Something Fishy: Island holds bream history

In a cyclone on September 11, 1929, the coastal  trader SS Pappinbarra, sailing between Sydney and Port Macquarie, was washed onto rocks just off Fingal Island.

COVE DWELLERS: The salvage crew camp 1929 with the Grit Hole in the background.

COVE DWELLERS: The salvage crew camp 1929 with the Grit Hole in the background.

THE PRIZE: Take your fishing rod, because there are still plenty of bream at Grit Hole.

THE PRIZE: Take your fishing rod, because there are still plenty of bream at Grit Hole.

Shortly after, a salvage team set up camp in a nearby peaceful cove with a beach, not of sand, but of crushed shells.

COVE DWELLERS: The salvage crew camp 1929 with the Grit Hole in the background.

COVE DWELLERS: The salvage crew camp 1929 with the Grit Hole in the background.

Little did they know, they were camped around the best bream fishing hot spot in Port Stephens, known to local commercial fishermen as Shelly, and to others as the Grit Hole.

The following year, the island's most famous resident, Arthur Murdoch, arrived and also set camp on the shore of the Grit Hole, this time to shovel the shell grit into bags, which he sold to the chicken farmers.

Arthur, who lived on the island for 11 years, later wrote a book – Sheer Grit – documenting his experiences. In the book, Arthur refers to the amazing bream that would swim into the hole as the tide flowed in on dark.

The bream are still there. Take your fishing rod.

Smartphone
Tablet - Narrow
Tablet - Wide
Desktop