Passengers on the “Kate” which was one of the boats to ply the Bremer River in the 1840’s.
Passengers on the “Kate” which was one of the boats to ply the Bremer River in the 1840’s.

Times Past: Bremer River was our number one link

IPSWICH from the early days of Moreton Bay settlement, seemed destined to be a vital part of the transport system.

It was the Bremer River which afforded the most important link with "The Bay" for several decades.

Even when Captain Patrick Logan and his men came this way, it was in boats oared by his men which brought them to the bend at Limestone Hill.

Flat bottomed punts were piled up and down the Bremer and Brisbane Rivers so that communication could be kept between Ipswich and Brisbane and all points in between.

Faster means of travel commenced in 1846 when steamers and paddle wheelers commenced their journeys in the Rivers.

The first steamer was "The Experiment".

One of the steamers "The Sovereign" was on its way to Ipswich before getting struck at the 17 miles rocks and other ships also came to grief at that spot.

Jealousy ran high in those times between the two towns and a protest meeting on November 25, 1862, pointed out that parliament had approved that 2,000 pounds should be spent on providing an assured navigable channel to Ipswich.

Residents were impatient at the delay of this work being carried out as it was Ipswichians aim that ocean going ships would have access to the Bremer Wharves.

Eventually much work was done in the Bremer but only smaller vessels had access to it.

Road traffic developed as time went by, but this had its handicaps - among them the ponderous nature of the two wheeled drays which took appalling toll of life in the small settlements.

Following came the coaches with the "six-in-hand" horse hauling passengers and mails over jolting roads on a four hour trip to Brisbane.

On July 31, 1865 Ipswich crowds cheered Queensland's first train as it steamed out for the terminus of Grandchester.

At this time residents hoped that in future the railway would not be carried through to Brisbane, but by July 5. 1875 the Brisbane - Ipswich extension was opened.

Then in 1888 the first train from Brisbane to the New South Wales border passed through Ipswich.

The establishment of the Railway Workshops in Ipswich and the laying of a network of branch lined served later to preserve Ipswich's importance as a transport key centre.

With the coming of the railway came the decline in the shipping trade.


From the Medical officers report by Dr Flynn in 1909 we learn a little of the health hazards of ipswichians:

  • This year 1909 an extensive septic tank was installed at the General Hospital and a new one was being erected in connection with the Railway Works.
  • The system of food inspection is not satisfactory in Ipswich. The spasmodic efforts of our central Health Authority to prevent us being made a dumping ground for material which dare not be exposed for sale in Brisbane, should be turned into system and a purer food supply will be the result.
  • I Dr Flynn would like to draw public attention to the unsatisfactory condition of our fresh food supply. With an almost inexhaustible fish supply in Moreton Bay, it is impossible to procure fresh fish in Ipswich at any time.
  • Another point in which I desire to draw public attention is the abatement of smoke nuisance. The substitution of suction gas engines or ordinary gas engines or gas stove for ordinary cooking appliances, renders it possible to markedly decrease the amount of smoke.
  • With regard to our water supply, we have a genuine grievance when rainy weather persist. The need of efficient fitration was pointed out in annual reports on previous occasions. As we have only one source of municipal supply, an efficient sand filter can be arranged near our present reservoirs.



The band rotunda in the Central gardens (cnr Limestone and Nicholas St Ipswich) was officially opened in the early part of 1909.

The opening was made at night and the grounds were lit up with electricity by the teacher of electricity at the Technical College and his students.

There was a very large attendance of the general public and a collection raised 14 pounds one shilling and ten pence.

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