Ipswich, Queensland Explained

Pop:155,000 (within council boundary)
Lga:City of Ipswich
Fedgov:Blair, Oxley
Near-N:North Ipswich
Near-Ne:East Ipswich
Near-W:West Ipswich
Near-E:Newtown Eastern Heights
Near-Sw:One Mile

Ipswich is a city and Local Government Area situated on the Bremer River in South East Queensland, Australia. It is located approximately 40 kilometres south-west of the state capital, Brisbane.


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. In 1827, the first convicts and overseers arrived to mine the area, and the town that built around this industry became known as Limestone, and is remembered by one of the main streets through the Ipswich city centre.[1]

Ipswich was an important river port for the Darling Downs in the 1840s and a regular steamer service from Moreton Bay was established in 1846. This service remained until the railway was extended from Brisbane in 1876 to take out the enormous coal deposits in the region.[2]

In 1843, the settlement officially became known as Ipswich, making Ipswich the oldest provincial city in Queensland. The name change was proposed by surveyor Henry Wade and approved by Sir George Gipps, a soldier and Governor of New South Wales. [3] The UK town of Ipswich was once called Gipeswic [4], derived from the Old English for "workplace by water".

Father William McGinty, a native of Northern Ireland, took charge of Ipswich Roman Catholic Parish in 1852 and had the first St Mary's Church built. This building was described as "a rude slab building of small dimensions, without glass windows, only shutters." This church was later demolished and replaced by a "beautiful stone edifice of Gothic design" as quoted from a member of the church community. This was the old St. Mary's and it cost £7,000. The year was 1862.

Ipswich was proclaimed as a municipality on March 2, 1860, and became a city in 1904.

Damaging flooding has occurred on numerous occasions, the largest being in 1893 peaking at 24.5 metres, and more recently during the 1974 Brisbane Flood, peaking in Ipswich at 20.7 metres. Collectively, 8500 houses were flooded in Ipswich and Brisbane.[5]

In 1980s and 1990s, with land in nearby Brisbane becoming fully developed, and very expensive for housing, many new large scale housing estates became attractive for buyers in Ipswich with lower prices and bigger lots. Such new housing estates sprung up in Goodna, Springfield Lakes, Collingwood Park, Redbank Plains with acreage estates in Karalee, Barellan Point, and Chuwar, Queensland.


This is a rich agricultural region and a major industrial centre with coal mining, earthenware works, sawmills, abattoirs and foundries.

Ipswich is the site of RAAF Base Amberley, the Royal Australian Air Force's largest operational base. RAAF Amberley is currently home to No. 1 and No. 6 Squadrons flying F-111 strike aircraft and No. 38 Squadron which flies Caribou transport aircraft. In addition a number of ground support units are located at Amberley. The airbase is currently being expanded and will eventually also house No. 33 Squadron (flying Airbus A330 MRTT tanker-transports) and No. 36 Squadron (flying C-17 Globemaster III transport aircraft) and several Army units.

Ipswich is also home to a campus of the University of Queensland, the annual Ipswich Cup horse races, and The Workshops Railway Museum to commemorate the first trainline in Queensland from Ipswich to Grandchester, approximately 25km to the west. The present Ipswich Station is a major transport interchange.

A large shopping complex is being developed in the Springfield suburb which was, when designed the largest shopping centre in the southern hemisphere . Accompanying this is a satellite campus of the University of Southern Queensland, which has its primary campus in Toowoomba.

Redbank Plaza shopping mall has had 8 cinemas added as well as a fourth floor of shopping. Three clear retail and service hubs are developing outside Ipswich central and besides Springfield. Brassall and Karalee to the north, Yamanto to the South, and Booval in the central east.


The traditional Ipswich dwelling has always been a detached home on land, however this is changing as housing demand and a desire to live closer to amenities increases. The Ipswich region has also been approved as the new South-East Queensland 'boom corridor' to cope with the high demands to live in the region. New estates and suburbs are currently under development in the Springfield Region and Ripley Valley. Ipswich is currently the fastest growing region in South-East Queensland. Several large apartment buildings are also planned or under construction in the Ipswich CBD.


Local transport

There are three forms of public train transport servicing the Ipswich region.

Ipswich also has direct access to the Ipswich Motorway (linking to Brisbane); the Cunningham Highway (linking to Warwick); the Warrego Highway (linking to Toowoomba); and the Centenary Highway (linking Springfield and the Ripley Valley to Brisbane).

Long distance transport


Prominent locals


Olympic gold medallist in swimming, member of the Quietly Confident Quartet.

NRL Player for St George Illawarra Dragons. Attended Ipswich Grammar School.





Colleges and universities

Secondary schools

Ipswich has a considerable number of secondary schools including:

Primary schools

Ipswich has a number of primary schools including:


Ipswich Show

The first Ipswich Annual Show was held on April 2, 1873, by the Queensland Pastoral and Agricultural Society. There had been shows staged by the Ipswich and West Moreton Horticultural and Agricultural Society as early as 1868.

Originally held at the sale yards situated at Lobb St, Churchill, the show moved to its present home at the Ipswich Showgrounds in 1877

Ipswich Show Website

Goodna Jacaranda Festival

This festival has been held annually at Goodna (Evan Marginson Sportsground) since 1968, over 10,000 people attend this three day event.

Goodna Jacaranda Festival

Local attractions

Sister Cities

Nerima City, Japan

External links

Notes and References

  1. Explore Australia, p.480, 2002, Viking
  2. Encyclopedia: Chisholm, Alec H.. The Australian Encyclopaedia. 5. 100. Halstead Press. Sydney. 1963. Ipswich.
  3. http://www.nrm.qld.gov.au/property/placenames/detail.php?id=16769 Place name details
  4. http://www.historyfiles.co.uk/FeaturesBritain/EnglandOldestTown.htm England's Oldest Town
  5. http://www.bom.gov.au/hydro/flood/qld/brochures/brisbane_bremer/bremer.shtml Flood Warning System for the Bremer River to Ipswich