Ipswich glows with first lighting of gas lamps in 1878

MEN OF STEEL: This group of men were employed in the Sheet Metal Shop at the Railway Workshops, North Ipswich. Mr W.S. Johnstone is second on the left in the front row and Bill McNamara is third from left in the middle row.
MEN OF STEEL: This group of men were employed in the Sheet Metal Shop at the Railway Workshops, North Ipswich. Mr W.S. Johnstone is second on the left in the front row and Bill McNamara is third from left in the middle row. Contributed

TO PREPARE for the lighting of Ipswich with gas, the Municipal Council decided that lamps should be erected at the following positions on the corners of: Mellefonte's, Nicholas and Bremer Sts; Given's, Brisbane and Nicholas St; The Queensland Times corner Brisbane and Ellenborough Sts; McDonald's, Brisbane and West St; Australian Joint Bank, Bell and Brisbane St; at the gate of Queen's Park Brisbane St; at the cutting, Brisbane and Burnett Sts and at the Bremer Bridge etc.

Ipswich was illuminated with gas on August 14, 1878 when the main part of the Town Hall was brilliantly lit for the first time.

It was a significant moment for Ipswichians when the kerosene lamps previously used for lighting were "blown out".

In several businesses, one of which was the Caledonian Hotel, Bell St, Mr John Drysdale plumber and iron and tin worker, erected a display of fantastic lights. Another special "lighting event" was a demonstration in front of Mr Tallon's premises at The Terrace, North Ipswich.

The lighting had been the result from the formation of the Ipswich Gas and Coke Works and it was reported "The results have fully justified the enterprise of the promoters of the company".

The first person to secure the credit of having a meter placed on his bakery business was an ex-alderman and a Brassall Shire councillor, Mr Robert Tallon.

This was in June 1878. General manager of the Ipswich Gas and Coke Works around that time was Mr W. Hooker and the secretary, Mr E. Willcocks.



MR HENRY Horniblow who presided over the locomotive branch of the Railway Department died in February 1910.

It was on June 28, 1864 that Mr Horniblow was engaged in London by Sir Charles Fox for service in Queensland but it wasn't until November 1864 that he began his duties here.

When Mr Horniblow arrived in Queensland, no section of the Southern and Western Railroad had been opened.

He assisted in the construction of the first engines used and these were employed in the ballasting of the section between Ipswich and Grandchester which was opened eight months after his arrival.

In 1867 he was appointed locomotive foreman at Toowoomba, then eight years later was transferred back to Ipswich in the same working position.

By 1876 Mr Horniblow was in charge of the general repairs of all locomotives and that same year was promoted to the position of locomotive superintendent of the Southern and Western Division.

In 1883 he was appointed locomotive engineer of all Queensland railways and was transferred to Brisbane.

He held this position until 1899 when he became chief mechanical engineer.


FROM 1872 comes this report: "Few among us are aware of the extent and richness of the mineral deposits with which the country around Ipswich bounds. The coal mines of Bandambah (this is how it was spelt in the report) and Goodna are well known but there is another district in which not only coal but also iron is to be found and it is the parish of Chuwar.

"One of these is on the ground of Mr Archibald immediately outside the town boundary.

"There are 14 and one-half acres of barren looking soil but at least four seams of coal have been traced.

"Adjoining this piece of ground but divided from it by the government road was Mr Archibald's house.

"Mr Eastwood's property known as 'Tantivy' adjoins Mr Archibald's and contains about 18 and one half acres on which five seams of coal have been discovered."


SOME of the coal mines in operation in the Ipswich district at the end of 1889 were:

South Side: Lewis Thomas' Aberdare Collieries; the West Moreton mine, Mr W. Reid manager; Braeside, Mr Major Noble manager; Whitwood Mr John Stafford manager; New Chum, Mr Michael Jef... (something) manager; Ebbw Vale Mr Nimmo manager.

North Side: Eclipse Colliery Mr Thomas Wright manager; Mihi Colliery Mr Geo Ware's Nil Desperandum mine and the Waterstown Colliery Mr John Johnson manager.

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