A bit of Redcliffe History

Some Very Familiar Beaches in This Footage

Redcliffe was not so easy to access in these times. Although the Hornibrook Bridge was opened in 1935, many holidaymakers and visitors chose to visit Redcliffe and Bribie Island via the SS Koopa.

‘The Queen of Moreton Bay’

The excursion steamer SS Koopa often referred to as “the Queen of Moreton Bay”, was the most loved & best-known ship among the many steamers that ventured the waters of Moreton Bay from the 1880s until 1953.


The SS Koopa was a legend. She was a vital part of Moreton Bay life for 31 years linking Redcliffe and Bribie with Brisbane. Her story commenced at a time when travel to Redcliffe & Bribie Island by sea was an untouched wilderness. She was the largest, fastest and finest steamer on the Brisbane River and a magnet for holidaymakers, bay trippers and romantic moonlight cruises.

Koopa, the aboriginal word for Flying Fish, was built in Leith in Scotland for the Brisbane Tug and Steamship Company, launched in October 1911 and arrived in Brisbane on Christmas Eve. She was 58.7m long and 8.5m wide and licensed to carry 1153 passengers with a dining saloon for 100.

The SS Koopa also serviced Woody Point and Redcliffe from Brisbane. For 31 years the Koopa carried holidaymakers between Brisbane, Redcliffe and Bribie Island.

The SS Koopa was Requisitioned by the Navy in 1942

In 1942, she was requisitioned by the Navy as a supply ship in New Guinea and didn’t return to her holiday trade in Brisbane until February 1947. The Navy made alterations to the vessel which served as a supply ship in New Guinea waters during the remainder of World War II. It was the tender, mother-ship and repair facility for a group of sixteen Fairmile patrol boats. In July 1945 Koopa returned to Brisbane and underwent a major naval refit.

In February 1947, on completion of naval service, the ship was returned to the Brisbane Tug and Steamship Company. Trips were resumed on Sundays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturday afternoons to Redcliffe and Bribie. The Moreton Bay Development Company purchased the Koopa in 1952 which continued the usual run until her final trip in May 1953. On 3 October 1960, two tugs took Koopa from the Stanley Wharf at South Brisbane to Boggy Creek, Myrtletown. Dismantling began a week later it was moved and placed opposite Bulwer Island.

Not much of the SS Koopa left today


Today a rusting hull is the only reminder of her existence.




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