Backward Glance: Pioneer watermen of Pumicestone Passage
  • Wednesday 09 March 2016
Today we continue with part two of the watermen pioneering story – this time focussing on some other well-known identities.

Members of the Chaplin family have been fishing in the region since Mr Fredrick George 'Charlie' Chaplin, obtained a Fishing Licence in 1911. 'Charlie' Chaplin and his sons, Bob, Fred, Steve, Sonny and Jim fished the Pumicestone Passage and started an ice works in Maloja Avenue at Caloundra in 1942. They supplied fish to both the American and Australian Army stationed at Caloundra during World War 11. The Chaplin brothers had a slipway built behind their family home in Maloja Avenue. Chaplin Brothers purchased the Tewantin ice works from Len Hatch in 1952 and most of the brothers moved north then, to Tewantin. 'Boysa' and wife, Heather Chaplin of Caloundra continue to follow the family fishing tradition in the region. ‘Boysa’s father Harold ' Sonny' Chaplin was an expert at scouting the movement of the mullet schools from the headlands.

The Clarkes were an important fishing family in Caloundra arriving by boat from Coochin Creek near Beerwah in 1924. Evan Clarke set up an ice factory in Maloja Avenue near the Passage mainly to supply their families fishing business. This enabled the Clarke family to store the big winter hauls of mullet from the ocean side of Bribie Island until trucks were available to take the catch to Landsborough Station for transport to Brisbane. The Clarkes assisted the military during WW11 advising of weather and tidal changes as well as allowing the military to use their ice works free of charge to store cold goods and meats for the troops camped in the vicinity. Clarke Place at Happy Valley is named after this pioneer family.

In 1924 Maloney’s wharf was a very busy part of Caloundra, where fishermen unloaded their catch and mended nets, and supply boats delivered cargo. Maloney Brothers Tom, Jim and Norman purchased the Kauri in 1917 from Andrew Tripcony. 

Tom Maloney's cargo boat shed was situated on the Pumicestone Passage foreshore behind his home, which was on the corner of The Esplanade and Tay Avenue near Bulcock Beach at Black Flat, Caloundra. An un-named cyclone battered the area from February 17 to 22, 1954. The shed was wrecked on the retaining wall, which was originally built by Andrew Tripcony in 1917 and expanded by the Landsborough Shire Council in 1932. 

The Dalton family also assisted with the fishing and crabbing industry in the Caloundra region. 

Thanks to Sunshine Coast Council’s Heritage Library Officers for the words and Picture Sunshine Coast for the images.

Hero image caption: Oyster Cutter the P.N.J in Pumicestone Passage, ca 1894.

Carousel images:
Image 1: Ray 'Boysa' Chaplin and his fishing crew haul in sea mullet at Dicky Beach, Caloundra, ca 2008.
Image 2: Chaplin Brothers fishing trawler ‘Sunbeam’ on Chaplin’s Slipway, Maloja Avenue, Caloundra.
Image 3: Tom Maloney's Black Flat boat shed destroyed by a cyclone at Caloundra, 1954.
Image 4: Mr Dalton collecting pipis on Kings Beach, ca 1950.