YOUNG AND OLD: The Jonker family celebrated their reunion at Paradise Point on the Gold Coast.
YOUNG AND OLD: The Jonker family celebrated their reunion at Paradise Point on the Gold Coast. Contributed

Ipswich's Dutch dynasty

HERE'S the story of a lovely lady, who came to Ipswich from Holland with a husband and 11 girls and boys of her own.

Petronella Jonker is the matriarch of what is now one extraordinarily large family, which took root in Goodna more than 50 years ago.

Long-term Ipswich residents may recognise the Jonker name - members of the clan formed several successful businesses across Ipswich, including Jonker's Hire, Jonker's Demolition and Jonker's House Removals.

The family branched out further with Petronella becoming a grandmother to 36 and, eventually, a great-grandmother to an astonishing 55.

It all started when Petronella - known as "Oma" - her late husband Johannes and their 11 children arrived in Australia by boat in 1958.

The family eventually settled in Goodna and it didn't take long for the children to start their business ventures.

According to Jacqui King - one of Petronella and Johannes' 36 grandchildren - the family businesses undertook some big jobs around Ipswich over the last 30 years, including the Kholo Mining Museum, the original Racehorse Hotel, the Coronation Hotel and the Challinor Centre.

"Other members of the Jonker family have run a chemist, party hire business and a gymnasium - just to name a few," Mrs King said.

When the Jonker family business took charge of the transport of the Queens Park Cambrian Hall to the Kholo Mining Museum on June 17, 1990, it made front page news in the next day's edition of the Queensland Times.

The removal of the old Goodna police station building in 1985 also made the local newspaper.

Although Johannes sadly passed away in 1995, Oma celebrated her 93rd birthday with 80 family members on Saturday.

She relocated to the Gold Coast four years ago but still enjoys regular family gatherings.

The Jonker clan live all over south-east Queensland, but their Ipswich roots will never be forgotten. A street in Goodna was named Jonker Court in honour of the family.



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