Local resident and author John Parke has just published a book on the history of the fishing industry in Wynnum called ‘Against the Tide – Queensland’s Moreton Bay Fishing Industry since 1824’, which chronicles the rise and fall of the local industry.
The industry’s pioneers were a tough breed: if the wind dropped, they would row the forty kilometre round trip to their fishing grounds and return with their boats heavily laden with fish. Fishing was the backbone of communities such as Wynnum’s, and the fishermen were regarded as heroes.
The industry flourished until the 1980s. At that time over a hundred fishermen were based at Wynnum Creek. They caught Queensland’s second largest annual catch. The creek was a hive of activity where scores of boat waited to unload their catch at the local fish market. Today just a handful of fishermen are left and the fish market is long gone. Fishing boats, in various stages of decay, line the now heavily silted creek.
The book explores why the industry has declined so dramatically since its glory days. It uncovers how the fishermen have dealt with enormous changes and looks to the future. The book also includes a series of light-hearted bush poems, written by John, that capture some of the hilarious true stories told by the fishermen. It is full of over 80 historic photos, some dating back to 1890.
The book can be purchased for $22.95 at www.5word.com.au. A great Christmas present!
PS if you were at the market on Saturday you might have seen John with the book at his stall.