Southern Moreton Bay Islands Museum


Ruth Batey,former Post Mistress with her pet donkey. Her collection of P.O. memorabilia became the foundation of the S.M.B.I. museum collection.

This small museum is a sub branch of the Redland Museum in Cleveland.In 2004 this was a private collection of the local postmaster in the Southern Moreton Bay Islands. Local resident and businesswoman Wendy Dorrington advocated the Redland Shire Council who gave funds to purchase this collection. The premises of an old fire shed to house  the collection was moved and erected in its current location and the Redland Museum became the auspicing body.

The location at 55 Jackson Road is behind the Bay Islands Community Services Building and lies between the Bowls Club and the “Hut”, a youth centre.

With further donations of items, the building is now bursting at the seams and plans are underway to move into the ‘village’ area, not far from the public ferry pontoon on the island. This will give us more scope for exhibitions and greater accessibility for the public to view.Currently we are open every Friday morning or by appointment. Up to ten volunteers attend every week to catalogue the items, arrange displays, clean and restore.

Many of our exhibits reflect the rural activities which once shaped the islands landscape and brought prosperity to the early European settlers. Artefacts concerning logging and farming, agricultural machinery such as chaff cutters and water pumps are much in evidence.The trappings of every day life in the 1900’s are here to and the accompanying photographs show part of our kitchen exhibit and post office areas. This post office boasted a pet donkey ‘Lulu’ and seen with the postmistress Ruth Batey.

Most of the farms are long gone and the northern part of the island (closest to the jetty) is becoming more suburban with many commercial activities.However, the freshwater swamps give Russell Island a unique attraction and have a wealth of wild flowers and bird life.

We continue adding to and cataloguing our items which are placed on the main museum computer database.

The volunteer group is a very social one reflecting the island lifestyle of community togetherness.

We look forward to the new Cultural Centre being planned next to the historic St Peter’s Church in the main street, where the museum will be combined with art spaces, a café and work areas.

For information phone 3409 1451 or 0414 383047.