Welcome to By the Bremer: Memories of Ipswich

We hope you enjoy learning a bit more about the rich history of Ipswich. Please join the conversation by commenting on any posts.

July 2014
« Jun    

Ben Taylor and I.X.L Photographic Studio

Posted By on July 29, 2014

Nicholas Street in flood, Ipswich, 1893; Benjamin Taylor’s studio, IXL
Image courtesy of Picture Ipswich

Mr Benjamin Hurst Taylor married Laura Jane Harris in 1880 and settled in Warwick where he worked as a Storekeeper for Messrs. Beale & Co. In 1881 their daughter Laura Lydia Taylor was born and soon after the family moved to Ipswich.

Ben set up a photographic studio with Arthur Mouland in 1883 and honed his photography talent. Arthur left the business in 1888, while Ben became an official Government Photographer based in Ipswich, travelling all over the state to photograph scenes. In 1893 Ben established his own business; the I. X. L. Photographic Studio located in Greenham’s Chambers, Nicholas Street. His wife an accomplished photographer herself, assisted him with colouring and photography projects. From here Ben Taylor and his studio I.X.L became one of Ipswich’s most well-known and genial photographers. He and his business were mentioned regularly in local newspapers for photographing weddings, family gatherings and community events. He was disposed to landscapes and streetscapes, some becoming postcards and some of which were published in various pictorial view books, such as the government prescribed illustrated book, ‘The people, products and industries of West Moreton’. Five thousand copies were prepared by order of the Queensland Government and were sent to England for distribution by the Immigration Lecturer at the Greater Britain Exhibition. Another five thousand were printed for sale here in Ipswich and surrounds. The Ipswich Herald and General Advertiser supplied the Letter press for these copies and also printed the ten thousand copies.

Bremer River, in flood, Ipswich, 1893; Ben Taylor Studio IXL
Image courtesy of Picture Ipswich

Mr Taylor was invited to photograph the fiftieth anniversary celebrations of the business of Messrs. Cribb and Foote held at ‘Hillside’ on the 3rd May 1899. His subsequent sale and display of 10 photograph mementos taken at the picnic included portraits of the interior of the dining marquee, the mammoth cake and several different groups, all of which were tastefully finished.

Formal portrait of unidentified bride and groom, Ipswich, ca. 1900; Taylor I.X.L. Studios
Image courtesy of Picture Ipswich

The Picture Ipswich database is fortunate enough to have a number of I.X.L studios photographs, postcards and glass plates. If you are interested in early pictures of Ipswich and its population, please visit the Picture Ipswich site located on the home page of the Ipswich Library.


Picture Puzzle

Posted By on July 21, 2014

Many of the images in Picture Ipswich have been kindly provided by the community. Gems have come to light along the way that are unable to be identified or important information is missing and because of this we seek the community’s help.

The photograph below is believed to have been taken in Ipswich ca. 1895. The man standing on the left is Arthur George Foote who is believed to have been a “pupil teacher” for the Queensland Education Department in the 1890s. The adult male on the right is unidentified but possibly a teacher. The school is unknown but it is thought likely to be Boys’ Central State School.

If you are able to identify the school or any of the people in the image, or provide further information, please contact the Digital Archivist at Ipswich Central Library on 3810 7272 or email:-


Can you identify this group? Arthur Foote with boys school group, ca. 1895 – Image courtesy of Picture Ipswich





Ipswich photographers through the decades

Posted By on July 18, 2014

The images above were taken approximately 100 years apart in similar positions on Brisbane Street looking down what was previously known as Nicholas Street (now Ipswich City Mall). The first image was taken by Whitehead Studios in 1898 whilst the second image was taken by photographer Lyle Radford in 2005 – Images courtesy of Picture Ipswich

Photography was an important part of Ipswich’s early years as a city, with many families visiting photography studios around the area to have group, family and sporting shots taken. Many of these early photographs still exist today as do some of the early and fragile glass plates first used in this industry. For families in the early days photography was a way to remember important or special events in a family member’s life and to also send such mementos to friends or relatives who may have lived in far reaching towns or other states. Today, photos are still taken with similar purposes in mind, and in some ways we take for granted the technology we possess to capture a moment preserved for perpetuity.

During this period of time many different photographic techniques were adopted to keep up with the continued demand and constantly evolving technology. The Queensland Times Newspaper often contained advertisements for local studios advertising new and improved techniques with the purpose of attracting customers to a quicker process, clearer shot and unblemished finish, all of which were considered to be an innovation at the time.

Between the 1850s and 1930s many photographic studios and photographers existed in the Ipswich area, including Whitehead Studios, who still operate in Ipswich today. Whiteheads was established in 1883 by Mr Francis Arnold Whitehead after he purchased the Frisco Photo Company’s Studio on Ellenborough Street. To read more on F.A. Whiteheads story and the establishment of Whitehead Studios view this earlier post on our By the Bremer blog.

Another early photographer of the time was a gentleman by the name of Biggingee Sorabjee Poochee. Mr Poochee was originally from Bombay, India and came to Australia in the 1860s before arriving in Ipswich to establish a photography business in 1863 in a studio on the corner of Bell and Union Streets. During his time in Ipswich B.S. Poochee produced many award-winning and now famous photographs of the Ipswich area and its founding families. To read more about Biggingee’s story view this earlier post on our By the Bremer blog.

The Frisco Photo Co. which was owned and operated by George Anthony Tissington was another early studio around in Ipswich’s early days. Mr Tissington set up his first studio in Brisbane in 1877 before opening another in Ipswich in Mr Poochee’s old premises on Brisbane Street in 1878. He then moved to an Ellenborough Street address where he employed the local budding photographer F.A. Whitehead. George boasted many services including enlargements to life size or reductions to fit small lockets.

Trademark of Frisco Photo Co. between 1878 and 1882 – Image courtesy of Picture Ipswich

William Deazeley was another prominent Ipswich photographer who first established his studio on Brisbane Street, Ipswich in 1882. William also operated a studio in South Brisbane during this time and specialised in portrait and landscape photography. In the 1860s his father John Deazeley joined him at his studio until 1886 when he relocated to Queen Street, Brisbane. In 1888 William Deazeley’s studio was taken over by the then well- established F.A. Whitehead Studios.

Portrait of Maggie O’Sullivan taken by William Deazeley in the Brisbane Street Studios in 1880s – Image courtesy of Picture Ipswich

Lomer & Co. studios although not principally an Ipswich establishment, having been established for many years in Brisbane, set up a studio in the area in 1898. The Brisbane studio was owned and operated by Gustav Collin on the behalf of Albert Lomer, with assistance from a Mr Francis Keogh. Little is known about Lomer & Co’s time in Ipswich, however a number of photographs still exist as evidence of their presence.

Today, Ipswich is still home to several photography studios and photographers, however with innovative new technology the business of photography has become simpler and quicker for both the photographer and the subject. One of these photographers is Lyle Radford, several of whose images can be found on the Picture Ipswich website. Mr Radford was born in Victoria and completed his apprenticeship as a photographer in the 1970s. During his time as a photographer he has produced over 450,000 images of varying subjects, formats and using a wide range of procedures. After working for a number of years in Victoria, Lyle moved to Queensland where he became a photographer for the Courier Mail and Sunday Mail newspapers as well as chief photographer for The Queensland Times newspaper. He has had the opportunity to photograph many amazing events in Australia as well as a number of celebrities, among which included the Dalai Lama.

Paul Geddes is another modern photographer in the Ipswich area. He was born in Ipswich and started his photography career in 1971 by taking photographs of local Ipswich events such as school formals and later moved on to establish himself as a wedding photographer. Soon after, he transferred his skills to photography for media and advertising purposes, where he stayed for 19 years. Although not working in this field any more Paul is still an avid professional photographer and has a passion for landscape photography which he transforms into printed art pieces.

The preservation of Ipswich’s heritage is important to many residents. The Picture Ipswich website was established with the purpose to preserve our history through contributed photographs. All of these amazing experiences and memories captured in photographs are excellent examples of Ipswich’s past and should be preserved for the benefit of future generations.


Click and You Shall Find – Investigating Your Anzac Ancestors

Posted By on July 16, 2014

As we commemorate 100 years since World War 1 began, there has been renewed interest in the Anzac soldiers who fought for our country on foreign soil all those years ago. Do you have any relatives who were Anzac soldiers? If so, do you want to know more about their experiences of war?

Why not come along to one of our hands-on sessions and learn how to use online tools and library resources to uncover more about your family’s military history?  Sessions will include searching for service records and other military information on the National Archives of Australia and Australian War Memorial websites.

These stand-alone sessions will be held at the following branches of Ipswich Libraries.  The content of each session will be the same.  Participants should have some computer experience.

Ipswich Central Library, 40 South Street, Wednesday 31 July 2014 , 10.00am – 11.00am

Redbank Library, Moreton Avenue, Thursday 14 August 2014, 10.00am – 11.00am

Redbank Plaza Library, Redbank Plaza Shopping Centre, 1 Collingwood Drive, Tuesday 2 September 2014, 10.00am – 11.00am

Book online using our Calendar of Events or phone (07) 3810-6815.

Group of Ipswich, Queensland, soldiers, Rollestone Camp, Salisbury Plains, England, 1916 – Image courtesy of Picture Ipswich


Ipswich’s Sweet Tooth

Posted By on June 25, 2014

Ipswich was home to Confectionery Manufacturers from as early as 1877. Some businesses stood the test of time and were industries in Ipswich for a number of years, others weren’t so timely.

Mr J Bouchards Confectionery Factory was established at the Terrace, North Ipswich in 1877. Mr Bouchards advertised himself as a maker of all kinds of English and French Confectionary from hoky pokies to Tom Thumbs. Mr Bouchard was known to use only the best and purest white sugar which he obtained from the Colonial Sugar Company in Brisbane.

The Treagle family and staff
(Image courtesy of Picture Ipswich – Ipswich in the 20th Century by Robyn Buchanan)

Treagles & Sons Manufacturing Confectioner was a family owned business run by the Treagle family. Established around 1900 in Bell Street, Ipswich, the factory employed about 20 people for jobs such as ‘Sugar boilers’, delivery men and travelers who took orders from shops. A machine powered by a steam engine would grind the sugar into icing sugar before it was mixed with other ingredients. Often lolly mixtures were put through rolling machines to flatten and then they were cut into shapes. To make boiled lollies all the ingredients like sugar and glucose had to be melted first. “Sugar boilers” as they were called, would boil the ingredients in copper vats or tubs. How long the mixture was boiled for indicated the final texture of the lolly. Hot temperatures made a hard lolly and medium heat made a soft lolly. The mixture was then tipped out onto steel benches to stiffen and cool. When ready, the mixture was cut into straps and pulled over hooks on the wall. Hand cutters were used to cut the lengths into small pieces ready for sale. Treagles made everything in the way of confectionery from boiled lollies to chocolates and became very popular due to the high quality of their sweets. The Treagle brand of icing sugar was one of their best sellers.

A.M. Johnson, confectioner’s truck, from F.W. Johnson City Motor Works, Ipswich, 1920s
(Image courtesy of Picture Ipswich)

A. M. Johnson bought the confectionery business in Bell Street from George Treagle in 1921. The business then moved to the corner of Bell and Union Streets to a larger factory known as The Johnson Lolly Factory or A. M. Johnson & Sons Confectionery Works. Mr Johnson bought his truck from his brother, F.W. Johnson’s dealership in Ipswich. The signage on the side of the truck read: “Morrows Biscuits & Confectionery” and “A.M. Johnson Manufacturing Confectioner”. In 1949 the Johnson Lolly Factory set a personal record of making 80,000 sugar Easter eggs in a variety of colours due to a huge demand at the time. Manufacturing sugar eggs took a total of three days starting with shaping the sugar mixture on a plastic mould and waiting for it to set. Then sweets and English novelties were put inside the egg which was then sealed with a rippled sugar mixture and baked at a temperature of 110 degrees. Chocolate Easter eggs started to be produced a year later with the installation of extra machinery. By 1950 The Johnson Lolly Factory was manufacturing coloured candy sticks (Fairy floss), boiled sweets, licorice all sorts, caramels, jubes and fondants.

Johnson lolly factory, corner Union and Bell Street, Ipswich, 1970
(Image courtesy of Picture Ipswich)

Information courtesy of Picture Ipswich, “Treagle -The Leading ConfectionerIpswich in the 20th Century – Robyn Buchanan, “Messrs. GeorgeTreagle and Son” (The Queensland Times 15-12-1917), “G. Treagle and Sons” (The Queensland Times 14-12-1916), “Easter Eggs a Big Time Business” (The Queensland Times 19-01-1950), Mr J Bouchard’s Confectionery factory” (The Ipswich Herald and General Advertiser 02-06-1894).


Pub Trivia

Posted By on June 13, 2014

Over the years, the Ipswich region has been home to many hotels that have provided a place for people to come together and mark important occasions.   From Rosewood to Goodna, hotels have served as a meeting spot for many people in the local community and some have even been used as a film sets and a place to conduct legal proceedings.

Did you know?

  • The Queen’s Arms was the first licenced hotel in Ipswich.  It was owned by George Thorn and in the early years of the city court sessions were sometimes held in the hotel.  As the room used for proceedings was particularly small, people not directly involved with a case needed to stand on the footpath outside and look through the windows. The Queen’s Arm Hotel was located on the corner of Brisbane and East Streets but was demolished and replaced by a building that was purchased by the Queensland National Bank in 1881.
  • Dan Dempsey, a member of the Kangaroos rugby league team in 1929 and 1933, was one of the licensees of the Ulster Hotel.  The hotel was designed by Henry Wyman and completed in 1911.

Ulster Hotel, Brisbane Street, Ipswich, 1978 – Image courtesy of Picture Ipswich

  •  The original Rosewood Hotel was destroyed by fire in 1914 and the current building was erected soon afterwards.  The hotel is known for its famous ‘water ghost’ and was used as a location for the filming of  ‘Mabo’ in 2011.

Interior of Rosewood Hotel during production of film, ‘Mabo’, Rosewood, Ipswich, 2011 – Image courtesy of Picture Ipswich

  •  In 1985, Marburg Hotel was used as a set for the movie ‘The Settlement’, starring Bill Kerr and John Jarratt.   In the movie, the hotel was known as ‘Cedar Creek Hotel’.   The Marburg Hotel was initially a single-storey building, with a second storey most likely added around 1890.

Marburg Hotel used as set for motion picture ‘The Settlement’, Marburg, 1985 – Image courtesy of Picture Ipswich

  •  The Hotel Kerwick is named after Nicholas Kerwick.  He was born in Kilkenny, Ireland but lived in the north of England for most of his youth.  He came to Ipswich and worked on the Brisbane Valley Railway Line.  Nicholas lived in Redbank for several years before becoming the licensee of the One Mile Hotel.

Hotel Kerwick, 1 Kerwick Street, Redbank, Ipswich, 1991 – Image courtesy of Picture Ipswich

To read more about the interesting history of hotels in the Ipswich region, take a look at the heritage trails that the Ipswich City Council has produced on Country, City and Eastern Suburbs Pubs.

Information taken from Rubbidy Dubs to Pubs Then & Now; Eastern Suburbs Pubs Then & Now; Country Pubs Then & Now; Queensland National Bank


Wineries and Vineyards of Historic Ipswich

Posted By on June 12, 2014

Staff at unidentified winery in the Churchill, One Mile area of Ipswich, 1890s – Image courtesy of Picture Ipswich.

Between the 1880s and 1890s grape growing and wine making in Ipswich was a burgeoning industry that was built on quality growing conditions and healthy profits for the winemakers.  There were many winemakers and grape growers in the area who tried their hand at this new agricultural trend, with many families establishing successful wine businesses. Many local wineries of this time were also known nationally and internationally for their refreshing take on red and white wines, with many of the Ipswich vineyards winning high-achievement awards in competitions.

Meyer and Isambert – Toongarra Vineyard

One of the earliest vineyards to be established closest to the city of Ipswich was owned and operated by Mr Isambert and Mr Meyer. The team owned and operated a vineyard which was located on 6 acres of land in Churchill and was originally purchased in 1867; a second property was later purchased on Warrill Creek. Prior to their wine making endeavours, Mr Meyer and Mr Isambert operated a soap and candle making business, therefore they were well equipped for the winemaking trade. The team built a well-ventilated house with a verandah that constituted their cellar on the property, as well as 43 400 gallon barrels to hold their produce. They also purchased a clever bottling and corking machine. Due to Isambert’s German heritage and Australian wine industry knowledge the business quickly took off, with the team becoming highly aware of those grape varieties suited to Australia’s climate and soil. By 1870 Isambert and Meyer had adapted a number of grape varieties for current conditions as well as installing a clay pipe drainage system for assistance for the dry climate. By this point Toongarra Vineyard had 2,400 grape vines planted (including white sherry, hermitage, espar, donzilino and riesling) and another 400 table grape varieties on 12 acres of land with the Winery producing 8000 gallons of wine in a year. During their time in production Isambert and Meyer won numerous awards in local agricultural shows, until poor finances caused the pair to sell the property to a Mr Casper Zinn.

The Dick Family – Reside Vineyard

One of the first vineyards and winemakers in Ipswich was established in 1870s by the Dick Family and came to be known as Reside Vineyard. The winery was located on a 10 acre block in Purga and was operated by James Dick Senior and his sons Malcolm, James and William. At the time James Dick also managed dairy and maize on the property and had previously tried his hand at cotton growing for ten years. The vineyard produced several grape varieties as well as a wide array of international award winning red and white wines. The vineyard remained in the care of James Dick Senior until his death in 1893, at which point it was operated by the Dick Brothers until 1914 when grape growing became a dying industry in the area.

The Irwin Brothers – Warrilla Vineyard

In the early 1860s the Irwin family moved to Ipswich, originally coming via the United States from Ireland. They purchased a house in Ipswich and also established a farm on the banks of Warrill Creek, which by the early 1870s was in being operated as Warrilla Vineyrad by the Irwin Brothers, Robert, John, Samuel and James. In 1875 having established a fully functional winery the brothers built a large above ground cellar and wine factory similar in style to the Isambert and Meyer set-up. This was an excellent alternative to the underground cellars common at the time due to cooling qualities of such a structure for Australian climate. The Irwin Brothers had also built a large amount of homemade wooden casks and special machines for producing the valuable liquid. The vineyard produced a number of grape varieties including salvina, zollverein, mataro and esparte. The winery itself also produced wine varieties such as Wantage, Black Spanish and Delaware, all of which were superior tasting rich and sweet. Over the course of the company’s existence the Irwin Brothers entered numerous local, national and international shows with their greatest win being the prize medal award at the Philadelphia Centennial Exhibition in 1876 and the Sydney International Exhibition in 1879-80.

Irwin’s Vineyard, Warrill Creek, Ipswich, 1887 – Image courtesy of Picture Ipswich

Robert William Le Grand – Wooyumboong Winery

Mr Le Grand was born in London but came to Australia in the 1850s to try his luck as gold mining. After striking it lucky he later returned to his home town where he began travelling through Germany and France and exploring the many varieties of grapes in these areas. Having a firm hold on the foreign industry Le Grand returned to Australia in 1873 and took up 840 acres in Purga Creek. He established a small distillery, numerous grape vines and managed a substantial herd of cattle. The family stayed in a makeshift bark hut while Mr Le Grand built a more substantial stone homestead with ten rooms, several fire places, verandahs, and a stone cellar. The property was finished in 1883 and became known as Wooyumboong. As wine making was a passion of Mr Le Grand he had installed 13 slate vats in the cellar as well as a press. When first starting out Le Grand’s main grape variety was espar, however he was always experimenting with different varieties, which in the end made him one of the most awarded grape and wine producers both locally, nationally and internationally for his sparkling wines and red variety wines. Robert Le Grand was also an adept businessman and saw his chance to sell to the world, and as such became one of the first local exporters of wine to Europe. The winery was in operation until the 1890s when the Wooyumboong property continued to produce general farming crops.

Information taken from: ‘The Bremer River’ by Robyn Buchanan; ‘The grip of the grape’ by John Moran; A toast to wine making (The QT 4.02.1985); Wooyumboong – Once famous for flourishing (The QT 19.04.1967).


The Whybird Family Business

Posted By on May 28, 2014

Whybirds horse team (Image courtesy of Picture Ipswich – ‘Ipswich in the 20th Century’ by Robyn Buchannan)

In 1857 at the age of 22, John Whybird immigrated to Australia from England on the ship ‘Blenheim’. He made his way to Ipswich and began working as a drayman for the firm of Hassel & Ogg in Bell Street. John carried goods from the Bremer River wharves to the firm’s store, and also deliveries from the store. When the firm closed down, John received the horse and dray in lieu of wages and started his own business as a “for hire” drayman.

John married Catherine Magee in St Marys Catholic Church in 1862. They had two boys, James and John. John jnr. passed away as an infant. His mother Catherine died in 1873.

John married again in 1875 to Eliza Ellen Richards and had eight children. The family settled in Ipswich, with John and his business becoming very well known among locals. His Carrier business grew enabling him to put on a few workers to help with the workloads such as contracts for the railways and the Queensland Woollen Mills.

When John became ill at age 69, his son Henry returned home from Charters Towers to help him with the business while he recuperated. One of six sons, Henry married Elizabeth Beatrice Anderson and they had nine children. Henry eventually took over the business in 1905 when John died.

In 1911, a two-horse lorry was built to accommodate the growing business which had added the job of transporting furniture as well as goods to their business in 1906. Later on, Henry’s two older sons, Jack and Harry began working in the business. Allan Whybird, another of Henry’s sons returned from service with the AIF in Borneo to manage the business in 1946. Henry passed away in 1948.

By 1951, a new Ford four ton truck was being used to meet customer demand and the family was specializing in furniture removal offering personalized and professional service. Royston Whybird took over the business from his father Allan in 1984, with his daughter Sheree carrying the tradition on to the fifth generation. By 1994 the business now possessed a fleet of 16 furniture removal trucks. In 1997 the business was sold to family friend Frank Aspinall who chose to keep the Whybird’s name, however he has moved into international transport. The Whybird family celebrated its 150th anniversary with a family reunion in 2007.

To read more about the Whybird Family or other pioneering families of Ipswich, visit the Viva Cribb Local History Room of the Ipswich Central Library. The Room is open Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm.

Information taken from: Moving On: the story of five generations of removalists – the Whybird family by Allan Whybird; The History of Ipswichs’ Long Established Businesses 994.321 HIS; Iconic business reaches 150 years (QT 12-10-2007; Allan’s moving through history (QT 11-03-1994).


Ipswich Pioneers – Abraham to Zielke

Posted By on May 20, 2014

Formed in 1977, the Ipswich Genealogical Society was Queensland’s first genealogical society.   In its collection, the Society has a wide range of resources suitable for novices and experienced historians, with a special focus on Ipswich and surrounding districts.

One of the useful resources compiled and edited by the Society is the “Ipswich and District Pioneer Register Pre 1914″.   Comprised of two volumes, and held by the Ipswich Libraries’, these registers contain the names of pioneering families who contributed to the early development of Ipswich and surrounding shires.     These registers provide valuable information about well-known and lesser-known individuals including dates of birth, death and immigration, occupations and names of spouses and children.

Below is a photo of Mary (Minnie) McLeary who was the daughter of Samuel and Mary McLeary.  Samuel arrived in Australia in 1864, travelling on the ‘General Caulfield’, and he worked in a variety of occupations.

Minnie (Mary) Brown (nee McLeary), Ipswich, ca. 1911 – Image Courtesy of Picture Ipswich

For anyone interested in receiving help with researching their own family tree, the Ipswich Central Library has a ‘Genies in Residence’ program.  Each Wednesday from 10am to noon, a member from the Ipswich Genealogical Society is available to provide assistance and advice.


Ipswich and the Homefront

Posted By on May 8, 2014

During World War 1 and 2 Ipswich became an active community that contributed to the home front effort through patriotic societies and the supplying of employees to manufacture munitions and  other important consumables for the war effort.

Patriotism in Ipswich

World War 1 and 2 brought about the birth of many patriotic societies, whose intention was to provide Australian and British soldiers with much needed support while they were serving their country. The Red Cross was extremely influential in this area with many special events and drives being set up by the organisation to make bandages, clothes, and knitted socks for soldiers on the front-line. In World War 1 after news was heard in Ipswich of a shortage of sandbags on the front a sandbag league was established to raise money and materials to make and buy bags. An Ipswich Train Tea Society was also established by the women of Ipswich, and involved the serving of refreshments to soldiers on troop trains passing through the town. Christmas time was also a memorable time of year for soldiers on the front with many Ipswich residents sending rare treats and gifts such as cigarettes and cakes over to the troops. Patriotic parades, balls and community and business funds were also ongoing during World War 1 and 2.

Manufacturing during the Wars

During World War 1 and 2 Ipswich was a hub of manufacturing activity as many local Ipswich businesses were transformed into manufacturers of munitions, and other goods for the war effort. The Railway Workshops played a major part in the production of these materials during both the first and second world wars, with selected staff being employed by the war effort to produce munitions such as shells and bullets. During World War 2 the Railway Workshops were called on to produce a wide array of munitions equipment, which included items such as gun barrels, tools and some aircraft parts.

Scott’s Foundry, a local Ipswich company, also played an important part in the war effort with the factory and its workers being employed to produce munitions such as hand grenades. The Queensland Woollen Manufacturing Company staff also played their part by assisting in in the production of woollen blankets and khaki material for soldiers.

Scotts Foundry

Making hand grenades at Scott’s Foundry, Wharf Street Ipswich, 1940-1944 – Image courtesy of Picture Ipswich

The Community on the home front

The home front during World War 1 and 2 in Ipswich was a difficult place to be but residents made the best of a trying situation. Ipswich was a hub of activity for the war effort with Redbank Army Camp being established to house 2500 new troops. This camp was used to teach new recruits the basics of soldiering including marching and saluting. The camp was well equipped with numerous huts, a mess hall and a canteen, and was located in a large area on the Brisbane River, near the Redbank Woollen Mills. As well as a recruiting camp Ipswich also provided space in the showgrounds for a Casualty Clearing Station. The main building of the showground was used to house recruits recovering from surgery, while other services such as x-rays and operations were carried out at the Sandy Gallop Asylum. A number of local specialists from Ipswich and Brisbane offered their skills in this field hospital.

During World War 2 the threat of war became all the more prevalent in Ipswich and as such services such as First Aid Posts and volunteer fire fighting teams were established. Later a blackout was declared and residents were required to cover windows and lights to prevent the enemy from seeing the town from the air. Men who were left on the home front were also committed to doing their bit for the troops, with a Volunteer Defence Corps being established. The women of Ipswich during this time worked mightily to maintain their community and support their husbands, children, siblings and parents who were on the front by manning various First Aid Posts around the town, staffing canteens and establishing a Women’s Auxiliary Transport Service which was care of the Australian Women’s Land Army.

Women's Auxilary Transport Service

Van used by the Women’s Auxiliary Transport Service, Ipswich 1942 – Image courtesy of Picture Ipswich

Rationing was also a major part of World War 1 and 2 with the town of Ipswich facing strict rationing for petrol, tea, cigarettes, alcohol, butter, clothing and other foodstuffs. In order to monitor a family’s intake a limited amount of ration booklets and coupons for food, clothing and petrol were divided up between people and families. During the early rationing period in Ipswich there was, according to reports, rarely a shortage of meat in the area due to the large number of local producers, however rationing was soon increased due to a higher demand for meat in the UK.

In order to establish that each resident received their allotted amount of coupons, they were required to present ID tags when collecting their ration booklets at the local post office. A slightly different approach was taken for clothing coupons which could be collected from selected establishments including schools and family homes. Due to rationing many things became hard to come by including fashionable women’s clothing, therefore many Ipswich families made the most of the supplies they had by saving flour bags and old sheets and towels to make dresses and under garments and butchers twine for crochet. The war years were hard times but Ipswich was a community who rallied together to support their country on the front line.

For more information on Queensland and the Home-Front war effort visit the Queensland State Archives website.

Information taken from: ‘Rationing on the Ipswich Home-Front’ by Helen McMonagle; ‘Ipswich Remembers: Military Heritage 1860s – 1990s’ by Robyn Buchanan.