tall gum tree and lantana and was unfenced.  William Wallin only required the frontage so he retained 8 acres and sold the rest.

Out in the bush there were the Duggans out towards the Redcliffe Road, Lipscombes who had the first Post Office in Deception Bay (now Lipscombe Lodge on Boundary Road). A blacksmith’s shop was also located close by, which was probably was used to shoe Poultney’s horses which were used as a team to haul the logs out around the Bay to the North Pine (Petrie) railway station and then railed to Enoggera railway station and then hauled by horses to the sawmill at Evererton Park.

On and near the road to Burpengary lived the Humes, Thomas and Maitland families.

Near the big rock on the beach (near Seymour Street) in the front of Bancrofts was a gunyah built mainly of branched and occupied by an Aboriginal family.  It is said that the children around were always scared to go past.  The Aboriginals kept a number of families in crabs, fish and oysters and they never interfered with the activities of property owners.

Fred Pedwell worked for the Bancrofts for a time and eventually bought a few hundred acres on Burpengary Creek.  He moved part of Bay house over to it and started dairying.

When the Bancrofts left the Bay the Dunne brothers – Dinny, Jim and Jack- took over and ran a dairy on the property.  They claimed Bancrofts oyster beds and if anyone got on to them Jim would go down with a shotgun and chase them off.

In 1915 Harry Poultney sold their horse paddock comprising quite a number of 16 perch allotments which had a frontage to the beach and two other streets to Mr. Affleck who had a dairy farm at Petrie.  He later erected a small sea side cottage on high stumps on it.  The house has only recently been moved and the block subdivided (Affleck Place).

The same year Fred Pedwell sold to John Tucker who had a store and the Post Office at Everton Park, his and five allotments on the sea front for one hundred pounds.  His cottage was used for holidays but when he sold the business at Everton Park in 1927 he came and lived in the Bay for some time.

Whilst here Jon Tucker with Harry Poultney contracted to clear short stretches of local roads for the Caboolture Shire Council for prices in the vicinity of twenty pounds.

Mr. Toms who owned a store in Caboolture built a boat shed on a small creek near a sandbank.  They had a motor boat and used to go down for holidays.  The Creek has now been filled in and large pipes substituted (at the end of Emerald Avenue).

About 1920 the lower part of the Bay was transferred to the Redcliffe Shire Council.  They lost no time to sell allotments that were in arrears of rates, some sold for ten and twenty pounds.  After a short period the area was transferred back to the Caboolture Shire Council.

More people then began coming to the Bay and built small seaside cottages.

Peter Crown, who was an Italian and very short, lived at the Bay for many years.  He had a boat he named “Minnie”. He gathered oysters and also crab pots.  Before coming to the Bay in the 1920’s he was an organ grinder in Brisbane.  He had a portable organ with one leg which he carried on his back and a monkey dressed in a red coat.  He visited various streets and picnic parties around Brisbane with the monkey collecting donations while he turn the handle on his organ.  When Peter left the Bay he went to Redcliffe and helped the Beedhams in the kitchen of their boarding house.

William Wallin built a kiosk on his property facing the Reserve and with his son Bill opened the second Post Office.  The first having been closed for a number of years.  Besides grocery items etc. they sold milk and honey.  When they left his son Oliver came to the Bay with his family took over and as it grew newspapers were available.  A telephone was installed in 1930  – the single wire to Burpengary was hung from the trees.

During the 1920’s many people came to the Bay for their holidays.  Quite a number pitched their tents among the trees on the Reserve.  The Caboolture Shire Council built two timber toilet blocks with a dressing room attached on the beach below the Reserve.  These were later moved higher up on the top of the bank and remained there until more permanent ones of brick were built further back on the Reserve.  The campers created quite a canvas town.

For a few years from 1926 on New Years Day the locals and holiday people got together and organised a Picnic and Sports Day. It was held near the big tree on the front (near Osborne Terrace). Races were held for the children, single men and single women, married men and married women! Tug of war was also popular together with catching the greasy pig event. People would come to the Picnic from Dakabin, Narangba and Burpengary.

Jimmy Sparkes and Harold Pashen, both relatives of the Poultney’s were very much involved and with the help of other residents organised prizes, water melons, eats and billy tea boiled in kerosene tins. It was quite a day!

Alf Lovekin also built and lived here for sometime and eventually built a shop in 1939 (cnr. Grosvenor Terrace and Silver Street)

A Cricket team was formed and a concrete wicket was laid in Wallins paddock.  The wicket would now be under someone’s house

Ollie Wallin built which was used for church service, dances, a picture show, election booth and other purposes as well (cnr. Summer Street and Bayview Terrace). Unfortunately this was later burnt down.

The first school in the area was a small building moved from Enoggera or Everton Park to an area just behind the present BP Service Station on Deception Bay Road. Later this school building was moved to Narangba as there were not enough children for the school at the Bay and then moved to Bribie Island where it formed part of the Methodist church

During the Second World War there are many Army Camps in the area. Some of the troops had returned from the Middle East and later went up to New Guinea.

Owing to ill health the Dunne’s gave up in the dairy and left the Bay.  The property was sold. The area was cut up into sizable allotments and sold.  From then on the Bay went ahead with many permanent residents and a butcher’s shop was built.

Electricity was supplied in 1949 and in 1962 water mains were laid and sewage in 1972.   The mid-sixties saw the first mail delivery man, the late Mr. John Jacques.  A shelter shed to commemorate Captain James Cook was opened by the distinguished tropical diseases researcher, Dr Sir Raphail Cilento in 1970.

There were some early graves around the area but these have long been forgotten.

After the second World War the Vacuum Oil Company built the Mobil Garage and Motel on the Bruce Highway (where Bay Markets are).  They called it Green Tree because it was set among some gum trees.  It was very popular stop over for transports etc. until the Main Roads Department built the present Bruce Highway.

Australian Paper Manufacturers at Petrie then purchased a large area of land in the      district (Moreton Down Estate) and planted Pinus Elliottii for a future pulp mill.

Oillie Wallin donated land and the first church which was a Methodist church was built by voluntary labour in 1948.

A succession of visiting doctors from Redcliffe serviced the area until Dr Allan Burr became the first resident doctor and started the practice that is situated on the corner of Upper Holborn Street and Bayview Terrace.

More churches and schools were built together with shopping center and a hotel. Service Clubs became established, sporting clubs of all major sports commenced and Deception Bay just kept progressing.

Farms which flourished over the years were bought by developers, subdivided and built on. Community services were established by the Caboolture Shire Council and State Government.

Population exploded and the Bay’s appeal is now no longer a secret!

History of Deception Bay :Notes

People who made Deception Bay Home.

Dame Annabelle Rankin
First Queensland’s women senator in 1946; first woman to administer a federal portfolio;    the first woman appointed and Australian High Commissioner;  the first women Whip in        any West minister parliament and the first woman, other than the Queen, to take the salute at sea.  She made Deception Bay in the Early 1970’s

Patricia McLoughlin (previously Camilleri)
First Woman Caboolture Shire Councillor to be elected from Deception Bay (1979- 1991) and the first Women ever to be elected as Shire Chairman (1991-1994).  She made Deception Bay home in 1969.

Graham Reid – Hockey; Joanne Stone – Javelin (started at Deception Bay Little Athletics); Paul Cross – Para-Olympian in Swimming;
Former Olympian, Justin Lemberg, was the first Lessee of the Deception Bay Swimming Pool which was opened in 1991.

Community Events
A Raft Race was first held in 1982 and annually thereafter for some 15 years.  In about 1994 the Event became the Deception Bay Festival – an event that was always enjoyed by all the Community.  In 1988 the bi-Centennial Mari Gras was probably the first taste of a Carnival the Bay had ever experienced.
The Ambulance Fund Raising Committee with the local guides and Service Clubs used to have Christmas Carols in the Park (behind the Library) with the Christmas Story acted out by the Guides. Hams and all sorts of ‘goodies’ used to be raffled and the chocolate wheel was popular.

History of Deception Bay : Happenings over the Years

  • Early 1950’s
    eception Bay Progress Association commenced (honour board held in the Deception Bay Community Hall).
  • 1955
    CWA commenced.
  • Early 1970’s
    Library constructed.
    Captain Cook Shelter Shed open by Dr Cilento.
    During this time the federal Government brought in the RED Scheme to assist Communities and Deception Bay really benefited from the Scheme with the building of the Community Hall, the Sports Club in Maine Terrace and fields etc.
  • 1976
    APEX founded.
  • 1977
    irst Meals on Wheels kitchen opened.
    Lions Club founded.
  • 1979
    First Public Transport Survey and Requirements undertaken.
    Dame Annabelle Rankin opened Community Kindergarten.
    Christ the King School opened.
    Deception Bay North State School opened.
  • Late 1970’s
    Camping Ground closed (in area behind the present Library).
    Deception Bay Soccer Club formed.
  • 1980
    First Taxi Service ie first Taxi Rank.
    Deception Bay Hotel/Motel opened together with a small shopping centre.  The Commonwealth Bank did not think it appropriate for it to have a Branch there nor did the TAB think the Pub warranted a TAB.
  • 1981
    Thursday Night Shopping was introduced.
    Lobbying once again commenced for a Police Station.
    Zammitt Oval was opened for Deception Bay Little Athletics.
  • 1982
    First Raft Race.
    Meals on Wheels opened new kitchen adjacent to Deception Bay Community Hall.
    Deception Bay Pensioners Group for the Aged and Disabled (a Group formed out of the Deception Bay Pensioners League) built two Community one-bedroom Units on Reserve westof the Community Hall.  (Today there are six Units which have been built over the years and still owned by the Group and rented out at a very affordable rental to Aged and Disabled Tenants).
    Fire station opened (initially as an Auxiliary Station).
  • 1983
    RSL Sub-Branch formed.
  • 1984
    Scouts Hall opened.
    Federal Government again formed the Commonwealth
    Employment Programme scheme under which Deception Bay once again benefited drainage schemes and footpaths and seawall constructions.

(Since the early 1980’s growth in Deception Bay ran at 10% per annum, however during 1986 it Peaked at 17% per annum!)

  • 1986
    Ambulance Center was opened.
  • 1987
    Bay Markets (shopping complex) opened.
    APEX Park was developed by the local club.
  • 1988 
    Bay Watch ( a fore runner of Neighbourhood Watch) was Commenced.
    First Soccer Clubhouse was opened.
    Post Office in Osborne Terrace closed after 30 years and one was opened in the Shopping Centre.
    Chamber of Commerce Steering Committee formed.
  • 1989
    Community Information Centre opened at 7 Capt. Cook Parade.
    Skill Share opened a Redcliffe Branch in the Bay.
  • 1991 
    Swimming Pool opened.                                                                     Moreton Downs Estate commenced selling in a big way.
    Library became computerised.                                                           Bancroft Memorial moved to its present site.
    Recycling bins introduced to the Bay for the first time.
  • 1992 
    Police station opened.
    Shopping Centre opened as we know the building today.
    Poker Machines introduced at the Bowling Club and the Sports Club.
  • 1993 
    Neighborhood Center opened.
  • 1999   
    Negotiations between the Caboolture Shire Council and the State Government completed ensuring Community Renewal Funding for the beautification of the foreshore would commence in 2000.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *