Ipswich sporting figure Tom Barker was held in high regard in the community.
Ipswich sporting figure Tom Barker was held in high regard in the community.

Times Past: Ipswich says farewell to patriotic 'old sport'

A MAN, to whom the history of Ipswich and the sport played here were important, died at the end of May 1925 at only 70 years of age.

His writings in The Queensland Times over many years ensured the names and places in this city's history would always be on hand for people to read and enjoy.

An article in The Queensland Times on Monday June 1, 1925 reads: "Innings Closed - old sport passes - Mr TJ Barker, Mr Tom Barker was the eldest son of Mr & Mrs TR Barker who came to Queensland from Cambridge England in the sailing ship 'General Hewitt' and spend their first Christmas in Australia in 1854."

Their son, Tom Barker, was born in Nicholas St, Ipswich in 1855 and he later gained his education at the Old Church of England day school and the primary school East Ipswich. At a young age he started working at The Queensland Times as an apprentice. Then in 1878 he went to Sydney but returned to Ipswich the following year to take charge of the Ipswich Observer newspaper.

In the ensuing few years he was employed in Brisbane, Mackay, Cooktown, Cairns and Townsville in different branches of newspaper work.

By May 1890 he returned to The Queensland Times as foreman. With the arrival of type-setting machines he was transferred to the literary staff and remained in that situation until his death.

Tom Barker was a prominent figure in outdoor sports in Ipswich, particularly in cricket where he was accepted as a recognised authority.

As a boxer he had no mean reputation and he also became an active member of the State Military Forces and on his retirement from this he held the rank of staff sergeant.

On his death Mr Tom Barker left a grieving widow, a daughter and four sons to mourn their loss.

This man was highly thought of and letter written by Mr RE Robson of Booval the time of Tom's death gives an insight into the feelings of Ipswichians: "If Ipswich ever had a more patriotic citizen than our esteemed friend, I have yet to hear of him. Tom Barker made our City honoured and the name of old pioneers honoured by visualising them for the benefit of younger generation of Ipswich. Would that we could stay the hand of the 'Grim Reaper' and keep men of the calibre of 'Old Sport' with us for years after the allotted span of time."



Captain Patrick Logan of the 57th Regiment was commandant of the West Moreton Settlement. It was he who in 1827 came up the Bremer River and when viewing the limestone in the area now Ipswich City named it the 'Limestone Hills'.

To utilise the limestone he had a kiln built on a site at the end of what is now Milford St and just below the home called 'Claremont'.

Logan found the limestone useful in the erection of stone buildings in Brisbane.

A second lime kiln was later erected on the northern side of Brisbane Rd, between Limestone Hill and the entrance gate to the Girls' Grammar School.

This kiln for the burning of limestone was built by Mr William Handcock (Hancock), a well-known building contractor in 1863.



During 1846, after visiting Moreton Bay to judge its capabilities and possibilities, the Rev Dr Dunmore Land went on a trip to the Old Country (Great Britain) on an immigration crusade.

While there he lectured and wrote to the leading English newspaper regarding an immigration crusade for people to go to Australia.

Dr Lang also attempted to form a company called 'The Cooksland Colonisation Company'. Cooksland was the name he gave to the area that later became Queensland.

The New South Wales Government devoted its attention to the need of a strong current of immigration to make Australia a powerful and self-reliant country.

Dr Lang's services in immigration had actually started in 1831 when he induced stonemasons and other mechanics with their families to migrate to New South Wales in the ship 'Stirling Castle' for the purpose of erecting houses and public buildings with the abundant stone obtainable at Port Jackson.

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