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.
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.
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.’
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, 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
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.
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 Bacon, Queensland Times, 21 December 1944, p. 2
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 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.
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.
Before the era of mass-produced celebrity and themed-calendars, many businesses produced promotional calendars for their customers. On Picture Ipswich we are fortunate enough to have digitised copies of calendars from several local businesses, including W.V. Hefferan (The Australian Shopkeeper) and T.D. Johnson (General Shopkeeper).
Though not locally born, Mr William Vincent (W.V) Hefferan ran a grocery store in Ipswich for 17 years and also served as an Alderman in both Ipswich and Brisbane. Born in Tiaro on 25 November 1873 to Kearan and Mary (nee Mullins), Mr Hefferan had a varied employment history before making his way to our part of the state. He started his working life as an apprentice at Walkers Ltd, Maryborough, later moving to Rockhampton to work for Mr William Kidston, the owner of a book store and one-time Premier of Queensland. In 1897, Mr Hefferan joined the Royal Australian Artillery and served at Thursday Island for two years. Following this service, he moved south and gained employment as a machinist at the Ipswich Railway Workshops, where he remained for 13 years.
Mr Hefferan left the Workshops when he stood for the seat of Bremer against Mr J.C. Cribb. The election race was close, though he ultimately lost. While unsuccessful in his electoral runs for the seats of Fassifern, Stanley and Moreton, Mr Hefferan eventually served as an Ipswich Alderman (1917-1921; 1924-1927 and 1930-1933) and was the Chairman of the Council’s Finance Committee.
Upon their departure to Brisbane in 1933, the Hefferans were praised for their contributions to the Ipswich community. Besides his political efforts, Mr Hefferan was Patron of the West Moreton Cycling Association and Vice President of the Model Band. Meanwhile, his wife – Mary Josephine Hefferan (nee Sherman) – was involved in many local causes including her work as Treasurer of the St Mary’s Benevolent Society.
In 1934, Mr Hefferan became the Alderman for South Brisbane and remained in that position until his death. He died on 17 November 1937 at his home in Highgate Hill following a four month illness. He was survived by his wife, a son, two daughters as well as two brothers.
Mr Hefferan had a long association with the A.L.P. and was an active member of the Australian Natives Association (A.N.A). With his interest in music, he was the organiser for the A.N.A. Eisteddfod for several years, Chairman of the South Brisbane Library Committee, and was involved with a number of other committees and associations.
In 1929, the Hefferans sold their grocery store to Mr and Mrs De Lacy Johnson. Mr Johnson was formerly a miner who remained in the grocery trade for over 20 years.
On 19 December 1947, a celebration was held in Mr Johnson’s honour with the Ipswich Mayor (J.C. Minnis) and other dignitaries in attendance. Having received the congratulations of those present, he made mention of the hard work and long hours that were necessary for success. In June of the following year, Mr Johnson and his family were once again honoured for their business endeavours. With around 40 guests in attendance, Mr Johnson spoke on behalf of his family and accepted the tributes paid to them by those present.
In a noteworthy, yet unfortunate turn of events, a formal apology was published in the Queensland Times regarding an article that appeared in the “Queensland Shopkeepers Journal” on 12 January 1949. The publishers and printers of that journal apologised for the tone of their article, entitled “From Miner to Successful Storekeeper”. They stated that they had now discovered that there was no foundation for the implications made about how the store was conducted by Mr Hefferan before it was purchased by the Johnsons in 1929.
Information taken from :
‘Ald. W.V. Hefferan Passes. Lifelong Association with A.L.P. Former Ipswich Identity’, Queensland Times, Thursday 18 November, 1937, p. 6
‘Early Departure. Mr and Mrs W.V. Hefferan. Loss of Excellent Citizens.’, Queensland Times, Friday 23 June 1933, p.6.
’20th year in the Grocery Trade’, Queensland Times, Saturday 20 December 1947, p.2
‘Mr T.D. Johnson Honoured’, Queensland Times, Monday 21 June 1948, p.2
‘Apology’, Queensland Times, Wednesday 9 March 1949, p.6
A century ago the third Battle of Ypres was in full swing, with Australian soldiers in action at Polygon Wood, Broodseinde Ridge and Passchendaele.
Private Waterman Alexander Brown of Ipswich, and Private Norman Blank of Esk – members of the 25th Battalion A.I.F. were wounded on Thursday 4 October 1917 during the Battle of Broodseinde. 239 men and 12 officers of the 25th Battalion became casualties during the Broodseinde action. The fighting began before dawn with soldiers encountering fierce resistance as they advanced over boggy ground, using their bayonets and firing from the hip. The battle was a victory for Allied forces although the loss of life was staggering. 6423 Australians died that day. Brown and Blank both died of wounds 2 days later on 6th October 1917.
It was the practice at this time for military authorities to telegram the grim news to the local mayor who would then deliver the message to the next of kin. On Saturday 20 October Mayor Cameron dutifully visited the Brown residence on Warwick Road, Ipswich to inform Mrs Margaret Brown (widow) of her son’s death.
On the day that Waterman died, thousands of miles away in Europe, on Saturday 6th October 1917 it was ironic that the Queensland Times printed a poem by “Table Talk” that included the lines: ‘the name of the soldier’s mother, Is last on the soldiers lips’. The same could be said for Waterman’s mother who never stopped mourning her son and remembering him. Each year until she died she inserted an In Memoriam notice in the Queensland Times to commemorate his death.
His father Gaius Frederick Brown had been proprietor of the Harp of Erin pub in Brisbane Street from 1890-1893. Since Waterman (or Watty as he was known) was born in 1891 he would have lived in the old pub for a time and was quite probably born there. His younger brother George was also a World War I soldier.
By October 1917 the tide of war in Europe was beginning to turn but there were many more casualties, some from Ipswich. Private Arthur Simmons of North Ipswich died on the battlefield on 4 October 1917. Christopher Everding of the Bundamba area, also of the 25th Battalion, was killed in action in Belgium on 31 October 1917.
Arthur Robert Elliott of One Mile Estate died of wounds in Etaples, France a few days earlier on 22 October.
Arthur George Bennett of Lyon Street, Ipswich was wounded on 21 October. Fortunately he recovered and returned to Australia in 1918. David Victor Finimore of Arthur Street received a shot wound to his left leg on the 12th but lived to fight on until 1918 only to die of wounds in France.
Information taken from:
Australian War Memorial. https://www.awm.gov.au/
National Archives of Australia. http://naa.gov.au/
Picture Ipswich. http://picture.ipswich.qld.gov.au
Queensland Times, Saturday 6 October 1917, p.5.
Queensland Times, Monday 22 October 1917, p.6.
On 3 September, 1939 Australia’s Prime Minister, Robert Gordon Menzies, stoically announced Australia’s entry into the Second World War with a nationwide radio announcement. After the bombing of Pearl Harbour in December 1941, the Americans declared war on Japan. When Singapore fell to the Japanese in early 1942, Australia was faced with the hard reality of fighting a seemingly unstoppable force without the assistance of Britain, already over-committed to fighting in Europe and North Africa. Thus, Australia became the staging post for joint military action with American and Australian troops fighting Japanese military aggression in the Pacific. The headquarters of General Douglas MacArthur, US commander of the deadly Southwest Pacific theatre, were based in Brisbane.
Australians watched with amazement and excitement as American military personnel began arriving in Australia’s capital cities and regional centres in their thousands. When the American presence finally came to an end in 1947, approximately 2, 291, 000 American military personnel had spent some of their war years in Brisbane. They left an enduring cultural on Brisbane and its surrounds, including Ipswich, for at the start of the War, the population of Brisbane and its surrounds was just 340,000! Australians and Americans enjoyed much in common as the local reception given to the International Army Championship Rodeo held in Ipswich in 1944 attests with 4,000 spectators. According to the Queensland Times (6 March, 1944), the event was cancelled due to a rampaging bull but well-dressed American nurses sold programmes to raise money for local and regional charitable causes.
The White Australia Policy, or essentially legislative restrictions placed on the entry of non-white peoples into Australia, was overridden during the War to enable the entry of African-American military personnel who were deployed throughout Queensland in primarily non-combatant roles. Sadly, in Ipswich, as it was in Brisbane, black and white American military personnel were segregated. For example, African-American soldiers were not permitted to enter Ipswich and were confined to camps nearby, including Wacol and Redbank. Despite this many Ipswich people welcomed the African-Americans into their community.
At the start of the conflict, Australia’s defensive capabilities were in a parlous state. Much of Australia’s military resources were deployed in support of the British war effort; what was left for defence included just 32,000 soldiers, two air squadrons and 185 tanks. As such the War required the establishment or enhancement of various military centres throughout the country. Amberley airfield, south of Ipswich, had been constructed prior to the war. However, it assumed major logistical importance because of its sealed runways, a necessity now that conflict in the Pacific required heavier combat aircraft. Additionally, with Brisbane also becoming the headquarters of the USAAF Fifth Air Force, the United States Army Air Corps established an Air Eschalon at Amberley. Operations at Amberley airfield included aircraft maintenance and salvage and American and Australian personnel assembled from kit form combat aircraft, the Bell P-39 Airacobras, Curtiss Kittyhawks and the Douglas Dauntless.
In Ipswich, a dedicated cemetery was established for the Americans who died here or fighting in the near Pacific and quite close to the main cemetery. In 1947, the graves of 1397 service personnel were exhumed and the bodies repatriated back to America. The cemetery was renamed Manson Park after Ipswich resident, Mrs Rose Manson, who tended the graves and corresponded with the families of the dead. Ipswich will not forget the contribution of Australia’s wartime friends.
Information taken from
Buchanan, R. (1995). Ipswich Remembers – Military Heritage of Ipswich from the 1860s to the 1990s. Ipswich City Council and The Australia Remembers Committee.
Buchanan, R. (2016). Then and Now – A Pictorial History of Ipswich, Ipswich, APN Australian Publishing.
Evans, R. (2007). A History of Queensland. Melbourne: Cambridge University Press.
Hatchman, G. (2013). The History of RAAF Base Amberley [Fact Sheet]. Retrieved from
Marks, R. & J. (2015). Brisbane WW2 V Now: from an American Archives’ photo viewpoint. Amberley Airfield. 22. Queensland: R.R. and A.J. Marks.
Queensland Government, Queensland WWII Historic Places (Royal Australian Airforce). Retrieved from http://www.ww2places.qld.gov.au/theservi…
Office of Economic and Statistical Research. (2009). Queensland Past and Present: 100 Years of Statistics, 1896–1996. Retrieved from http://www.qgso.qld.gov.au/products/reports/qld-past-present/qld-past-present-1896-1996-ch03-sec-01.pdf
‘Bullock Scatters Rodeo Crowd’, Queensland Times, 6 March 1944, p. 2.
‘Deeply Impressive Ceremony at Ipswich American Cemetery’, Queensland Times, 31 May 1945, p. 2.
‘Work at US Cemetery Should Finish Today’, Queensland Times, 20 December 1947, p. 2.
Churchill Abattoir also known as Ipswich abattoir is closing at the end of September 2017. It is currently the largest domestic abattoir in Australia.
The closure may prove to be temporary however it is a significant moment for its 500 employees, and an historic one for Ipswich. The modern facility opened in February 1959 with about 40 employees.
At least as early as 1913 stock was being slaughtered in Churchill for J. V. Francis & Co. Butchers who advertised that their stock was being slaughtered under the supervision of a Government Veterinary Inspector. At this time, Francis & Co. had 5 butcher shops in Ipswich located at Brisbane Street – East, Down Street, Burnett Street in West Ipswich, East Street, and Churchill Abattoirs.
In 1861 there were at least 3 butchers in Ipswich – all located in the area that we consider the CBD now but which would have accounted for most of Ipswich back then. There was O. Connor in Brisbane Street, Michael Ford on the corner of East & South Streets, and B. Wright in Nicholas Street. In 1934 when a butcher shop described as the Nicholas Street Mart was to be auctioned, it claimed to be “the oldest established butcher shop in Ipswich”. Watson Brothers Butchers was an early establishment also, opening in 1879. They owned 3 shops in Nicholas and Brisbane Streets by 1895.
R. McLeod, Carcass & Family Butcher were proprietors of 2 establishments in 1895 in North Ipswich – in Downs Street and The Terrace. This business ran meat carts twice a week to homes in Pine Mountain, and daily to Mount Crosby, Booval, and Blackstone.
For much of the 20th century butcher shops were commonplace in Ipswich neighbourhoods. Long-term and older residents of Ipswich may remember these businesses:
- Rossiter’s butcher shop at 10 Pine Mountain Road, North Ipswich.
- Coward & Co. Butchers at 86 Downs Street, on the corner of Ferguson Street, North Ipswich
- Paramount Butcher Shop located in Brisbane Street near the old QT building
- Auld’s butchery at 9 Nicholas Street
- Doug Foote the butcher at Glebe Road, Booval
- C.W. & D.M. Rowlings’ butcher shop in Woodend Road, Woodend
- Johnston’s butcher shop at the Fiveways, opposite Ipswich Girls Grammar School
- Thompson’s Cash Butchery, opposite the State Butchery in Brisbane Street
- J. Rossiter Cash Butcher, One Mile
A number of small slaughter houses were located in the Churchill area throughout the first half of the 20th century. By the late 1930s however some dissatisfaction in the Ipswich community had arisen regarding these businesses. It was not until 1949 that the local community and council got serious about a new abattoir to replace them. Even then the process of site selection, land resumption, tenders and construction took another ten years. It was intended that this new facility, positioned on 127 acres & 3 roods, handle the slaughtering of all meat for local consumption.
Information taken from:
Ipswich Herald & General Advertiser, 29 March 1861, p.4.
Queensland Times, 14 March 1951, p.2.
Queensland Times, 15 March 1951, p.2.
Queensland Times, 17 May 1952, p.10.
Queensland Times, 16 April 1934, p.10.
Queensland Times, 7 August 1929, p.13.
Queensland Times, 25 October 1913, p.7.
Soon after settlers arrived and 10 years before Ipswich became a municipality in 1860, a School of Arts was proposed in town thus proving that the people of Ipswich have always valued books & reading. This institution has evolved through a number of name changes and locations but has remained a meeting place for Ipswichians. Ipswich Libraries descends from these humble roots.
It all started with the Ipswich Subscription & Literary Institute in 1850. Benjamin Cribb was the president of the group. Their base was initially at the corner of Brisbane Street and Wharf Streets, but would move to a small room in a wooden cottage further up Brisbane Street (where London Pharmacy would later stand) that was Mr Beattie’s bookselling and stationery business. This site would also become S.F. Whitehead’s stationer’s shop in later years.
In 1858 the Ipswich Subscription & Literary Institute became the Ipswich Mechanics’ School of Arts and was subsequently housed in the disused wooden court house, situated on the former Police Court Reserve. Using a government grant and loan a fine new building was constructed and opened in 1865. This was what we know as the old town hall, now occupied by the Ipswich Art Gallery. The School of Arts remained here for the next 70 years or so and was a well-known establishment and cultural venue. Probably because it was a landmark, Mr John McDonald applied for a publican’s licence in 1876 to open a new hotel in Brisbane Street to be called the School of Arts Hotel.
From the outset the institution included a small collection of books, a reading room, and literary or educational lectures. The Ipswich Horticultural Society held its first exhibition in the School of Arts in December 1868. George Bashford, a political candidate for the Legislative Assembly attracted 600 people to a meeting held there on Tuesday 7 August 1883. The School of Arts was also the scene of musical entertainments, eisteddfods, poetry readings, and dramatic performances. In 1874 Zelindra Company performed horizontal bar work and trapeze act and the Ipswich Amateur Opera Company performed the Pirates of Penzance in 1897. At one stage in 1904, several entertainments were to be held to pay for a new catalogue for the School of Arts including “an illustrated lecture” on the war in the Far East by Reverend C.E. James of Brisbane. The local chess team played matches there for decades. Ipswich Parliamentary Class met for over 30 years in the School of Arts while the Elocution Class was a regular occurrence on the premises in the early years.
Despite its conservatism the Ipswich School of Arts was the scene of a riot on the evening of Thursday 5th November 1874. This unlikely and violent event was widely reported in provincial and city newspapers across Australia in the days that followed, including the South Australian Advertiser & Maitland Daily Mercury (NSW). Reverend D. Porteous was scheduled to deliver the last in a series of lectures on “The monk that shook the world”. It seems that this subject must have been somewhat contentious as the chairman James Foote appealed for order and the reverend claimed the right of free speech even before the lecture commenced. A large audience was in attendance. Stones were thrown and chairs were broken. Two men were doused with kerosene when the chandelier was broken and a fire broke out. Men fought inside and Mr R. Gill the postmaster was struck with a whip outside. There were several head injuries and Denis Toohey was stabbed. A very exciting night in the old town although it is still not clear why a riot occurred or why the lecture by Reverend Porteous was considered objectionable.
The School of Arts was managed by a committee of usually prominent townsfolk like businessmen and councillors. Membership was by subscription. Monthly meetings were held to monitor progress and expenditure. New books, mostly classics and “standards” with some “light reading” dribbled onto the shelves at a very sedate pace however by 1908 the collection numbered between 8000 and 9000 items.
In 1921 the School of Arts moved to the top floor of the Soldiers Memorial Hall in Nicholas Street where it would stay for about the next 30 years until moving yet again to the old Bank of Australasia building on the corner of Brisbane & Nicholas Streets. By then the School of Arts was named Ipswich Municipal Library and its management transferred to Ipswich City Council.
Information taken from:
Queensland Times, 26 February 1919, p.2.
Queensland Times, 29 January 1949, p.4.
Queensland Times, 24 November 1950, p.2.
Queensland Times, 22 July 1920, p.2.
Queensland Times, 25 June 1947, p.2.
Queensland Times, 15 February 1951, p.2.
Queensland Times, 6 March 1933, p.3.
Queensland Times, 7 April 1908, p.4.
Queensland Times, 6 November 1952, p.2.
Queensland Times, 29 November 1921, p.6.
Queensland Times, 14 July 1948, p.2.
Queensland Times, Ipswich Herald and General Advertiser, 3 October 1865, p.3.
Queensland Times, Ipswich Herald and General Advertiser, 22 April 1876, p.4.
Queensland Times, Ipswich Herald and General Advertiser, 9 August 1883, p.4.
Queensland Times, Ipswich Herald and General Advertiser, 1 October 1904, p.11.
Telegraph (Brisbane), 7 November 1874, p.3.
In earlier times, Ipswich, like most towns and cities across the country, had its share of local soft drink and cordial manufacturers. One of our first manufacturers was W.G. Livermore.
Born in England on 23 November 1853, William George (W.G) journeyed with his parents George and Mary Ann to Australia on the Kate. Arriving in Sydney on 18 November 1854, the family stayed in Sydney for six weeks before sailing to Moreton Bay. In 1855, they travelled to Ipswich on the steamer, Hawke. William’s father George was known for his cooperage business and involvement with the West Moreton Agricultural and Horticultural Society.
During his time as a local businessman, W.G. Livermore operated at different premises around Ipswich. In November 1894, he commenced a business in Bremer Street with E. Whiffin called Aerated Waters and Cordial Manufacturers, but by July of the following year the relationship had soured with Mr Edward Whifffin being committed for trial on embezzlement charges. Ultimately, he was found not guilty of the crime. Later in the year, Mr Livermore’s business interests were referred to as W.G. Livermore and Co., Aerated Waters and Cordial Makers.
By August 1896, Mr Livermore had acquired the business in Brisbane Street formerly known as John Ferguson’s (cordial manufacturer). A Queensland Times article dated 20 August noted that William had purchased a vertical “Otto” gas-engine which at the time was the only one of its kind in the country. The “Otto” was used to drive the aerating machinery. In this year, the company was known for its manufacture of aerated water, cordials, ginger beer, baking powder, horehound and hop beer as well as soda water crafted from Helidon mineral water. They were also the sole local agent for Henry Hires’ Root Beer.
During 1897, W.G. Livermore removed his business from the Brisbane Street premises to East Street, next to Mr J. Johnston’s Brewery. His intention was to continue the manufacture of aerated waters, cordials, vinegar, hop beer and horehound, under the supervision of Mr Ferguson. That year the company was complimented for its manufacture of kola champagne, a particularly refreshing summer drink that was all the latest “rage”. Despite the name, the flavour of this drink was more likely to have resembled bubble gum or cream soda than either champagne or cola.
On 3 December 1903, two business announements in the Queensland Times highlighted the changes in the drinks industry in Ipswich. Firstly, Mr Livermore informed his old customers that he had recommenced business as an aerated water manufacturer in the former premises of the West Moreton Brewery in Booval. He stated that he had no connection with the East Street Factory. Below this advertisement was one for the Ipswich Aerated Water Co. (proprietors Barnes & Pitman), notifying readers that they were firmly established in the late business of W.E. Thomas which had been carried out in Livermore’s Factory in East Street. Interestingly, W.E Thomas was the step-son of W.G. Livermore.
Eagle-eyed readers may have spotted the significance of Mr Livermore’s registered trademark “LAVOOB”. It is Booval spelt backwards. Mr Livermore conducted his business in Booval for a number of years, before returning to the centre of town. He continued with the manufacture of soft drinks and cordials up until the time of his death in March 1923.
Information taken from: ‘Death of Mr G. Livermore’, Queensland Times, Saturday 26 June 1909, p.11; ‘Death of Mr Livermore’, Queensland Times, Friday 23 March 1923, p.4; ‘London, England, Church of England Births and Baptisms, 1813-1906”, Ancestry Database, retrieved 11 August 2017; New South Wales, Australia, Assisted Immigrants Passenger Lists, 1826-1896, Ancestry Database, retrieved 11 August 2017; ‘Advertisement’, Queensland Times, Saturday 1 December 1894, p.1; ‘Ipswich Circuit Court – Criminal Sittings, Queensland Times, Saturday 3 August 1895, p. 3; ‘A Handy Gas-Engine’, ‘Advertisement’, Queensland Times, Saturday 23 May 1896, p.1; Queensland Times, Thursday 20 August 1896, p,4; ‘Advertisement’, Queensland Times, Saturday 26 June 1897, p.1; ‘Business Announcements’, Queensland Times, Saturday 20 November 1897, p.2; ‘Business Announcements’, Queensland Times, Thursday 03 December 1903, p. 8.
Recently the Hotel Metropole on the corner of Waghorn & Brisbane Streets closed its doors. Hotels have stood on this site for over 150 years. Whilst the Metropole first opened in 1906, it was built on the site of the old Harp of Erin Hotel. The hotel was also known as the Silver Fern in earlier years of the 21st century.
The Metropole was designed by George Brockwell Gill with public and private bars, dining room, parlour, coffee room, billiard room, shop, kitchen, 1 bedroom and offices on the ground floor. Upstairs there were 13 bedrooms, drawing room, sitting room and 3 bathrooms. A cellar and wash-house were in the basement. The building cost over £3000 including brickwork by John Mackenzie, plumbing & gas-fitting by John Cuthbert and joinery by Arthur Foote, to name a few of the contractors. The structure was up-to-date with indoor lavatories, electric bells, hot water service and gas lights. And there were many decorative architectural details incorporated, including a stained glass window.
Mr C. Roberts, employed earlier by T.W.Boody, intended to use the shop on the ground floor as a hair-dressing salon and tobacconist.
In October 1906 when it opened, the hotel provided accommodation for “man and beast” (there were stables) and alcoholic beverages for thirsty travellers and locals. Miss Fairley was the licensee. Various members of her family were licensees of the Harp of Erin Hotel from 1893 until its closure.
Whilst the Metropole is an attractive and substantial brick building the Harp of Erin was a wooden structure that was removed or demolished in late 1905 or early 1906 to make way for the new hotel. It had become somewhat run-down by the 1890s but survived in some form until the early 20th century. Despite its perhaps lack of grandeur the Harp of Erin was clearly a landmark in the town as early as 1861 when Bee-Hive Stores used its name and location to advertise their own clothing & groceries business situated opposite in Brisbane Street. John Moran was the licensee from 1861-1862.
During the 19th century, victualler’s licenses had to be applied for and renewed annually. This involved advertising your intentions to apply, renew or transfer in the local paper and attending the Licensing Court. An applicant had to have a good reputation in order to be successful in procuring a publican’s license for the sale of “fermented and spirituous liquors”. The Justices in the court and local police could be formidable in their opposition to applications. Licenses were often transferred and the Harp of Erin had several licensees between 1861 and 1900, including Robert McGrory from 1872-1887 and Gaius Frederick Brown from 1890-1893. It appears that holding a liquor license at this time in Ipswich was not always a licence to print money. In 1876 there were 23 hotels in town or about 1 pub for every 108 adults.
The Metropole also experienced its fair share of burglaries and fires. In 1925, 1932 and 1940 the hotel was damaged by fire. The latter fire caused significant damage estimated at £2000 which was a considerable sum in 1940. The earlier fires were chimney fires. Ironically, it seems that in December 1932 more damage was caused by water from the hose put up the chimney to douse the fire, than was caused by flames and smoke.
Information taken from:
Queensland Times, Ipswich Herald and General Advertiser, 29 September 1906, p.14.
Queensland Times, Ipswich Herald and General Advertiser, 5 November 1861, p.2.
Queensland Times, Ipswich Herald and General Advertiser, 22 April 1876, p.4.
Queensland Times, Ipswich Herald and General Advertiser, 27 July 1865, p.1.
Queensland Times, Ipswich Herald and General Advertiser, 4 October 1906, p.11.
Queensland Times, Ipswich Herald and General Advertiser, 10 December 1895, p.3.
Telegraph (Brisbane, Qld), 20 March 1894, p.5.