Uncovering Ipswich

Ipswich is Queensland's oldest provincial city and has lots of interesting hidden quirks, two local creative uncover secrets like The Bubble House.
15 Nov 2016
Bec and Lois, Creative bloggers

Memories and Mementos

Uncovering Ipswich

Sometimes, residents can be so busy that they don’t find the time to get to know their own town. We have always been a curious pair and have enjoyed exploring and discovering new things in Ipswich. Here are a few things that have caught out attention over the past few years that we’ve uncovered in Ipswich!

The Bubble House

Lois and I were once invited to visit the ‘bubble house’ at Karalee. Having grown up nearby (me, not Lois), and convincing Mum and Dad to take detours on our way home from school to check the building as it progressed, this was pretty much a childhood dream come true. As we pulled up the wee boy in the back seat started chattering excitedly ‘bubble how, bubble how’ and it just got better from there.

Ipswich Bubble House

We were met at the front door by owner Sharon who gave us a tour of the house and all it’s quirks and amazing features. The house started out as the architecture thesis of Sharon’s husband Graham.

Beginning in 1983, Graham and Sharon’s father Ed spent every weekend on site working on the structure, ten years later the family moved in but according to Sharon it is still a work in progress and she jokes ‘we started with nothing, we still have nothing, but we have the house’.

So now rather than giveaway all their secrets I’d like to leave you instead with lots of photos and suggest that if you’re after more info and history head over to ‘the bubble house’ Facebook page or Birchall & Partners Architects PTY LTD.

Cec, the rose man

Tucked away in the old and well-established suburb of Eastern Heights is a well kept mid-century bungalow with an equally well kept garden. The lush green lawns feel like a sin to step on, and are surrounded by flower beds bursting at the seams with fragrant and colourful roses. This garden is the pride and joy of proud Ipswich citizen Cec Gleeson, a true gent, a retired school teacher and an avid gardener.

Ipswich man and his roses

If you turn up (the earlier the better, as the hot sun quickly wilts open roses) and see either the sign out or Cec pottering barefoot around the garden, be sure to ask for a tour. He will happily oblige whilst regaling you with tales of rose keeping, gardening tips and perhaps if you ask extra nice he may even divulge his very special fertiliser recipe.

Cec genuinely seems to appreciate a chat with anyone and he has plenty of life experience to share. Since becoming a widower he spends the majority of his spare time in his garden and it shows.

You may be able to snare a $5 bouquet of Cec’s roses by the time you go home! Nothing quite beats a lovely local experience, coming away not only with a resplendent collection of flowers but a little history or horticulture lesson too.


Once, while walking along Brisbane Street in the ‘Top of Town’, I noticed a small scrap of sign peeking out from behind peeling paint above the door of the Professionals Thornton Real Estate on Brisbane Street.

I could just make out the word “cycle” and this made me very curious. A friend and I spoke to one of the estate agents outside and a comment was casually made about whether this paint chipping paint would be peeled off at any stage.

Loetzsch's Ipswich

Time marched on, and about a month later I was passing this store front again and the same agent was outside. I stopped her and asked about the progress on the sign. I was desperate to see what was underneath. She had asked the building owner about this previously and had been offered the joking response of “Have you nothing better to do than watch paint peel?”

So I asked tentatively “What if someone volunteered to remove the paint?” It was taunting me by this stage, just calling out to be rediscovered. My curiosity and enthusiasm was contagious, the agent immediately rang the owner and asked permission.


Loetzsch's Ipswich

The answer was yes, I could remove the peeling paint. The proviso being that I cleaned up all of the mess afterwards. So that weekend I roped in a friend, we gathered our paint scrapers, ladders, cleaning cloths and a broom and together we set about peeling away the years’ worth of paint covering the glass.

We started chipping away at the multi-coloured layers and within a few hours we could see how well the sign was preserved, it had been painted on the inside of the window glass. A couple of hours on Saturday then a quick clean up with razors and spirits on Sunday the job was done.

We had many people stop to watch and ask questions as we worked and the sign was slowly revealed. Some congratulated us on our volunteer work, some wondered about what the sign could have been from and others expressed their gratitude to us for revealing what had also been taunting them for years.

Bec and Lois Creative bloggers
Lois Kilmartin and Rebecca Lewis are Ipswich-based artists and much, much more! Both ladies love Ipswich and are strong champions of the local artist’s community. Follow their discoveries via Instagram @lois_kilmartin @littlebrowndog

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