The weaving loom and the Queensland Woolen Manufacturing Co in the 1930s.
The weaving loom and the Queensland Woolen Manufacturing Co in the 1930s.

Our woollen mills were one and only

FORESEEING men, the most of them imbued with much industrial enthusiasm, evidenced particularly in their determination to establish on the banks of the Bremer River, a woollen factory which will give employment to hundreds of people of both sexes and which is one of the "lions” of Ipswich in the early 1870s.

There were many rumours in reference to the starting of a woollen factory in Ipswich and the name of Sir Joshua Peter Bell was frequently mentioned as the man who would achieve it.

He had been instrumental in the establishment of the early stages of the cotton industry in Ipswich in as much as he had been a member of the Ipswich Cotton Company which had its headquarters at Booval formed in 1861.

After that had been established a cotton ginning business on Bundambah (as it was then spelt) Creek near the site of the Grange racecourse. Sir Peter Bell abandoned the idea but others subsequently took it up.

On August 21, 1874 a meeting was held for the formation of an Ipswich woollen factory and many prominent businessmen attended.

At this meeting the men were informed that if such a factory came into being and could manufacture 2000 pounds worth of goods, then a bonus of 1000 pounds would be granted by the government and when the business had existed for two years, an additional grant would be given in the shape of 1000 acres of land to be taken up in any part of the colony.

At another meeting held in the School of Arts Hall on October 15, 1874 it was unanimously resolved "That the time arrived when manufacturing industries would be established in Ipswich Mr WP Mellefont moved a company be formed for the establishment of a woollen factory with a capital of 10,000 pounds in shares of 1 pound.

This company was mooted again in 1875 and at a meeting five directors and two auditors were elected.

These were Directors W Ginn, Sam Hodgson, John Macfarlane, Sam Shenton and Jas Reilly and auditors were to be Messrs S H Hunter and R Kendall.

UNIQUE: The Queensland Woollen Factory at North Ipswich was opened October 16, 1877, and was the first and only of its kind in the state.
UNIQUE: The Queensland Woollen Factory at North Ipswich was opened October 16, 1877, and was the first and only of its kind in the state.

REGISTERED OFFICE: the company's first registered office was in the London Chambers (a number of offices situated in the first story of Messrs Cribb & Foote drapery establishment at the corner of Brisbane and Bell Streets.

PURCHASE OF LAND: In September of 1875 a sale of Crown Land situated at North Ipswich the Woollen Manufacturing Company's directors succeeded in the purchase of 8 lots of the bank of the Bremer.

By September 1876 the tender of William Cramb was accepted for the erection of the factory buildings at a cost of 2,386 pounds.

October 16, 1866 was observed as a public holiday in Ipswich as that was the day on which the Queensland woollen Manufacturing Company's mill was formerly opened. There was a salute of 17 guns and flags flew from most businesses.

It was on November 8, 1877 that the first public sale of plain and fancy tweeds consisting of between 2,000 and 3,000 yards in all, was conducted at the factory by Messrs Hughes and Cameron.

During 1879 the first clothing factory in connection with the company was established in part of the premises of Messrs Ginn & Hooper in Bremer Street at the foot of Bell Street.


Some of the notable celebrations which happened in the month of September: History states that the first settlement on Moreton Bay (now Queensland) took place at Redcliffe Point (Humpy Bong) in September 1894, St Stephens Presbyterian Church on September 3, 1853 had its first minister the Rev William L Nelson L L D and he conducted his first sermon in a cottage in Ellenborough Street on September 25, 1853.

The firm of Messrs G H Wilson & Co in Ipswich was established on September 1853 and 1853, its first business premises were in East Street.

Another notable even was the opening of a branch of the Bank of New South Wales on September 24, 1853 which was situated in East Street,

The Hall of the School of Arts (Later Town Hall) was publicly opened by Sir George Ferguson Bowen on September 25, 1861. He also on September 25, 1863 performed the important inaugural ceremony of establishing the first Grammar School erected in Queensland at Ipswich.


A new era in the carriage of goods to and from the far North was about to be inaugurated in 1866, the ship "Blackwall” had animals on board when it sailed from Karachi, and arrived at Port Augusta after a passage of 76 days after called at Cochin for water.

Her cargo consisted of 122 camels, 29 donkeys, 1 Braham cow and 1 wild ass "The camels were considered a very superior lot of animals as they had been selected with great care by an agent”


Section of the 2016 Silkstone eisteddfod at the United church Glebe Road, will be held from October 8-12 with the 11th being the Choral Specking competitors.

Then from 16-26 October various choirs will be on hand to entertain you.

Because this is the 90th Anniversary of the Silkstone Eisteddfod a special Presentation Evening is being held on November 5.

Please telephone 3202 1431, 3281 5084 or 3496 1822 for further information.

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