Times Past with QT history columnist Beryl Johnston.
Times Past with QT history columnist Beryl Johnston. Claudia Baxter

Times Past: Horse racing takes off in early Ipswich

THE 1850s was the time when Ipswich meant horse racing and a Mr Robert Little gave this reason for making Ipswich the headquarters of racing: "It being so far and inconvenient to travel by horse to Brisbane, and Ipswich being in a more central position between the Downs and Brisbane, it was decided that the Ipswich meeting should be looked upon as the meeting place of the district."

"The district" meant the whole of Moreton Bay and this included squatters and bullockies.

They came to attend the three-day annual meeting of the Australian Jockey Club.

Two men in the 1850s who were known as 'Bigge and Little' were Mr FE Bigge of Mt Brisbane and Mr Robert Little of Brisbane.

Another prominent member of the Ipswich racing fraternity was Joshua Peter Bell who as owner of first class racing stock won a reputation throughout Australia.

Mr Bell first entered parliament in 1865. He then became Colonial Treasurer in the Herbert Ministry and President of the Legislative Council a position he held until his death in 1881.

He had been knighted by Queen Victoria. Pride of place was given to him as the owner of the Grange Stud situated at the old Ipswich racecourse which he purchased in June 1874.

It consisted of 216 acres and he purchased the land for 1,350 pounds. Mr William Kellett made the site famous by transforming it into a stud establishment known as "The Grange" while Mr Harry Walsh was trainer there.

During the seven years existence of "The Grange" some 105 races were won including all the principle events in the Q.T.C calendar. Also, horses from "The Grange" won all of the chief races in Australia.


IPSWICH IDENTITY: Mr Benjamin Cribb, founder of the firm Messrs Cribb & Foote at the cnr of Brisbane and Bell Sts.
IPSWICH IDENTITY: Mr Benjamin Cribb, founder of the firm Messrs Cribb & Foote at the cnr of Brisbane and Bell Sts. CONTRIBUTED


Cribb & Foote Store in December 1888 was advertising some of the attributes their department possessed - the tailoring department under the management of Mr Seabrook was rapidly expanding; the dressmaking department was supervised by Miss Panton and had material from England and France, while Miss Tonner, a Parisian artiste of ability and taste, presided over the millinery department and ladies underclothing.

Cribb & Foote had a new store in Fernvale, which had been completed in 1889.

It was 50ft x 26ft not including the veranda and was attached to the old store on an L-shape.

There were three cedar counters - timber for which was specially cut from trees in the Dugandan area. The building, particularly the interior, was "admired by all who saw it" and a neater store was not to be found in West Moreton.

Architect and builder was Mr Richard Haughton, assisted by Mr W Elliott.



For the first time in the history of the Ipswich Table Tennis Association it held an Open Tournament on July 1, 1961.

Many top ranking Queensland players entered the tournament and it was thought the venture would promise a bright future for the game.

Among the top Ipswich players were Brian Nunn, Geoff Fanning and John Ellison.

Others to compete were Russell Bond, Col Drury, and Lester Hancock. Graham Brewster, Jack Miles, Alan and Graham Drury, Leonie Murphy, Pat Rynne, Beryl Lotz, Mary Donohue, Betty Nunn, Betty Rafter, Lyn Simpson, Nola McLaren and Pam Alder. The winners of both the singles and mixed double events were Col Drury and Leonie Murphy.



The cheese factory at Maroon at the beginning of 1897 was christened "The Maroon Diamond Jubilee Cheese Factory".

In March 1914 the sub-division of maroon was advertised for sale by auction. It was part of the Estate of the Hon T L Murry-Prior and was famous as a fattening property. The area was watered by Burnett Creek and contained 10,000 acres divided into 27 dairy farms.



The Royal Australian Air Force assumed control of the aerodrome at Amberley in 1940.

The guard house at the corner opposite the State School was occupied by squads from newly introduced personnel and two men were on duty at the gates at all hours.

No machines had arrived, but landings were made by a small air force monoplane.

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