Deception Bay's date with history

Published 5:00am 3 April 2023

Deception Bay's date with history
Words by Nick Crockford

Bicentennial celebrations should be in full swing at Deception Bay, according to some sources. But they are not.

You see, the name Deception Bay is 200 years old, according to the likes of Wikipedia and Encyclopedia Britannica

But, others suggest it may be 185 years old, or it is most likely 181 years since the suburb, now home to more than 20,000 people, was first named.

Resident and researcher Viv Tucker writes in Deception or Misconception that Deception Bay derived from “a distortion of several events” around the discovery of a river.

“Without a doubt it was derived from Deception River named by (John) Oxley, reported by (Allan) Cunningham and incorporated in map by (civilian surveyor Robert) Dixon in Sydney in 1842,” Mr Tucker says.

He is supported by Thom Blake and Peter Osborne in Deception Bay: The history of a seaside community’ which says it “has been the source of considerable debate”.

Deception Bay's date with history
Deception Bay and Caboolture River - Image courtesy Moreton Bay Regional Council CLPC P1375

There have also been more recent attempts to change the name Deception Bay and lift perceptions of the suburb!

Surveyor General John Oxley was in this region in 1823 years ago and lists a ‘Deception River’ in field notes.

Some sources say Oxley “thought the bay was a river and because of his mistake and the shallowness, named it Deception Bay”.

But Mr Tucker says Deception River does not appear in Oxley’s journal. It is in Allan Cunningham’s journal of September 29, 1824, that Deception River is listed.

Cunningham and Oxley set out in boats from Redcliffe to get pine spars from ‘Deception River’ but rounded Woody Point and became stuck in the mud of Bramble Bay.

Deception Bay's date with history
Deception Bay Heritage Trail bathing pool. Image courtesy Moreton Bay Regional Council MBPS 0032 001

‘Deception River’ was what we now know as Pine River.

Mr Tucker’s research shows, in 1840, Superintendent of Government Works Andrew Petrie referred to ‘Deception River’ as Eden River – after River Eden in his native Scotland.

As a private citizen, Petrie joined a Swiss missionary called Eipper on a trip to Toorbul in 1841 and one evening they came to Kabolture (Caboolture) River.

Mr Tucker said Petrie named it Deception River and gave Burpengary Creek his wife’s maiden name, Cuthbertson River. Eipper recorded both names.

The next day they went to the mouth of Deception (Kabolture) River and it is there Eipper reports looking out on ‘Deception Bay’.

Deception Bay's date with history
The Bancroft baths at Deception Bay

Blake and Osborne’s publication quotes Eipper’s August 5 entry: “It was part of the bay, apparently quite enclosed with land, but we afterwards ascertained it has an outlet into the sea to the northward. Mr Petrie calls it Deception Bay."

Mr Tucker lists further references to Deception Bay, such as in 1866 when Thomas Tripcony was lime burning shells for cement in the mouth of Caboolture River.

Deception Bay was identified in the Australian postcode system when it started in 1967 and in 2008 became part of what is now the Moreton Bay Region.

However, there have been several recent attempts to change the name. In 2008 Endeavour Bay and Discovery Bay were put forward to lift the suburb’s image.

In 2017 Summer Bay or just The Bay were put forward, but neither adopted.

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