Local Stories

A June wedding

June weddings have been popular for centuries.  In the northern hemisphere June is summertime and winter snows have melted making it easier, especially in earlier times, to travel & hold celebrations. In the 19th and early 20th centuries when many British migrants settled in Australia, June was still a popular month for weddings perhaps because the heat of the Australian summer dissipated resulting in more comfortable conditions in which to celebrate and wear elegant wedding finery.

Nuptials celebrated in Ipswich in 1907 included that of James Cecil Richards and Clara Jane Markcrow. They were married on 15 June and went to live in Smith Street, North Ipswich. At this time, James was practising carpentry. As was the norm at that time, Clara performed “home duties”. Later they would move with their children to Liverpool and Wyndham Streets, before settling at James Street, East Ipswich for many years.

18414 James Cecil and Clara Jane Richards

James Cecil and Clara Jane Richards (nee Markcrow) wedding, Ipswich, 1907 – Image courtesy of Picture Ipswich

On the 5th of June 1907 Sarah Amelia Walker of North Ipswich married Charles John Leigh at St Thomas’ Church in North Ipswich. This appears to have been a grand affair with lots of guests and many gifts. It was described as a “buttercup wedding” in the newspaper due to its particular decorative theme. Shades of yellow, white and cream were repeated in dresses, flowers and ribbons. Hand-painted buttercups and buttercup blooms featured in bouquets and other decorations.

At this time, many weddings in the Ipswich area were held on Wednesday and those featured in the Queensland Times would list gifts (and sometimes their value) received by the bride and groom and the giver’s name. Gifts to bridal attendants would also be reported. Silver cruets were popular wedding gifts, as were items like moustache cups and butter dishes. The menu at the reception or “wedding breakfast” was also newsworthy, as was the identity of the bride’s dressmaker and milliner. Brides and their bridesmaids at this time may have worn gowns sewn by Mrs J. Kinane of Bundamba, Miss Macartney of North Ipswich or Madame Connors of Cribb & Foote. Millinery could be found at T.C.Beirne’s. Mr F. Whitehouse was a well-known baker, confectioner & caterer of the town and owner of Whitehouse’s Café.  Sometimes the café in Nicholas Street would be used as a venue for a wedding reception. Sometimes the reception would be held at home in the dining room or in a marquee in the backyard. At other times a bush house would be specially constructed for the day or guests would adjourn to the Oddfellows Hall to enjoy the party. Sarah and Charles Leigh enjoyed their wedding celebrations in St Thomas’ Hall, North Ipswich where the bride was active in the church. Her parents lived at nearby Workshops Estate.

Following the ceremony it was quite common to be photographed in your wedding finery at Whiteheads studio.

After the wedding breakfast it was also common to depart for the honeymoon by horse & carriage, dragging old boots behind. For those newlyweds leaving by train it was customary to be accompanied to the railway station by guests showering rice & confetti. Sarah & Charles entrained for Sandgate with their well-wishers packing the Ipswich Railway Station platform to see them off on their honeymoon trip and journey to a new life.

With the newlyweds gone on holiday, it was time for remaining guests to play games and dance.

Following their marriage, Sarah and Charles went to live in Woodend Road. Later they would re-move to Glebe Road where they would run a mixed business or cash-and-carry store.

1012 Isabella Grace Brown 1907

Formal wedding portrait of Isabella Grace Brown and Arthur Ewald Mael Jaenke, Ipswich, 21 June 1911 – Image courtesy of Picture Ipswich


Information taken from:

Ipswich & District Pioneer Register, Volume 1, Pre 1914, Ipswich Genealogical Society, ca.1994

Queensland Times, Ipswich Herald and General Advertiser, Saturday 8 June 1907, p.15.

Queensland Times, Saturday 15 June 1935, p.2.

Queensland Times, Ipswich Herald and General Advertiser, Thursday 23 July 1908, page 11.

Queensland Times, Ipswich Herald and General Advertiser, Saturday 11 January 1908, page 9.

Were You a Fan?

[This post is best viewed using Chrome]

In the past, Ipswich businesses used advertising fans to promote their goods and services. Photos of some of the fans distributed by well-known local establishments are included below.  More examples of these advertising fans can be found on Picture Ipswich – the Ipswich Libraries’ online collection of historical images.

Series of images - Courtesy of Picture Ipswich

Series of images – Courtesy of Picture Ipswich

Many of you probably recognise the names of the businesses featured above. For those who are interested in finding out a little more about them, a brief overview follows.

Londy Bros. –

  • At the age of 15, Harry George Leondarakis (later anglicised to Londy) migrated to Australia.
  • After spending time in Toowoomba, Warwick and Rockhampton, he came to Ipswich in 1921.
  • Along with other family members, Harry owned two businesses in Brisbane Street – Café Australia and Café Paris. The latter ultimately became known as Londy’s Cafe.
  • In the 1930s, Harry Marendy purchased Café Australia and in 1958 the Coplin brothers bought Londy’s Café

You can find out more about some of the memorable cafés in Ipswich’s past here.

Cribb & Foote

  • Benjamin Cribb started his London Store business in Ipswich in 1849.
  • In 1854 Benjamin partnered with J.C. Foote, and Cribb & Foote was formed. The business grew to become an indelible part of Ipswich’s commercial history for 128 years.
  • The Cribb & Foote Families involvement with staff and the community ensured that they commemorated their 50th, 80th and 100th Anniversaries in grand style.

To learn more about this well-known Ipswich business take a look at Cribb & Foote celebrations.

Mr. George Shearer, High-class Pastrycook –

  • In July 1921, George Shearer acquired Mr August Langer’s pastry business in Goleby’s Buildings, Brisbane Street.
  • Towards the end of the following year, renovations were finished just in time for the busy festive season. Customers were able to purchase cakes of different sizes, along with shortbread, meat pies, sausage rolls, scones and tarts. Ice creams were also popular in the summer as was the soda fountain and its cool drinks.
  • To cope with business demands, Mr Shearer opened another premises next to Jackson & Meyers in Brisbane Street on 17 February 1923.
  • By January 1925, Mr Shearer was operating exclusively from his original Brisbane Street address.

Bertram’s Cake Shop (Bertram’s Cake Shop and Café) –

  • In October 1932, Jim Bertram took over George Shearer’s premises in Brisbane Street.  Wedding and birthday cakes were a specialty in the early days.
  • On 14 December 1933, Mr Bertram advertised the sale of a 450 pound Christmas Cake! There were 16 prize discs inside the cake and it could be purchased for 1 shilling/4 pence per pound. Over the years, the Christmas cakes got bigger and bigger. Butter short bread and scotch black buns were also sought after products.
  • As reported in the Queensland Times in 1939, at Bertram’s is was not just “cakes like mother used to make, but cakes that mother would have been proud to make.”

Information taken from –  Aphrodite and the Mixed Grill : Gender and Ethnic Relations in Ipswich’s Greek Cafés from 1900 to 2005 by Toni Risson; ; G. Shearer, Queensland Times, 30 July 1921, p.1; G. Shearer, Queensland Times, 2 Dec 1921, p. 7; G. Shearer, Queensland Times, 9 Dec 1922, p.10; Enterprise, Queensland Times, 16 Feb 1923, p.4; G. Shearer, Queensland Times, 31 Jan 1925, p.14; Bertram’s Cafe – J.M. Bertram, Queensland Times, 19 Sep 1939, p.9; Miscellaneous , Queensland Times, 28 Oct 1932, p.2; J. Bertram, Queensland Times, 14 Dec 1933, p.12.

Just in time for the Ipswich Show

Roll up, roll up!  Next week from the 19th to 21st May the Ipswich Show will be on again.

What an exciting time to be had with so much on offer for everyone including livestock, farm produce, young talent show, pet parades, dunny derby and even monster trucks.

Here is a blast from the past from the Ipswich Show.

Queensland Health Education Council display at the Ipswich Show, Ipswich, 1958 - Image Courtesy of Picture Ipswich

Queensland Health Education Council display at the Ipswich Show, Ipswich, 1958 – Image Courtesy of Picture Ipswich

This is a Queensland Health Education Council display which they held at the Ipswich Show in 1958.  Just like today the Ipswich Show has been used by companies to do displays and demonstrations of their goods and wares.

Queensland Health Education Council was established circa 1945 to educate Queenslanders on issues of public health.    The aim of the Health Education Council was to encourage individuals to take responsibility for their health through campaigns that encouraged physical fitness, basic hygiene, immunisation and safety.  It was also concerned with the care of teeth, maternal and child welfare, and health education in schools, churches and at public meetings.

The Ipswich Show was established by the Queensland Pastoral Society 144 years ago in 1873 when it was held on 2nd of April 1873 at a site located at Churchill.

Other past show exhibitors have included Cribb and Foote, Modern Motors Pty Ltd, Bank of New South Wales, Bearing Service Co., Beirne Pty Ltd, Boonah Junior Farmers and many more.

Boonah Junior Farmer’s Display, Ipswich Show, Ipswich, 1959 - Image Courtesy of Picture Ipswich

Boonah Junior Farmer’s Display, Ipswich Show, Ipswich, 1959 – Image Courtesy of Picture Ipswich

The Ipswich Show has always been popular with families and here we have some photos from the 1950’s .

Family at Ipswich Show, Ipswich, ca 1950 - Image Courtesy of Picture Ipswich

Family at Ipswich Show, Ipswich, ca 1950 – Image Courtesy of Picture Ipswich


Children from the Trevis family riding the merry-go-round - Image Courtesy of Picture Ipswich

Children from the Trevis family riding the merry-go-round – Image Courtesy of Picture Ipswich

Information taken from :

Health Education Queensland Council Activities Explained, Cairns Post, 20 October 1945, Page 5

Ipswich City Council Time Line, Ipswich City Council

Ipswich Show Society Facts, Ipswich Show Society

The sport of cycling in Ipswich

When True Blue Lodge No.8 held a sports day at Sandy Gallop on 9 November 1885 it was to celebrate the Prince of Wales’ birthday. 3 bicycle races were part of the program. These were contested over 1 mile, 1.5 mile, and 2 miles. Ipswich’s close association with cycling was already well under way.

At this time, more people were riding horses than riding bicycles. Bikes were very rudimentary and there were no dedicated cycling tracks – even the roads were dirt and often little more than goat tracks. Still, their popularity grew and the sport of cycling with it.

The Ipswich Bicycle Club was formed in the 1880s. The Ipswich Cycling Club was formed in August 1892 and appears to have taken over from the by then defunct Ipswich Bicycle Club. Road races were immediately planned.  At this early stage a few cyclists started riding between Brisbane and Ipswich – a distance of 26 miles and 200 yards from Post Office to Post Office.

In the first decade of the 20th century there were at least 3 businesses in Ipswich that were selling bicycles, parts and accessories, or repairing them. These were: George Jackes in East Street; Joe McCarthy – Bicycle Builder; and, W. Dowd agent for Canada Cycle & Motor Agency.

Short & longer road races were a regular local occurrence. For instance, in March 1905 some 50 cyclists participated in a run to Rosewood starting from Cribb & Foote’s. In August 1910 West Moreton Cycling Club held a 2 mile road race on Brisbane–Ipswich Road commencing from St Helens Hill and finishing in Booval at Wood’s Hotel. Around this time Ipswich Amateur Wheelers had weekly road races. Ipswich residents must have become accustomed to viewing the peloton cycling around the local area on Saturdays and public holidays. In mid April 1912, 21 cyclists entered a 10 mile handicap race from Redbank to the water trough on Warwick Road with E. Parcell winning. Only the month before a five mile race from Girls Grammar School via Silkstone and ending at the same destination had been run with 22 competitors.


Competitors at the Ipswich Amateur Wheelers competition, 1928  (Image courtesy of Picture Ipswich)

Cycling remained a constant feature of the Ipswich scene for decades to come. When World War II erupted the sport went into recess like many other recreations and leisure pursuits. However the 1930s witnessed a vibrant racing scene in Ipswich with road & track racing, match races & scratch races being common.  In 1930 a match race between a roller skater and a cyclist was proposed. There was even an all-day race in 1932. During this decade a new cinders and coal track was constructed at Woodend Park (on the site of the current rugby union ground) for the Ipswich Amateur Wheelers. There was also another course at Newtown-Bundamba.

This was the era of the great Australian champion and 1936 Olympian Hubert Opperman. Women cyclists were also competing in the 1930s. Thelma Duce and Peggy Manson were prominent female riders and in 1925 Mrs Edna Mattingly won Queensland Lady Champion representing Rosewood.

In Ipswich at this time cycling could be enjoyed year-round as the road racing season would go from  May to October and the track season would kick-off around November.

Bert Loetzsch  was the proprietor of  a cycle shop in Brisbane Street, opposite Big White’s during this era and later his brother Vic Loetzsch  had the Silver King Cyclery.

The 1940s saw the rise of local cyclist Hilary Pocock who won 40 Ipswich and Queensland championships on road and track in the 15 years from 1944. Schulte’s Brothers Cycle Shop in Bell Street opened its doors in 1940 and for a period of time Hilary worked there.  During this decade there were some long and challenging road races including a 1949 road race from Ipswich to Warwick and return, totalling 250 miles (402.3 kms).

From the 19th century in Ipswich, holidays were used to hold sporting events. Athletic events & sports were seen as part of the fun and holiday celebrations. On Labour Day 1948 a sports carnival with track racing was held at the Ipswich Showgrounds. That year Hilary Pocock won the 2 Mile Labour Day Championship.


Hilary Pocock with his brother, Warren, at the Woodend, Ipswich, cycling track, 1945 (Image courtesy of Picture Ipswich)

In 1940, some members of Ipswich Amateur Wheelers left that club and formed Crescent Amateur Cycle Club, building a pear-shaped dirt track at Bundamba (opposite the school where the pool now is) for their home ground. This track was eventually sealed with bitumen but closed in 1968.


Cyclists at the Bundamba bike track, Ipswich, ca. 1940s (Image courtesy of Picture Ipswich)

Just like bicycle wheels, local clubs and members seemed to rotate through club & ground changes. In the 1960s the Crescents and Ipswich Amateur Wheelers amalgamated and a few years after another  amalgamation occurred with the West Moreton Cycling Club that by decades’s end had changed its name to Ipswich City Amateur Wheelers . At this point in time the heyday of cycling in Ipswich may have passed although the city was still producing champions. For instance: Russell Clark represented Australia at the Commonwealth Games in Perth in 1962.


Crescent Cycling Club, Ipswich, 1940s (Image courtesy of Picture Ipswich)

Following all the club changes, closure of the Bundamba track & disrepair of the Woodend Park track, a velodrome was constructed at Limestone Park featuring 2 straights with banking at each end. This was an outdoor facility open to all kinds of weather that started to decline by the end of the seventies, was repaired in 2000, and ultimately demolished in 2010, but not before the facility had hosted national, state & world championship races.



Bike velodrome at Limestone Park, Ipswich, 1971 (Image courtesy of Picture Ipswich)


Information taken from :

Ipswich Advertiser, 19 October 1988, p.18.

Queensland Times, Ipswich Herald and General Advertiser, 17 October 1885, p.4.

Queensland Times, Ipswich Herald and General Advertiser, 17 November 1887, p.5.

Queensland Times, Ipswich Herald and General Advertiser, 9 August 1892, p.5.

Queensland Times, Ipswich Herald and General Advertiser, 18 August 1892, p.4

Queensland Times, 27 August 1909, p.1.

Queensland Times, 29 August 1910, p.2.

Queensland Times, 27 November 2003, p.17.

Queensland Times, 25 March 1912, p.6.

Queensland Times, 15 April 1912, p.2.

Queensland Times, 19 November 1931, p.9.

Queensland Times, 5 September 1932, p.5.

Queensland Times, 4 December 2010, https://www.qt.com.au/news/velodrome-dem…

Queensland Times, 19 June 1930.

The King George V. Memorial Scout Hall

The King George V. Memorial Scout Hall on Milford Street was officially opened on Saturday 7 August 1937. It was to be the new home for the 2nd Ipswich Scout Group.

The advertisement for the Scout Den opening that appear in The Queensland Times, 7 August 1937.

The advertisement for the Scout Hall official opening. Appeared in The Queensland Times, 7 August 1937.

The 2nd Ipswich Scout Group had its origins in 1923, when it was launched by Mr Val Outridge, a former member of the 1st Ipswich Scout Group. The group utilised the Central Congregational Church’s Young People’s Hall in East Street for their meetings. It was said that the hall was used more by the Scouts and Guides than for any other purpose! This arrangement lasted until June 1936, when the Hall was sold and the Scouts had to vacate. The last Scout meeting there was Friday 21 June, 1936.

Needing a new home, the Scouts were able to stow their equipment in the garage of Mr & Mrs Wratten. Mr H.S. Cribb allowed part of the old power-house building, owned by Cribb and Foote, to be used for meetings. In the meantime they worked towards building a new Scout Hall.

By July 1936 permission had been obtained from the council for the lease of some land in Queens Park, fronting onto Milford Street. Fundraising for the hall began in earnest, with the Scouts pursuing many money-raising ventures – including hosting dances, and performing concerts and shows. Assistance and support also came from Mayor Stephenson, the Aldermen, the Ladies’ Committee, and the Rotary Club.

Construction on the hall began towards the end of March 1937, the work being carried out by builder Mr J. Donald. It was to measure 25ft x 40ft and feature a brick fireplace on the rear wall. An additional leader’s room of 10ft x 14ft was to be attached to one end. The hall itself was purchased from elsewhere, dismantled and then brought to its new location for re-erection. By the end of April the hall’s framework was up, and in May the hall was mostly completed. It was painted dark red and green and featured a highly polished wooden floor. From the beginnings of the project the intention had been to name the new hall the King George V. Memorial Scout Hall, in memory of the late King and patron of the Scouting Association. A carved wooden sign with this name was placed above the front door. This sign is still in place today.

King George V. Memorial Scout Hall, August 1937. Photo appeared in The Queensland Times, 9 August 1937.

King George V. Memorial Scout Hall, August 1937. Photo appeared in The Queensland Times, 9 August 1937.

From 21 May 1937, the Scouts and Cubs could select their patrol corners and begin using the hall for their meetings. They quickly decorated the interior with Scouting trophies, flags, displays, and equipment. A painting by Scoutmaster R. Donald stood above the fireplace, showing a uniformed Scout hiking along a bush track. Scoutmaster Donald’s work also appeared on the Hall windows, each decorated with Scout badges done in painted imitation leadlight.

On Saturday 7 August 1937, the hall was officially opened by Mr Jos. Francis, M.H.R. Upon arrival, Mr & Mrs Francis were welcomed with a guard of honour. Mr Francis then presented a speech on the important role Scouting played within the community, followed by cutting the cord across the hall doorway. He then knocked on the door and as it was opened declared the hall also officially opened. Mr D. Roberts, a former Scout, presented the group with a painted silver Scout badge carved from pine. This was later mounted on the front of the hall.

The King George V. Memorial Scout Hall in 1991. Photo courtesy of Picture Ipswich, taken as part of the Ipswich Heritage Study.

The King George V. Memorial Scout Hall in 1991. Photo courtesy of Picture Ipswich, taken as part of the Ipswich Heritage Study.

The 2nd Ipswich Scouts are today known as the Queens Park Scout Group. They still meet regularly in the King George V. Memorial Scout Hall. The hall has had some additions over the years, including two rear rooms, a toilet block and a storage area. The leaders’ room is now a kitchen, and a porch with wheelchair access has been added to the front.

The King George V. Memorial Scout Hall as it appears in May 2017.

The King George V. Memorial Scout Hall as it appears in May 2017. Photo courtesy Ipswich Libraries.


  • Ipswich Heritage Study Vol.3
  • Picture Ipswich, Ipswich Libraries
  • 2nd Ipswich Group, The Queensland Times, Friday 12 March 1937, p9
  • New Scout Hall, The Queensland Times, Thursday 20 May 1937, p6
  • Scout Notes, The Queensland Times, Friday 6 August 1937, p4
  • New Hall Opened, The Queensland Times, Monday 9 August 1937, p8
  • Scout Notes, The Queensland Times, Friday 13 August 1937, p4

On this day

Duke and Duchess of York train

The Duke and Duchess of York on the train Toowoomba. Image courtesy of Picture Ipswich.

The Duke and Duchess of York (later King George VI and Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother) visited Ipswich ninety years ago on Wednesday 6 April 1927.

The Royal train left Toowoomba that morning, stopping briefly at Gatton and Laidley before arriving at Ipswich Station at 1.00 pm where they were received by the Mayor of Ipswich, Alfred Tully Stephenson.


Royal cars of the Duke of York at F W Johnson Motors petrol bowser (Shell), Ipswich, 1927. Image courtesey of the Whitehead Collection, Picture Ipswich.

Royal cars of the Duke of York at F W Johnson Motors petrol bowser (Shell), Ipswich, 1927. Image courtesey of Picture Ipswich.

The Royal cars used to transport the royal couple to Queen’s Park via Nicholas and Brisbane Streets were Crossley (UK) 18/50s. The vehicle on the left in the photo above is a tourer and the one on the right an enclosed limousine.

Framed illuminated "Welcome to the City" address presented to Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of York, during their visit to Ipswich, 1927. Image courtesy of the Whitehead Collection, Picture Ipswich.

Framed illuminated “Welcome to the City” address presented to Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of York, during their visit to Ipswich, 1927. Image courtesy of the Whitehead Collection, Picture Ipswich.



The couple received a warm welcome from the people of Ipswich and met returned soldiers, school children and wives and mothers of men who fell in the war.

After spending an hour in Ipswich the Duke and Duchess of York travelled by Royal train to Brisbane.

The couple arrived in Australia on 26 March and were the royal representatives at the opening of the provisional Parliament House in Canberra on 9 May 1927.

The Queensland Times article that appeared in the newspaper the day after remarked that the children saw “the son of the King and the mother of the Princess Betty.”


Information taken from:

Queensland Times, Thu 7 Apr 1927, p. 6. The Royal Visit 

The Brisbane Courier, Fri 1 Apr 1927, p. 17 The Royal Visit

Crossley Cars in the 1920s  http://www.crossley-motors.org.uk/histor…

Ipswich’s Royal Timeline posted 19/6/2012 in By the Bremer Blog  http://blog.library.ipswich.qld.gov.au/lh/2012/06/19/ipswichs-royal-timeline/

Royalty and Australian Society: Records relating to the British Monarchy held in Canberra (Guide 5) / Kate Cumming. Published by the National Archives of Australia. http://guides.naa.gov.au/royalty-australian-society/chapter5/index.aspx


Matthew Devine Brady – Boer War soldier of Ipswich

Private Matthew Devine Brady of Brassall was one of “The Ipswich Volunteers” of October 1899. This local contingent of 11 men included Sergeant Loynes, Sergeant Paten, Private Michael Egan, Private Daniel Pope, Private George Seymour, Private George Tomlinson, Private Hermann of Lowood. They belonged to the 1st Queensland Mounted Infantry which then became part of the 1st contingent, enrolled for Special Service in South Africa.  Five contingents were eventually deployed to the Transvaal.  Until 1901 these contingents were separate colonial forces. After Federation a Commonwealth contingent was assembled.

The Second Boer War had commenced on the 11th October 1899 as the Boers feared Britain’s imperial intentions. By extension, as a member of the British Empire, Australia assumed some involvement in the conflict. At this time, just prior to Federation, Australians considered themselves loyal British subjects willing to fight for Queen and Empire.  Of course much of the population had migrated from the British Isles.


Believed to be group of soldiers from Boer War, ca 1900. Image courtesy of Picture Ipswich

Matthew was already a husband and father when he volunteered to go to South Africa. He had married Mary Alice Taylor/Edwards on 25 July 1884. The following March Lauret was born but tragically died when only a few months old. Olive Ethel was born in 1886 and daughter Ivy in 1895.

In 1896 Matthew’s occupation was stated to be “timber getter”. At this time he was declared insolvent. Some years later in 1903 he would apply for a certificate of discharge in the Supreme Court in Brisbane.

It is difficult to know Brady’s reasons for enlisting but he volunteered in October 1899 and was off to the 2nd Boer War in a very short amount of time.

As with  the First World War, still 15 years away, men who volunteered to defend the British Empire were viewed as gallant, selfless & courageous.

A rousing public farewell was held at the Caledonian Hotel in Bell Street on Thursday 26 October for “The Ipswich volunteers”.


Caledonian Hotel, 9 Bell Street, Ipswich, 1991. Image courtesy of Picture Ipswich

Citizens of Ipswich, Mayor Thomas Baines and members of the Ipswich Rifle Club and Mounted Infantry attended the reception which was quite a formal occasion demonstrating the general approval of those present and probably the sentiment of most townspeople. There was a good deal of singing including the National Anthem and Rule Britannia. Patriotic speeches were made. Toasts were proposed to Queen Victoria. Presentations were made. Sergeant Major Loynes of the Ipswich Rifle Club was the recipient of an inscribed and silver mounted riding whip. His wife received an open order to the value of 5 pounds (a considerable sum in those days. Ipswich Constable – turned-volunteer Private Pope also received a whip while Private Seymour received a silver & gold medal. Private Brady’s riding and horsemanship at camp were extravagantly praised in a speech by one of the men. Eventually some of the party accompanied the contingent to Ipswich Railway Station to see them on their way. The first leg of their journey was to Meeandah Camp in Brisbane and eventually onto the troopship Cornwall.

Volunteering to fight for the Empire was so significant and held in such high regard that a public holiday was observed in Ipswich on the Tuesday of the troop’s departure.

In less than one year, Private Brady would be back on Australian soil with his Boer War adventure behind him. Apparently his knowledge of bushcraft and horse skills were extremely useful in the conflict. Life as a soldier in South Africa during the Second Boer War was rough. He fought in the offensives at Sunnyside, the Relief of Douglas, & Kimberley.

Matthew was a lucky survivor. At Bloemfontein a Mauser bullet entered his cartridge pouch and lodged there, and his mount was shot from under him. The bullet would become a souvenir of his war experience and many years later in 2017 would find its way to auction with other personal items from his South African campaign.

Enteric fever (typhoid) appears to have ended his South African campaign.

He was invalided back to Australia on board SS Damascus, arriving in Brisbane on 1 September 1900 and discharged within days to resume his old life.

Arriving in Brassall he was welcomed home with a party on Wednesday 5 September 1900 where the returned soldier received a silver watch from residents.

Private M.D. Brady also received a letter from the citizens of Ipswich & signed by Mayor Michael Real in 1901, acknowledging his contribution.


Michael Real, Mayor, 1901, Ipswich, n.d.   Image courtesy of Picture Ipswich

Following his return from the Boer War, Matthew Devine worked as a horsebreaker for decades. Whether for economic reasons or something else the Bradys moved often around the inner city, living in Murphys Lane; Clay, Keogh, Eastwood, Cribb & Pine Streets.

Matthew died in 1938. His funeral was held at St Mary’s Catholic Church and he is buried in Ipswich Cemetery.

Interestingly, “The Ipswich Volunteers” were not the only locals to contribute to the war effort on behalf of the British Empire. Queensland Woollen Manufacturing Company located on The Terrace at North Ipswich produced 300 great coats for the Queensland contingent while two Nicholas Street businesses: J.&C. Fleischmann and  Mr E. Hemsworth crafted saddles for the troops (18 and 15 respectively).

Matthew Devine Brady’s story is part of the rich history of Ipswich and its people.


A Soldier in Boer War military uniform, Ipswich, ca 1900. Image courtesy of Picture Ipswich


Information taken from:

Queensland Times, Ipswich Herald & General Advertiser, Saturday 20 June, 1896,  p.6

Queensland Times , Ipswich Herald & General Advertiser, Thursday 2 April 1903, p.2.

Brisbane Courier, 24 October 1899, p.5.

Queensland Times, Ipswich Herald & General Advertiser, Saturday 8 September 1900, p.5.

Queensland Times, Ipswich Herald & General Advertiser, Saturday 28 October 1899, p.7.

Brisbane Courier, 28 October 1899, p.6.

The Girls Friendly Society in Ipswich, Queensland

The Girls Friendly Society, also known as G.F.S., first began in Ipswich in 1902. Originating in England in 1874, the society was formed with the goal of providing unmarried girls, particularly those who had moved away from family for work, with friendship and support. The society came under the auspices of the Anglican Church and branches were soon formed in a number of dioceses, and then began to spread around the world. G.F.S. first came to Australia in 1879, brought by the daughters of the Governor of South Australia.

In October 1902 Mrs Pritchard, Rev. Dr. William Charles Pritchard’s wife, presented a paper to the St Pauls Ipswich parish on behalf of Mrs Chalmers of Goulbourn. The paper described the purpose of the Girls Friendly Society as being a place where women of good standing (Associates) would mentor the younger unmarried girls (Members). Suggested society activities included lectures on cooking and nursing; needlework classes; access to books, good readings and recitations; and social activities. At the time of the presentation interest had already been shown in forming a G.F.S. group at St Pauls and there were 50 names on the roll.

1904 St Pauls GFS

St Pauls Girls Friendly Society (G.F.S) in 1904. Image courtesy of Picture Ipswich.

The society was very involved in the St Pauls parish and the wider Ipswich community. In 1921 they undertook a community project and donated sleeping suits to the Ipswich Hospital. In 1935 they presented the church with a new altar cross. They held events, presented plays, and took part in church functions. On 2 September 1918 there was a debate between the G.F.S. and the Church of England Boys Society (C.E.B.S.). The topic was “Should amusements be continued during the war?” The G.F.S. were the victors with an affirmative argument.

At the Anglican Church Bazaar held in 1904 the G.F.S. had items for sale from their sister group in Ipswich, England. These included postcards, postcard albums, work baskets, handkerchief sachets, fancy pincushions, and a carved teapot. It was reported that the items were very popular with bazaar-goers.

A play performed at St Pauls Day-school in 1910, “The King’s Experiment”, starred G.F.S. members G. Bottomley, Viola Bottomley, Gertie Field, Daisy Handel, Nellie Hayward, Lily McMillan, Lizzie Moore, Doris Pearse, Rossie Simmonds, Edith Simpson, and Nellie Whiston. The newspaper reported it as being a successful event.

A founding member of the St Pauls G.F.S. was Miss Kate Anslow Fewtrell. Miss Fewtrell ran a private school on Upper Ellenborough Street. On 16 December 1929 at the final G.F.S. meeting for the year Miss Fewtrell, along with Miss Rose Phillips, was awarded for 25 Years Service to G.F.S. Nearly 100 members and associates were in attendance.

Other names of note involved with the society were Miss Ferrier (Foundation Member, Secretary), Miss E.R.Barker (President), and Mrs Jenkyn (Reverand Jenkyn’s wife). Members and Associates mentioned in newspaper articles include: Miss Jowett, Miss McGill, Miss McIntyre, Miss Sybil Oldham, Miss Marie Field, Myrtle Bottomley, Eva Catlow, Carrie Hayne, L. Jamieson, Gladys McMurdy, A. Ross, D. Ross, Agnes Selwood, E. Senior, Mabel Simpson, Miss Cross, Miss Ballin, Miss Stella Waldon, Miss Edna Bennett, and Mrs R.B. Massey.


Goodna GFS and Junior GFS float in a Jacaranda Festival Parade in the late 1960s. Image courtesy of Picture Ipswich.

GFS still exists as a worldwide organisation today.

Information taken from: “St Paul’s Church – Rural Deanery Conference”, Thu 16 Oct 1902 p10;  “Girls Friendly Society’s Entertainment”, Thu 15 Dec 1910 p4;  “An Evening”, The Queensland Times, Sat 7 Sep 1918 p7;  “St. Pauls G.F.S.”, The Queensland Times, Tue 17 Dec 1929 p5; GFS Brisbane website; GFS Australia website; GFS Worldwide website.

World War II Air Raid Shelters in Ipswich

As early as March 1939 World War I veteran Eric Stevens of Redbank was suggesting that Ipswich make preparations to defend the city against air attack. He feared that Ipswich’s river location, sizeable population and industries would make it a target. He was not the only one.

The following month a candidate for the forthcoming Ipswich City Council elections, Mervyn Welsby, advocated construction of underground shelters fearing that the proximity of Amberley Aerodrome and the railway workshops would render Ipswich an attractive target for air raids.

Such forethought was rather remarkable considering that the British Prime Minister did not declare war on Germany until 3 September 1939.

Not wasting any time after war was declared, on 4 September Ipswich Mayor J. Minnie held a meeting of local tradesmen, council officers, emergency organisations and the Air Raid Precautions (ARP) Executive to plan how to best protect the city and close environs. Backyard shelters and air raid trenches were of course on the agenda. Soon after this event members of the public were invited to join the ARP as volunteers.

Over the next month some became air raid wardens, and some volunteers were requested to dig a model air raid shelter in the middle of Queens Park near the haystack. This was to be a long term project commencing with 5 diggers in December 1939 and progressing at a snail’s pace for some time.

Certificate air raid

Certificate (of Francis Weatherhog) showing membership of the Air Raid Wardens’ Organisation of Queensland, Ipswich, 1945 – (Image courtesy of Picture Ipswich)

The ARP proceeded to construct a comprehensive emergency plan for Ipswich showing streets and buildings.  Also included was the number of people living in each house, location of phones, and names of car owners- all important elements for responding to a community emergency in the 1940s. Looking back, this is an amazing feat. Perhaps because Ipswich was smaller (about 25,000 population) than it is now (population 200,000), or in spite of it, it is unlikely that a plan of such magnitude could be produced today.

Ipswich residents were encouraged to dig backyard trenches for their own protection. It was suggested that those living in high-set houses could use sandbags to construct handy shelters under the house to be used in the event of air raids.  Later, Mr G. L. Harrison the City Engineer would draw- up plans for backyard air raid shelters and they were made available to the public.

Backyard air raid

  A servicewoman in a local bomb shelter (at Sadliers Crossing), Ipswich, 1943 – (Image courtesy of Picture Ipswich)

By the end of 1941 and after 2 years of war, Queensland Premier William Forgan Smith utilizing National Security Regulations ordered local authorities to provide public shelters for the community. Owners of buildings and businesses housing 30 people or more were also directed to provide air raid shelters for staff, tenants & members of the public in the vicinity during an emergency.  Ipswich was to have 16 air raid shelters.  They were required urgently and their construction was to take priority over other civic projects, the first shelter being located in Limestone Street. In order to get the ball rolling council staff had their Christmas leave cancelled so that work could proceed without delay.

The community swung into action and over the next few months many sites around Ipswich acquired shelters and trenches to provide safe haven from air attack:

  • The Railway Workshops built shelters on the banks of the Bremer
  •  Ipswich General Hospital dug trenches behind the Children’s and Epidemic Wards
  • Trench shelters appeared in some public parks like Bremer Park
  • Browns Park was to get an underground shelter although the scarcity of reinforced steel impeded construction
  • Slit trenches appeared at Ipswich Woollen Mill, East Ipswich. They also used a unique combination  of wool bales and sandbags to create another 7 shelters there
  • It was compulsory for all schools to provide air raid shelters before the 1942 school year could begin therefore summer vacation was extended to allow for their construction by parents and volunteers. School eventually resumed on the 2nd of March with staggered attendance so that all students & teachers present could be accommodated in the shelters, if required.
  • Ipswich Grammar School had a zigzag slit trench on the lawn near the swimming pool and another large enough to hold 40 boys
  • Ipswich Girls Grammar bricked up the cloisters in front of the school for protection & added slit trenches


Air-raid shelter from World War 2, 42 The Terrace, North Ipswich, 1991 – (Image courtesy of Picture Ipswich)

In Limestone Street between Nicholas & Gordon Streets, 8 shelters of brick & concrete using steel reinforcing were constructed. They were rectangular or “pill box” in shape measuring 50 feet long and 10 feet wide. (Approximately  15 metres by 3 metres) The top was 30cm thick.  Timber seats were built inside the structure.

Bomb shelter

(Image courtesy of  “Ipswich in the 20th century” by Robyn Buchanan, & Picture Ipswich)

At one stage it was suggested to camouflage the tops of the Limestone Street air raid shelters because they could be mistaken for marching troops from the air which would make them a target rather than a safe haven for the community.

Once the air raid shelters were built it was time for a practice drill. On Wednesday 10 June 1942 the first practice was heralded by a wailing siren issuing from Police Headquarters at noon. Everyone in the vicinity was obliged to play their part and proceed to the nearest public or private shelter and remain there until the all clear was given. Wardens and police were on duty. It went well and 8 days later a second drill occurred without warning, more closely simulating a real emergency situation.

Whilst public air raid shelters were compulsory and often intruded on the landscape they were considered to be lifesaving. However it was not long before their existence also became contentious. Some shelters prone to filling with water after rain became hazardous to small children and the unwary. Memorial Park in Nicholas Street was one of these. Members of the public were dismayed to find some shelters used as urinals.

Ipswich General Hospital often had to treat people who fell into trenches or were injured whilst digging. In early 1942 Stewart Pankoff (12) & C. Palmer of Chamberlain Street injured themselves whilst working on separate air raid shelters and were transported to the hospital for treatment.  A couple of months later toddler Marguerite McMullen of Dudleigh Street, Booval (3 years old) fell into a shelter and was treated for a cut hand.

Long before the end of World War II there is some community discontent and support for demolishing Ipswich’s public air raid shelters. Despite the considerable erection costs and potential need, public health concerns grew. Controversy continued as a couple of the shelters proved hazardous to traffic. However the concrete shelters were not so easily dismissed. A shortage of cranes due to the war effort, and the very solid construction of the shelters combined to hinder the process of removal. In fact it was later in 1946 before the Limestone Street air raid shelters were demolished and the rubble dumped in Roseberry Parade near the river, thus igniting more public disapproval.


Information taken from:

The First one hundred years: Ipswich Girls Grammar School.  Kennedy, Thalia R.L.  Brisbane: Boolarong & Trustees of IGGS, 1991, p.39.

Ipswich in the 20th century. Buchanan, Robyn. Ipswich, Qld: Ipswich City Council, 2004, p.7.

The Queensland Times, 2 March 1939, p.6.

The Queensland Times, 5 April 1939, “Communist Policy”, p.11.

The Queensland Times, 5 September 1939, p.6.

The Queensland Times, 19 September 1939, p.4.

The Queensland Times, 24 October 1939, p.6.

The Queensland Times, 13 March 1941, p.6.

The Queensland Times, 24 December, 1941, p.7.

The Queensland Times, 19 December, 1941, p.4.

The Queensland Times, 5 January 1942, p.2.

The Queensland Times, 17 January 1942, p.4.

The Queensland Times, 31 December 1941, p.2.

The Queensland Times, 12 February 1942, p.4.

The Queensland Times, 26 February 1942, p.4.

The Queensland Times, 9 June 1942, p.2.

The Queensland Times, 29 January 1942, p.4.

The Queensland Times, 28 January 1942, p.4.

The Queensland Times, 1 September 1945, p.2.

The Queensland Times, 19 March 1946, p.2.

The Queensland Times, 24 April 1946, p.2.

The Queensland Times, 24 September 1946, p.2.

The Queensland Times, 13 April 1942, p.2.

The Queensland Times, 16 June 1942, p.10.


When “Banjo” Came To Town

Famous for the creation of bush ballads “Waltzing Matilda” and “The Man from Snowy River”, Andrew Barton “Banjo” Paterson was also a solicitor, journalist, war correspondent and soldier. Many people are probably aware that Banjo wrote “Waltzing Matilda” in 1895 while holidaying at Dagworth Station near Winton. However, what is likely less well-known is that six years later he visited key towns in the state, delivering lectures about his Boer War experiences.

Andrew Barton (Banjo) Paterson, poet, solicitor, journalist, war correspondent and soldier, ca. 1890 / photographer Falk, Sydney Source: Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales

Andrew Barton (Banjo) Paterson, poet, solicitor, journalist, war correspondent and soldier, ca. 1890 / photographer Falk, Sydney
Source: Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales

On 14 March, 1901 it was Ipswich’s turn to host Banjo Paterson. At this one-night only event, he entertained the crowd with a lecture called “Queenslanders and Australians in Action and Humors of an Army on the March”. According to a local report, the lecture was very well attended and much appreciated by those in the audience.

Advertisement, Queensland Times, 14 March 1901, p.1 - Image Courtesy of Trove

Advertisement, Queensland Times, 14 March 1901, p.1 – Image Courtesy of Trove

Mr Paterson recounted the time he spent in South Africa with the Australian, New Zealand and British troops, covering some of the principal incidents of the campaign in a way that both captivated and educated the crowd. A local resident, Miss Mapstone, added to the atmosphere by providing accompaniment on the piano, while lantern slides were also used to great effect.

Interestingly, Mr Banjo Paterson was not the only famous writer to visit the area in the early 20th century.  Back in 1921, the creator of Sherlock Holmes visited the Redbank Plains apiary of Mr H. L. Jones.  While Sir Arthur Conan Doyle chose a bee-farm as the place to retire his beloved fictional character, this visit actually marked the author’s first foray into bee-keeping.

Information taken from: ‘Advertisement’, Queensland Times 14 March 1901, p.1; ‘Banjo Paterson Lecture’, Queensland Times 16 March 1901, p.3; ‘Paterson, Andrew Barton (Banjo) (1864-1941)’, Australian Dictionary of Biography, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/paterson-andrew-barton-banjo-7972 (retrieved 3/3/17).