Final battle for Fort Bribie

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Final battle for Fort Bribie

Erosion and a lack of maintenance have damaged the WWII forts on Bribie Island.

Erosion and a lack of maintenance have damaged the WWII forts on Bribie Island.

By Annalise Fisher

Erosion and a lack of maintenance have damaged the WWII forts on Bribie Island.

By Annalise Fisher

By Annalise Fisher

Erosion and a lack of maintenance have damaged the WWII forts on Bribie Island.

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Residents of Bribie Island are “disgusted” with the lack of upkeep at Fort Bribie and say the heritage-listed World War II site is being ignored.

Erosion combined with a lack of maintenance has damaged the WWII forts, raising safety and structural concerns, with locals worrying they are accidents waiting to happen.

A basic steel fence and warning sign have been installed at the most deteriorated forts, however the presence of vandalism and rubbish highlights there is no continuing upkeep at the sites.

Bribie Island resident Annalise Fisher said the forts and surrounding pathways were littered with cigarette butts, broken bottles and cans, and that graffiti covered the crumbling ruins.

“How disgusting the state our council, government and local degenerates have let this incredible piece of history become,” Ms Fisher said.

Bribie Island Historical Society president Graham Mills said the forts and the history of the WWII soldiers protecting the country from invasion were a crucial part of Australian history that needed to be remembered and preserved.

“The Historical Society is concerned that nothing is being done [to restore Fort Bribie],” he said.

“They are very important to the history of Bribie Island and Queensland.”

Fort Bribie is protected by the Queensland Heritage Act 1992, yet locals say the forts are being left to rot and the Government is ignoring their responsibility to the legislation.

The object of the Act is to provide for the conservation of Queensland’s cultural heritage for the benefit of the community and future generations.

The State MP for Pumicestone, Simone Wilson, said it was unfortunate Fort Bribie would not stand the test of time against the harsh elements they were exposed to.

The LNP’s Ms Wilson said the previous Labor Government indicated it was not feasible to stop the broadscale coastal deterioration of Fort Bribie.

“As I understand it, engineering audits have recommended minimal intervention to address the rapid decay of the structures, other than to ensure the safety of the public who visit them,” she said.

A Department of Environment and Science (DES) spokesperson said they were committed to maintaining the structure’s safety barriers, railings and walking track, with $75,000 being spent on this in the last year.

“For your own safety, we ask everyone to obey signs, view the structures from a distance and not climb over the structures as they might collapse,” the spokesperson said.

Moreton Bay Regional Councillor Brooke Savige said the story behind the soldiers protecting the foreshore during WWII held a significant historical value.

“They [Fort Bribie] are a very important part of our history,” Cr Savige said.

“We want them preserved as long as practically possible.”

Queensland is home to many forts along the coastline that have been preserved and well maintained since the war, including Fort Lytton and Fort Kissing Point.

The Fortifications remain a busy tourist attraction, with tour operators and avid four-wheel drivers visiting the site daily to experience Bribie Island’s history.

An earlier version of this story appeared in the Sunshine Coast Daily.