People often ask how our BBQ Boats were named –
We have 6 BBQ pontoon Boats and all of them have been named in honour of the story of the early European exploration of Moreton Bay, during which many of the natural features of the Pumicestone Passage were given their modern-day names.
Our 12-person BBQ Boats were named after the explorers, Flinders and Bongaree. Captain Matthew Flinders sailed from Sydney in the “Norfolk” in 1799. He was accompanied by Bongaree, an Aboriginal man from the Broken Bay region of New South Wales. Bongaree acted as guide, interpreter and good friend to Flinders. Coming through Moreton Bay, which Flinders described as “shallow, of little consequence but with very pretty islands”, the Norfolk drew up towards Bribie Island.
It anchored off shore from what is now Red Beach and a party, including Flinders and Bongaree, rowed into “Pumicestone Creek”. There the crew met members of the Joondabarrie tribe. Bongaree generally dressed in the cocked hat and full dress coat of naval uniform, but for this meeting he went naked, in order to reassure the local people. He stood alone on the beach and exchanged a “yarn belt” for a head-piece made of kangaroo hair. There was some misunderstanding between Flinders and a Joondabarrie man, so this first contact ended in hostility, causing Captain Flinders to name the sand spit “Point Skirmish”. (There is some contention to the exact location, and the western side of the southern tip of Bribie is now given this name)
Subsequently, a friendly relationship was established. The crew of the Norfolk camped at White Patch where they held an introduction ceremony and sing-along with the Joondabarrie people. The two groups taught each other new skills- the Joondabarrie were fine net-makers and fishermen, but had never made a woomera.
On their return to Sydney, Bongaree assisted Lieutenant Grant in exploring the Hunter River. In 1802 he sailed again with Captain Flinders in the famous circumnavigation of Australia, aboard the “Investigator”.
On a return trip to England, Flinders and Bongaree sailed as passengers on the sloop, “Porpoise”, taking the charts of Australia’s coastline to present to the King. The Porpoise ran aground on an island in the Great Barrier Reef, with more than eighty passengers. Flinders rigged a sail on a small boat and sailed back to Sydney for assistance. Bongaree stayed with the remaining party and was responsible for helping to feed them until the rescue vessels arrived.
After this, Flinders continued on his homeward voyage, aboard the “Cumberland“. This was the first vessel ever built in Australia but it wasn’t designed for long ocean voyages. The Cumberland was forced to stop for repairs at Mauritius, where Flinders was captured by the French (Britain was at war with France at the time). He was held prisoner on the island for 6½ years.
On his release, Flinders returned to England a very ill man and so remained there with his wife, writing “Voyage to Terra-Australis”, based on his charts, letters and papers. He lived on half-pay and died at the early age of 40 years.
The contribution of Flinders, with his friend Bongaree, to charting and understanding this new land, now known as Australia, was not recognised for a number of years. Flinders’ voyages were scientifically significant for the botanical and zoological studies undertaken, for his innovative work on navigational and cartographical problems as well as for his meticulous and detailed surveys of the entire coast of Australia.