Ipswich, Queensland

This article is about the metropolitan area. For the suburb, see Ipswich (suburb), Queensland. For the local government area, see City of Ipswich. For the county town in Suffolk, England, see Ipswich.
Ipswich, Queensland
Ipswich aerial shot including CBD and surrounds;
Old Bremer Tafe;
Orion Lagoon
Population 190,000 (2015; Local Government Area)[1]
Established 1846
Postcode(s) 4305
Elevation 50 m (164 ft)
Time zone AEST (UTC+10)
Location 40 km (25 mi) from Brisbane CBD
LGA(s) City of Ipswich
Region South East Queensland
State electorate(s) Ipswich, Ipswich West, Bundamba, Part of Lockyer
Federal Division(s) Blair, Oxley, Wright
Suburbs around Ipswich:
Woodend North Ipswich East Ipswich
West Ipswich Ipswich Tivoli
One Mile Churchill Raceview

Ipswich is an urban region in south-east Queensland, Australia, which is located in the south-west of the Brisbane metropolitan area. Situated on the Bremer River, it is approximately 40 kilometres (25 mi) west of the Brisbane CBD. A local government area, the City of Ipswich has a population of 190,000 (projected to grow to 435,000 residents by 2031).[1] The city is renowned for its architectural, natural and cultural heritage. Ipswich preserves and operates from many of its historical buildings, with more than 6000 heritage-listed sites and over 500 parks.[2]

Ipswich began in the 1820s as a mining settlement and was originally intended to be the Queensland capital but Brisbane was instead chosen because of its geographical accessibility for ships.


Ipswich Railway Station in 1865

Early history

Prior to the arrival of European settlers, what is now called Ipswich was home to many indigenous language groups, including the Warpai tribe,[3] Yuggera and Ugarapul Indigenous Australian groups.[4] The area was first explored by European colonists in 1826, when Captain Patrick Logan, Commandant of the Moreton Bay penal colony, sailed up the Brisbane River and discovered large deposits of limestone and other minerals.[5]


The town began as a limestone mining settlement and grew rapidly as a major inland port. Ipswich was initially named "The Limestone Hills" and later shortened to "Limestone", however in 1843 it was renamed after the town of Ipswich in England.[6] The population was 932 in 1851 and had risen to 2459 by 1856.[7] It became a municipality in 1858. Ipswich was a prime candidate for becoming the capital of Queensland, but Brisbane was instead chosen in 1859.[8] It was proclaimed a city in 1904.[9]

The city became a major coal-mining area in the early 19th Century, contributing to the development of railways in the region as a means of transport. The first recorded coal mines in the central Ipswich area started at Woodend in 1848.[10]

From the 1840s onward, Ipswich was becoming an important river port for growing local industries like coal and wool from the Darling Downs and a regular paddlesteamer service from Brisbane Town, 'The Experiment', was established in 1846.[11] This, and other steamer services,[12] remained the primary form of mass/bulk transport between the two cities until 1876, when the construction of the original Albert Bridge, spanning the Brisbane River at Indooroopilly, completed the railway line begun between Ipswich and Brisbane in 1873.[13]

Ipswich was proclaimed as a municipality on 2 March 1860 and became a city in 1904.

Brisbane Street around the start of the 20th century
St Mary's Cathedral, Ipswich

Royal visits

Several members of the British Royal Family have visited Ipswich.

1868 - Prince Albert

1920 - Prince of Wales

1958 - Queen Mother

1962 - Royal Highness Princess Alice

2011 - Prince William[14]

2014 - The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge[15]


Damaging flooding has occurred on numerous occasions in Ipswich, the largest being the 1893 Brisbane flood peaking at 24.5 m, and more recently during the 1974 Brisbane Flood, (peaking at 20.7 m) and 2010–11 Queensland floods (peaking at 19.4 m) on 12 January 2011.


Around 35 people died in the floods in the 1893 Brisbane flood. The Brisbane River burst its banks on three occasions in February of that year and a fourth event several months later. 7 workers were killed at a colliery in north Ipswich as the Bremer River broke its banks.[16]


14 people died in flooding in January 1974, during the Australia Day weekend. Two people were killed in Ipswich.[17] At least 6,700 homes flooded across the region. Thousands of homes in Ipswich and Brisbane could not be recovered.


The Bremer River at Ipswich reached a height of 19.5 metres (64 ft) on 12 January, inundating the central business district and thousands of houses. 38 people died as a result of the floods. At Minden, on the border of Ipswich City, a four-year-old boy was swept away by floodwaters when he fell from a rescue boat.[18] A man in his fifties died when he accidentally drove into floodwaters in the Ipswich suburb of Wulkuraka.[19]

The worst affected areas of Ipswich were the suburbs of Goodna and Gailes.[20] The flooding allowed bull sharks to reach the centre of Goodna; one was spotted swimming in Williams Street, and a second in Queen Street.[20]

A multibillion-dollar class action lawsuit is underway against dam operators Seqwater, SunWater and the State of Queensland. Law firm Maurice Blackburn have lodged the suit on behalf of 5,500 Ipswich and Brisbane residents who lost their homes or businesses during the floods.[21] Modelling released in 2013 claimed flooding of Ipswich CBD would not have been as extreme if Wivenhoe Dam operators had operated the dam correctly.[22]


Ipswich experiences a humid subtropical climate (Köppen climate classification Cfa) with hot and humid summers and mild to warm winters with cool overnight temperatures.

Climate data for Ipswich-Amberley Air Base
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 44.3
Average high °C (°F) 31.1
Average low °C (°F) 19.6
Record low °C (°F) 11.6
Average precipitation mm (inches) 116.5
Average precipitation days 10.9 11.9 11.3 8.0 7.7 6.3 6.5 5.7 5.9 8.8 9.3 10.6 102.9
Average relative humidity (%) 51 54 52 48 48 46 42 38 38 43 46 49 46
Source: Bureau of Meteorology[23][24]


Ipswich was a major mining centre, particularly coal mining. The city is the 'cradle of coal mining in Queensland'.[25] Other secondary manufacturing industries included earthenware works, sawmills, abattoirs and foundries, while the region is also rich agriculturally.

Ipswich remains a strong manufacturing region, with more than 14% of workers employed in the manufacturing industry, compared to just 7.6% for regional Queensland.[26]

Extensive growth is predicted in Ipswich and the Western Corridor region in years to come, the economy is projected to be worth $12.7 billion by 2026.[27] Global giant General Electric moved its Queensland headquarters into a $72 million building in Springfield in 2015.[28]

Ipswich is the site of RAAF Base Amberley, the Royal Australian Air Force's largest operational base. It is currently home to No. 1 Squadron and No. 6 Squadron (operating the F/A-18F Super Hornet), No. 33 Squadron (taking delivery of the Airbus KC-30A) and No. 36 Squadron (operating the Boeing C-17 Globemaster III jet transport). In addition, a number of ground support units are located at Amberley.

Film production

The Workshops Rail Museum, North Ipswich

In recent years, Ipswich has become a sought-after filming location. The 2013 movie The Railway Man (film) was filmed around the city's railyards.[29] Other major films, including San Andreas starring Dwayne Johnson, and Inspector Gadget 2 were filmed around the city. Several Australian films have also used Ipswich for shooting locations, including the 2016 movie Don't Tell[30] and Savages Crossing, The Settlement (1984 film), The Tree, Mystery Road, 500 Miles and telemovies, Parer's War and Mabo.[31] Australian TV legal drama Rise was also filmed at Borallon Correctional Centre.[32]


The mansion at the Woodlands of Marburg, Ipswich, 2015

Ipswich is recognised for its important collection of historic buildings. Historic house types range from Early Colonial/Victorian (1850 onwards) to Queensland Bungalow (until 1935), with the city showcasing many markers and plaques outside heritage and historical locations.

The traditional Ipswich dwelling has always been a detached home on land, and is frequently portrayed in the paintings of D'Arcy Doyle, however this is changing as modern housing developments increase. The city is the fastest-growing area in South East Queensland (SEQ).[33]

Two major developments, underway at Springfield and Ripley, will be central to housing this growth. The multibillion-dollar Greater Springfield development was awarded World's Best Master Planned Community 2010 and is designed to grow to an ultimate population of 85,000, with a projection of 105,000 total residents living in the area by 2030. Greater Springfield is positioned as the gateway to the western corridor of the south-east. At 2,860 hectares it is the largest master planned city in Australia.[34]

Robelle Domain Springfield Central Parklands

The Ripley Valley Development is master planned to be a model community for a projected population of 120,000 people.[35]



In March 2016, Ipswich's digital innovation and startup hub, Fire Station 101, was officially launched. Owned by Ipswich City Developments and operated by Ipswich City Enterprises, Fire Station 101 will position the region as a leader of the digital economy. More than fifteen members had signed up prior to the opening. In 2015, Ipswich was named in the world’s Top 7 most Intelligent Communities by the Intelligent Community Forum (ICF) in New York.[36][37]


Ipswich is home to dozens of primary and secondary schools, including Ipswich Grammar School, which was the first high school in Queensland (established in 1863). Ipswich Girls' Grammar School was established 1892. Tertiary education facilities include University of Southern Queensland, which has campuses at Springfield and Ipswich. TAFE Queensland South West has a campus at Bundamba and another in Springfield.


Ipswich is home to the Safe City camera network, which commenced in 1994. More than 200 cameras are monitored 24/7 from a facility situated within the CBD.[38]

The Ipswich City Council Safe City Monitoring Facility has hosted representatives of law enforcement agencies from the Netherlands, Taiwan, Great Britain and approximately twenty-five local authorities from across Australia to inspect the closed-circuit television (CCTV) camera monitoring system.[39]


Ipswich Hospital is the major public hospital. St Andrew's Private Hospital and Mater Private Hospital Springfield are local private hospitals.


Ipswich has direct access to the Ipswich Motorway (linking to Brisbane); the Cunningham Highway (linking to Warwick); the Warrego Highway (linking to Toowoomba); the Logan Motorway and its connection to the Pacific Motorway (linking to Logan and the Gold Coast); and the Centenary Highway (linking Springfield and the Ripley Valley to Brisbane).

Ipswich Railway Station is a major hub for rail transport. The electrified rail line that extends east from Ipswich through Brisbane's western suburbs to the Brisbane CBD is known as the Ipswich Line. The Rosewood railway line, part of the first railway in Queensland, is also electrified and extends west through Ipswich's western suburbs to the town of Rosewood. Both lines are operated by Queensland Rail.


The boardwalk at Nerima Gardens in Queens Park, Ipswich

Ipswich has more than 500 parks and conservation estates, including Nerima Gardens, which was designed in consultation with Ipswich’s Japanese sister city, Nerima. In 2015, Orion Lagoon opened in Springfield Central.

Brookwater hosts the Brookwater Golf and Country Club, designed by Greg Norman. The par 72 golf course measures 6,505 metres and has been voted as Queensland’s number one golf course in Golf Australia magazine’s best 50 courses.


Ipswich is noted for its strong contribution to sport at a state and national level. Local rugby league club Ipswich Jets had a stellar 2015 season, seeing the team win their maiden Intrust Super Cup title and take the NRL State Championship.[40] The win again fuelled interest in a successful Western Corridor NRL bid.


Ipswich Show

The first Ipswich Annual Show was held on 2 April 1873 by the Queensland Pastoral and Agricultural Society. There had been shows staged by the Ipswich and West Moreton Horticultural and Agricultural Society as early as 1868. Originally held at the sale yards situated at Lobb St, Churchill, the show moved to its present home at the Ipswich Showgrounds in 1877.

Ipswich Jacaranda Trees at Goodna

Goodna Jacaranda Festival

This festival has been held annually at Goodna (Evan Marginson Sportsground) since 1968.

Ipswich Festival

The Ipswich Festival is an annual multi-disciplinary festival. The event showcases a broad program of entertainment and arts that continues to entertain, inspire and celebrate the essence of the culture, spirit and community in Ipswich.

First staged in 1998, the Ipswich Festival is regarded as the city's premier event. The variety, size and scope of the program has grown exponentially through increasing interest group participation, corporate partnerships and community enthusiasm.

The festival presents Ipswich's cultural heritage and highlights the city's emerging talents through a deliberate program of live bands, concerts, art exhibits, fireworks, theatre, jazz, multicultural celebrations, interactive displays and a range of family-based events to encourage participation by all age groups whilst attracting day tourism to the region.

The Ipswich Festival runs for two weeks at the end of April and beginning of May with the majority of events free.[41]


The Fuchs Winternationals is an annual event, typically held around June at Willowbank Raceway, part of the Ipswich Motorsport Precinct. The four-day event is one of the largest drag racing festivals in the southern hemisphere and has drawn crowds of more than 40, 000 people in previous years.[42]

Notable people




  1. 1 2 "Ipswich welcomes 190,000th resident". Ipswich City Council. 10 October 2015. Retrieved 25 August 2016.
  2. "About Ipswich". Ipswich City Council. Retrieved 25 August 2016.
  3. Tom Petrie's Reminiscences of Early Queensland. St Lucia, Queensland: University of Queensland Press. 1992. p. 102. ISBN 0702223832.
  4. http://www.ipswich150.com.au/proud_past
  5. Extract from Captain Patrick Logans' Journal – The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW : 1803–1842)
  6. "Ipswich (entry 16769)". Queensland Place Names. Queensland Government. Retrieved 28 August 2015.
  7. Knight, J.J. "Brisbane : a historical sketch of the capital of Queensland, giving an outline of old-time events, with a description of Brisbane of the present day, and a municipal retrospect". Biggs & Morcom. p. 24. Retrieved 2013. Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  8. "Ipswich Town Wharves (entry 602567 )". Queensland Heritage Register. Queensland Heritage Council. Retrieved 12 August 2015. line feed character in |title= at position 35 (help)
  9. http://www.ipswich.qld.gov.au/about_council/council_history/index.php
  10. http://www.ipswich.qld.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0019/9811/mining.pdf
  11. The Steamer "Experiment" – The Moreton Bay Courier – 20 June 1846
  12. Ipswich City Council – Heritage Education Kit – Transport
  13. Queensland Rail – Queensland's First Railway
  14. Courtney Trenwith (21 March 2011). "Royal visit: Prince William and Catherine greet huge crowds in Brisbane". ABC. Retrieved January 2016. Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  15. ABC (20 April 2014). "'He was very, very genuine. It was awesome'". Brisbane Times. Retrieved January 2016. Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  16. "Australia floods: history of Queensland's worst floods". The Telegraph. Telegraph Media Group Limited. 13 January 2011. Retrieved 24 May 2014.
  17. Andrew Korner (26 January 2014). "Memories of 1974 flood still vivid after 40 years". Queensland Times. Retrieved January 2016. Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  18. ABC (29 February 2012). "Firefighter recounts boy's tragic flood death". ABC. Retrieved 25 August 2016.
  19. Anna Caldwell (14 January 2011). "Flood death has risen again to 15, while number of missing is now at 61". Courier Mail. Retrieved January 2016. Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  20. 1 2 Chris Garry (14 January 2011). "Bull sharks seen in flooded streets". Queensland Times. Retrieved January 2016. Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  21. Tony Moore (12 January 2016). "Brisbane 2011 flood levels 're-mapped' by class action law firm". Brisbane Times. Retrieved January 2016. Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  22. Joel Gould (10 July 2015). "Flood victims call on state to abandon class action defence". Queensland Times. Retrieved January 2016. Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  23. "Charleville Aero". Climate statistics for Australian locations. Bureau of Meteorology. 19 September 2013. Retrieved 21 September 2013.
  24. "AMBERLEY AMO". Climate statistics for Australian locations. Bureau of Meteorology. February 2014. Retrieved 9 February 2014.
  25. http://www.newhopecoal.com.au/about-us/history.aspx
  26. Australian Bureau of Statistics, Census of Population and Housing 2006 and 2011. (2011). "City of Ipswich". .id. Retrieved January 2016. Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  27. https://www.business.qld.gov.au/invest/queenslands-regional-locations/south-east-queensland/business-in-south-east-queensland/ipswich-western-corridor
  28. QT (10 June 2015). "Premier opens new GE headquarters at Springfield". Queensland Times. Retrieved January 2016. Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  29. Dan Nancarrow (19 June 2012). "Colin Firth Struggles to portray tortured in paradise". Brisbane Times. Retrieved January 2016. Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  30. Courier Mail (20 March 2016). "Gyton Grantley's new film fits in with his campaign for victims of child abuse". The Courier-Mail. Retrieved March 2016. Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  31. Joel Gould (26 January 2014). "Murder mystery shot in Ipswich". Queensland Times. Retrieved January 2016. Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  32. Courtney Wilson (11 December 2013). "The film crew from the legal drama Rise on location at Borallon Correctional Centre in Ipswich". Brisbane Times. Retrieved January 2016. Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  33. QT (21 September 2015). "Ipswich population growth tops state". Queensland Times. Retrieved January 2016. Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  34. Greater Springfield (20 March 2015). "Greater Springfield named Australia's best master planned development". Greater Springfield. Retrieved January 2016. Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  35. Amex Corp. "Providence". Amex Corp. Retrieved January 2016. Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  36. "How local councils can help startup communities". Bit.com.au. Retrieved 28 October 2016.
  37. Amy Price (27 January 2015). "Ippy Ky Yay! It's official our Ipswich is one of the world's smartest cities". Courier Mail. Retrieved January 2016. Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  38. http://www.ipswich.qld.gov.au/community/safety/safe_city_program
  39. "Rats cause CCTV chaos". Queensland Times. 26 May 2010. Retrieved 4 December 2014.
  40. QRL (8 October 2015). "QRL". Queensland Rugby League. Retrieved January 2016. Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  41. "Ipswich Festival". Ipswich Events Corporation. 2016. Retrieved 14 August 2016.
  42. Adam Davies (15 October 2015). "Holiday change could see Winternationals take hit". Queensland Times. Retrieved January 2016. Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  43. "Greg Ball profile". Australian Paralympic Committee. 2000. Archived from the original on 5 December 2000. Retrieved 25 January 2012.
  44. Eagles grounded by Folau move Chris Garry for Queensland Times 4 May 2010

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Coordinates: 27°37′S 152°46′E / 27.617°S 152.767°E / -27.617; 152.767

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