Place of hundreds of islands

Moreton Bay is home to more than three hundred islands. I returned to one of those islands, Russell to walk the land where my father’s banana farm had once been.

Dad's old farm, Russell Island
The swampy part of what was my father’s farm, now subdivided into allotments

From the farm, I headed to a quiet beach on the eastern side of the island. This was no tourist spot. The shoreline was nothing but mangroves and mud, expect for a tiny piece of white sand. But opposite was mighty North Stradbroke Island.

The elongated sand island was originally called Stradbroke Island. But in the 1840s when the Cambus Wallace was shipwrecked near the Jumpinpin, its cargo sank and five sailors aboard perished. A salvage team discovered dynamite amongst the cargo, collected it in a pile and exploded the lot.

Russell Island
Mangroves along Russell Island’s shoreline with North Stradbroke Island beyond

While Wikipedia might say the island split in two due to gales and high seas, this explosion weaken the sand dunes so that it didn’t take long for the forces of nature to turn Stradebroke Island into North and South Stradbroke Islands. With the open seas rushing into the the bay, the once thriving oyster business was doomed.

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