Step back in time in Ipswich

Ipswich Central has plenty of heritage, check out some of the city's historical sites!
09 Mar 2017
Kate Webster, Travel Writer

Memories and Mementos

Step back in time in Ipswich

Forty kilometres west of Brisbane is Ipswich, an urban region in south-east Queensland that is located on the Bremer River. Ipswich is renowned for its architectural, natural and cultural heritage; however, its history runs deep, with the city home to more than 6000 heritage-listed sites.

Ipswich was born as a mining settlement back in the 1820s and was originally intended to be the Queensland capital but Brisbane was chosen because of its geographical accessibility for ships. Take a step down memory lane by visiting some of Ipswich’s historical attractions.

Ipswich Court House

The old Ipswich Court House dates back to 1859 and was constructed by the New South Wales government, prior to the separation of Queensland. Its colonial design is a start reminder of the very beginnings of Queensland. Back in its time, the building would have been an imposing structure in the local streetscape.

Old Ipswich Courthouse

It was an important centre for the community in general, with the building being used for many public meetings and events throughout its life. Today the old Court House remains restored of its brick and stone construction and stands as a wonderful reminder of Ipswich’s early history.

Ipswich Antique Centre

As Ipswich holds so much history, as does the Ipswich Antique Centre, the town’s treasure trove of antiques and other collectables and memorabilia. Found in the Heritage-listed Uniting Church Central Memorial Hall, the building itself is a historic delight. It dates back to 1895 and was designed by renowned architect, George Brockwell Gill. Wander around the atmospheric retail centre is a must for history buffs and antique lovers.

Ipswich Antique Centre

The Workshops Rail Museum

Affectionately known today by the locals as ‘The Workshops‘, the Workshop Rail Museum is place rich in history. Over 145 years ago, the very first train to run in Queensland steamed from here to Bigges Camp, now known as Grandchester. This site was the centre of rail construction, maintenance and technology for Queensland’s burgeoning rail industry, and in the decades of operation, over 200 steam locomotives were constructed here.


This also meant employment for thousands of workers in the Ipswich region. At the height of operation in WWII, over 3,000 people worked on site, making it the State’s largest employer at that time. In 2002, The Workshops became a world class rail museum. Today it still stands as the oldest continually operating railway workshops in Australia.

Murphy’s Town Pub

Originally known as the Commonwealth, Murphy’s Town Pub in Union Street was built in 1910. The interior was rebuilt in the 1980s during the construction of Ipswich City Square and the Mall. Locals are fond of the old drink establishment, saying it is an important part of so many lives, all the way from bar flies, to weary travellers and the men and women working the bar.

Murphy's Pub Ipswich

In 2014, Ipswich City Properties acquired the hotel, with plans to retain its heritage. In the meantime, it stands as an iconic piece of history, uncommon as a two-storey veranda hotel, with its fine detailing adding to the streetscape.

Kate Webster Travel Writer
Kate Webster is a travel journalist – writer and photographer who travels the globe in search of vivid imagery and compelling stories that capture the essence of the places she visits. Born out of a life-long love of travel and fascination with the world around her, is Kate’s inspiration behind her writing and photography. When she’s not bouncing around the world on ramshackle buses, overcrowded trains, or on the back of a rickshaw, you can find her based in the Gold Coast, Australia eagerly planning her next adventure.

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