Answering the call to protect our proud past

OLD WAY: This is one of the huge murals created by Peter Parsons which can be seen at the Ipswich Historical Society Cooneana Heritage Centre, New Chum.
OLD WAY: This is one of the huge murals created by Peter Parsons which can be seen at the Ipswich Historical Society Cooneana Heritage Centre, New Chum.

THE following public notice appeared in the Queensland Times under the heading: "Formation of Historical Society".

A public meeting will be held in the Reception Room at the Council Chambers at 7.30pm on Monday October 10, 1966 for the purpose of forming a Historical Society for Ipswich.

A cordial invitation is extended to all interested citizens to be present. James T Finimore, Mayor.

This public notice proved the catalyst, with the enthusiasm of the Ipswich public resulting in one of the greatest responses to any meeting held in Ipswich.

Many of those who attended spoke of their duty to preserve the past and make progress for the future, others spoke on the fact that much of our history had already been lost.

Mr E Whitehead felt it wasn't as important to put plaques on buildings as to preserve the records and things of value that were still intact.

After much discussion Mr L A Thomas moved "That an Ipswich Historical Society be founded and an interim committee be appointed to draw up a constitution and the aims for the society".

A provincial committee consisting of Mrs J Finimore and Messrs L A Thomas, D Jorgensen, F Betts, H Gibbs, B Atkins and Mr Heffernan was appointed to carry out the above instructions and report back to another meeting of citizens at the town Hall on Monday 7th November at 7.30pm.


The first general meeting of the Ipswich Historical Society was held on the 7th November 1966 and was opened by the Mayor Mr J Finimore and the proposed Constitution and Rules with amendments were read by Mr L A Thomas.

Mr L A Thomas moved that all financial members at the 31st December be classed as foundation members, seconded by R. O. C. King.

Election of the office bearers and committee members resulted in Patron Mr J Finimore, President Mr L A Thomas, Vice Presidents Messrs D C Jorgensen and H. Gibbs, Secretary Mr B F Atkins, Treasurer Mr F Betts, committee Mrs A Javes and Messrs T Appleton, W J Berry, R Griffiths and R King.

A little of the society's history recalls that during the early days meetings were held in many different venues due to the lack of a "home". Always a hard working group, members had the ultimate aim of having somewhere to store and display the many items of historical interest donated to it.

Their hopes were raised when they were told the Old Court House would become a museum, however this didn't eventuate. Then again an area at Kholo was set aside to establish a museum, but failed.

Later Blackstone State School was received with much anticipation, again this was only a pipe dream.

Finally in March 2001 the members were elated when it was announced that the Cooneana Homestead would become a major tourist attraction following a Centenary of Federation grant to refurbish the Heritage Centre into a museum. In 2002 the Ipswich City Council granted the Society a 10-year lease and another 10-year lease option on the 3ha Redbank Plains Road site surrounding the Cooneana Homestead.

The society had been using the site for several years prior developing the former Rhondda colliery as the Cooneana Heritage Centre.



To celebrate the Historical Society's 50th Anniversary at 1041 Redbank Plains Road, New Chum on Saturday next October 8, it will hold a Party Day with entertainment, activities for children, music, historical presentations, magic shows, ghost stories, art & craft displays, bush poetry, old time picture show, mines rescue re-enactment and much, much more, indeed something for everyone.

Also there's a "Back thru time 'costume competition and the launching of a commemorative book regarding the society and its history.


Entry to this "Party Day" is Free, there is a free shuttle bus from the Ipswich Turf Club and Booval Railway Station, it's an all-day event commencing from 10am and continuing until 8pm.

So many people (mainly volunteers) companies, mining organisation, businesses and Ipswich City council etc have been involved in supporting the society's 50-year struggle to achieve a museum - so do come along to see, hear and enjoy what has taken so many years to achieve.


Topics:  beryl johnston history ipswich opinion times past

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