By Barry Clark, Bribie Island Historical Society


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As we reach the end of another Year it is appropriate to be reminded that History is not always about looking back. Every reader of this article has lived such a different life, and experienced many significant aspects of what is now “History”. History is also what is happening NOW…. and what will happen in all our Tomorrow’s. Depending on how old you are, reflect for a moment on your first experience of such new “Inventions” as the TV, Walkman, Microwave, Computer or Smart Phone, and consider how much these things have changed the way we live our lives. Not always for the better ….or necessarily making life measurably “Happier”.

It is an interesting question to ask your friends and family over the holidays; “If you could relive any one year of your life over again …..what year would you choose?” Where were you when man first landed on the Moon, when President Kennedy was shot, the Twin Towers were destroyed ……or even when you had your first kiss? All of these events have shaped our world and our lives and are now part of History. Imagine how the simple life of those living on Bribie Island years ago would have changed when a Telephone line was laid to the island in 1922 or the impact of mains Electricity connection in 1953, and being linked to Australia with a Bridge in 1963.

Since those days the population has increased over 20 fold, cars are everywhere, local Councils have been combined, and people are living much longer. However, the rate of change is about to get even faster than ever before, and some will struggle to keep up, and others will be left behind completely.

30 years’ on life will have changed beyond recognition.

On Bribie Island, we currently enjoy a more peaceful life away from the crowds and hype of the city sprawl, but by 2050 it will be very different. Bribie Island seems to have the highest percentage population over the age of 65 than any other postcode in Australia. We also have three Schools reflecting a younger population, but the limited local work opportunities distort the middle age distribution. Australia’s overall population is ageing, and Bribie Island attracts an increasing number of over 50’s residents, Retirement Villages and Aged Care facilities. Let me paint a possible picture of Bribie Island 30 years from now. By then you will be “Old” or have even gone somewhere else. All of this will be as unremarkable as Traffic Lights, Microwave Ovens and Tap and Go payments are today. Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning and Networked devices

“Early one morning in 2050 a lady is automatically woken from her induced sleep by a white clinical Robot entering the room to download blood and heart rate readings from monitors under her pillow, before serving her personal nutritionally balance breakfast from its built-in food processor. After breakfast, with controlled media entertainment, the Robot returns to gently lift her from the bed, pass her through a cleansing and dressing unit and place her gently into a driverless vehicle. She is then transported to scheduled destinations to see family, medical services or government agencies as required. This is not just about old people….this is for everyone. Robots will carry out delicate routine surgery and complex medical procedures, diseases will be automatically diagnosed, body functions will be checked and monitored, and the cost of each interaction will be automatically debited from nominated accounts.”

will totally transform our future society in the same way that Steam Power did all those years ago. The difference is that in the years ahead all these changes will happen much more quickly. By 2050 the world’s population may have almost doubled, and 300 billion network-connected devices will respond to remote and speech commands, and the very nature of work and recreation will be totally different.

Worldwide food sourcing, production and security will be completely transformed, and computerisation of all aspects of life will radically change things. Where we live, how we live, and what we live in will completely transform social interactions. Perhaps our future lifestyle will lead us to all to have less “Stuff”, rather than the current drive to always having more of whatever is available.

What is clear is that the rapid development of Robots and domestic technology will be able to constantly monitor personal health and well-being, and enable the prevention and treatment of a wide range of common issues. Imagine a mirror that when looked into will read and diagnose all aspects of your body and mind, and detect viruses and medical risks. When you go to the Toilet it will automatically analyse your urine, prescribe high protein and nutritious insect or seaweed based farmed foods, which may have replaced traditional fish and animal products.

Autonomous driverless vehicles will be the safest form of transport, they will communicate with each other, and may even fly. Are you kidding me … this going to happen in 30 years? Most of what I have outlined here already exists and is just waiting for world economics to enable effective roll-out. How will you cope with all this? You only have to watch a Toddler for a while to appreciate how quickly humans adapt to and adopt new technology. I have recently visited remote parts of China and other Asian countries and have been amazed at how all ages embrace new technology. Australia is already far behind what we had previously considered to the Developing World. History has already overtaken us. Was life better in the past?

Only you can answer that question for yourself, but many people who have been around for quite a while often say “Yes”. Individuals and communities certainly had far more control and involvement in their own goals and objectives, and far less reliance on “Them” to do things for us. Today we are limited and constrained by “Them” rather than enabled. Just look at Bribie Island 50 years ago when the population was less than 2000 people. We had 2 elected Councillors representing the interests and requirements of those few Bribie Islanders.

Councillors represented the aspirations of the people to the Council, rather than a Councillor representing the Council to the people. They encouraged, supported and assisted the community of Bribie to achieve the things they wanted, rather than stand in their way. So, what about all this futuristic stuff I have written here , and what will Bribie really be like in 2050.

The population of Bribie will probably be double or even treble what it is now, medium high rise buildings seem inevitable, and Bribie may become just like every other seaside location along the Sunshine Coast and beyond. What a shame that would be. Bribie still has many unique features that differentiate it from the other places. We have the rich History and Heritage of Bribie as the “Cradle Site of Queensland” since Matthew Flinders first landed on what is now Queensland in 1799.

Bribie still has many unique and original buildings and structures from the earliest times, and we may still have the chance to retain our pristine Environment, Wildlife, Flora and Fauna from the ravages of developers and mass tourism. When you visit other parts of the world your “Tourist” experience is to see the unique History, Heritage, Buildings and life style that has been preserved and retained for its significant value. When the era of Tourist visitors to Bribie was booming 100 years ago it was known as “A Zoo without a Fence’. Many other communities would fight very hard to have such a unique and valuable difference.

Bribie still has a chance to remain a very special place to live and visit, even though the future is going to be very different. Nothing will prevent the technology changes that I have outlined here happening to all our lives going forward, but we do have a chance to retain the unique environment and lifestyle factors that are so special to those who live and visit this island. Maybe it is time for the residents of Bribie to agree and stand up for a shared “Vision” for the future of Bribie, so that the big and small decisions made by “Them” will ensure we head in the right direction, in both the short and long term. Contact me at… bribiehistoricalsociety@

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A highly successful sales and leadership career working in a number of different and very competitive industries. Engaging with decision makers at all levels in business and government. Three decades employed by corporations, SME businesses in senior roles and almost twelve years operating as a freelance contractor has equipped me well for all aspects of business. Whether leading and mentoring sales teams, or in a direct sales role I enjoy the challenge to meet and exceed expectations. Making a real and tangible difference in either a team environment or as an individual is an important personal goal I have consistently achieved throughout my career. In all of my business and personal dealings over the years there is one issue that stands out above all others - communication. Excellent communication skills creates trust, helps with mutually beneficial outcomes and above all cements long lasting positive relationships. I strive everyday to communicate effectively with the people I encounter.