On this day …….. 3rd September 1894
The Cambus Wallace runs aground off Stradbroke Island in southern Queensland in the first of two events which cause the island to be broken into North and South.
North Stradbroke and South Stradbroke are two islands located in Moreton Bay, off southeast Queensland. In the late 1800s, the two islands were still one, joined by a narrow neck of sand known as Jumpinpin, approximately 100m wide. That changed due to a series of events between 1894 and 1896. The Cambus Wallace was a 75 m iron hulled steamer weighing around 1 650 tonnes, carrying a load of whiskey and dynamite. It ran aground off Jumpinpin in the early morning of 3 September 1894. The ship began to break apart, six crew members were drowned, and much of the cargo was washed up on the sand. During the cleanup afterwards, the explosives were piled in a hollow between the sand dunes and detonated, blowing several craters in the sand and destabilising the dune structure in an explosion that was heard as far away as Cleveland. Over the next two years, natural forces continued to erode the seaward side of the bar. During Autumn 1896, the gale-force winds of a late-season cyclone caused the final breakthrough, creating a passage through Stradbroke Island. By 1898, the passage had increased from about 6 metres to 1500 m in width, although the depositing of sand over time has reduced that. The breakthrough changed the nature of the southern Moreton Bay area permanently. Tidal inundation increased erosion on farmland around the mouth of the Logan River, and farmers were forced to dig canals to prevent land loss, while the oyster industry was heavily affected. Jumpinpin Channel is now a well-used fishing and boating channel, though still precarious to negotiate.