Welcome to the Queensland Times Federation site


The Queensland Times was first published on July 4 1859 under the name The Ipswich Herald. New owners took over two years later and the name was changed to The Queensland Times on October 8 1861. After many years of ownership by local families, it is now part of APN (Australian Provincial Newspapers).

In its first issue, The Queensland Times (then called the Ipswich Herald) published momentous news: it issued a special new-sheet which announced that Queen Victoria had agreed to establish a separate colony "Queensland".

The Ipswich Herald first appeared on July 4 1859, launched by four partners Walter Gray, H.M. Cockburn, Arthur Macalister (later Premier of Queensland) and John Rankin.

The editor and publisher was Edmund Gregory who had come from the Sydney Morning Herald to manage the new paper.

One of the Herald's aims was to agitate for separation from New South Wales - but this was achieved on the eve of the paper's first issue.

Within two years, Gregory had left to join the Moreton Bay Courier (now known as The Courier Mail) and the paper had been sold to three former employees of a rival newspaper The North Australian - Hugh Parkinson, F. Kidner and J. Sloman.

They appointed a new editor J.C. Thompson and renamed the paper The Queensland Times, stating "It is our wish not only to represent Ipswich and its neighbourhood but to represent the interests of Queensland generally." The first edition under the new name appeared on October 8 1861.

In spite of this ambitious intention, it was the local region that The Queensland Times represented and the presence of a reporter from "The QT" became an Ipswich institution.

Before the motor car was commonly used, young reporters rode out into the country on bicycles or made longer journeys by train. Norol Devon Kippen, who retired as deputy editor in 1980, recalled that he travelled to Esk Shire Council meetings by goods train, writing his stories on a portable typewriter on the way back.

The paper also established a network of "Country Correspondents" who sent in reports of daily activities in their small communities.

Getting the story has not always been easy. During the 1893 Floods, Ipswich was isolated and The Queensland Times reporters undertook a dangerous trip to Brisbane in a small boat to find out what was happening.

For much of its life, the paper has been a family affair and many names have been associated with its ownership or operation for several generations including Stephensons, Parkinsons, Kippens and Cooks.

Standards were very high and a young reporter of early 1900s recalled "Mr Stephenson used to get the first copy off the press delivered to him. He used to go through and write his comments and send them down to us for our edification."

A well-known early staff member Tom Barker, was born in Ipswich in the 1850s and wrote many important historical articles under the names "Red Gum" and "Old Sport". The editor at the time of Federation was John Woolley.

The pressures of modern media and the cost of modern technology eventually made this type of local operation difficult. The paper became a company, then joined with other regional papers to form Provincial Newspaper of Queensland (PNQ).

The group was eventually purchased by Haswell in 1988. Later that same year, its name was changed to APN - Australian Provincial Newspapers.



Also see on this page:

The Queensland Times building
The Queensland Times building

History of the Federation

"Are you in favour of the proposed Federal Constitution Bill? YES/NO."

That was the question posed to electors of Ipswich and West Moreton in 1899. A series of 'How to Vote' advertisements appeared in The Queensland Times newspaper prior to the Referendum held on 2 September 1899.

On Referendum Polling Day, crowds gathered outside the Town Hall waiting for the results of the election.

Two separate referendums had been held to decide whether six British colonies were to be federated, and there were many people who were not sold on the idea at the outset, and some that never were. These referendums were conducted in an ad hoc fashion and there was no common national polling day. In fact, each colony ran its own ballot. Queensland and Western Australia did not take part in the 1898 referendum as they had not passed an enabling act at the time. The Australasian Federation Enabling Act for Queensland was adopted in 1899.

All colonies voted at a second Referendum after the Constitution had been amended at a Constitution Convention. This time, all colonies voted in favour on five different polling dates. South Australia voted on 29 April, New South Wales on 20 June, Victoria and Tasmania on 27 July and Queensland on 2 September 1899. Western Australia passed an enabling Act and conducted a referendum on 31 July 1900.

On 17 September Queen Victoria proclaimed that the Commonwealth of Australia would become a Nation on 1 January 1901. Four days later on 21 September, Lord Hopetoun was officially appointed the Governor-General of Australia.

Ipswich did not reflect the voting trend of the colony. It was surrounded by the agricultural districts of the Fassifern, Lockyer and Brisbane Valleys, and had a manufacturing base to support. The majority of residents believed that Federation would have a detrimental effect on the local economy.

The vote in Ipswich on 2 September 1899 was a resounding NO, with the yes vote being 1193 and the No vote being 2968.

History of the Ipswich Library and Information Service

Summary: Ipswich Library was first established by a group of local people in 1850. It became a School of Arts Library in 1858 and was then eligible to receive government assistance.

A School of Arts Hall was built in 1861. When this was extended a few years later, it was able to accommodate the lending library and reading rooms where Ipswich residents had access to a wide variety of newspapers and magazines. Although the Council took over management in 1868, it remained a "School of Arts Library" until 1947.

The library has had at least seven different locations since 1850 including the Old Town Hall (formerly the School of Arts), the Memorial Hall and the former Bank of Australasia building in d'Arcy Doyle Place.

"In July 1850, when the town was a mere eight years old, a group of Ipswich people resolved that the present state and position of this rapidly increasing town make it desirable to establish a public institution for the supply of news and the diffusion of knowledge generally". Put simply, it was time Ipswich had a library.

Funds were raised by asking for donations and by charging an annual library fee. When enough money was raised, committee member Frederick Forbes travelled to Sydney to select the first supply of books. A small library and reading room were then set up in rented premises - possibly a timber building in Brisbane Street which had been built as a temporary court house.

In August 1858, the library committee formally became a School of Arts and applied for a grant of land and government funding. The application was successful and a School of Arts Hall was built in 1861. The library remained in the old timber building until 1864, when the hall was extended with an elaborate fašade and front section. The library then moved into the extension.

The small community of Ipswich had managed to establish an impressive library. Newspapers and magazines were obtained from Australian capital cities and from England and Ireland - the overseas publications must have been months out of date, but were read eagerly.

Books were obtained locally and from an agent in London - Longman and Co. By the early 1860s, there were more than 2000 volumes and the library had 200 subscribers. When new books were obtained, the event was considered so important that the titles were listed in The Queensland Times.

Perhaps the most far-reaching achievement was the production of "Ipswich Punch", a humorous magazine based on the famous British "Punch". It was entirely hand-written and hand-illustrated, and there was just one copy of each edition, kept on a table in the library reading room. The authors produced it for fun, but it has survived as an important historical record which offers a vivid glimpse of Ipswich life in the 1860s.

The library received a major setback in 1866 when a severe financial depression affected Queensland. The voluntary committee found it hard to keep up payments on the new building and in 1868, it was forced to ask the Ipswich Municipal Council to take over management. The building became the Town Hall (although the name School of Arts Hall persisted for a long time) and the Council took responsibility for running the School of Arts library.

The library survived and, with the Council now supervising, continued to expand. A Californian newspaper was added to the list in 1870 and "The Englishwomen's Magazine" was ordered in 1871 to tempt more women to become subscribers.

By the turn of the century, the Town Hall had become too small for the growing city and many discussions were held about extending it again or constructing a completely new building.

In 1918, a Memorial Hall was planned to honour Ipswich men who had fought in World War I. A group of aldermen suggested that there would be benefits if the Memorial Hall and Town Hall projects were combined. This idea was rejected but a compromise was achieved - the School of Arts Library could be moved out of the overcrowded Town Hall into the new building. Returned soldiers were offered free membership.

The library remained at the Memorial Hall until 1947. It was then moved into the former Bank of Australasia Building (cnr Brisbane St and d'Arcy Doyle Place) and the Council formally took over, ending the long connection with the School of Arts movement.

In 1975, the Library was moved to the former St Paul's Young Men's Club Building (cnr Limestone Street and d'Arcy Doyle Place), then to leased premises in Bell Street and finally in 1995 to the purpose-built Global Information Centre in South Street.