The cruise of the Francois 1928 All aboard! 3rd to 6th May 1928 On the afternoon of Thursday 3rd May 1928, Francois  cast off from Alf Whereat’s boatyard in the Brisbane River and began its eventful journey to Cairns. After picking up a dinghy and a launch they motored to the mouth of the Brisbane River. Within a few hours tall Steve (Cyril) knocked his head on the engine room bulkhead and became ill from concussion. The decision to continue the planned journey was made when Steve’s condition improved. That evening, they all relaxed on the deck and listened to a concert on the wireless, such an excellent reception that it seemed that the artists were playing ‘next door’. The following morning Francois crossed the bar at Tin Can Bay and entered the sheltered waters of Great Sandy Strait between the mainland and Fraser Island. They had travelled all night and were ready for a breakfast of fried sausages and a hot cup of tea. In fact, they drank their favourite Australian beverage profusely during the voyage, calling it the ‘elixir of life’, giving them an abundance of good health and physical improvement. With a strong wind blowing outside, the passengers had no option but to spend the day at anchorage. Norman, Bill and Steve cast the net after lunch and caught gar and mullet to use for bait. Prior to leaving Brisbane, Mac had arranged to meet up with a pilot boat. The passage through the strait was always a tricky one. Frequent changes in the channel necessitated the escort of a pilot vessel. Navigation was practicable only by vessels of limited draught during very fine weather and at or about the time of high water. Although Francois had a shallow draught of 4ft 6in, the southern portion of Sandy Strait was in places at low water 3ft in depth.  As a result, the strait was rarely used with the exception of two weekly steamers from Brisbane and two small steamers engaged in the timber industry at Maryborough. Any vessel requiring a pilot through the Strait was required to give at least 24 hours’ notice before departure from Brisbane and a pilot from Harbours and Marine was then made available. Shark! Off Inskip Point, the Fishery Inspector from Maryborough, Mr. Wilson, met them in his launch, Edith, and boarded the waiting schooner. One of the first motor launches owned by Harbours and Marine, Edith was a 40 ft wooden vessel built in 1910 and powered by a 3 cylinder Wilson kerosene engine. [3]  The pilot station at Inskip Point was closed in 1902, but the signal and telegraph station were still maintained. While Francois was being inspected, Barrie and George and his wife went ashore to Inskip Light and sent telegrams home. Unfortunately they didn’t take any money ashore to pay for the telegrams and the kindly light-keeper, Mr. McDonald, told them they could give their payment to the fishery inspector. However George later decided to return ashore with the money and landed himself in a spot of bother. Upon landing with the power dinghy, George threw the anchor ashore and pushed the boat out a little. Alas! He hadn’t noticed that the anchor rope had been untied and the little boat began to drift merrily away leaving George holding an empty rope. He was about to swim after the boat when some nearby fishermen yelled out to him that the water was swarming with sharks. The fishermen kindly pulled over and rescued the boat for him.  That evening, most of the party went out into the cold evening air to do some fishing and crabbing.  Mac, Barry, Captain Kerr and Duncan remained on board in the salon, cosy and warm, listening to radio station 4QG.   The fishermen’s story of sharks was corroborated later that evening when Mac caught a three foot shark from the stern and later a thirteen foot monster came nosing around. They threw in a line but the shark refused to take the bait. It was suggested to put some corned meat on the hook but that proposal did not find favour so they ate the meat instead.    They noticed that Jacko, the magpie, had been extremely subdued all day and deduced that he hadn’t quite perfected his ‘sea legs’. Jacko was no doubt missing his daily dig for grubs and insects. A talkative little bird, he chatted far better than any parrot, and would sing whole passages, note perfect, of “Lo, Here the Gentle Lark” when the Amelita Galli-Curci record was put on the gramophone player.     The passengers awoke to an extremely freezing morning. Those who were forced to brave the deck faced a chilly S.E. breeze as they hoisted both dinghies inboard. From Inskip Point to Burnett Head, a distance of 85 miles, they followed the Fishing Inspector up Sandy Straits under steam. Many of the channels had shifted during recent floods. During the journey, the ‘plumber’s mate’ had the unenviable task of clearing a choked lavatory. By the afternoon, Jacko had recovered his spirits, was singing in spasms and impartially bit anyone who ventured too close. At the entrance to the Mary River off Kangaroo Island, they encountered the fruit boat Florant, out of Sydney, towing a produce- laden barge. Before long they were finally through the Great Sandy Straights and east of Hervey Bay. Francois commencing her journey towing a dinghy and launch. Williams Collection. © Copyright 2011  Julianne Dodds Did You Know? Following the Fisheries’ Inspector in Edith   through the Strait. Williams collection. Florant off Kangaroo Island 1928. Williams collection. Magpies Although the life span of a magpie is unknown, some have lived up to 30 years. Queensland’s first radio station 4QG began broadcasting in Brisbane in July 1925. On the evening of 3rd May 1928, Mrs George Sampson’s party presented a programme of classical music that was broadcast over 4QG. Her husband, George (Sammy) Sampson  dominated the classical music scene in Brisbane for over 30 years. He was a conductor and city organist and formed his own ‘Sampson Orchestra’.  Inskip Point Lighthouse On 15th April 1926 Victor Hamilton MacDonald was appointed Lightkeeper and also appointed Post and Telegraph Operator at Inskip Point.  MacDonald's family - Constance (wife), son Charles (6 weeks) and six other children ranging in age from 3 to 13 years arrived soon after. The MacDonalds stayed at Inskip until 17th May 1934.