THE Ipswich Genealogical Society was first established here in Ipswich on September 8, 1977, and shortly after changed its name to the Genealogical Society of Queensland – Ipswich Branch.
It existed under this umbrella till July 1985 when it seceded from the alliance and became as it known today, the “Ipswich Genealogical Society Inc”.
In the weeks that follow, this column will bring stories and events that happened here in Ipswich over the last 170 years.
First a little history of our area taken from “Wikipedia”.
Prior to the arrival of European settlers, what is now called Ipswich, was home to many indigenous language groups, including the Warpai tribe, Yuggera and Ugarapul Indigenous Australian groups.
The area was first explored by European colonists in 1826, when Captain Patrick Logan, commandant of the Moreton Bay Penal colony, sailed up the Brisbane River and discovered large deposits of Limestone and other minerals.
He was commandant of the penal colony from 1826 until his untimely death in 1830 at the hands of Aboriginal Australians, who objected to him entering their lands.
He was very strict to the point of cruelty and there were many convicts who hated him.
Ipswich began life in 1827 as a limestone mining settlement and grew rapidly as a major inland port.
Originally known as “Limestone Hills” it was later shortened to “Limestone” however in 1843 it was renamed after the town of “Ipswich” in England.
Evidently the population was about 932 in 1851 and had risen to 2,459 by 1856.
In 1858 Ipswich became a municipality and was a prime candidate for becoming the capital of Queensland but instead Brisbane was chosen due to its mercantile and colonial interests.
The first recorded coal mines in central Ipswich started at Woodend in 1848 and a little known story is that Triassic aged dinosaur footprints were found, (according to Wikipedia) in the vicinity of the suburbs of Ebbw Vale and New chum while large numbers of Jurassic aged dinosaur footprints have been reported from the suburb of Rosewood.
From the 1840’s on, Ipswich had become an important river port for the growing local industries such as coal and wool.
This became the primary means of transport between the two cities till the construction of the original Albert bridge (spanning the Brisbane River at Indooroopilly), completing the railway line between Ipswich and Brisbane in 1873.
It was proclaimed a municipality on March 2, 1860 and became a city in 1904.
Ipswich has such an interesting history with the first brick cottage erected at “limestone” on a block of land in 1829 on the east side of what we now know as Thorn Street.
In 1828 Alan Cunningham discovered a way through the Great Dividing Range now known as “Cunningham’s gap”. In 1840 free settlers were not allowed within 50 miles of the penal settlement in Brisbane, so early Ipswich became a regular stopping place for travellers between the Darling Downs and Brisbane.