Technology aids our passion for history
THANKS to the internet, genealogy, or family histories, has become increasingly popular and, for the average family, possible. That, combined with Ipswich's rich and relatively contained history of settlement, has resulted in an explosion of interest amongst Ipswich families.
It's not happened overnight, of course - another little-known first for Ipswich was that the Ipswich Genealogical Society Inc. was the very first genealogical society in Queensland when it formed in 1977.
The Society's many experienced volunteers assist and support people researching their family history, using its ever-expanding resource base. In September this year the Society moved from Bell Arcade in Ipswich's CBD into its new permanent home, 'Brigg House' at Cooneana Heritage Centre.
That means a visit to the Ipswich Historical Society's Golden Jubilee this Saturday could embark you on one of the most exciting historical journeys of your life - finding out where you came from.
Visitors to the festival, at Cooneana Heritage Centre, 1041 Redbank Plains Road, New Chum, will be able to tour the Genealogical Society's new home, review their extensive range of resources and meet some of their highly-experienced family history researchers.
Specialising in the Ipswich region the Genealogical Resource Centre consists of a research area and computers and an extensive lending library on tracing a family tree, family histories, school histories and local history.
A reference library includes census records, shipping records, cemetery records, research directories, Queensland Government Gazettes, cemetery headstones and inscriptions. A microform collection includes: The International Genealogical Index; indices to births, deaths and marriages for all Australian States; cemetery records; the first newspaper published in Ipswich, the Ipswich North Australian from 1858 to 1865; The Queensland Times from 1864 to 1874; and the Fassifern Guardian from 1901 to 1930.
An increasing number of records are now digital: indices to births, deaths and marriages; burial registers for the Ipswich Cemetery; the Mine Workers Muster and Railway Workers Muster with details of workers from the Ipswich district.
More recent resources includes Reeds Undertakers records from the 1870's to 2015 and which consists of over 20,000 records with 1,100 for Goodna Cemetery; Somerset Regional Council cemetery records to November 2015, covering the following cemeteries: Fernvale, Lowood, Wivenhoe Pocket, Esk, Caboonbah, Toogoolawah, Moore/Linville and Kilcoy.
Current projects include: a digital compilation of over 9,000 obituaries and biographies of former residents of the Ipswich district; a digital collection of indexed clippings from The Queensland Times and other Ipswich district newspapers; and the 'In Memoriam' project compiling Queensland Times notices as these notices often contain many more family names than funeral notices.
So embarking on a mission to learn more about your family background will be just one of the attractions of the day this Saturday.
Another is a simulated mine accident rescue undertaken by a world-class Queensland Mines Rescue team. The backdrop to that is the impressive mining museum at Cooneana, the most extensive collection of mining memorabilia and artefacts in Queensland.
Then there's the Spinners & Weavers, who will demonstrate weaving, spinning, dyeing, and felting, using historical looms, one dated 1860, to make cloth on site. And for motorbike enthusiasts Saturday is a must - Vincents, Nortons, Eagles, BSAs, FNs.
Entry is free and the celebrations includes entertainment for young and old, brass bands, fashion parades, bush poetry, blacksmithing, magicians, lantern-making, food stalls, beer and wine bar - all with a taste of what life was like in Ipswich down through to the early days of the city.
The festival will be opened by Mayor Paul Pisasale from the verandah of the historic Cooneana Homestead, at the Cooneana Heritage Centre, 1041 Redbank Plains Street, New Chum.
Historical presentations by experts cover many aspects of Ipswich's rich history - school rooms of the past; the 49-room Brynhyfryd Mansion built on Blackstone Hill in 1891; Ipswich's water supply history; Cooneana Homestead and the people who lived there; Councillor Paul Tully's research on Ned Kelly's links to Ipswich; local cemeteries and their stories; the mystery of the Ripley coffins; and transport from the 1800s told by the great grandson of one of Ipswich's famous draymen.