Ending Sand Mining

Mining has been a part of the Minjerriba history since 1949. The sand mining industry on Stradbroke Island began with shovels and trucks on Main Beach. This developed over time to large-scale dredging operations and up until 2019 mineral leases covered approximately 60% of the Island. Lines in the Sand A History of Mineral Sandmining on Queensland’s Barrier Islands states that in 1997 the then mine owner CRL commissioned a new mine at the Ibis-Alpha ore-body.

“The new mine became a focal point for the anti-mining campaign and Brisbane-based conservation groups, including the QCC and the Greens, formed the Stradbroke Island Action Coalition (SIAC) which also included the QLC, now strongly opposed to mining. The SIAC organised a number of protests on the Island to highlight their concern including a public rally, held in August 1996,98followed by a blockade of the road to the new mine site which caused delays in the commissioning of the mine” (Sweett, p66).

The author goes onto say that the blockade continued for over a month, but ended after disagreements within QLC and lack of support from SIMO and community.

Stop Ming StradbrokeFigure 1. 1997 Around 60 people gathered at Dunwich March 26 to protest against sand mining. Image retrieved from FOSI Facebook Page.

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Science Under Sail January 2021

A six night sail was shortened to four thanks to a Brisbane COVID lock-down. Science Under Sail departed Manly and moored five nights at the Moreton Bay Research Station mooring at One Mile. Gathering data concerning the health and status of sea grass from the ocean floor, we chartered waters of the Rainbow and Rous Channels, Lazaret Gutter behind Peel Island, the Amity and Maroon Banks.

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Where Did All the Good People Go?

With COVID and island businesses closing, many may well ask where do I get a good coffee? The real question, as singer songwriter Jack Johnsons asks is Where Did All The Good People Go? I would say a hell of a lot of them were at Benji’s at some stage or another over recent years and these include hospitality, schooling and accomodation workers, musicians, yoga enthusiasts, backpackers who’ve lived or stayed there. But now, yet another permanent island rental is taken off the market in favour of development.

Renovating is the other catch cry of recent months and “turning my permanent rental into a holiday letting”.  Investment property owners on the island are moving to make this their primary place of residence since being locked out of the island during COVID. Our community is turning into one that has limited human resources to work the hospitality, accomodation and other island services that enable tourism. I recently waited two months for an electrician. Permanent rental accommodation options are an unforeseen casualty of these strange times. Economic imperative to pay off the mortgage, opportunism to proffer from the growth in tourism, coupled with lifestyle aspirations of many will be the undoing of us all.

The divide between visitors, new arrivals, holiday makers and local community will become ever wider if the glue that is the island workers are not looked after. I for one am making my spare bedroom available to those who have been given notice at the Bungalows, Pulan Pulan. I want to also pay tribute to Benji’s Place, which was Sunny’s old beach house and one of the original homes at Adder Rock next to the Road House at the Point. In recent years Benji and Josephine have played host to all and sundry who have come to the island to have a bed (or lounge to sleep on), share music, food and good vibes. These people have contributed to the island colour, culture and diversity. Never has the statement the door is always open ever been more true.

I too have have found a bed there in times of trouble. Credit goes to the property owners for accepting such unconventional tenants. But with local conscienceless Council approval for the demolition of what many would call a character dwelling, a 11 unit complex is approved to replace the existing fibro beach shack. Finding somewhere that serves a good coffee is small problem when community people are unable to find anywhere to live.

QYAC and Toondah Harbour Redevelopment

Redlands2030 website reports

“The Quandamooka Yoolooburrabee Aboriginal Corporation (QYAC) recently explained its position on plans for development at Toondah Harbour.

QYAC is a Registered Prescribed Body Corporate created under the Native Title Act 1993to manage the recognised Native Title rights and interests of the Quandamooka People.

In 2015 the Redland City Bulletin  reported  “Stradbroke’s Quandamooka people back Cleveland Harbour revamp”. Since then, QYAC’s position on plans for development at Toondah Harbour has been the subject of some misconceptions.

In a carefully worded statement to many stakeholders (copy below), QYAC CEO Cameron Costello recently made a number of points which set out his organisation’s position on development at Toondah Harbour. Key points include:

  • QYAC has consistently supported an upgrade of Toondah Harbour but only if this brings about economic development opportunities for the Quandamooka People.
  • The Quandamooka People as Traditional Owners for the area on which the PDA is proposed should be appropriately consulted on the development.
  • QYAC was not consulted by either the Redland City Council or the State Government prior to the Toondah Harbour Priority Development Area being declared in 2013.
  • QYAC reiterates comments made in its 2014 submission to the State Government (copy below) that the “preservation of and enhancement of public and open space is important” and that the “development is likely to impact upon sensitive environmental areas, and this should be addressed including in particular any concerns with existing Ramsar Areas” .
  • At no point has QYAC given support to any Master Plans provided by Walker Corporation.
  • Allegations that QYAC has received a financial gift from Walker Corporation are incorrect and false
  • QYAC lodged its Quandamooka Coast Claim (which includes the Toondah Harbour Area) in 2016 as a direct response to the Toondah Harbour PDA, to ensure that the Quandamooka People’s cultural heritage and native title rights and interests were protected”.

Full transcript is available at


The Moreton Bay Foundation (TMBF)

The new Moreton Bay Foundation is being launched today August 30, 2019 after long negotiation and lobbying for investment in the Foundation by founder John and Meta Goodman. Pictured here is  John and Meta with Uncle Bob Anderson and Cathy Boyle June 2, 2017. Photo by Jo Fay Duncan.

“Focusing expertise, wisdom & enthusiasm for the benefit of Moreton Bay.
Our vision is for Moreton Bay to be an international treasure, known for its excellent environmental health, biological diversity, and ecological sustainability, its innovative robust and resilient economy, and its Indigenous culture and heritage.
Moreton Bay is a unique jewel of biodiversity, cultural heritage, and aesthetic beauty; not on a local scale but on a world scale. We should all be concerned about preserving it, and the work of The Moreton Bay Foundation will give the Bay the voice it needs!

We would welcome you joining our voice in protecting Moreton Bay for current and future generations”. Retrieved from https://moretonbayfoundation.org

Island Fresh Water


On island, the fresh waters of Brown Lake are generally understood to be a place for women and children and Blue Lake, for man.

The aboriginal names and cultural significance of each are the subject of some division on the island. But the hydrology is clear. Brown Lake is a perched lake and Blue Lake a window lake in that it opens to the fresh water aquifer below the island and is part of Naree Budjong Djara (‘My Mother Earth’) National Park which is jointly managed by Quandamooka Yoolooburrabee Aboriginal Corporation (QYAC) and Queensland National Parks.

Since mining began on the island in the 1940’s, fresh water has been extracted from the island’s aquifer. Despite minings end in 2019, currently millions of litres of water is extracted from the island daily, supplying 60% of the water for mainland city of Redlands. During the millennium drought in Australia the Queensland Government proposed a doubling of water export from the island’s aquifer. Ongoing draught impacts on the aquifer’s ability to replenished itself, and with ongoing extraction salt water could perforate and contaminate its fresh water. Aboriginal and sovereign permission was never granted for the extraction of water from the aquifer in the first place.


Cox, M. E., Specht, A., James, A., Taulis, M., (2011). North Stradbroke Island 3D Hydrology: Surface Water Features, settings and groundwater links. Retrieved from https://www.researchgate.net/publication/269105688_North_Stradbroke_Island_3D_hydrology_surface_water_features_settings_and_groundwater_links

Hurst, D. (2008). North Stradbroke Water Plan A Murky Idea. Retrieved from https://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/national/queensland/north-stradbroke-water-plan-a-murky-idea-20080116-ge9k3s.html

Walking the Landscape – Redlands Catchment Map Journal v1.0 (2016), presentation, Department of Environment and Heritage Protection, Queensland. Retrieved from http://qgsp.maps.arcgis.com/apps/MapJournal/index.html?appid=8efac094b0aa46c7ad4eae640ec08f49


World Heritage Listing of Moreton Bay

The process to nominate Moreton Bay for World Heritage listing started in 2017. The state government has budgeted $1.3 million to develop the nomination of North Stradbroke and Moreton islands as a World Heritage Area.

QYAC chief executive officer Cameron Costello said that it was uncommon for a listing process to be led by traditional owners.

The proposed area for listing was 3200 square kilometres covering North Stradbroke Island, Moreton Island and Moreton Bay. Retrieved from https://redlands2030.net/quandamooka-world-heritage-listing/

Dredging in the World Heritage Listed Moreton Bay would be prohibited, effectively meaning that  the Toondah Harbour redevelopment could not go ahead.