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Historically significant Bribie Island attractions include vestiges of WWII naval defence fortifications, the most vital being Heritage Listed Fort Bribie, the dilapidated installation which sits on the north-eastern sands of Ocean Beach, up from the shell of the Fort Skirmish bunker located on the northern part of Woorim Beach.
The naval site of Fort Bribie was built at the outbreak of WWII, becoming operational by early 1942 to provide defence support for the RAN against light raiding warships.
Originally the fort was a fairly primitive construct, but as Japanese aggression intensified the bunker’s superior tactical position prompted it to be upgraded into Moreton Bay’s major defence installation.
Once upgraded, it acted as the Examination Battery at which ships identified themselves and formed a vital part of the ring of protective Moreton Bay defence sites which were linked to the loop controlled underwater minefield surrounding Brisbane during the war.
The minefields worked in-conjunction with a system of indicator loops – submerged magnetic cables which were designed to pick-up on the path of a vessel passing over them above the surface or below. The cables stretched between Skirmish Point at Bribie Island and Comboyuro Point on Moreton Island.
In 1945 the fort was abandoned by the military having fulfilled its purpose. With the reassessment of Australia's defensive installations during the 50s, the importance of artillery batteries in coastal defence diminished prompting the complete dismantling of Fort Bribie. The fort’s buildings were disassembled and any building materials recovered were transported off the island to be repurposed elsewhere.
Fort Bribie now serves as one of the historically important Bribie Island attractions. This vital link to the past is material evidence of war defence preparations and provides us with a historical record of the technology and arrangement of defence sites constructed during the era.
Construction undertaken by the Commonwealth Department of the Interior cost approximately £55,000.
You can only access Fort Bribie by 4WD or on foot.
You can 4WD to Ocean Beach campgrounds (part of Bribie Island National Park) and from there walk to the fort via the Fort Bribie Walk which links the campgrounds to Fort Bribie, or you can take the 4WD Access Track from Woorim and travel straight up the beach directly to the fort.
Alternatively, if you don’t own a 4WD you can walk from Woorim Beach to the fort, but be warned, the long, sandy trek of approximately 20km is not for the faint of heart. You could also park at the northern end of White Patch Esplanade and hike through the national park – the distance from this starting point is roughly the same, but navigation is trickier so best bring a compass and map.
If you fancy yourself a history buff consult the detailed Moreton Bay Regional Council Bribie Island map to discover the precise locations of all of the island’s WW2 remnants and historically significant hotspots before heading over to take yourself on a self-guided Bribie Island attractions tour.
Perhaps you may uncover the mysterious camp hospital, a lost part of Fort Bribie which is yet to be found.