MASTER DESIGN: The Incinerator in Queens Park was the only building in Queensland to be designed by Walter Burley Griffin.
MASTER DESIGN: The Incinerator in Queens Park was the only building in Queensland to be designed by Walter Burley Griffin. Contributed

Times Past: Incinerator in Queens Park is rich in history

As with all proposals for setting up a new facility in an older building, there are many ideas presented by individuals and groups.

This was so in the establishment of the old Incinerator building in Queens Park.

One of the groups involved in the first instance was the Ipswich Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

On March 3, 1965 the I.C.C.L. received a phone call indicating that a Mr J Birrell, Queensland University Architect, would visit Ipswich to view and discuss the Incinerator building.

Mr Birrell and M K Whitehead met in Queens Park along with Mr N Lund of Messrs Lund, Hutton & Newell and these gentlemen advised the following:

1. Not only is this the only building in Queensland to be designed by Walter Burley Griffin (designer of the Capital Canberra) but it is also the only Incinerator of this particular type in Australia.

2. There is a great deal of interest in the works of Burley Griffin and this interest is growing in architectural and other circles.

3. With this particular type of incinerator a garden was designed and provided for in the original plans.

4. There is sufficient enthusiasm and interest for this particular

Incinerator to become a centre of interest for visitors to Ipswich and it was considered suitable for the establishment of an Art Gallery or the conduct of a kiosk.

5. Mr Birrelll suggested that the chamber arrange a meeting and he would give the audience interesting information concerning Burley Griffin.

6. Someone from the Ipswich chamber is to visit his Worship the Mayor of Ipswich Mr J T Finimore and also the City Administrator and give them information and request that representation to the meeting be made from the Ipswich City Council.

By May 3, 1965 Messrs Douglas & Barnes architects, who had a branch office in Ipswich, expressed interest in the proposed retention of the Ipswich Incinerator. The principle of this firm, Mr Campbell, was also a member of the National Trust.

In June 1965 it was proposed that the Incinerator become a cultural centre. While the chamber was not to involve itself officially with the proposed project, some members would join with the Ipswich Branch Arts Council for the purpose of forming a local committee to give as much assistance as possible.

At the 59th annual meeting in Feburary 1966 of the Ipswich Chamber of Commerce the opportunity had been taken to call a public meeting in the preservation of the architecture of the W B Griffin Incinerator at Queens Park. Interested persons had been invited and it was decided by the Ipswich Arts Council that they would undertake a committee for the preservation of the building.

Plaque showing details of the opening of Burley Griffin Incinerator building in 1969. Photo: Contributed
Plaque showing details of the opening of Burley Griffin Incinerator building in 1969. Photo: Contributed Contributed



Designed by Walter Burley Griffin, the Incinerator was opened in 1936.

In the 1960s it became redundant as it was not large enough for all the rubbish to be burned and there was concern about pollution.

The Arts Council (Ipswich branch), in which Mrs Uletta Patterson was the driving force, took out leases on the building.

In 1968 members of the Ipswich Little Theatre, with urging from Mrs Dorothy Harris, decided the Incinerator could (with a great deal of restoration) be converted into an intimate theatre.

On November 23, 1969 the Walter Burley Incinerator theatre was formally opened by Alan Edwards, Artistic Director of the Queensland Theatre Company, and the first play presented in the new theatre was of one act entitled 'The Faithful Widow of Ephesus'.

Over the ensuring years the Ipswich Little Theatre Society have succeeded in making the Incinerator Theatre a place of great theatrical enjoyment. The society have welcomed many tourists and the Ipswich Theatre is known as "a special place of great interest" to many visitors and Ipswichians alike.



The Gayndah, first ship of the Queensland Navy, arrived in Brisbane in March 1884. The ship was described as "a very ugly craft with none of the trimness of fine lines of other vessels of her Britannic Majesty's Navy". She (the ship) would only be able to use one gun at a time and therefore was thought to be of little account in the face of a heavily armed enemy. The report of the time stated : "She (The Gayndah) is the nucleus of what may in the future be a powerful navy and as such should be admired and respected by all true Queenslanders".


Australia's first totally non-smoking commercial air flight left Maryborough for Brisbane on May 3, 1979. The Maryborough Airport officer for Ansell, C Fisher, said it was the first such flight where smoking was totally prohibited.


November 1977 heralded the introduction of the speed gun which was the latest weapon in the Ipswich police arsenals fight against speeding motorists. This new device was accurate to within 1.62km and was lighter and more versatile than the roadside radar trips which had been in use.


A crowd estimated at 5000 saw the South East Queensland Power Boat Clubs last program of speed boat racing on the Goodna reach of the Brisbane River in November 1958. The club had acquired a new location at Petrie.


A drought in 1877 caused great distress in the West Moreton region and on November 14 Ipswich businesses closed for the purpose of observing the day as a solemn fast.

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