The first settlers on the island relied on their own resources to take themselves and their produce to market.
Source: Old Jetty and History of Russell Island
Russell Island Jetty
The first settlers on the island relied on their own resources to take themselves and their produce to market. The area to the east of the current jetty was the site of the rafting ground, where the timber-getters would form log rafts to float their timber to sawmills on the mainland. The island’s early farmers also used this area to ship their produce before jetties were built.
The jetty accesses Krummel Passage. This passage was formerly known as the Mersen or Marsden Channel, named after Christian Mersen, who selected a couple of parcels of land on Russell Island in the 1870s. He set up a lime burning kiln where he burnt local coral and oysters. This kiln was close to the lime burners’ jetty near the present water transport office and current jetty.
The area now has only relics of the past hidden behind the mangroves below the Cricket Oval where the helicopter also lands for medical emergencies.
You can see the edges of the past jetties at low tide, and also the mooring post.
This area was once a thriving busy waterway for produce grown on the island…avocados, fruit, timber and also fresh water. There are two wells that had fresh water and the mainland as well as the other islands would also come here for fresh water before there were taps and council water.
The two wells are now on private property and not in use as the water is not as pure as it used to be in the past, as it is now contaminated with iron and bacteria. The wells get fed continually from water seepage from the island and the water would be fresh and pure and they were the main fresh water source for those living on the islands.
This is the site of a settlement established by Mark Jackson in the 1920s. The Jackson family came to the island about 1905 and took up pineapple farming, one of the first farming families to do so. In 1915 Mark Jackson opened a pineapple cannery that employed up to 20 people in its heyday. It is famous for being one of the suppliers of canned pineapple to Allied troops fighting in France during World War I. Not long after World War I, the cannery closed and was replaced by a sawmill on the same site. Before the mill closed, it supplied timber for a number of island buildings, including a Methodist Church.
The pineapple cannery was built just above the high water mark, apparently because the equipment was too heavy to carry any further up the slope. Mark Jackson also built a jetty and a barge to take produce to the markets, as well as an enclosed swimming pool with a shark barrier. The remains of the structures can be found at the water’s edge below the site of the cannery and sawmill. No settlement is complete without entertainment, so Mark Jackson also built the Bay View Picture Theatre about 1950. Jackson donated five acres for a school oval in 1922, which is today the Jackson’s Oval cricket ground. In its heyday, Jacksonville was one of the main transport nodes, with most of the fruit boats visiting the island in those days travelling along the aptly named Main Channel that runs between Redland Bay and Russell Island. They picked up and delivered passengers and produce from the Logan River, other southern bay islands and the mainland settlements. Little remains of the Jacksonville settlement: the Methodist Church was eaten by white ants and pulled down and the picture theatre burnt down in 1960. All that is left of the pineapple cannery/sawmill are its levelled site and some remnants off Jackson Street. The remains of the jetty and barge can be found down on the water’s edge and some concrete block walls from the swimming enclosure are visible.
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