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.

April 2014
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Old Hidden Vale Homestead

Posted By on April 2, 2014

The area of Hidden Vale was first settled in 1841 and formed part of Franklyn Vale. During this time the area of approximately 384,000 acres was used by Henry and Maria Mort to farm sheep. However, after separation the new government saw fit that the large area of Franklyn Vale be divided up and leased to other colonists. In 1871 after the area was divided 10,000 acres of this land was taken up by a Mr John Phillip Jost and his wife Catherine Lahey. Mr Jost, who had immigrated from Germany and previously owned a butchery in Brisbane, established himself on the property by constructing a small hut and proclaiming the area Jost Vale. Jost Vale, which was an area of land situated in the Liverpool Ranges, was used to breed a range of cattle, sheep and at one point race horses. In 1900 after living at Jost Vale for close to 20 years John and Catherine sold the property to a Mr Alfred Cotton.

Alfred Cotton was a well-travelled seaman and drover with many wonderful life stories to tell by the time he finally purchased Mr Josts’ land. After moving into the small slab hut with his wife Annie Bode and their daughter Lillian May, Alfred Cotton changed the name of the property to Hidden Vale. According to reports the name may have been derived from the spectacular view which took any person travelling through ‘by surprise’. Prior to purchasing his Hidden Vale property Mr Cotton had several other highly successful cattle stations in Queensland. Therefore it is with little surprise that shortly after moving in with his family, he established a short-horn bull breeding stud.

During their time at Hidden Vale Alfred erected the first two-storey structure in 1908 on a small plateau on the property. Over the years the property was added to a number of times with the inclusion of a number of out buildings, carriage and motor sheds, stock yards and bull pens. Little is known about who was commissioned to construct these buildings however the most significant of these  was the Chinese Room which was Mr Cotton’s office. This building, which still stands today, is a square timber structure with a pitched roof. In 1919 having lived in the house with his family for some years the homestead was burnt down in a vicious fire that claimed all but the detached kitchen. After this devastating fire the Cotton family held onto the property for a number of years before selling to the Day family in 1929.

Unfortunately, little is known about the time Hidden Vale spent in the hands of the Day family, except that they changed the homestead name to Sutton Royal. In 1938 the Day’s sold the land to Mr Murdo MacKenzie and family. After purchasing the property Mr MacKenzie decided to rebuild the main homestead into a single storey dwelling, which ended up being approximately 190 feet long. Mrs MacKenzie was not impressed with these improvements and as a result the structure was demolished and rebuilt to suit the family’s purposes. The replacement homestead was a beautiful building with verandas on all sides and grand views of the property gardens and Cunningham’s Gap. Murdo MacKenzie maintained the tradition of Alfred Cotton upon buying the land and he became the first grazier to introduce Bos Indicus cattle into South Queensland. In 1964 after the death of Mr Murdo his two daughters carried on the business of the Hidden Vale property and in 1964 they managed to purchase back the 1000 acres that was originally lost from the Jost family sale in 1871. Today the Hidden Vale homestead and land stands as testament to the early rural settlers of the Franklyn Vale area.

Article form the Queensland Times Newspaper detailing the fire that occured at the Hidden Vale Homestead in August of 1919 – Courtesy of Trove Digitised Newspapers.

Information taken from ‘Moreton Shire Queensland: Discovry and settlement’ by Joan Starr ; ‘The Expanded Ipswich Hertigage Study’ compiled by The Ipswich City Council ; ‘History of Queensland’ by Matt J. Fox.


Queensland Times on Trove

Posted By on March 24, 2014

National Library of Australia allows free access to text-searchable digitised Australian newspapers through Trove Digitised Newspapers.

You can save yourself hours browsing through newspapers on microfilm when you search digitised newspapers.

The following newspapers can now be searched on Trove Digitised Newspapers:-

Queensland Times, Ipswich Herald & General Advertiser Qld: 1861 – 1908

Queensland Times (Ipswich) Qld: 1901 – 1954

If you wish to refine your search to a certain time period and only search within The Queensland Times, you could do an advanced search. Just follow these five simple steps:-

1. Click: Advanced Search

2. Keywords: Enter your search terms

3. Publication Date: Select dates

4. Newspaper Title & Location: Tick the checkbox for the Queensland Times that you want

5. Click: Search

So if you are researching your family history or wanting to discover more about Ipswich’s history, start exploring The Queensland Times on Trove Digitised Newspapers.


Ipswich – Heritage City

Posted By on March 19, 2014

Anyone that’s lived in the area of Ipswich, Queensland for awhile would hopefully be aware of its rich and diverse heritage.   But for the visitor just passing through, the significance of the city may go unrecognised.  To test your knowledge of all things Ipswich, here’s a couple of snippets.

The Ipswich Grammar School was the first official secondary school in Queensland and the first Grammar School.  It was built in 1863 and the architect was Benjamin Backhouse.   In 2013, past and present pupils and staff as well as the local community celebrated the school’s 150th year of operation.  The history of the school has been recorded in a book by Sophie Church called The Story of Ipswich Grammar School 1863-2013 and can be borrowed from the library.

Ipswich Grammar School Jubilee group, Ipswich, ca. 1913 – Image courtesy of Picture Ipswich

The city’s earliest water supply – besides the collection of rain water – was a natural spring situated in the Old Pump Yard (the block on which the RSL Memorial Hall now stands) or water taken from the Bremer River.  Since the river water was often brackish, the council explored other options.  A site was eventually selected at Kholo on the Brisbane River and when the waterworks was officially opened on 31 August 1878, Ipswich gained the first pumped water supply in Queensland.  The waterworks featured a pumping station that pumped water up into a concrete reservoir on a nearby hilltop and from here, the water flowed to Ipswich along a pumpline. 

Pumping Station at Kholo, Ipswich, ca 1925 – Image courtesy of Picture Ipswich

If you’re keen to check out more of the great history of this city, then take a look at one or more of the heritage trails produced by the Ipswich City Council.   There’s a wide variety – everything from churches & cemeteries to country pubs.

Information taken from : Expanded Ipswich Heritage Study Volume, (Mt Crosby area)” 1997 and Picture Ipswich.


Arthur Foote’s Ipswich Joinery

Posted By on February 27, 2014

In 2013 Rev. Arthur Trevor Foote was awarded the Viva Cribb Bursary to assist him in researching and documenting his great grandfather Arthur Foote’s significant role in Ipswich’s early history. “Footprints in Ipswich History: an historical outline of the life of Arthur Foote, his family, and the Ipswich City Joinery, 1850-1972” was produced as a result of this funding, a copy of which can be found in the Viva Cribb Local History Room on Level 2 of the Ipswich Central Library, along with other Bursary winners from 2008-2013.

Arthur Foote was born in Compton Pauncefoot located in Somerset, England on the 3rd of August 1850 to George Foot and Alice Baker.   At 14 years of age Arthur completed an apprenticeship as a wheelwright and carpenter with Samuel Foot, the local carpenter, as his mentor. In March 1873 Arthur Foote was married to Sarah Ann Pope, who was a servant at this time. Soon after the couple relocated to Bournemouth in Dorset where they had their first son Arthur George in 1875, daughter Annie May in 1879, son Loftus in 1883 and son Walter in 1887. During his time in Bournemouth Arthur Foote found a job as a carpenter and later worked as a joiner in Woking.

In November 1888, after residing in Plymouth for some years the Foote Family made tracks for sunny Queensland, Australia, travelling on the ship, Taroba. Although originally known as ‘Foot’ it is believed that Arthur made the decision to change this to ‘Foote’ after he arrived in Queensland, following in his brother’s footsteps. It would also be wise to mention at this point that although they share the same family name Arthur Foote’s family bears no relationship with the Foote family of Cribb and Foote fame, but rather created their own history through the establishment of an exceptional business.

Arthur and Sarah Foote along with their four children settled in the growing town of Ipswich, with Arthur acquiring a job at the quality establishment of Hancock Brothers timber yard.  He remained there until 1898, when he established his own joinery business with his son Loftus in a small shed on Bremer Street. However, shortly after opening in 1904 a fire struck the joinery causing severe damage not only to Mr Foote’s joinery but also to several surrounding businesses. No one appeared to be injured however several employees lost their equipment and several expensive pieces of machinery were lost in the blaze. However, all was not lost as in a neighbourly fashion Hancock’s Sawmill generously offered Arthur space at their business so that he could continue to operate and fill orders.

By 1910 Arthur’s joinery had become a well-known business in the local area and with rapid growth occurring in both Brisbane and Ipswich it was little wonder he was doing so well. In 1914 having established the business Mr Foote entered into a partnership with his four sons, Arthur, Loftus, Walter and Fred (b. 1889). At this point in time the business had approximately 50 employees and was especially known for their fine joinery work on shop fronts, doors, quality furniture, schools, churches and ornate arches, using timber such as silky oak, maple and pine. After being in operation for some years it was with great sadness that the passing of Arthur’s first wife Sarah Ann occurred in January of 1913. Soon after in 1914 Mr Foote left for England where he met and married his second wife Louisa Mary Stephenson.  Arthur’s descendants maintained the family business until 1972.

Early advertisement for Arthur’s joinery in North Ipswich – Image courtesy of Picture Ipswich



Arthur Foote’s City Joinery, 1910 – Image courtesy of Whitehead Studios, Picture Ipswich and Rev. Arthur Trevor Foote

To read more about how the Foote family contributed to Ipswich’s early manufacturing industry and their involvement with the local community, please visit the Ipswich Central or Redbank Plaza Libraries and borrow this wonderful book.

References: “Footprints in Ipswich History: an historical outline of the life of Arthur Foote, his family, and the Ipswich City Joinery, 1850-1972”” by Rev. Arthur Trevor Foote.


The Marburg Show 1887-2013

Posted By on February 18, 2014

Marburg Show, Ipswich, 1950s – image courtesy of Picture Ipswich

In August of 1886 the Marburg, Kirchheim, Glamorgan Vale and Back Plains Agricultural and Industrial Association were formed. (Farmers’ Association for short, now Marburg Show Society) The annual subscription for membership was 5 shillings. A gathering of the Association met in March 1887 and agreed to the proposal of holding an Agricultural and Industrial show at Marburg on the 27th July. Donations of money for prizes and a silver cup were offered on the night. At a special committee meeting later in April, a prize schedule for the show was agreed upon and more donations of funding were made.

The first Marburg Show was held on Wednesday the 27th July, 1887 in the grounds and building of the Marburg School of Arts and was a grand success. Schools in the area had been given the day off and the community was excited for a day of entertainment and delight. On the day flags, garlands of flowers and evergreens decorated the roadside from the Walloon Railway Station to Marburg ready for the visit of His Excellency the Governor, Sir Anthony Musgrave, who was to open the show. The district had been enthusiastic in their efforts to support the event; this being displayed by the showing of at least 200 classes and about 1000 exhibits of various kinds. The School of Arts building held displays of vegetables, farm and dairy produce, fruits, manufactured items and fine arts. On show in the grounds were sheep, pigs, cattle, agricultural implements and more. Competitions ranged from homemade cheeses and loaves of bread to enormous pumpkins weighing 150 pounds. There were thirteen exhibits of bushels of cob on the corn, a fair show of poultry and about 100 horses of all kinds. Up to 2000 people were estimated to be at the show on the day. After the success of the day it was agreed by the Association that a similar show be held every year. The Marburg Show moved to its current grounds in 1912.

The Marburg Show Society has celebrated over 125 years of the Society with a book titled: “Not Just a Show – Marburg Show Society 1887-2012”. This title and others about the Marburg and Rosewood Scrub district can be found on the shelves of The Viva Cribb Local History Room, Level 2 of the Ipswich Central Library. Please feel free to visit and find out more about your part of Ipswich. The Local History Room is open Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm. 

Information taken from – Not Just a Show – Marburg Show Society 1887-2012 and The Queensland Times, Ipswich Herald & General Advertiser 30 July, 1887





Love your Local History

Posted By on February 12, 2014

As regular readers of this blog would know, the closing date for this year’s Viva Cribb Bursary is 24 Feb 2014.   What people may not be aware of however, is the broad range of topics that winners of the bursary have focused on in the past.   In pursuing their passion for recording the important history of Ipswich, previous recipients have concentrated on everything from the stories of Rosewood Scrub coal miners  to the history of the Ipswich Kindergarten.   For a full list of the significant history that has been documented through the Viva Cribb Bursary Program you can click here.  Otherwise, if you’re in the Ipswich Central Library just come up to Level 2 and look at our latest display as well as the books in the Viva Cribb Local History Resource Room.   There’s a lot of love for local history just waiting to be discovered!

Love Your Local Authors – Level 2 Display – Ipswich Central Library

For those of you now feeling inspired to research and write about local or family history, there’s the opportunity to attend the Ipswich City Council’s free Heritage Seminars. Hosted by local historians, bookings are essential and the relevant details can be found on the Council’s website.


Books about Ipswich

Posted By on January 30, 2014

Picture Ipswich is a collection of historical images which provides a unique insight to the local history of Ipswich – its people, families, places and way of life. These images tell a story of how the city grew from its beginnings to the present day. The collection represents an important historical resource for the people of Ipswich, students, researchers and the general public. Did you know that there are some digitised books about Ipswich to be found on Picture Ipswich?

The following digitised books are on Picture Ipswich:-

City of Ipswich publication 1935

Final gauge: the history of Ipswich Railway Workshops

Footprints in Ipswich history: an historical outline of the life of Arthur Foote, his family and the Ipswich City Joinery

Ipswich and district roll of honour WWI

Ipswich Congregational Church jubilee 1853 – 1903

Ipswich in the 20th century: celebrating 100 years as a city 1904-2004

James Ivory diaries 1863 -1883

Rationing on the Ipswich home-front

Souvenir booklet of the dedication and opening of St Mary’s Catholic Church 1904

Souvenir publication of the City of Ipswich and District 1934

One of the benefits of digitised text is that you can easily do a word search within the document. Ctrl + F finds text within the current document. Clicking on next finds further recurrences of that particular word within the book.

It’s easy to access these valuable resources. Just go to Ipswich Libraries’ website then go to Picture Ipswich and click on the Picture Trail for Books about Ipswich.


The Ipswich National School

Posted By on January 29, 2014

Little Ipswich National School students 1861 – 1883 – Image courtesy of Picture Ipswich

School attendance was not compulsory until 1880 and in Ipswich’s early years education was deemed not as necessary as learning how to keep house or working to make money. Schooling at this time was either for the wealthy in private homes or church funded denominational schools. In 1847 a school in Bell Street was established but shut after the school master quit two months in. There were no free schools and the cost of sending your child to school was far too expensive for the ordinary working man.

The Ipswich Council voted on and passed the proposal for a National School in 1850. The National Education Board stated that they would pay two thirds of the cost of a National School, this being the land and building, school supplies and teacher as long as the town/parents contributed a third of the total building cost and guaranteed attendance of at least 30 pupils. A building fund was set up and soon one hundred pounds had been collected from the town, so a request for a grant was sent to the government at the time in New South Wales. In June 1851 a reply came granting one acre of land situated on the east side of Gordon Street, bounded by Limestone and Brisbane Streets.

At a public meeting held on the evening of Wednesday 27th March 1861, the necessity of a National School for the town was brought up once again. It had been nearly 10 years since the grant of land had been awarded to the town. Members of the Council were reminded that a means of education for the town and district was needed, especially for the parent who could not afford to pay to send their child to school. The Council had been neglectful in not seeing that the public works of a national school were carried out for which money had been set aside in 1851. Establishing a primary school was the means of educating many children whom it would be impossible to educate at the present rate of schooling.

In 1861, the first National School in Ipswich was established. Until a school building was erected on the land in Gordon Street, classes were held in a small cottage on the laneway leading off Nicholas Street to the railway goods yards. There were six children in attendance and the teacher was John Scott. The number of students expanded to 150 within two months.

The new school building was opened in 1862 on the Gordon Street land granted by National Education Board. The building was a two storey brick building capable of accommodating three hundred children. The girls and infants were taught on the top floor, while the boys classes were held on the ground floor. The school split into separate boys and girls schools as numbers grew and moved to several different locations before evolving into Ipswich Central State School, Griffiths Road, Ipswich. Other National Schools in the Ipswich area soon followed at Little Ipswich (West Ipswich) and North Ipswich.

Information taken from  – “Ipswich National Primary School” ( Ipswich Herald & General Advertiser 29-03-1861); “Heritage Education Kit”; “The History of Ipswich Grammar School 1863-2013” (Book); “Ipswich: Our Heritage in Focus” (book); “The First One Hundred Years” (Book); “Ipswich Central State School 125 years 1861-1986” (Book); “Ipswich Municipal Centenary” (Book); “Penal colony to Board of General Education 1826-1860” (website)



Blackstone State School – Gone but not forgotten

Posted By on January 23, 2014

In 2009 the Blackstone State School was closed under the Queensland Government’s ‘State Schools of Tomorrow’ program. The school was 122 years old and held deep Welsh roots in the small community of Blackstone. As many may already know Blackstone was a predominately Welsh coal mining community with Lewis Thomas being a contributing factor in the discovery of such a rich seam in the area. As a result Blackstone grew rapidly in population and soon the small village had established a church, several bands and choirs as well as sporting ground and a School of Arts centre. The one significant component missing from this list was a school.

In and around the area of Blackstone, at the time, there were only two schools that could be reached by horse or foot – they were Newtown School and Lower Bundanba School. As such the residents thought it necessary for their children to receive an education closer to home. In 1885 a meeting was held with community members and all agreed that the erection of a school was essential. So, a building committee were elected and an area of land was selected on the corner of Mary and William Streets. The building of Blackstone School commenced in 1886 after the Department of Public Instruction approved the land chosen.

On its completion the school was a fine structure made of hardboard weatherboards and a roof of galvanised iron as well as two tanks which were added to supply drinking water to the students. The building itself was built for approximately 100 children with beautiful pine tables crafted by W. B. Jeffcoat & Sons with desks that contained slate holders, neat inkwells and a place for pencils. A blackboard, map stand and pine table were also installed to support the work of the teachers. The headmaster’s residence was also built consisting of four rooms and wide verandas. During its construction one of the first teachers was employed for the school, her name was Ellen Cole and she became the assistant teacher, while Mr W. J. Hall became the Blackstone School’s first headmaster when it finally opened in 1887.

On January 17th 1887 when the school was opened special celebrations were held by the community with the school having 63 students enrolled. According to reports the opening was a large ceremony with an assortment of cakes, pastries, fruits and tea supplied to parents, guests and students. As well as the celebrations held in January there was also a further concert held in March with music and singing, the proceeds of which would go back into the new school. In 1892, after being in operation for a number of years the school had 161 students enrolled and was considered at this time one of the largest schools in the district. However, after the area had been mined for a number of years there was little left to be had jobs wise, therefore many people moved away from the area to find other work. Over the years Blackstone School received very little addition to its classrooms as enrolments dropped, however in 1910 an infants’ room was added and in 1984 a demountable classroom was put on the grounds and the added room was used as a library.

In 2007 the ‘State Schools of Tomorrow’ program was launched with their aim being to evaluate the future of certain schools. Blackstone was one such school and in 2008 it was announced that it would close by the end of 2009. The Save Blackstone School campaign was established by community members however it was to no avail and the school closed its doors to its students in December of 2009. Today, although the school does not exist as an institution, the heritage still remains on the ground and memories still remain of what once was one of the largest schools in the area.

Blackstone State School, between 1900 and 1908 – Image courtesy of Picture Ipswich

References – “Thanks for the memories: Blackstone State School 1887-2009″ (Book); ‘Opening of the new primary school at Blackstone’ (The Queensland Times 22/01/1887); ‘Blackstone School days’ (The Queensland Times 16/03/1987); ‘New buildings’ (The Queensland Times 18/01/1887).


Viva Cribb Bursary 2014

Posted By on January 15, 2014

It’s that time again!

The Viva Cribb Bursary Program provides up to $5,000 funding to an individual or group to assist with the cost of documenting, recording or publishing a “significant aspect of the local history of Ipswich”.   The bursary was established in honour of Miss Viva Cribb who was dedicated to preserving the history of this city and also to encourage the community to explore Ipswich’s historical significance.

Viva Cribb, 2001 – Image Courtesy of Picture Ipswich

Funding applications are open to individuals, participating in a not-for-profit capacity, aged 18 years or over who are full time residents of the City of Ipswich.  Local not-for-profit Community Groups are also eligible to apply.

The 2014/2015 funding round opened on 13 January 2014 and closes on 24 February 2014. For more information, please visit this page or contact the Digital Archivist on 3810 7272.

This year the Council will also be holding Heritage Seminars to help those who apply for this Bursary or other Grants of this nature, either now or in the future.  These Ipswich Heritage Seminars will be facilitated by Local Historians and will cover research, writing and publishing Local History.  For more information on these seminars please contact strategic@ipswich.qld.gov.au or phone 3810 6256.