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Against the Tide - Book Review

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by EJ Daniel (subscribe)
pursuing adventures in lightheartedness - kids, dog, and chooks in tow... and baking Brisbane's most coveted handmade Christmas cakes - Organic, Unrefined, Boozy, Delicious.
Published January 8th 2014
Heroes, come hell or high water
Against the Tide: Queensland's Moreton Bay Fishing Industry Since 1824

Against the Tide Queensland's Moreton Bay Fishing Industry since 1824 John Parke
Image courtesy John Parke

If you're familiar with The Esplanade along Brisbane's bayside, the foreshore road that skirts the seaside from Lota to Wynnum, you might have noticed the little creek at the very northern end of it, in Wynnum. A quaint little inlet filled, it seems, with the oldest of yachts and most unseaworthy looking vessels, listing in the mud at low tide, and looking like they might sink at the high tide.

Sometimes hard to imagine that this little inlet and some of these particular boats, not more than 40 years ago, were part of something much bigger. John Parke, in his new book Against the Tide, has breathed life back into some of this local history through the stories of the ancient mariners.

Against the Tide John Parke Fishermen of Moreton Bay Wynnum Creek image courtesy John Parke
"They were our heroes"

At what was a great night of Jazz and short films held in Moreton Bay Trailer Boat Club in November, John launched his book. The night was such a success that stores in Wynnum and Manly have decided to sell the book, and it is also available directly through John on his website.

Against the Tide John Parke Fishermen of Moreton Bay Wynnum Creek
Great men with good humour

The book is an amazing journey through Wynnum and Moreton Bay's local history. It chronicles the stories of the fisherman and the bustling community of which they were heroes. John Parke has also penned a number of poems which delightfully capture the fantastic wit and strength of these men.

Describing Moreton Bay's fishing industry, the story is one of boom and bust; from a fishing fleet that brought in Queensland's second largest annual haul and flourished until the 1980's, to a time now where they are looking to the future and learning from the enormous challenges they have dealt with over the years.

image courtesy John Parke
Wynnum Creek circa 1912

Recording our local history, from such individual memories as this, is crucial, I believe. Knowing that these men used to sail, and in bad weather, row the 40 kilometre round trip out to their fishing grounds, mostly still with smiles on their faces is well worth remembering. For that reason alone this book is a fantastic record of part of the history of Moreton Bay.

Another successful outcome from the book launch is that the event brought many of the old boys and their families out from the woodwork, approaching John to take down their personal stories too. This has encouraged John to begin another book of local history as more fisherman from Stradbroke Island, Wynnum, Manly and Moreton Bay want to tell their tales.

Against the Tide Facebook page

Melz Hairdresser (66 Bay Tce.), Bayside Books (140 Bay Tce.), and Florence Street Seafood (147 Florence St.), all in Wynnum, have the book for sale.

In Manly, you can get it from the Water Tower Bait and Tackle Shop (10 Ernest St. at the service station), and also at the North Stradbroke Island Historical Museum.
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Why? Discover the thrills of Moreton Bay's rich fishing history
Phone: 07 3348 6081
Cost: Under $25
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