LOOKING BACK: Blackstone as it was in 1923.
LOOKING BACK: Blackstone as it was in 1923. beryl

When Welsh choirs of old rang out

THE following is an article telling much of the history of Blackstone which was given to me recently, and I felt that it would be of interest to many people.

South of Bundamba, the settlement of Blackstone owed its origin to the so-called Bundamba Mine and the Aberdare coal seam which Lewis Thomas and John Maldon Thomas operated from 1866 to about 1870.

After switching to mining at Dinmore in 1870, Thomas returned to open his first Aberdare Mine in 1876 and prospered thereafter.

In 1881, the government granted him permission to build a private railway which by 1903 developed into a loop line connecting the mines from Bundamba to Redbank, Blackheath, Box Flat, Fairbank, Aberdare, Bogside No. 2 Mafeking, Denham, Swanbank, Bonnie Dundee, Rhondda, Whitwood and New Chum.

The settlement of Blackstone comprised little more than a few bark humpies and a Congregational Church (established 1881) until Thomas brought out family members and a contingent of Welsh miners in 1882, for whom he provided cottages.

The newcomers held Welsh services in a disused church at Newtown until Thomas provided a cottage, and subsequently the land for a united Welsh church, which opened at Blackstone in 1886.

The Cambrian Choir was formed in the same year, the first eisteddfod being held in the newly built Church in 1887.

The community held tightly to its Welsh origins, teaching its children the traditions and language of their birthplace, so much so that in the Welsh Gazette of March 27, 1913, Blackstone was described as a Welsh suburb of Ipswich.

Despite its welsh constituency, the place was evidently named after Blackstone in Ireland by Mrs James Brown Orr who was in charge of the local Post Office, though the place name must have referred to the coal seam.

The area was also known for its cockatoos and rushes for candle making.

Mining activity and community life increased during succeeding years and in 1855 the first telephone in Blackstone established a link between the Aberdare colliery and Bundamba railway Station.

Two years later the school was founded with 80 enrolled students, followed by the Blackstone Rovers Soccer Club in 1890 and a two-storey School of Arts in the following year.

A setback occurred in 1893 when the Great Flood inundated the two churches and swept away many belonging.

Despite this disaster and the ensuing depression, the Aberdare Co-operative Colliery Ltd came into existence in 1894 and leased the mine from Lewis Thomas until its insolvency in 1907.


NOT FORGOTTEN: T.J. O'Carroll, Treasurer of the Ipswich/Blackstone Eisteddfod in the 1920s.
NOT FORGOTTEN: T.J. O'Carroll, Treasurer of the Ipswich/Blackstone Eisteddfod in the 1920s. senior





John Graham Stephenson, president of the Queensland and Ipswich Rugby Leagues, died on September 6, 1941.

Mr Stephenson was known throughout Australia for his long and active association with the game and had done more than others to place the sport in Ipswich on a firm foundation.

In 1912, he was appointed to the Queensland Rugby Leagues management committee and became patron in 1914.

He was elected president in 1930 and retained that position until his death, was elected a State selector in 1922 and an Australian selector in 1924.

Although football was a top sporting priority for him, Mr Stephenson also supported cricket and founded the Albert's Cricket Club and became chairman of the North Ipswich Cricket Reserve trustees.

Along with his sporting interest, John Stephenson was associated with the Queensland Woollen Manufacturing Company's Mill at North Ipswich where he eventually became Manager and a Shareholder in the Queensland Times and held a controlling interest in the Rialto Theatre, North Ipswich.


The West Moreton Coal Mines Managers Association held its annual re-union in Ham's rooms Nicholas St, Ipswich on March 18, 1905.

Among those who attended were Joseph Hargreaves president and secretary M. W. Binnie.

Other mine managers and the mines they represented were J.L. Auld - (Bogside Colliery, vice president of the Association, W. Dale - Fernie Creek Colliery, J. Cummings -Bogside, R. Lindsay, vice president - New West Moreton, G/ Wall - Sunshine, H. Harris General Manager - Swanbank Collieries, W Noble- Mafeking, F. Woolley - Denham's Mine, W. Hardie - Box Flat, W. Jeffrey - New Chum, T. Johnson - Waterstown, W. Leigh - Aberdare, and H. Walker -Fairbank.

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