Bribie the Convict Weaver
Bribie the Convict Weaver

Bribie the Convict Weaver


Dr James G. Lergessner

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There are few places which perpetuate the names of convicts. Fortunately, Bribie Island is among them. Indeed, 'Bribie' may have been the felon's nickname, although many give his name as James Beiby. Some have even suggested he acquired his name from the way he sought privileges from authorities. It appears he supplied them with fish, crabs and baskets.

Bribie was a basket maker, fish-trapper and inventor (of buoys). These attributes seem to have endorsed him as a valued member of both European and Aboriginal societies. He became romantically linked with a Joondoobarrie woman and when his sentence was about to expire 'eloped' to live permanently with her and the clan on Bribie Island.

When convicts absconded from the settlement, it was common to hear it said around Brisbane Town that they were 'Down with Bribie'. This became, 'Down at Bribie' hence the island's name.

Bribie was not the first white person to live with the Joondoobarries on the Island. That distinction goes to Thomas Pamphlet, John Finnegan and Richard Parsons. John Oxley rescued these ticket-of-leave castaways in 1823 and 1824. But Bribie was the first white person to live on the Island by choice. He will be remembered always for his brave heart, his individuality, his many unique skills and his general joie de vivre.

Product details

Format: Paperback
Dimensions: A5
Pages: 156 pgs

Printed & Published by InHouse Publishing