Local Stories

Empire Day

May 24 was Queen Victoria’s birthday. After she died in 1901 it was proposed that the date become a formal celebration of the British Empire and all that it stood for. Loyalty to the Empire, patriotism and the duties of citizenship were paramount. Empire Day was to have a chequered history.

Australia first introduced Empire Day in 1905, although it was celebrated in Britain from 1902. May 24th, 1905 fell on Wednesday. Under the provisions of the Bank Holiday Act the following Monday was observed as the official holiday when most of the flag-waving was scheduled to take place. Schools and Sunday schools arranged sports and picnics for their pupils.  At this time it was not compulsory for businesses to close for the holiday although many in Ipswich did. About 100 workers at the Railway Workshops took the day off with many turning up for work as usual. As with Public Holidays today, many residents fled the city enjoying a mini-break.

From the beginning, schools in Queensland were ordered to promote British unity and loyalty via celebration of the day. To secure the British Empire in the future, school children were exhorted to increase their loyalty to the King and carry on the noble work of Empire. This message was wrapped up in flag ceremonies, speeches, essay competitions, and a holiday from school when all the formalities were over.

 ‘A Help to Victory on Empire Day from the Boys and Girls of the Empire’, certificate, presented to Adina Rossow, of Brassall, Ipswich, 1917

‘A Help to Victory on Empire Day from the Boys and Girls of the Empire’, certificate, presented to Adina Rossow, of Brassall, Ipswich, 1917 – Image courtesy of Picture Ipswich

Rosewood State School observed Empire Day in 1906 with an address by the headmaster and planting of 25 silky oaks trees. The following year celebrations in the Ipswich area included a Highland gathering at Boonah. Organised sports, races and concerts were commonplace.

In 1908 Lieutenant R. Foreman, assisted by his son and another man, organised a 21 gun salute in Brown’s Park at North Ipswich. Firing commenced at 6am on Empire Day and continued for almost 21 minutes. Following this spectacle, 3 cheers for King, Empire, and Lieutenant Foreman were given.

Empire Day 1913 was not observed as a general public holiday. Instead, it was decided that the King’s birthday (3 June) would become the new holiday.  Schools and their students continued to honour the British Empire and British way of life through the first half of the 20th century, although commemoration in the general community ranged from being “restrained” in 1925 to virtually forgotten by 1938. British inspired clubs like the Caledonian Society and St George Society were still recognising  Empire Day and celebrating at club level into the 1940’s. In 1947 the Empire Day Movement, chaired by Mr E. Pike urged businesses to fly the flag and decorate Ipswich store windows for the big day. By the end of the 1950’s Empire Day was really a thing of the past.

Information taken from:

Queensland Times, Ipswich Herald & General Advertiser, 30 May 1905, p.12. The Holiday.

Queensland Times, Ipswich Herald & General Advertiser, 29 May 1906, p.4.  Empire Day in Rosewood.

Queensland Times, Ipswich Herald & General Advertiser, 23 May 1907, p. 4. Empire Day.

Queensland Times, Ipswich Herald & General Advertiser, 26 May 1908, p.9.  Empire Day Salute.

Queensland Times, 23 May 1913, p.7. Empire Day.

Queensland Times, 25 May 1925, p.4. Empire Day.

Queensland Times, 24 May 1938, p.6. Empire Day.

Queensland Times, 23 May 1947, p.5. Empire Day Appeal.

Queensland Times, 7 June 1941, p.6. Empire Day Celebrations.


Oyster Saloons in Ipswich

Fish and chips shops are found everywhere in Australia. A forerunner to these familiar businesses was the Oyster Saloon, common from the 1880s until well into the twentieth century. It seems that every town in Queensland (no matter how far from the coast) had an Oyster Saloon. Brisbane, Laidley, Rosewood, Cairns and Rockhampton did to name but a few. Such establishments served and supplied cleaned and cooked fish, oysters, prawns, boiled ham, and grills from early morning to late at night. Keeping seafood from spoiling must have been a challenge at a time when refrigeration was not yet available and saloon keepers were dependent on ice. It is thought that local ice production was not available for years after the first Oyster Saloons appeared in Ipswich.

As early as 1864, Mrs Hunter was associated with an Oyster Saloon in Bell Street. In 1866 crabs came by steamer for F.W. Travis’ Oyster Saloon in East Street, opposite Mr Mitchell’s stores. Sometime prior to this the eatery was located in Brisbane Street. Mr G. Pastoors operated a Ham & Oyster Saloon around 1890 also in East Street, next to Hucker’s Furnishing Arcade.

By the early years of the new century the Martoos had saloons in Brisbane Street, opposite Cribb & Footes called the Club Oyster Saloon, and another in Union Street. In 1905 the City Oyster Saloon was opened by Mr J. H. Bearkley next door to his existing fruit shop in Nicholas Street. This business operated for several years however by Christmas 1912 only one such establishment remained in Ipswich – the Premier Oyster Saloon at 80 Brisbane Street between the Palais Royal Hotel and Qld Woollen Company. This building was formerly known as Rose’s Universal Emporium.

Premier Oyster Saloon was owned by John Black, also known as Jack. He purchased this business from Mr P. Lemnos in 1903. Black was the owner of 2 other saloons in the Brisbane CBD. His Premier Oyster Saloon advertised regularly in the local newspaper and would appear to have been a successful enterprise. In 1913 the premises were extensively renovated with a ladies’ room added. This was apparently the first time in Ipswich that such an amenity was provided for the comfort and accommodation of “ladies”.

Premier Oyster Saloon

Premier Oyster Saloon

(from Queensland Times, Ipswich Herald and General Advertiser, 9 April 1903, p.1. Advertising.)

Saloons kept late hours and primarily catered for men. From time to time fights occurred and the protagonists often fronted the local Police Court. In one incident in February 1915 an employee of Black’s was shot during a showdown with 2 men over unpaid meals. A revolver was produced and fired resulting in injury to the saloon attendant. This was a real Wild West moment in Ipswich history.

That same year Jack Black sold the Premier Oyster Saloon to Peter Spathis who maintained the business for some years. Eventually however it morphed into the City Café that Spathis ran until 1933. The City Café itself was a well-known destination in Brisbane Street for many more years until it finally closed in the 1970s.

Staff outside the City Cafe, Ipswich, 1920s - Image courtesy of Picture Ipswich

Staff outside the City Cafe, Ipswich, 1920s – Image courtesy of Picture Ipswich

 

Information taken from:

Queensland Times, Ipswich Herald & General Advertiser, 10 September 1864, p.3.

Queensland Times, Ipswich Herald & General Advertiser, 3 February 1866, p.3. Local and General News.

Queensland Times, Ipswich Herald & General Advertiser, 8 July 1890, p.4. Local and General News.

Queensland Times, Ipswich Herald & General Advertiser, 26 May 1903, p.7. Ipswich Amateur Races.

Queensland Times, Ipswich Herald & General Advertiser, 31 March 1903, p.7. The Premier Oyster Saloon.

Queensland Times, Ipswich Herald and General Advertiser, 9 April 1903, p.1. Advertising.

Queensland Times, 13 July 1909, p.6.

Queensland Times, Ipswich Herald & General Advertiser, 23 January 1908, p.7.

Queensland Times, Ipswich Herald & General Advertiser, 18 March 1905, p.11.

Queensland Times, 20 December 1910, p.5. J.H.Bearkley.

Queensland Times, 7 December 1912, p.3. Jack Black.

Queensland Times, 12 September 1913, p.4. Black’s Premier Oyster Saloon.

Queensland Times, 23 February 1915, p.4. Sensational Shooting Affray.

McGoram, Simon. The Oyster Saloon Returns. Australian Bartender, 22/01/2013.

Risson, Toni. Aphrodite and the Mixed Grill : Greek Cafes in twentieth century Australia, Ipswich: Toni Risson, 2007.


Little Ipswich Tannery

West Ipswich was once known as “Little Ipswich”.  John Germain lived there with his family in Moore Lane, now known as Hooper Street. He was a pioneer and very early resident of the West Moreton district, arriving in 1849 from Yorkshire via NSW at about 26 years of age.

Soon after arriving Mr Germain started his tanning business in Little Ipswich. His land extended from Hooper Street to Keogh Street, and from Warrell Street down to the river. John also built his house on this sizeable property in 1852 and basically resided there until his death in 1898. Unfortunately the old home would be a victim of the 1974 floods, requiring demolition.

The tannery was already in existence by May 1867, although it is not clear when it initially commenced operations. John is supposed to have discovered the tanning qualities of locally grown brigalow bark and used it in the tanning process from about 1871.   Whatever the truth of this, in the middle of 1874 Mr Germain advertised to sell or let the tannery. He must not have been successful or changed his mind because a few years later in 1886 the cottage and tannery were offered for lease again.  Perhaps John wished to retire or his health was failing because within a couple of years (by 1888) his son Lucius was operating the West Ipswich tannery.

When the 1893 flood came John’s house on the bank of the Bremer River was inundated, as was his son Lucius’ dwelling also located at Little Ipswich.  Over six feet of water damaged the tannery spoiling a large quantity of hides and leather. Fortunately a considerable amount of unground bark was saved.

It appears that by the turn of the century the tannery had ceased operations.

John Germain and his wife Elizabeth had 3 sons: Lucius who would walk in his father’s footsteps; John who worked as a reporter for the local paper and would become a soldier of the Great War; and T. E. (Theophorus Evangelus) who was a clerk at Cribb & Foote.

L. L. Germain, Tanner and Furrier, West Ipswich, 1895

L. L. Germain, Tanner and Furrier, West Ipswich, 1895 – Image courtesy of Picture Ipswich

Information taken from:

Queensland Times, Ipswich Herald and General Advertiser, 14 May 1867, p.3.

Queensland Times, Ipswich Herald and General Advertiser, 28 October 1873, p.2.

Queensland Times, Ipswich Herald and General Advertiser, 14 February 1893, p.6.  West Ipswich in the Big Flood.

Queensland Times, Ipswich Herald and General Advertiser, 25 August 1874, p.2.

Queensland Times, Ipswich Herald and General Advertiser, 3 July 1886, p.2.

Queensland Times, Ipswich Herald and General Advertiser, 19 February 1898, p.4. Death of Mr John Germain.

Queensland Times, 4 June 1920, p.2. Glimpses of Early Ipswich.


Itchy Park, Ipswich 4305

In the mid twentieth century in Queensland, Itchy Park was a fairly common nickname for public parks that attracted unsavory characters and bad behavior. Usually one park in every town (eg Brisbane, Maryborough & Tweed Heads) had the dubious honor of attracting “loafers”, drunks that needed somewhere to sleep it off, and brawling. Probably due to these elements rubbish would be lying around which in turn attracted dogs, and dogs have fleas – hence Itchy Park. Such parks often had another function as “lovers’ lanes” and were an unofficial meeting place for courting couples. Inappropriate use of the park grounds and anti-social behavior were locally known and openly acknowledged in the newspaper and in Council meetings.

The courts in Ipswich dealt with people charged with public drunkenness and foul language in Itchy Park.  Consequently it was often perceived as a dangerous place, particularly for women. Because of this Alderman Stephenson requested the installation of electric lights in Itchy Park in June 1946. It is unclear whether those lights eventuated however a high-powered lamp was installed there in 1953 at the request of Ipswich City Council to discourage improper use of the park after dark. As a result Itchy Park’s popularity as a “lovers” lane’ began to wane.

Thomas Shapcott the famous Australian poet and writer was born and raised in Ipswich and Itchy Park was a significant part of his formative years. It made such an impression on him that he wrote a series of sonnets about the park and neighborhood. He originally called this volume of poetry Inside Itchy Park however it was eventually released in 1995 as “The City of Home”.

 

Thomas Shapcott

Thomas Shapcott – (Image courtesy of Picture Ipswich)

In Ipswich the term Itchy Park was applied to Baines Park located at 112 Limestone Street, near the top of town. The park is named after Thomas Baines, a former (1898) mayor of Ipswich and today is the home of the Western Suburbs War Memorial commemorating local World War I soldiers.

 

Western Suburbs War Memorial, Baines Park, Ipswich, ca. 2010 - (Image courtesy of Picture Ipswich)

Western Suburbs War Memorial, Baines Park, Ipswich, ca. 2010 – (Image courtesy of Picture Ipswich)

 

Information taken from:

Memories of growing up in Ipswich, an oral history with Thomas Shapcott, 1995. http://picture.ipswich.qld.gov.au/awweb/main.jsp?flag=browse&smd=1&awdid=13

Queensland Times, 22 June 1946, p.6.

Queensland Times, 11 December 1941, p.4.

Queensland Times, 17 April 1953, p.2.

Queensland Times, 1 July 1942, p.4.


E. Greenway, Sculptor

Ernest Greenway was 21 when he arrived in Ipswich in 1882 from England. His occupation prior to emigration was listed in the 1881 England and Wales Census as “Engraver on Stone (Mason)”. In other documents his trade is also described as sculptor, monumental mason and stonemason. The convict Francis Greenway, who was Australia’s first government architect and the man on our $10 note, was his great-uncle.

By 1883 Ernest had already established his own business in Nicholas Street, adjoining the Masonic Hall, supplying mantelpieces for Ipswich households; plus monuments, tombstones, and crosses for graves and parks. He used a variety of stone and imported marble to sculpt and became a well-known Ipswich resident and businessman. Ernest resided in Nicholas Street for a time and would probably have brought his bride Elizabeth Femister to live there in 1886. The Femisters were a respected pioneer family of the district.

Gray Street, No 16, Ipswich, 1991

16 Gray Street, Ipswich, 1991 – (Image courtesy of Picture Ipswich)

By 1889 the family was living at 16 Gray Street and shortly thereafter Ernest would commence construction of “Kyeewa” at 1 York Street, East Ipswich. This colonial residence of unpolished sandstone is now a World Heritage Site and listed in the Queensland Heritage Register. Elizabeth and Ernest raised their 6 children at “Kyeewa”.  Ernest lived here until his death in early 1934. The property remained in the Greenway family until 1989 when it was sold.

Kyeewa, 1 York Street, East Ipswich, 1991

Kyeewa”, 1 York Street, East Ipswich, 1991 – (Image courtesy of Picture Ipswich)

In 1894 a committee was formed to erect a memorial to John MacFarlane who was a former Ipswich Mayor and long-serving Member of Parliament. The monument was funded by public subscription. Ernest submitted a design at a very favorable price and won the contract. The John MacFarlane Monument was dedicated on 2nd March 1895 and 120 years later still stands on Merle Finimore Avenue in Queens Park. Monumental masonry was probably the bread & butter of Ernest Greenway’s business. This included work at Ipswich General Cemetery and as far afield as Croydon and Cooktown Cemeteries in northern Queensland. Mary Watson’s Monument erected 1886 in Cooktown is also his work. In St Mary’s Church in Ipswich the sculpture of St Joseph the Worker carved out of Carrara marble is attributed to Greenway.

Panoramic from Merle Finimore Avenue, Queen’s Park, towards Woodend, Ipswich, 1991

Panoramic view from Merle Finimore Avenue, Queen’s Park, looking towards Woodend, Ipswich, 1991 – (Image courtesy of Picture Ipswich)

Although Ernest may have been best known for stonemasonry he was involved in various Ipswich civic and cultural activities. A keen chess player he was at one time President of the Queensland Chess Association, and Captain of the Ipswich Chess Club for many years. He was a regular and long standing attendee of the Ipswich School of Arts Committee monthly meetings. In 1903 he was Secretary to the Committee of Central Girls School. In 1908 Ernest appears to have been involved in civic matters being appointed Acting Assistant District Registrar for 3 weeks, and serving as Justice of the Peace for a time. When he died in January 1934 the reigning Mayor of Ipswich A.T. Stephenson suggested that aldermen attending the council meeting stand in silence as a mark of respect for the late Ernest Greenway. His services to the city were also acknowledged.

 

Information taken from :

Queensland Times, Ipswich Herald and General Advertiser, 3 July 1883, p.1.

Queensland Times, Ipswich Herald and General Advertiser, 27 July 1889, p.4.

Queensland Times, Ipswich Herald and General Advertiser, 25 October 1894, p.5.

Queensland Times, 8 January 1934, p.6.

Queensland Times, 20 January 1934, p.10.

Queensland Times, Ipswich Herald and General Advertiser, 2 June 1908, p.10.

Queensland Times, Ipswich Herald and General Advertiser, 17 October 1903, p.3.

Queensland Times, Ipswich Herald and General Advertiser, 7 April, 1908, p.11.

Queensland Times, Ipswich Herald and General Advertiser, 20 April 1901, p.4.

Monument  Australia  :  John MacFarlane www.monumentaustralia.org.au


An Ipswich resident of note

Joseph Hodgson must have been well known in Ipswich in the late 19th century and first half of the 20th  century. He worked for the betterment of working conditions in the mines and was involved with the labour movement. He also founded Blackstone Accident Fund to care for miners and was involved in the formation of the Pensioner’s League in Ipswich. Joseph was a prolific writer of Letters to the Editor in the Queensland Times and was not afraid to voice his opinion. His long association with Ipswich meant that he had a lot of knowledge of local people, places and events.

A miner, Joseph emigrated from the North of England and arrived in Ipswich in January 1886, just days prior to his 22nd birthday. Soon after arrival he commenced work at No. 1 shaft for Lewis Thomas. Over the next few years he had various employers working at the Boxwood mine for George Ware, the Mihi Tunnel at Tivoli & Eclipse Colliery for John Wright, and Lewis Thomas’ Black Leg Tunnel. For a short while he laboured in the Waterstown brick yard at Tivoli too.

Hodgson had several careers. From 1893 to 1896 he ran a horehound beer factory in South Street that later moved to East Street. Isaac Ham (Ipswich Mayor, 1905) was initially his partner in this venture. They had 11 employees. They manufactured cordials, vinegar, aerated waters, & brewed beers at a time when there were 6 such manufacturers in Ipswich. The 1893 flood was devastating and caused the premises to flood twice in only 8 or 9 days.

 South Street in flood, Ipswich, 1893 - Image courtesy of Picture Ipswich

South Street in flood, Ipswich, 1893 – Image courtesy of Picture Ipswich

Shortly after the flood Joseph Hodgson became lessee of the Racehorse Hotel, Bundamba whilst continuing to manufacture cordials. Both businesses were sold in 1895-1896 but Joseph would return to cordial manufacturing briefly 20 years later with Mr Thomas Barnes, and also with R. McClymont.

Racehorse Hotel, 246 Brisbane Road, Booval, Ipswich, ca. 1907 - Image courtesy of  Picture Ipswich

Racehorse Hotel, 246 Brisbane Road, Booval, Ipswich, ca. 1907 – Image courtesy of Picture Ipswich

From 1896-1911 Joseph lived interstate where he was employed in cordial manufacture and coal mining once again. Following his return to Ipswich he worked in “the goods shed”, and then procured a position with Isaac Ham as a bakery cart driver.

Beginning from about 1914 to the early 1920s Joseph Hodgson was employed on several occasions by the Ipswich City Council where he was also an active union member. It is unclear in what capacity he was employed however on 20 March 1920 he was presented with a gold watch from ICC employees in appreciation of his services. He treasured this gift for the rest of his life.

During the 1940s and 1950s, Joseph Hodgson was the subject of articles in the Queensland Times on many occasions. Throughout his eighties his birthday rated a mention in the local paper and his unique story was repeated. By the time of his 89th birthday Joseph Hodgson was celebrated for being the oldest former publican in Ipswich, the oldest former cordial manufacturer and the oldest living former coal miner in the West Moreton District.

 

Joseph Hodgson - Image courtesy of The Queensland Times, 19 January 1954, p.2.

Joseph Hodgson – Image courtesy of The Queensland Times, 19 January 1954, p.2.

 

Information taken from:

Queensland Times, 19 January 1953, p.2.

Queensland Times, 18 January 1947, p.2.

Queensland Times, 12 March 1938, p.6.

Queensland Times, 19 January 1944, p.2.

Queensland Times, 19 January 1945, p.2.

Queensland Times, 17 January 1948, p.2.

Queensland Times, 19 January 1950, p.2.

Queensland Times, 16 January 1952, p.2.

Queensland Times, 19 January 1954, p.2.

Queensland Times, 5 January 1946, p.2.

Queensland Times, Ipswich Herald & General Advertiser, 13 June 1896, p.7.


W. Marsh and Co.

The Ipswich Nursery located at the corner of Thorn and Short Streets opened for business in 1891. William Marsh and his brother were proprietors who resided on the property. The nursery was established on 2 allotments (about ¾ acre or 3035 square meters) with a large nursery building. That first year of operation the brothers cultivated begonias, Cyprus pines, coffee trees, staghorns, loquat trees, azaleas, dahlias and more.

Marsh's Nursery, Ipswich, 1891

Marsh’s Nursery, Ipswich, 1891 (Image courtesy of Picture Ipswich)

By 1903, the Ipswich Nursery had 3 and a half acres under cultivation having purchased adjacent properties on 3 separate occasions over the intervening years. The firm’s reputation was now extensive and orders came from as far afield as Tasmania. In 1908 three more acres were acquired for growing tomatoes, and a showroom added to the nursery buildings where pot plants and staghorns were housed. By the end of that year it was announced that Walter Darker, who already had an established stationery business in Brisbane Street, was adding a floristry department to his shop and that fresh flowers from Ipswich Nursery would also be available there. This joint venture between Darker and Marsh was named City Florists. They supplied wreaths, bouquets and other floral arrangements. Marsh & Co. raised fruit trees and grew fruit so successfully that local fruiterers sold some of the produce and some supplied country areas. They also contributed large numbers of trees for Arbor Day celebrations, and in 1904 when Ipswich was proclaimed a city they supplied 100 trees for street plantings to mark the occasion.

Marsh's Nursery, Ipswich 1904 (Image courtesy of Picture Ipswich)

Marsh’s Nursery, Ipswich 1904 (Image courtesy of Picture Ipswich)

The company advertised regularly in the Queensland Times newspaper during these years and their recordings of rainfall were often reported in that paper from around 1910 to the 1920s.

By 1918 the company was known as W. Marsh and Son after William’s son Robert G. Marsh joined the business. Later his son-in-law E.W. Neale, who lived in Quarry Street, would be admitted as a partner with the name then changing to W. Marsh and Sons. In 1918 they opened a new florist shop in Brisbane Street a few doors from Mr Darker’s establishment.  Apparently Darker surrendered the floral business due to the constant pressure of expansion and his inability to devote more attention to it.

William Marsh contracted the deadly Spanish flu in 1919 but survived the pandemic that killed so many around the world. This scourge however was responsible for the deaths of 41 people in the Ipswich district between May and June of 1919. William later died in February 1934 at the age of 75 years still at his residence at the Ipswich Nursery. His parents had been pioneer farmers of the Raceview area.  Young William worked on the farm and in their orchard and was later employed by Joseph Foote as a gardener. He also designed the gardens at Brynhyfryd for Lewis Thomas.

Children of William and Martha Marsh, owners of Marsh's Nursery, Ipswich, ca. 1905 (Image courtesy of Picture Ipswich)

Children of William and Martha Marsh, owners of Marsh’s Nursery, Ipswich, ca. 1905 (Image courtesy of Picture Ipswich)

W.Marsh & Son were a part of the Ipswich landscape for many more years and in 1961 were still advertising their floristry business at 105 Brisbane Street.

 

Information taken from:

Buchanan, Robyn.  Ipswich in the 20th century, Ipswich: Ipswich City Council, 2004. p.53.

Queensland Times, Ipswich Herald & General Advertiser, 1 October 1891, p.4.

Queensland Times, Ipswich Herald & General Advertiser, 27 June 1903, p.4.

Queensland Times, Ipswich Herald & General Advertiser, 22 December 1908, p.6.

Queensland Times, Ipswich Herald & General Advertiser, 23 May 1908, p.4.

Queensland Times, Ipswich Herald & General Advertiser, 10 December 1908, p.4.

Queensland Times, 23 December 1909, p.7.

Queensland Times, 31 October 1910, Advertising section on p.1.

Queensland Times, 11 May 1905, p.10.

Queensland Times, 10 June 1919, p.5.

Queensland Times, 1 June 1918, p.6.

Queensland Times, 26 February 1934, p.8.

Your home Universal Business and tourist guide for Ipswich [and] Boonah, 1961, p.25.

 

 

 

 

 


Ghosts of a Christmas past

Christmas time in Ipswich in 1917 was far from uneventful although it was somewhat subdued. It was the 4th Christmas since war broke out and many local men were away from home soldiering in Europe. Christmas cards were being sent and received by loved ones in the trenches.

 Christmas card sent from overseas to the family of Private Harold Ernest Hack (front), 1917

Christmas card sent from overseas to the family of Private Harold Ernest Hack (front), 1917 – (Image courtesy of Picture Ipswich)

Christmas card sent from overseas to the family of Private Harold Ernest Hack (inside), 1917

Christmas card sent from overseas to the family of Private Harold Ernest Hack (inside), 1917 – (Image courtesy of Picture Ipswich)

Between 21st and 28th December 2 trains of returning soldiers stopped at Ipswich Railway Station. Large crowds gathered at the station to show their respect and support. The Mayor officially welcomed the soldiers on behalf of the city and the Train Tea Ladies served refreshments to those continuing their journey.

On 23 December 1917 the Archbishop of Brisbane Dr Duhig dedicated a new marble side altar (on the left) at St Mary’s Catholic Church. The altar was erected by Samuel Watson and family in honour of the Sacred Heart and in memory of Mrs Watson who had died earlier in the year.

Dedication of altar at St Marys Catholic Church, Ipswich, ca 1919-1921?

Dedication of (main) altar at St Marys Catholic Church, Ipswich, ca 1919-1921? – (Image courtesy of Picture Ipswich)

Temperatures were high that week. Trading on Christmas Eve was brisk with many businesses opening until 9.30pm. Many Ipswich residents attended morning church services on Christmas Day. In fact, St Mary’s enjoyed very large congregations at the 4 masses conducted.

Christmas dinner was served to 66 patients in Ipswich General Hospital where the wards were decorated with flowers supplied by Marsh & Co., of City Florist in Brisbane Street. Some wards were decorated in battalion colours to show support for the war effort and loved ones in the military.

On Boxing Day the silent movie An Even Break starring Olive Thomas and Charles Gunn was playing at Martoo’s Olympia Theatre in Limestone Street. According to the publicity the film told ‘the story of a girl who traded Broadway for the man she loved.’

The Queensland Times, Wednesday 26 December 1917, p.1.

from – The Queensland Times, Wednesday 26 December 1917, p.1.

New Year’s Day 1918 was cloudy, cooler and more comfortable than the previous week when sultry and stormy conditions had prevailed. The Ipswich Amateur Turf Club held a race meeting at Bundanba (as it was called then) with record attendances.

A special train of 168 invalid soldiers stopped in Ipswich on the first of January. Because it was a public holiday many Ipswich residents were available to meet the train and welcome the soldiers home. On board the train were several returning Ipswich & area soldiers including: L. Vogler, Edward Toohill, John E. Richardson, Harry Lindley, Richard George Leo, Harry S. Jones, & Hugh Leslie Hawthorn.

At the time, it was very common for Ipswichians to holiday at Southport or Sandgate. Summer 1917 –18 was no exception. Those holidaying at Southport included: Mrs T.B. Cribb snr & family, Mr & Mrs Frank Williams of Thorn & Park Streets, Reverend B. Frederick and family, Mr & Mrs J. Walker of Quarry Street, Mrs H. A. Bostock and daughters, and the Livermores of East Street spent a month at the Coronation Hotel there.

 

Information taken from:

St Mary’s Church 1904-2004 : Icon of Ipswich, John Kane (compiler),  St Mary’s Parish Historical Society, Ipswich, 2004.

The Queensland Times, 26 December 1942, p.5., Links with the Past: 25 Years Ago

The Queensland Times, 2 January 1918, p.4., Soldiers Come Home

The Queensland Times, 2 January 1918, p.7., New Year’s DaySporting

 The Queensland Times, 26 December 1917, p.1., Martoo’s Olympia

The Queensland Times, 27 December 1917, p.4., St Mary’s Church, Christmas Service

The Queensland Times, 29 December 1917, p.5., Social and Personal


A Very Hammy Christmas!

As you battle the shops in the lead-up to Christmas this year, spare a thought for customers in days gone by who also experienced pressure to provide traditional Christmas items for their families. One business in the local area that experienced a high demand during the Christmas period of 1944 was J.W. Berry’s smallgoods shop.

Berry’s was well-known in Ipswich as a place to purchase high-quality products. The shop was regarded as one of the biggest and most modern of its type in Queensland. Locals were able to buy a large range of foodstuffs including poultry, fish, sausages, chops, steaks, rabbits and joints as well as pickles and tinned delicacies. As you would expect, bacon and ham were popular products, especially around Christmas time when sales figures for cooked hams skyrocketed.

Nicholas Street, looking north from Brisbane Street, Ipswich Qld - Image courtesy of Picture Ipswich

Nicholas Street, looking north from Brisbane Street, Ipswich, Queensland, early 1950s – Image courtesy of Picture Ipswich

During the last Christmas period of World War 2, demand for half-hams was particularly strong. On 19 December 1944, there was such a rush to purchase this product a couple of women had their clothes torn as they attempted to enter Berry’s.  A great deal of congestion occurred in the area because so many customers attempted to enter the shop while others tried to leave.  On the footpath outside, a one-legged man on crutches ended up in the gutter after venturing too close to the action. Alas, the presence of a police officer was not sufficient to contain the eagerness of the customers.

Not surprisingly, the employees were extremely busy trying to serve all the enthusiastic customers and a slight increase in staff numbers was needed in order to help the many hundreds of customers keen to purchase their seasonal requirements.

On 20 December 1944, the hams were made available for sale for three hours at the smallgoods shop in Nicholas Street. After the events of the previous day, two police officers were present to maintain order. Even so, with the rush to acquire this desirable product, two women needed medical assistance. The ambulance was called and thankfully both women quickly recovered. It was reported by observers that around 200 women travelled from Brisbane in order to purchase hams for their Christmas meals.  The shop manager noted that prior to the war they usually sold around 5,000 complete hams.  However, in December 1944 he believed that if he could obtain 15,000 to 20,000 hams he would be able to sell them all.

The manager predicted that the demand for half-hams and bacon would continue to intensify in the lead up to Christmas. With this expectation, on 21 December 1944 police were again on duty at Berry’s, arriving at the premises thirty minutes before the shop commenced business for the day.

‘J.W. Berry, Ipswich’s Smallgoods Specialist’Queensland Times, 19 September, 1939, p.8

Surging Crowds of Women Battle for Ham and BaconQueensland Times, 21 December 1944, p. 2


Mr Isaac Ham of Ipswich

Isaac Ham was a very civic-minded person. He became Mayor of Ipswich in 1905, serving as alderman from 1903-1906. In 1914 he was elected again and served until 1920.

Isaac Ham, Mayor, 1905, Ipswich, n.d.

Isaac Ham, Mayor, 1905, Ipswich, n.d.

Isaac served as a magistrate in the Ipswich Police Court sitting on the bench to grant slaughtering or auctioneer’s licenses, and to hear charges of vagrancy, drunkenness, manslaughter and claims of debt. As a magistrate Ham would have commanded a fair amount of power and respect in the community.

Arriving in Moreton Bay on the steamship Duke of Buckingham on 1st January 1886 with his wife Sarah, brother William and brother-in-law Joseph Hodgson they immediately travelled to Ipswich to start their new lives in Australia. Initially Ham worked with Hodgson in the mines to make a living. It was while he was employed at the old Mihi Colliery that he was injured and as a result sought employment elsewhere following his recovery. Making a radical break from mining Ham and a brother purchased Tallon’s Bakery in Terrace Street, North Ipswich from G. Spresser in 1889 only to sell the business a few months later after his brother and partner’s death.

In 1890 Isaac purchased W. A. Hastie’s pastry & confectionery business Ipswich Coffee Palace in Nicholas Street (next to James McGill & Co. – Ironmongers) and became a long-term and successful local businessman. The café advertised sales of fancy cakes, chocolates, soda squashes, wedding cakes and hot dinners with seasonal shortbread, lolly stockings & Christmas cakes. They also catered for luncheons and weddings including dinners at the Masonic Lodge and official luncheons for dignitaries visiting Ipswich City Council. As proprietor of Ipswich Coffee Palace and through his aldermanic duties, Ham’s name became very well known in Ipswich and surrounds. It was not until 1919 that Isaac sold this business to Norman Hooper.

Corner Brisbane and Nicholas Streets, Ipswich, postcard, 1905?

Corner Brisbane and Nicholas Streets, Ipswich, postcard, 1905?

Ham’s business interests also incorporated oil drilling. He was a director of Glenalvon Ltd. a company that was boring for oil at the company’s property at Glenalvon near Rosewood in 1909.

Isaac Ham’s life of service included membership at various times of numerous community clubs and organisations in Ipswich, often as an office-bearer:

  • “Brother” Ham was also president of the Masonic Lodge in Nicholas Street in 1903.
  • District Grand Master Depute of the Scottish Constitution of Freemasons in Queensland
  • Member of the Chamber of Commerce,  Methodist Church in Ellenborough Street, Independent Order of Rechabites, Queensland Pastoral & Agricultural Association, Ipswich School of Arts, Ipswich & West Moreton Agricultural & Horticultural Society
  • Master and Grand Master Deputy of the Caledonian Lodge
  • Vice President of Ipswich branch of the Royal Society of St George

Apart from public service, and his business interests Ham bred and exhibited fox terriers and cocker spaniels. Fox Terriers  Surrexdale Judy and  Glendon Duke were champions as was cocker spaniel Ipswich Beauty. In later life he judged dog shows and was associated with the West Moreton Kennel Club and Kennel Association of Queensland.

Although not born in Ipswich, Isaac Ham was a pillar of the community during the many years of his residence. He lived at Surrexdale in South Street, and Glenalvon (a jersey stud) at Mt Walker.   When Isaac died at the age of 84 in August 1941 flags at the town hall and Memorial Hall were flown at half-mast in respect. He was buried in the Ipswich Cemetery.

Information taken from :

Queensland Times, Ipswich Herald & General Advertiser, 25 July 1889, p.1.

Queensland Times, Ipswich Herald & General Advertiser, 5 November 1889, p.1.

Queensland Times, Ipswich Herald & General Advertiser, 13 May 1890, p.4.

Queensland Times, Ipswich Herald & General Advertiser, 12 March 1938, p.?

Queensland Times, Ipswich Herald & General Advertiser, 19 February 1887, p.2.

Queensland Times, Ipswich Herald & General Advertiser, 14 October 1899, p.4.

Queensland Times, Ipswich Herald & General Advertiser, 17 December 1903, p.11.

Queensland Times, Ipswich Herald & General Advertiser, 22 December 1906, p.12.

Queensland Times, Ipswich Herald & General Advertiser, 19 December 1908, p.2.

Queensland Times, Ipswich Herald & General Advertiser, 1 August 1903, p.4.

Queensland Times, Ipswich Herald & General Advertiser, 4 October 1904, p.7.

Queensland Times, 10 May 1919, p.6.

Queensland Times, 11 June 1915, p.7.

Queensland Times, 2 July 1914, p.4.

Queensland Times, 20 February 1909, p.9.

Queensland Times, 19 August 1941, p.2.

Queensland Times, 20 August 1941, p.4.