Beryl Johnston, The Queensland Times history columnist, is photographed in front of a portrait of her late grandfather, John Livingston Auld, who was a mine owner in the late 1800's in Ipswich.
Beryl Johnston, The Queensland Times history columnist, is photographed in front of a portrait of her late grandfather, John Livingston Auld, who was a mine owner in the late 1800's in Ipswich. Claudia Baxter

Cooneana's magnificent seam sparks expansion

"IT IS always interesting to note anything in connection with the expansion of the coal industry in this district.

Expansion tends to demonstrate the unbounded wealth in the shape of magnificent seams of coal which lie dormant beneath the soil."

These were the opening lines in an article published in the Queensland Times on July 1, 1899. The article continued: "The latest extension in the industry is the starting of a coal mine in that well known property Cooneana, which is situated at the east of Blackstone and runs to a road which separates it from Swanbank".

At one time the Cooneana Estate was taken by an Ipswich Company but it did not proceed with the development of the property.

Sometime early in 1899, John Auld and others made arrangement with the owner of the land, C C Cameron, for the opening of a mine there, and satisfactory results were made.

A tunnel was driven into the ground at the foot of a large ridge, which was situated in portion 297 and part of portion 286, the site being close to the ground of Messrs Fitzgerald and T A Pickering.

A magnificent seam of coal was struck. The average width of the workable seam was 20ft, which was suitable for both steam and domestic purposes. The tunnel was dead level and the average height was 6ft, which enabled the miners to hew the coal with ease and comfort. Other major factors were that no water had entered the mine, horses were able to be taken right up to the workings and then be utilised to convey the loaded wagons to the end of the tramline, and then the coal could be removed to the railway for despatch to market. An application was made to the Railway Commissioner to construct a branch line from Swanbank to connect with the tramline and could be put down at a comparatively little expense.

The mine, controlled by John Auld and Company was named the Bogside Colliery.

AGRICULTURAL SOCIETY

The Ipswich Agricultural Society was to hold its first meeting on March 14, 1866. Intending members were told: "If the project is taken up with energy, we shall, in time, show that no district of the colony is superior to ours in the natural capabilities of the soil. Let all who can, be present at the School of arts, to assist at the inauguration of this society".

Although the matter was taken up energetically at that time, it wasn't until two years later, following a depression, that the advertisement appeared in the Queensland Times: "The first Exhibition of the Ipswich Agricultural & horticultural Society will be held in the hall of the School of Arts and in the Show yards in East St on Thursday December 17, 1868".

The day prior to this event the first ploughing matches in Ipswich took place at Booval in a part of the paddock known as the "Cotton Plantation", owned by Messrs G Livermore and G Stewart at that time. There were matches for pairs of horses, another for teams of bullocks.

The ploughing by the horse teams was won by G Baulch and John Haswell won the bullock team contest.

The governor of Queensland Colonel Blackall attend these matches and sometime during the day attended a banquet at Bergin's Prince Alfred Hotel.

The events held at the School of Arts and Mr F C Daveneys sale yards attracted good crowd. Judges for the various exhibits were Messrs C Coxen, Walter Hill, LA Bernays, J Johnston, D McGrath, F C Daveney and Richard Wright.

President of the Ipswich Agricultural and Horticultural Society was Colonel C G Gray (Manager of the Queensland National Bank) Treasurer W J Taylor and Hon secretary A H Burkett.

Among the Town Hall exhibits were "The best model of a working man's house for the Colony, the best sparkling mead (in bottle)". Other items were soap, rum, millet brooms and farm implements. Membership tickets were five shillings each and the public was admitted form 11am until 4pm for sixpence and from 4-8pm for threepence.

TRADE MARKS

The Queensland Woollen Manufacturing Co Ltd North Ipswich was established in Ipswich in 1875.

In 1959 the mill area occupied 9.5 acres of land. Since its inception, many additions in both buildings and machinery were made and in 1959 the mill employed more than 350 people, producing cloths that sold all over Australia.

Materials produced in that year were all wool plain and fancy worsted, suitings and serges (all colours) wool and terylene mixtures for men's trousers and suits and ladies wear. All wool tweed, flannel, flannel suitings, blankets and rugs.

THRIVING: The Queensland Woollen Manufacturing Company at North Ipswich employed 350 people during its peak.
THRIVING: The Queensland Woollen Manufacturing Company at North Ipswich employed 350 people during its peak. Contributed

COUNCIL NEWS

The half-yearly balance of the Ipswich Municipality did not look very bright in 1867.

It was reported "20 pounds was spent on the baths and waterworks and only 18 pounds were received - this does not look like a very profitable investment".

An item to be recorded in August 1873 was that there was a footpath over Limestone Hill.

Limestone Hill was described as a favourite promenade for the town's people and the walk to the top rewarded the pedestrians with pleasant sea breezes which almost invariable blew there in the afternoon and evening.



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