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Title: Report on the Department of Ports and Harbours for the Year 1890-91
Author: Australia. Queensland. Department of Ports and Harbours
Language: English
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*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Report on the Department of Ports and Harbours for the Year 1890-91" ***

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     1891.

     QUEENSLAND.

     REPORT ON THE DEPARTMENT OF PORTS AND HARBOURS
     FOR THE YEAR 1890-91.

     Presented to both Houses of Parliament by Command.



TO THE HONOURABLE THE COLONIAL TREASURER.


     Department of Ports and Harbours,
     Brisbane, 26th August, 1891.


SIR,--I have the honour to submit, for your information, the following
Report concerning this Department for the past year:--

I assumed charge on the 1st July, 1890, and found that the heavy gales
and floods experienced in January of the same year had most seriously
affected several of the dredged cuttings of the Brisbane, Mary, Burnett,
and Fitzroy Rivers. In some places the Brisbane River had silted up to
such an extent that there were fully 18 inches less water than before
the flood. This, however, only proved a temporary inconvenience, as the
dredges soon restored the cuttings to their original depths. I also
found that considerable changes had taken place in the formation of the
banks at the northern entrance to Moreton Bay, necessitating the
removal--to make the lead effective--of Tangaluma Light (which had only
been established in 1885), also the removal (for the fourth time) of the
Yellow Patch Light, and the building of two new cottages for the
lightkeepers. Owing to the encroachment of the sea, it had also been
found necessary to remove Comboyuro Point Lighthouse and the keeper's
cottage some 200 feet further inland. This work was accomplished by the
Inspector, Mr. H. L. Pethebridge. The floating beacon which marked the
northern entrance to the port had been ashore on Bribie Island for some
time, but, during the first interval of settled westerly weather, she
was floated and brought to Brisbane to be repaired and supplied with new
moorings, after which she was on the 8th August replaced in her former
position, and by the end of October the works of the Department
generally, which had suffered in the early portion of the year, were
restored.

In January and February of the present year another series of heavy
gales was experienced along the whole coast of the Colony, and on the
6th, 7th, and 8th of June a gale of unusual severity, accompanied by
torrents of rain, swept along the coast from Bowen southwards, causing
heavy seas and abnormally high tides. Such unfavourable weather, of
course, occasioned considerable loss to the Department, a great number
of buoys being driven from their moorings (some lost altogether), and
beacons and other plant receiving a large amount of damage.



MORETON BAY AND BRISBANE RIVER.

The banks at the northern entrance to Moreton Bay are constantly
shifting, and the maintenance of the necessary lights and buoys to
enable vessels to enter and clear the port in safety is a source of
continual anxiety. The floating beacon, which had broken adrift during
the month of February, disappeared altogether on the 10th March; and
although diligently searched for, no trace of her has been discovered.
Two valuable buoys disappeared from the outer banks about the same time.
The floating beacon has been replaced by a new second-class (Trinity
pattern) steel conical buoy, surmounted with a staff and cage, the top
of which is 12 feet above the water, forming a most conspicuous object.
New buoys have been moored in the positions of those lost.

No. 1 cutting, Hamilton Reach, has now a depth of 17 feet at low water,
spring tides; and the entrance to the bar cutting is being dredged to a
similar depth. The increased depth of water in these cuttings is of
considerable importance to vessels of heavy draught. A depth of 15 feet
at low water, spring tides, is fully maintained in the other cuttings,
but there are several shallow places in the town reaches of the river
which require attention.

The more recent gales and floods do not appear to have injuriously
affected the dredged cuttings of the Brisbane River. Several new beacons
have been erected to replace those blown down or found defective; and,
to render them more conspicuous, heads have been placed on some of the
beacons marking the bar cutting. Beyond some slight repairs, now being
effected, all the sea and river marks for the navigation of this port
are in good order, and the various buildings are not likely to require
any extensive repairs for some time.

The apparatus at the various lighthouses in Moreton Bay are in good
order, with the exception of the reflectors at Cape Moreton, which will
shortly require re-silvering. This work can be done locally.

The sea-pilot steamer "Advance" continues to do her work satisfactorily,
and is most usefully employed at her present station. She is only used
for towing in cases of emergency, so that her earnings in that respect
are very limited.

The "Laura" is a most useful vessel, and is kept fully employed
performing the various duties of the Department. She is, however,
seventeen years old, and her hull shows signs of weakness, although her
engines and boiler are in good order.

The "Pippo" requires a new boiler and certain repairs to her hull. To
efficiently carry out the work of the Department at this port, I find a
third steamer indispensable, as the "Advance" must be kept at her
station, and it is impossible for the "Laura" to successfully perform
all the other work of the Department; and should either break down, a
third steamer would be necessary as a relieving vessel.

The Nautical Surveyor (Mr. E. A. Cullen) has just finished a survey of
the northern half of Moreton Bay, a work which was rendered necessary by
the fact that the only chart available for use was one originally
published by the Admiralty in 1865, with corrections inserted at various
intervals up to within the last two years, since which great changes
have taken place in the formation of the banks. Mr. Cullen accomplished
the work in the "Pippo" in a most satisfactory manner, in the short
space of five months, and a tracing of the new chart has been
transmitted to the Admiralty for publication. The survey discloses
changes of a prejudicial character at the entrance to the North or Howe
Channel, which has been contracted by the extension of the east bank in
a northerly direction about four cables, and the south-east extreme of
the north bank to the eastward, about three and a half cables, while to
the north-north-east of the north bank a small patch has formed, having
only three fathoms upon it at low water. This patch is only one cable to
the westward of the line of lights, and a continuance of similar growths
will render the entrance at night exceedingly difficult, and probably
destroy the utility of the present leading lights. The channel, however,
at present maintains a depth in its shallowest part of 21 feet at low
water, spring tides. The attached plan shows the position of the line of
lights in relation to the three fathom patch and north-west extreme of
the east bank. The three and five fathom contours as existing in 1886
are shown in red, while their present positions are indicated in black.
Numerous other changes are shown on the new chart, but the banks to the
westward, in the vicinity of the north-west channel, have changed so
very little during the last twenty-five years that the channel may be
regarded as practically a permanent one. It is the widest, deepest, and
only permanent approach to Moreton Bay, and vessels of heavy draught,
whose visits are rapidly increasing--including some of H.M. ships--have
now to wait for daylight to enter the port by this channel. It is buoyed
for use in the daytime, and can--when considered necessary--be easily
and cheaply lighted for use at night.

The approach to Moreton Bay by the South Passage should be discouraged,
as the banks move about in a remarkable manner; and variation in the
depth of water and direction of the channels being of frequent
occurrence, it should be attempted only by men possessing good local
knowledge, in vessels of light draught.


WIDE BAY AND MARYBOROUGH.

The new channel across Wide Bay Bar, which was buoyed and lighted in
July of last year, maintains its depth and direction. Some changes have
taken place in Sandy Strait, notably at Stewart's Island Flats, where
the cutting has silted up; and a new channel to the eastward of the
cutting, carrying a depth of 18 inches more water, has been beaconed and
lighted. The gales and floods experienced during January and February
did very great damage; and the outlay in replacing lost buoys, and
repairing and replacing beacons, has been considerable. A perch buoy has
been moored at the northern entrance to Great Sandy Strait, in place of
the floating beacon which was sunk on the night of the 10th May last.
The work of raising this vessel was commenced, but had to be abandoned
in consequence of heavy weather coming on and ultimately breaking her
up. The buoys and beacons are in good order throughout this district.
When the cutting at Horse-shoe Bend is completed, there will be a depth
of 10 feet at low water, spring tides, through all the cuttings in the
Mary River, and vessels drawing 19 feet will be enabled to reach the
wharves at Maryborough.

The lightkeeper's cottages at Woody Island and one of the cottages at
Inskip Point require some repairs, but with those exceptions the
domiciles are in good order.

The steamer "Llewellyn" has been recently surveyed, and, beyond the
ordinary outlay, no expenditure is anticipated during the current year.
In June last this vessel was instrumental in saving the brigantine
"Hector," with eighty lives on board, from being wrecked on Breaksea
Spit. In Great Sandy Strait and the Mary River there are no less than 50
lights, most of which are leading lights burning day and night. These
lights keep two steam launches with their crews constantly at work
attending to them; the system is elaborate, but very costly.


BURNETT RIVER.

The gales and floods in the early part of this year, and again in June
last, caused considerable damage in the river and outside the Heads,
nearly every buoy being swept from its moorings, by the velocity of the
freshes (two being lost altogether). Several of the beacons were blown
down, and the course of the channel in the Inner Bar lead altered so
much, that the leading beacons had to be removed twice. The banks at the
entrance to the river have increased in extent, and changed the course
of the channel outside the Bar, rendering the approach to the port more
intricate. The buoys have been shifted to mark the new channel.

The lighthouse at the Burnett Heads and the leading beacons in the river
are all in good order. The pilot vessel has given much satisfaction
since receiving extensive alterations and repairs in Brisbane last year.

The new explosives magazine is found to be a great convenience, and
offers ample accommodation for all requirements.

The beacons in the Kolan River, which were blown down in the June gale
have been restored.


PORT CURTIS.

The recent heavy weather has had the effect of altering very much the
north channel into Port Curtis, the depth having shallowed from 18 to 11
feet at low water, spring tides. The inner end of the channel has been
contracted by the extension of the north-west end of the east bank
west-north-westerly direction, and the spit off Oyster Rock to the
southward. These changes have necessitated the removal of the two
buoys--formerly marking the entrance--to the inner edge of the east bank
and the southern point of the spit off Gatcombe Head.

Heavy deposits of mud have taken place in Auckland Creek and the
Calliope River, and it has been found necessary to shift the leading
lights to enable vessels to enter the creek in safety. Considerable
expense has been incurred through the renewals of buoys and beacons
occasioned by the floods in February last, almost every buoy being
displaced. All the marks are now, however, in position again. The light
on Gatcombe Head and the apparent light on Oyster Rock are working
satisfactorily, and the dwelling-houses of the lightkeeper and pilot
crew are in very fair order, only one of them requiring repairs of any
consequence. Ordinary wear and tear is the only expense likely to be
required for the pilot schooner "Enid" during the current year.

Very little progress of any utility has been made in connection with the
work of deepening the Narrows.

At Bustard Head I found the lighthouse, the two auxiliary lights, and
the domiciles of the superintendent and keepers in excellent order.


ROCKHAMPTON.

The floods of this year have caused no changes of importance in the
Fitzroy River. The new channel at Central Island--which opened out and
was beaconed and lighted this time last year--maintains its depth
unassisted by dredging operations, and appears to be improving. No. 5
cutting is consequently no longer used. A new vessel has replaced the
old lightship at the Upper Flats. She is considered an efficient and
necessary beacon at one of the most rocky curves of the Fitzroy River,
and serves as a domicile for the lightkeepers, who maintain the lights
ashore and afloat for a distance of five miles. Tidal signals are also
shown from the vessel both day and night.

During the year the dwelling-houses of the pilot's staff at Keppel Bay
and the lightkeepers at Sea Hill, Balaklava, and Brown's Crossing have
been painted throughout; at the latter station some repairs were also
executed. Any further expense during the current year is, therefore, not
likely to be necessary.

At Balaklava the sea is encroaching on the northern foreshore of the
island, but arrangements have been made to deposit some 500 tons of
ballast, of which a rough dyke will be constructed by the Harbour
Master's staff. This, it is anticipated, will prevent further inroads by
the sea.

The buildings at Sea Hill and at the pilot station are in good order.
The Timandra Bank lightship requires some repairs, and the decks want
caulking, which I anticipate may be done without removing the vessel
from her station. All the buoys and beacons in Keppel Bay and the
Fitzroy River have had careful attention, and are in good order.


CAPE CAPRICORN.

The lightkeeper in charge of this station (Edwin Biss) died in
Rockhampton during the year, and was succeeded by the first assistant
(James Aitken). The lighthouse tower is in good order, but the iron
roofing of two of the cottages requires renewal, being oxidised and full
of perforations.


NORTH REEF.

At this exposed and isolated station I found the central structure in
sound condition, but the corrugated iron forming the walls and roof of
the circular superstructure round the base of the tower, and which forms
the domicile for the superintendent and lightkeepers, is very much
corroded by the action of the salt water, necessitating some
considerable repairs. During the gale and high tides of March last, the
sandbank was entirely submerged, the sea smashing in the doors and
windows, and flooding the keeper's quarters. The sand, some 14 feet in
depth, which originally surrounded the building, has been washed away,
allowing the sea free access to the foundation caisson, which is down 14
feet into the solid madrepore. I do not, however, consider the stability
of the structure is depreciated to any extent in consequence. This
station, like Cape Capricorn, is visited by the Harbour Master at
Rockhampton once a month.


PINE ISLET.

Everything here is in good order, and a gangway ladder has been
constructed to facilitate landing at this almost inaccessible rock,
which the Harbour Master at Rockhampton visits every two months.


YEPPOON.

One small steamer and two or three small craft trade to this place, the
Department maintaining the necessary marks for navigation.


HARRISVILLE (EMU PARK).

No vessels except fishing and pleasure boats have been here for some
time. A black buoy is, however, kept moored off the end of the outer
reef.


PORT BOWEN.

Is now only visited by vessels seeking shelter. The wharf is in good
order, but no cattle have been shipped since 1887.


BROADSOUND.

Since October last the staff at this port, which previously consisted of
a pilot and three hands, has been considerably reduced--the coxswain
only (who is also a boatman pilot) being retained. The trade to the port
is merely one small steamer, making about four trips a year.


PORT MACKAY.

So far but little improvement in the Pioneer River appears to have
resulted from the construction of the stone training walls. Raising the
wall from Fisherman's Bank down stream to its present termination will
have a beneficial effect, and remove the possibility of small
vessels--when not under command--resting upon it at high water. Its
additional height will also prevent the sand (as in February last, when
the sea made a breach through East Point) from being carried over into
the main channel and leaving a deposit of some 18 inches on the top of
the wall. The upper stone wall commencing at Magazine Island has proved
beneficial, by creating a scour resulting in the removal of the upper
flats. At East Point the bar beacons have been removed again (for the
third time in ten years), in consequence of the continual growth in a
south-westerly direction of the extreme end of the sand spit.

The older portion of the wooden retaining wall on the south bank of the
Pioneer River is in a most unsightly and dilapidated condition, owing to
the combined ravages of white ants and cobra; the newer portion is also
being quickly destroyed from the same cause. The stone retention wall
which extends along part of River Street is, however, well constructed,
and likely to prove of permanent utility.

The buoys and beacons within Port Mackay are in an efficient condition,
and the lighthouse at Flat Top and dwelling-houses of all the
Department's employees require but few repairs. The steam launch is a
useful handy vessel, and is in good order.


HABANA CREEK.

To the northward of Mackay, is the outlet for all the sugar manufactured
on the Habana Estate, which last year amounted to 2,666 tons. The
requisite beacons are maintained by the pilot's staff at Mackay.


CABBAGE-TREE CREEK.

To the southward of Mackay, is available for small vessels drawing 8 or
9 feet of water, and may possibly require beaconing, as it is likely to
be availed of, in consequence of its close proximity to Grass-Tree
Mountain, where gold reefing promises shortly to be in operation.


DENT ISLAND.

As this station I found the lighting apparatus working well, and the
tower and cottages in a satisfactory condition. Mr. F. Walker, the late
lightkeeper in charge, has been compelled to retire through ill-health,
after a faithful service of twenty-one years.


BOWEN.

I regret to say that Mr. Robert Findlater, who has satisfactorily filled
the position of pilot at Bowen for the last twenty-eight years, died
last month. The boatman pilot will in future carry out the duties
hitherto performed by Mr. Findlater. The platform of the lighting
apparatus at North Head lighthouse requires some repairs, but the other
buildings appear in good order. The wreck of the s.s. "Wentworth" still
remains on the rocks to the southward of North Head, and forms a most
efficient beacon. The pilot ketch "Dudley" has been recently repaired at
Townsville in a very satisfactory manner. She is a very useful vessel,
making monthly trips to Dent Island in addition to her other duties.


CAPE BOWLING GREEN.

During the last six months the sea has gradually encroached upon the
lighthouse and cottages at this station, quite 150 feet of the bank in
front of the lighthouse having disappeared. The sea, on three occasions,
washed some of the piles from under the superintendent's house. With
high spring tides the water touches the base of the lighthouse on the
north-west side; and as the spit to the south-east is now moving away,
it would appear more than probable that if any further encroachment
takes place the buildings will be surrounded with water, when their
position will be most critical. There was nothing abnormal in the state
of the tide when the greatest encroachment took place, and the
disappearance of the bank which formerly protected the buildings can
only be accounted for by the soft and yielding nature of the sand which
underlies an apparently hard and compact surface. I visited Cape Bowling
Green twice within a month, and the changes wrought during the interval
of my visits were remarkable. On the first occasion a bank of sand 6
feet high, with a row of cocoanut trees about eight years old, extended
some 150 feet in front of the buildings. On my last visit the whole of
this bank, together with the cocoanut trees, had disappeared, and the
sea at high water was washing under the superintendent's house and
within a few feet of the lighthouse. I consulted on the spot with the
Harbour Master (Mr. Hughes), the Inspector (Mr. Pethebridge), and the
Superintendent (Mr. Cole), all of whom have been acquainted with the
place for the last seventeen or eighteen years, with the object of
selecting a new and more eligible site. Such, however, does not appear
to exist. The lighthouse and apparatus are in good order, and the
cottages, with the exception of that occupied by the superintendent, are
in fair condition.


CAPE CLEVELAND.

The clockwork requires some slight alterations, owing to the irregular
intervals of revolution; but, with that exception, everything is in
satisfactory order.


TOWNSVILLE.

No alteration appears to have taken place in the depth of water in
Cleveland Bay. The damage to the eastern breakwater caused by the
cyclone of last year has been repaired, and the structure has been
greatly strengthened. At its outer extremity a massive concrete
foundation has been embedded in the masonry, upon which the lighthouse
has been strongly secured. The light is of the 4th order dioptric,
showing a red arc of 270° to seaward, and a white arc of 90°, visible
inside the breakwater and to the southward towards Alligator Creek. The
extension of the western breakwater is also completed, and from its
outer extremity a small green light will be exhibited. The channel into
Ross Creek, dredged in 1889 to a depth of 10 feet at low water, has
silted up in places below the Harbours and Rivers' Wharf to 5-1/2 feet;
above that it retains its depth.

Inside the breakwater, and at the entrance between the piers, dredging
is being proceeded with, and it will be a great advantage to the
shipping visiting the port when the dredging along the inside of the
eastern breakwater is completed.

It is proposed to erect semaphores for exchanging communications between
the signal station and Bay Rock lighthouse, flag signals being
frequently indistinguishable. The lighthouse at Bay Rock is well
maintained.

The steam launch is very useful, but rather small for the work she has
to perform.

The buoys and beacons in Cleveland Bay are now in good repair, several
renewals having been necessary during the past year. All the property of
the Department appears to be well looked after, and in an efficient
state. The new relieving lightship built at Townsville was finished last
April. After being fitted with two new 5th order dioptric lights--which,
being exhibited from the same lantern, show a powerful fixed light--she
was towed up in July to relieve the Channel Rock lightship, which had
been thirteen years at her moorings. The latter vessel has been brought
to Townsville for repairs.


BARRATTA AND ALLIGATOR CREEKS.

Have required rebeaconing throughout. The trade to the latter creek is
increasing, as the Meat-preserving Works have recommenced operations.


PLANTATION CREEK.

The necessary beacons and leading lights are maintained.


DUNGENESS.

At this port much damage was done by the gales in the early part of the
year. The beach which formerly protected the pilot station buildings has
been greatly encroached upon by the sea, and at one time fears were
entertained for the safety of the dwelling-houses. Happily, however, the
only damage done was the destruction of the boatshed and the loss of a
few stores. The Custom-house and telegraph station, which adjoin the
pilot station, are being removed to a new site; and I think it advisable
that the pilot station should also be removed, as, with a renewal of
last year's weather, the buildings may be lost altogether. The
destruction to buoys and beacons was very great, and the approaches to
the Herbert River have altered very much. All damage to buoys and
beacons has been made good, and the channels, which retain their former
depths, re-marked.


SNAGGING PUNT.

Snagging has been carried on during the year in the Johnstone, Seymour,
Herbert, and Nind Rivers. The results, however, were not satisfactory,
it being difficult to control the operations of the men. A local trust
has been appointed to carry out the work, and better results may be
anticipated.


MOURILYAN HARBOUR.

The trade to this port is now confined to the visit of a small steamer
twice a week. The necessary beacons and lights are maintained by the
Department.


JOHNSTONE RIVER.

Has, like mostly all the other ports, suffered from the effects of gales
and floods. The amount of damage was, however, comparatively trifling,
and confined to the blowing down of a few inexpensive beacons. The
approach to the river has altered its direction, and the leading lights
and beacons on Flying Fish Point have been moved to indicate the course
in, which is now N. W. by W. 3/4 W., while formerly it was W. 3/4 N. The
houses at the pilot station and the pilot cutter are in good order.


CAIRNS.

The new cutting into Cairns harbour was completed last year, giving a
depth of 13 feet at low water, spring tides, and leading lights and
beacons have been established to render the cutting easily navigable by
night as well as by day. The dredged channel has stood remarkably well;
only a slight silting up has been recently reported near the third pile.
This spot, however--upon inquiry--appears never to have been dredged. A
new staff for the outer leading light has been erected, and the buoys
and beacons are fully maintained. The largest coasting steamers now
enter and leave the port in safety. The beacons in the Barron and
Mulgrave Rivers are attended to by the staff at Cairns, and are at
present in their proper positions.

My predecessor suggested that a lightship should be placed near the
Fairway Buoy to mark the entrance to the dredged cutting, and as a guide
for vessels visiting the port, as well as to exhibit the necessary tidal
signals. A light-vessel or--what would be cheaper--a small fixed
pile-light on the Trotter-Lindberg principle--would certainly be a great
advantage. The pilot boat, dwelling-houses, boatshed, and all property
of the Department is well looked after.


LOW ISLAND LIGHTHOUSE.

The lighthouse and buildings on this island are kept in a very orderly
way, and apparently no outlay will be necessary for some time. The
Harbour Master at Port Douglas visits the station once a month.


PORT DOUGLAS.

The buoys and beacons are in good order, but the lighthouse requires a
new balcony and door. The buoys and beacons at the Daintree and Mossman
Rivers are maintained by the staff at Port Douglas, but the trade at the
present time is very limited.


COOKTOWN.

During the past year the swinging basin has been dredged, which
considerably increases the anchorage accommodation at this port. The
pilot vessel "Governor Cairns" has been recently repaired and
remetalled, and consequently will require no further outlay for some
time. She is principally employed in attending to the beacons in the
Inner Route to Torres Straits, and conveying stores to the lighthouses
at Archer Point and Rocky Islet. The harbour plant, buildings, buoys,
beacons, and the lighthouse and signal station on Grassy Hill are well
cared for, and in good order. Two new buoys were supplied last year.


LIGHTSHIPS.

The new relieving light-vessel is now stationed at Channel Rock, and, as
she was provided with a new and complete equipment, no outlay will be
necessary for her maintenance for some time.

The Claremont Island lightship had a thorough overhaul two years ago.
She is kept in excellent order, and requires no outlay. The Piper Island
lightship will be the next vessel to be relieved. The metal on her
bottom is becoming thin, and the caulking in her topsides defective.
After a careful examination I consider she may remain another year or
eighteen months at her station. The repairs necessary in the meantime
are unimportant.


BEACONS, INNER ROUTE.

These are now in an efficient state, the heavy weather of the pant year
having occasioned considerable damage, two expensive beacons having to
be renewed altogether.


THURSDAY ISLAND.

The timber portion of the jetty was finished last year, and the T end is
now being slowly proceeded with, the velocity of the tide rendering the
performance of the work very difficult. When complete it will be a great
convenience to large steamers, not exceeding 22 feet draught of water,
which will be able to lie alongside. The buoys and beacons are well
maintained, but there are at present no leading lights for guiding
vessels into the port at night-time. This want is often a source of
great detention and loss to vessels visiting the port, and many
complaints have been made in consequence. Arrangements can easily be
made to provide leading lights; and as their maintenance would not
require any addition to the present staff, the outlay would be very
moderate. The lighthouse and signal station at Goode Island are in a
very efficient state, but the tramway for getting oil and stores from
the beach (some 1,100 feet in length) is quite past repair, and requires
renewal. It is proposed to put iron instead of wooden rails, as being
more economical in the end.

At the pilot station everything is in order, no outlay for repairs being
necessary. The pilot cutter "Lizzie Jardine" has been relieved by the
cutter "Eileen," recently repaired at Cooktown.


PROUDFOOT SHOAL LIGHTSHIP.

When I visited this vessel I found that the heavy weather experienced
during the last north-west monsoon had caused her to ride heavily, and
that her decks forward had, as a consequence, strained a little. The
necessary repairs are being effected by one of the crew, who is a
practical shipwright. I propose in future to keep a carpenter in lieu of
a seaman on each light-vessel.


NORMANTON.

The dredged cuttings at the mouth of the Norman were completed on 20th
September, 1890, when the necessary beacons and leading lights were
erected, and all the works of the Department were in good order until
the 24th February last, when the Gulf of Carpentaria was visited by a
gale of great violence, accompanied by unusually high seas. Vessels
anchored at the Norman Bar dragged considerably, although riding with
both anchors down. The damage to the harbour works was very great. All
the beacons at the mouths of the Norman and Albert Rivers were
displaced, some being destroyed altogether. The lightship parted her
cable, and was carried about 900 feet above ordinary high-water mark on
the Bynoe beach, and two of the Department's boats were smashed. The
dredged cuttings into the Norman River have stood very well, considering
the gales and floods experienced during the year, for, except at one
place near the second black buoy in the outer cutting, hardly any change
is perceptible. At the place indicated, however, the channel for about
400 feet has silted up some 18 inches. Since the weather has become
settled no further alteration has taken place. The buoys and beacons
have been restored to a state of efficiency, but the lightship is still
on shore. As she does not appear to have received much damage, a
contract has been let for floating and taking her to Karumba.

After the "Vigilant" returned to Normanton from Thursday Island, where
she had been relieving the "Albatross," she required a number of repairs
which were executed, and she is now in fair condition.



GENERAL.

The trade to several of the ports having considerably diminished, I have
as vacancies occurred, been able to recommend reductions in the staff by
13 officers and men, which will effect an annual saving of £1,932,
without in any way impairing the efficiency of the Department.

Having visited all the lighthouses on the Queensland coast, I find the
sites upon which the structures are erected have been selected with
great care and judgment, and the illuminating apparatus of the most
modern description (excepting Cape Moreton, which, however, shows an
excellent light), and supplied principally by the eminent lighthouse
engineers, Messrs. Chance Bros., of Birmingham.

Additional 1st or 2nd order lights are not necessary at present, but in
the Inner Route and Torres Strait much time is lost by the mail and
other large steamers through having to anchor at night. Steam vessels
are fast superseding sailing vessels, and their number passing along
this coast increases every month, which will soon render additional
lights necessary.

Pintsch's gas for beacons, buoys, and light-vessels is being adopted to
a great extent in Europe, Asia, America, and the Suez Canal. In the
colony of Victoria Pintsch's gas buoys are also in use. It possesses
great advantages, owing to the cheapness of first cost and to the fact
that no outlay is necessary for lightkeepers, as the light burns from
six weeks to two months without attention. This system of lighting is
admirably adapted for use in the Inner Route and for the shifting
channels at the entrance to Moreton Bay. Several lightships with their
crews have been recently dispensed with in France, and gas buoys
substituted.

Another cheap and very effective light, the "Trotter Lindberg," is being
introduced into the lighting system of Europe. This light is produced by
burning paraffin or lythene oil in a specially designed apparatus. With
the latter the light burns 14 days, and with the former 7 days without
attention. A special feature of the apparatus is that an intermittent
light is produced by the automatic action of a screen, which is made to
revolve by the ascent of the heated air produced by the light. To mark
the outer end of a cutting or narrow channel, the Trotter-Lindberg light
might be utilised instead of a lightship. A lantern, with optical
apparatus complete, costs about £100 to £125 in London.


SUNKEN WRECKS.

Disfigure several of our rivers, and are not only a source of danger to
navigation, but are liable to cause deposits which may hereafter render
dredging necessary. I have endeavoured--without success--to find owners
for the vessels referred to. Ownership has evidently been transferred
from one to another with the intention of evading the responsibility of
raising or removing the wrecks. Some legislation is needed on this
subject. The steamer "Settler" was removed from the river bank at
Bulimba in February last, the lowest tender for the work being £100.


WRECKS AND CASUALTIES.

A tabulated statement is attached hereto, giving particulars of the
wrecks and casualties to shipping on our coast for the year ending 30th
June last. Happily no loss of life has been the result. Nor have the
crews suffered much hardship, being in most cases rescued by means of
their own boats.


WATER POLICE.

Good work has been done by the Town Water Police, all their vigilance
being required to prevent breaches of the Port Regulations.


UNIVERSAL SYSTEM, BUOYS AND BEACONS.

The system as recommended by the International Maritime Conference at
Washington, the Life-saving Appliances Act, the new Load Line Act, and
the Report of the Bulkhead Committee are having the special attention of
the Marine Board, and will be dealt with as soon as possible.


TREE-PLANTING ON ISLANDS AND REEFS.

The pilot vessels at Broadsound, Mackay, Townsville, and Cooktown have
been frequently utilised during the last twelve months in conveying
cocoanut and other trees, to the various islands and reefs adjacent to
our coast, where they have been planted, and the lightkeepers in the
neighbourhood have been instructed to protect the young plants as far as
possible. Tree culture, especially the cocoanut--for which the coral
islands form congenial homes--is important, not only commercially, but
as contributing to the safety of navigation, the existence of trees
rendering the outlying islands and reefs more conspicuous, and are more
serviceable than beacons. As an article of food, the cocoanuts would
prove invaluable to shipwrecked crews. Those planted on some of the
islands are thriving well, especially some 200 young plants on the
Lizard Islands. The trees that have been planted recently require
protection in some way, or they will disappear, as did the fully-matured
trees which existed some years ago on the Frankland Islands.


FISHERIES.

The revenue derived from the Oyster Fisheries has increased in a
substantial manner during the past year. This is owing to the large
number of banks which have been licensed in Rodd's Harbour, and also the
successful sale of dredge sections in Moreton Bay. Banks at the Flinders
Group, Princess Charlotte Bay, have also been licensed, the oysters
being sent to Normanton and Burketown. On my recent Northern trip I
visited Flinders Group, and saw indications of what may develop into a
large industry, not only in connection with edible oysters, but with
pearl oysters, several samples of which were shown to me. The quantity
and value of oysters exported from Brisbane and Maryborough up to 30th
June last were as per following table, viz.:--


BRISBANE.

     Year      No. of Bags.     Value.
                                  £
     1870         4,523         1,644
     1871         5,127         1,625
     1872         4,060         1,427
     1873         3,036           768
     1874         3,912         1,704
     1875         5,349         2,622
     1876         6,648         2,792
     1877         2,736         1,639
     1878         1,790         1,227
     1879         3,793         2,729
     1880         5,293         3,475
     1881         7,559         6,153
     1882         9,953         9,074
     1883         8,878         7,342
     1884         8,256         8,475
     1885         8,076         8,094
     1886         7,512         8,533
     1887         7,167         8,240
     1888         6,191         7,616
     1899         6,791        13,368
     1890        12,906        15,981
     1891[A]      8,719        11,381

[Footnote A: six months]

MARYBOROUGH.


     Year      No. of Bags.     Value.
                                  £
     1887         1,692         1,967
     1888         1,990         3,326
     1889         1,914         3,677
     1890         3,257         6,580
     1891[A]      1,869         3,542

[Footnote A: six months]


The revenue received on account of Oyster Fisheries for the year ending
30th June, 1981, was as follows:--


     Brisbane ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ...£4,360 17  9
     Maryborough  ... ... ... ... ... ... ...   875 10  0
     Gladstone    ... ... ... ... ... ... ...   400  0  0
     Rockhampton  ... ... ... ... ... ... ...     2  0  0
     Thursday Island (Flinders Group) ... ...     7  0  0
                                            ---------------
                                      Total  £5,645  7  9


The number of men and boats employed in connection with the oyster
industry in Moreton Bay are--men 82, boats 36; and the number of banks
worked are 241.

Licenses for catching fish at this port have been issued as follows for
the current year:--Europeans, 99 men and 46 boats; Chinese, 32 men and
16 boats.

Attached hereto is the Inspector's Report on the Oyster and other
Fisheries in the Maryborough district.

     I have, &c,
     T. M. ALMOND,
     Portmaster and Chairman Marine Board.



CASUALTIES TO VESSELS on the QUEENSLAND COAST for the year ended 30th
June, 1891.


     +------------+-----+---------+-----------------+---------+------+--------------------+
     |            |  T  |         |                 |         |      |                    |
     |            |  o  |         |                 |         |      |                    |
     |  Name      |  n  |         |  Nature and     | Total   |      |                    |
     |  of        |  n  |  Date.  |  Locality of    | or      | Lives|  Result of         |
     |  Vessel.   |  a  |         |  Casualty.      | Partial | Lost.|  Inquiry.          |
     |            |  g  |         |                 | Loss.   |      |                    |
     |            |  e  |         |                 |         |      |                    |
     +------------+-----+---------+-----------------+---------+------+--------------------+
     +------------+-----+---------+-----------------+---------+------+--------------------+
     |            |     |   14    | Stranding,      |         |      |                    |
     | Taldora,   | 232 |  July   | Eagle Rock,     | Partial | None | Master             |
     |  s.s.      |     |  1890   | Fitzroy River   |         |      | cautioned.         |
     +------------+-----+---------+-----------------+---------+------+--------------------+
     |            |     |   20    | Stranding,      |         |      | Pilot's license    |
     | Archer,    | 694 |  July   | M Reef,         | Partial | None | suspended          |
     |  s.s.      |     |  1890   | Inner Route     |         |      | 3 months.          |
     +------------+-----+---------+-----------------+---------+------+--------------------+
     |            |     |   22    | Stranding,      |         |      |                    |
     | Changsha,  |1463 |  July   | Rattray Island, | Partial | None | Master severely    |
     |  s.s.      |     |  1890   | Inner Route     |         |      | censured.          |
     +------------+-----+---------+-----------------+---------+------+--------------------+
     |            |     |   06    | Stranding,      |         |      |                    |
     | Volga,     |1620 | August  | Beresford Shoal |  Total  | None | No default.        |
     |  barque    |     |  1890   |                 |         |      |                    |
     +------------+-----+---------+-----------------+---------+------+--------------------+
     |  Grace     |     |   12    | Stranding,      |         |      |                    |
     |  Lynn,     |  93 | August  | reef off        | Partial | None | Master Guilty;     |
     |   schr.    |     |  1890   | Low Island      |         |      | gross negligence.  |
     +------------+-----+---------+-----------------+---------+------+--------------------+
     |            |     |   22    | Stranding,      |         |      |                    |
     | Joseph,    | 687 | August  | Heroine Reef,   | Total   | None | Foreign vessel.    |
     |  barque    |     |  1890   | Endeavour Strait|         |      | No inquiry.        |
     +------------+-----+---------+-----------------+---------+------+--------------------+
     | Royal      |     |   22    | Foundering,     |         |      |                    |
     |  Duke,     | 105 | August  | Cooktown        | Partial | None | No default.        |
     |  schr.     |     |  1890   |  Harbour        |         |      |                    |
     +------------+-----+---------+-----------------+---------+------+--------------------|
     | Jennie     |     |   21    |                 |         |      |                    |
     | Scott,     |  38 |September| Stranding,      | Total   | None | No default.        |
     |  ketch     |     |  1890   | Flora Reef      |         |      |                    |
     +---------------+-----+---------+--------------+---------+------+--------------------+
     |            |     |   14    | Collision,      |         |      | Pilot's license    |
     | Taiyuan,   |2269 | October | Brisbane        | Partial | None | suspended for      |
     |  s.s.      |     |  1890   |  River          |         |      | 3 months.          |
     +------------+-----+---------+-----------------+---------+------+--------------------+
     |            |     |   09    | Fire,           |         |      |                    |
     | Corea,     | 382 |November | Brisbane        | Partial | None | No default.        |
     |  s.s.      |     |  1890   |  River          |         |      |                    |
     +------------+-----+---------+-----------------+---------+------+--------------------+
     |            |     |   11    | Collision,      |         |      | Insufficient       |
     | Kate,      | 147 |November | Brisbane        | Total   | None | lookout on         |
     |  s.s.      |     |  1890   |  Bar            |         |      | Burwah.            |
     +------------+-----+---------+-----------------+---------+------+--------------------+
     |            |     |   11    | Collision,      |         |      | Insufficient       |
     | Burwah,    | 568 |November | Brisbane        | Partial | None | lookout on         |
     |  s.s.      |     |  1890   |  Bar            |         |      | Burwah.            |
     +------------+-----+---------+-----------------+---------+------+--------------------+
     | Maori      |     |   08    | Stranding,      |         |      |                    |
     | King,      |2476 |December | Brisbane        | Partial | None | No default.        |
     |  s.s.      |     |  1890   |  River          |         |      |                    |
     +------------+-----+---------+-----------------+---------+------+--------------------+
     | Orange     |     |   15    | Stranding,      |         |      |                    |
     |  Grove,    | 385 |December | Dungeness       | Partial | None | No default.        |
     |  barque    |     |  1890   |                 |         |      |                    |
     +------------+-----+---------+-----------------+---------+------+--------------------+
     |            |     |   18    | Stranding,      |         |      |                    |
     | Fiado,     | 985 |December | Brisbane        | Partial | None | No default.        |
     |  s.s.      |     |  1890   |  River          |         |      |                    |
     +------------+-----+---------+-----------------+---------+------+--------------------+
     |            |     |   07    | Dismasting off  |         |      |                    |
     | Sybil,     | 150 | January | Double Island   | Partial | None | No default.        |
     |  schr.     |     |  1891   |  Point          |         |      |                    |
     +------------+-----+---------+-----------------+---------+------+--------------------+
     | Persever-  |     |   08    | Foundering 18   |         |      | Master's           |
     |  ance,     | 163 | January | miles from High | Total   | None | certificates       |
     |   schr.    |     |  1891   |  Peak Point     |         |      | cancelled.         |
     +------------+-----+---------+-----------------+---------+------+--------------------+
     |            |     |   08    | Damage to       |         |      | Engineer's         |
     | Wawoon,    |  50 | January | boiler,         | Partial | None | certificate        |
     |  s.s.      |     |  1891   | Fitzroy River   |         |      | suspended 3 months.|
     +------------+-----+---------+-----------------+---------+------+--------------------|
     |            |     |   05    | Stranding,      |         |      |                    |
     | Kingswear, | 201 |February | Cordelia Rock   | Partial | None | Master             |
     |  s.s.      |     |  1891   |                 |         |      | cautioned.         |
     +------------+-----+---------+-----------------+---------+------+--------------------|
     |            |     |   06    | Stranding,      |         |      |                    |
     | Recorder,  | 677 |February | Madge Reef,     | Partial | None | No default.        |
     |  s.s.      |     |  1891   | Normanby Sound  |         |      |                    |
     +------------+-----+---------+-----------------+---------+------+--------------------|
     |            |     |  21     | Stranding,      |         |      |                    |
     | Moltke,    | 827 |  May    | Flinders        | Partial | None | Foreign vessel.    |
     |  barque    |     |  1891   |  Opening        |         |      | No inquiry.        |
     +------------+-----+---------+-----------------+---------+------+--------------------|
     |            |     |   10    | Collision,      |         |      |                    |
     | Wastwater, |2810 |  June   | Brisbane        | No Loss | None | Master Ranelagh    |
     |  s.s       |     |  1891   |  River          |         |      | cautioned.         |
     +------------+-----+---------+-----------------+---------+------+--------------------|
     |            |     |   10    | Collision,      |         |      |                    |
     | Ranelagh,  | 836 |  June   | Brisbane        | No Loss | None | Master Ranelagh    |
     |  s.s.      |     |  1891   |  River          |         |      | cautioned.         |
     +------------+-----+---------+-----------------+---------+------+--------------------+
     |            |     |   15    | Stranding,      |         |      |                    |
     | Anahuac,   |1220 |  June   | reef near       | Total   | None | Foreign vessel.    |
     |  ship      |     |  1891   | Bramble Cay     |         |      | No inquiry.        |
     +------------+-----+---------+-----------------+---------+------+--------------------+



     Harbour Master's Office,
     Maryborough, 31st July, 1891.



SIR,--In accordance with your instructions, I have the honour to submit
the following Report on the Oyster Fisheries of this port, the extreme
limits of which extend from Tin Can Inlet on the south, taking in Wide
Bay, Great Sandy Strait, and Hervey Bay, to the Burrum River on the
north, covering a distance of nearly 100 miles, exclusive of many large
creeks, all containing oyster ground between those limits.

I commenced marking off these oyster banks in July, 1886. We then had
licenses issued for 72 banks, 18 boats, and 42 men, at a revenue of £398
for the year ending 30th June, 1886. We now have for the year ending
30th June, 1891, licenses issued for 175 oyster banks, 30 boats, and 53
men, at a revenue of £942 2s. 6d. [_Vide_ Schedule appended.]

I hope to have the survey of the different sections in Hervey Bay
completed by the end of the present year, when tracings of plans of same
will be forwarded to you. This would have been finished before, but that
I can only spare a few days in each month from my other duties for the
work. I shall then require to run over the whole district again, as a
considerable quantity of new ground has been taken up in the different
sections since first survey, owing to the heavy falls of spat which have
since taken place, portions of which ground previously never carried an
oyster. During the past year large quantities of spat have fallen on the
oyster banks in Hervey Bay and Great Sandy Strait, some of the banks
being literally covered, thus preventing the shipment of good marketable
oysters, which, if removed in their present state, would cause the
destruction of all the young oysters attached to them.

Great attention has been paid by the different licensees to the
cultivation of their banks by removing the poor oysters from the high
ridges, after being carefully culled and separated into clumps
containing from three to four oysters, are deposited on the grass flat
and lower ground lying near. Upwards of 4,000 bags have been treated in
this manner with excellent results.

Over 9,000 bags of marketable oysters, at a rough value of 30s. per bag
(£13,500), have been shipped during the past year by the different
licensees to the various markets of the colonies. Messrs. Leftwich and
Sons alone have sent over 3,500 bags; the Moreton Bay Oyster Company and
Messrs. Perry and Griffin have also shipped large quantities of oysters
for the purpose of cultivating the Moreton Bay banks.

In conclusion, I am pleased to state that the whole business throughout
is in a flourishing condition and steadily increasing in magnitude, and
I feel confident that the revenue received from this industry for the
following year will reach four figures.


FISHERIES.

There have been large quantities of mullet in this district during the
season which commences when the westerly winds set in, generally about
the end of May and ending about August, when they come close in to the
shore to spawn. Crabs are also plentiful.

I do not think that a close season is at all necessary at this port, as
there are so few persons engaged in the traffic.

Licenses have been issued at this port for the year ending 30th June,
1891, to 6 Europeans and 4 Chinese; also 6 boats.


     I have, &c.,
     EDWD. J. BOULT,
     Inspector of Fisheries.

     The Chairman, Marine Board, Brisbane.



SCHEDULE RESPECTING OYSTER FISHERIES, MARYBOROUGH.


     Period.                     Banks.   Boats.   Men.   Revenue.
     Year ending June, 1886        72       18      40    398 0 0
     Year ending June, 1887       140       30      70    765 0 0
     Year ending June, 1888       150       40      73    836 0 0
     Year ending June, 1889       167       37      77    923 0 0
     Year ending June, 1890       163       33      51    903 0 0
     Year ending June, 1891       175       31      53    949 2 6


Transfers and Fishing Licenses. £12.



_Price_ 1_s._ 6_d._

By Authority: James C. Beal, Government Printer, William street,
Brisbane.


[Illustration: Map of Moreton Bay. Tracing from survey of 1891.
3 & 5 fathom contours in red were those of 1886.]





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