Beryl has the last word as our history buff signs off
SHE has lived and breathed the history of Ipswich through the pages of The Queensland Times for the past 50 years, but sadly, all good things must come to an end.
It was with great sadness that we recently learned history columnist Beryl Johnston had fallen ill and would be unable to continue contributing her Times Past column every Saturday.
For someone who has become almost as much of a legend as the topics she regularly writes about, it is also a shock to realise Beryl is human after all.
Spurred on by feedback of her passionate regular readers, Beryl has battled on with her column despite recent health issues.
"People always tell me they look forward to reading my stories," she said in a recent interview with the QT's Rob Williams.
"I'm amazed at the number of people who are so interested in Ipswich's history and this keeps me surviving."
Born in Ipswich, Beryl's first job was as a salesperson at the iconic T.C. Beirne.
She remembers when Ipswich was a booming business hub and department stores such as Bayards and Cribb & Foote were king.
These memories were often the inspiration for her weekly column.
Beryl's writing career started in The Queensland Times office in the 1970s, with a column on local theatre.
She progressed to writing the social pages but left for a while to look after her sick mother.
"I asked the QT if I could do a historical write up for them and I've been doing it ever since. My whole life was music, choirs and eisteddfods. Then history came into my life and it has taken over."