FLORAL HOMAGE: The three flowers being considered as the City emblem in 1996 - The Plunkett Mallee, the Barklaya and the Diamond leaved Pittosporum.
FLORAL HOMAGE: The three flowers being considered as the City emblem in 1996 - The Plunkett Mallee, the Barklaya and the Diamond leaved Pittosporum.

City's floral emblems bloom

THE Queensland Times in 1987 told the story of the need for Ipswich to have its own floral motif.

This was suggested in mid 1930 when Mr MP Campbell of Bowen Hills addressed the Ipswich Rotary Club and it passed on the suggestion to the Horticultural Society.

A committee was formed that included Mayor O. Perry, Mr F. W. Turley, parks curator, and Mr A. Buchart. These men decided that the choice of the floral emblem should be made by Ipswichians, so nominations were called. These brought forth a list of 26 plants that included hibiscus, bauhinia, bottle brush, francesca, larger stomemia, flame tree, oleander, rose and jacaranda.

Bougainvillea started a clear favourite and proved the most popular with more than 63 perc ent of the votes. Hibiscus was the second choice. Three of the most popular of the plants were "Turley's Pride", Alex Buchart and Mrs O. Perry.

After the winning emblem was declared, the committee next considered what could be done to publicise it, and Christmas cards were nominated. This idea seems to have been taken up by The Queensland Times director Hugh Parkinson, who sent out his personal cards with purple bougainvillea on the front.

"Ipswich with the many attractions that exist in the city and immediate neighbourhood might be made a tourist city with its charms enhanced by a display of the emblem blazing for the last few miles into the city from various directions," the committee said.

When Limestone Hill was beautified with relief work during the Depression years, the entry into Ipswich was planted with the chosen plant.


AN ENDANGERED flowering native, easily grown throughout Ipswich was chosen as the city's new floral emblem in 1996. It was the eucalyptus curtissii commonly known as plunkett mallee, a rare tree growing 6-10m high.

Environment, Parks and Gardens committee chairman Cr Gerard Pender said plunket mallee was chosen after careful consideration by council, input from the committee, local conservation and environment groups and Ipswich residents.

Cr Pender said the plunkett mallee met the following criteria:

  • A small tree that would suit most growth regions.
  • Prolific flowers
  • Reproduce well through seed
  • Can be grown singularly or a clump and
  • Is an endangered species in Southeast Queensland.

The tree was classified as rare because it occurred in a small, scattered population in only a few areas of Southeast Queensland.


RECENTLY, I came across an article that brought a different picture of the showgrounds use in the 1940s. In 1941 a contingent from the 6th Casualty Clearing Station arrived by train at Ipswich and they immediately marched straight to the showgrounds. As World War II was coming closer to our shores we needed army medical personnel to train for what was expected to eventuate from the coming conflict.

The head of the medical unit, Col Power required a training area outside Brisbane, and held discussions with the Ipswich Hospital superintendent Dr Trumpy and they chose the Ipswich showgrounds as a suitable location.

Changes of course, had to be made to the buildings already on site and these included the main pavilion becoming an orderly room, pharmacy, line store, quartermasters store and canteen. The general quartermasters' stores for tool and other supplies were placed in the dog and poultry pavilions and the refreshment rooms became the sergeants' mess and men's recreation room.

Housed in the nearby Sandy Gallop golf clubhouse was the army nursing service, and tents were erected on the putting green for volunteers the VAD's.

Operating facilities were solved by setting up a theatre, X-ray unit and post-operative ward at the Sandy Gallop asylum. An air-raid shelter for nursing sisters was a converted old tank and slit trenches were dug near the grandstand.

Most of the medical work done by the showground unit was minor surgery for recruits.