ALL SMILES: Children at the Ipswich Show.
ALL SMILES: Children at the Ipswich Show.

Ipswich's Show of success


ON AUGUST 28, 1872, a small body of enthusiasts met in Ipswich to discuss the possibility of conducting a show. Their object, as stated in the advertisement was "the improvement of the breed of stock and the encouragement of the growth of agricultural produce”.

Prior, in the mid-1860s, the Ipswich and West Moreton Agricultural and Horticultural Society was mentioned. Its scope, however, was never very intensive, but their exhibitions were held in the School of Arts .

A meeting on August 28, 1872, was held with AV Carpendale, part-owner of Grantham Station. Other prominent men from Ipswich and country formed the first committee and it was decided to hold a cattle show for the exhibition of imported and colonial bred stock in 1873.

At a further meeting, it was decided that the exhibition should be called the Ipswich Annual Show, but subsequently it became the Queensland Pastoral & Agricultural Society.

This was because that society moved into the Ipswich limelight with the news its first cattle show was to be held at the Churchill sale yards on April 2, 1873.

The cattle yards were on the right-hand side of the Churchill Rd at the northern side of a tannery works conducted by W Barr - the show property extended to the One Mile creek (or rather, the upper portion of the Bremer River).

On the other bank of the creek were the Tongarra Vineyards and the soap works of Messrs Meyer and Isambert.

The show took place on April 2, 1873, when crowds of people attended Digby's cattle yards at Churchill where the cattle were displayed. It is on record that apart from first and second certificates, the only awards were four medals for champion animals.

A bigger show was held on May 13, 1874, which included a two-day race meeting and a "friendly” game of cricket.

The committee was overjoyed at the success of the show and by 1875 the prize schedule was "enlarged” as a cup was presented for competition by Messrs Lord and Co of Eskdale and this was won by Mr Richard Watson for the best five fat cattle.

In 1876, a show wasn't held, owing to the fact that the Brisbane Exhibition took place on August 22 that year.

Further progress was made in 1877 when the exhibition was first staged at Sandy Gallop (now the Showgrounds) after the official opening was performed by the-then governor Sir Arthur Kennedy.

The Ipswich show as it is known today has been a special feature on the local calendar and over the years has gone from success to success.


In 1929, a proposal to build a public hall at Basin Pocket was put forward by members of the Star of the Pocket Lodge GUOOF, East Ipswich of which Les Pieper was secretary.

Mr Pieper said that the Lodge was opened on June 30, 1928, and through the courtesy of the Wardens of St Johns Mission Hall, the lodge members had held their meetings at the venue.

At the suggestion of several residents who promised assistance, Mr Pieper set out to erect a hall which, while meeting the requirement of the lodge would also serve the district as a public hall. He said a good deposit had been placed on a suitable piece of land in Blackall St, and the sale would be completed soon.

Along with the social committee of the lodge to help raise funds, there was a strong ladies' auxiliary committee of residents, independent of the lodge who also became involved.


Among the many achievements of the Ipswich Grammar School scholars in 1914 to 1929 were:

The Byrnes Medal for first place in the junior exam in 1914, 1916 and 1918.

The Talon Medal (awarded to the child of a railway worker securing the highest pass in the junior) was won in, 1916, 1917; 1918; 1920, 1922 and 1924.

Rhodes Scholars: (1922) Sir Walter Robert Hall, (1923) Dr A J Foote and (1924) Professor H Burton. They had been in the senior form at IGS in 1918.

The 1929 senior four gained five university scholarships including three of the first four.


Ipswich in the late 1880s was written up as being a staple town and this was brought about because amenities and buildings were the envy of many other towns.

Ipswich had a splendidly finished railway station, a flourishing gas factory, promising water-works, six banks, various lines of omnibuses, a double line of railway between Ipswich and the metropolis, several handsome hotels (The Royal and The Imperial which cost thousands), a number of expensive ships (chief among them must be Cribb & Foote) Greenhams, O'Sullivan's and Tatham's, beautiful private residences, wonderfully-improved streets with concrete water stables and there was a projected girls' grammar school.

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