FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH: A photo of the Baptist Church, Brisbane Street, Ipswich and the Sunday school hall taken in 1910.
FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH: A photo of the Baptist Church, Brisbane Street, Ipswich and the Sunday school hall taken in 1910. Contributed

First Baptist Church in the state

TWO Baptist churches were formed while the whole of the Eastern part of Australia was still known as the state of New South Wales.

But due to renaming part of it as Queensland meant that the Ipswich Baptist Church was the first to be built in the newly named state.

Before the church was built, the first service had been held in a bowling alley in West Street on the last Sunday in June 1859. These had been conducted by the Rev B. G. Wilson of Brisbane.

Rev Wilson with the Rev Thomas Deacon were assisted at this service by the Messrs Kingsford, Hinton and Moore.

In January 1860, the Church was officially formed by the enrolment of seven foundation members namely the Rev Deacon the chosen first pastor, Mrs Deacon, Edmund Gregory, Margaret Gregory Thomas Woolley, Josiah Hinton and Mrs Thomas Towell.

It was Mr Deacon who offered part of his own garden in West Street on which to build a chapel. Later, he gave the whole of his property, house and all, as a bequest for the advantage of the Church.

By 1875, the wooden chapel in West Street was found to be too small as the congregation had increased in number, and a site Brisbane Street was secured. The former property was disposed of and a new brick building built.

Edmund Gregory laid the foundation stone on December 11, 1876. He was presented with a small mallet and trowel at the ceremony, and Mrs Deacon, widow of the Church's first minister, placed a sealed bottle under the building that contained newspapers, a church secretary's report and a church history.

Over its 160 years, the Church had many alterations until again it became too small for its growing congregation. A move was made to a larger building in the Brassall area and this has now become known as the beacon community Church Baptist church.

To celebrate the Ipswich Baptist's great history there is to be an anniversary dinner with three spit roasts at the church on Saturday, June 22 at 5pm. RSVP by Sunday, June 16.

The guest speaker will be Karl Faase.

For more information contact Cecelia Jackson 0402111847 or email


Rev Thomas Deacon was the first pastor of the Ipswich Baptist Church.
Rev Thomas Deacon was the first pastor of the Ipswich Baptist Church. Contributed

Newspaper man enters politics

ALFRED J. Stephenson, mayor of Ipswich in 1907, died at his house "Chermside" in Roderick Street on December 4, 1914, after having contracted malarial fever in May while in the north of Queensland.

He had been born in England in 1846 and had come to Ipswich at the age of 15.

On his arrival here he became an apprentice compositor on the North Australian. Later he joined the Ipswich Herald which became the Queensland Times.

Mr Stephenson was always interested in politics.

He became a member of the legislative assembly in 1896 an alderman of Ipswich City Council in 1902 and mayor of Ipswich in 1907.

In 1915 he was appointed to the legislative assembly -the Queensland upper house.

He was a prominent member of the Ipswich community and served on the Ipswich Hospital Board, the board of trustees of the IGGS, the committee of Ipswich technical college, a director of the Queensland Woollen Manufacturing Company and of the Ipswich and West Moreton building society, a member of Ipswich and West Moreton Cricket Association and a trustee of the North Ipswich reserve.

At the time of his death, Mr Stephenson was chairman of directors of the Queensland Times.


ROSEWOOD township was "practically destroyed by fire" on January 5, 1913.

The fire started at 2am in Fraters Boot Shop and spread rapidly, destroying nine premises in two hours.

Several threatened buildings were saved by volunteer firefighters.

Men mounted the roof of Bulock's shop and a bucket brigade handed buckets of water up to them keeping the front of the premises continually watered.

Wet blankets were also hung over the front walls.

Buildings destroyed were H. Weidt's Rosewood Hotel, the Royal Bank, a Fites confectioner and green grocery, F. B. Tomlin chemist, Pender and Hall auctioneers, Mrs Hohnke's fruiterer and two empty shops owned by J. W. Evans.

The reflection of the fire was seen from the verandah of the Queensland Times building in Ipswich.