Our history: bravery on the bay

It is hard to imagine the extraordinary tale that lies behind this brass plate (pictured). In 1847 the Sovereign (a passenger and cargo ship) was wrecked navigating the South Passage bar between Amity and Moreton Island.

Despite great risk to themselves, six Quandamooka men Poonipun, Toompani, Woondu, Nuahju, Noggun (Nuggun) and Juckle Juckle swam out to the wreck and pulled survivors ashore, saving 10 lives. The remaining 44 passengers were lost to the sea.

Anyone who knows the South Passage bar will understand the exceptional bravery it took to swim out into its treacherous waters. As a reward for their efforts the six men each received an engraved brass plate, known as king plates (pictured). Three are known to have survived, with one now held by the Queensland Museum.

There are many tales of ships that have met with tragedy and misfortune on Moreton Bay. Hear more about them at the Redland Libraries Local History and Heritage Collection talk: Our Shipwreck Coast from 9.30am on Wednesday 24 February at Capalaba Library.

Local history photo Sovereign

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