WELL-KNOWN: Diamantina Roma was the wife of the first governor of Queensland, Sir George Ferguson Bowen.
WELL-KNOWN: Diamantina Roma was the wife of the first governor of Queensland, Sir George Ferguson Bowen. beryl

Greek nobility's role in opening of state rail line

SOME of the facts regarding the early history of the establishment of Australia are very interesting - here are just a few of them.

1. In 1825, Australia was divided into only two sections. The title of New South Wales was given to almost three quarters of it with the other quarter unnamed part becomingWestern Australia.

2. It wasn't until 1859 that there were five states: Western Australia, Victoria, South Australia, Queensland, and New South Wales which still had control over today's Northern Territory. By 1911, these states had the addition of the ACT.

3. In 1894, South Australian women won the right to vote and stand for parliament and the first Australian woman to stand as a political candidate was Catherine Helen Spence. She sought election as a delegate for the Constitution Convention of 1897. Her contribution to our history was commemorated by having her face and name appear on an earlier Australian $5 note.

4. At the time of Federation (1901), the Northern Territory was part of South Australia and its major city was known as Palmerstone. It is now Darwin.

5. The first Commonwealth Parliament was opened on May 9, 1901, in fact parliament sat in Melbourne until 1927 when Canberra was established.

6. In Queensland, a milestone was attained by the Salvation Army when it made a feature film called Soldiers of the Cross. It was four hours in length and was probably the first story film ever screened (1901)

7. The Australian tennis championship in 1901 was played and Dwight F. Davis, an American tennis player who donated a trophy, which was the commencement of the Davis Cup.

8. In 1902, the Pacific submarine telegraphic cable from Southport Queensland to Vancouver Canada opened and established transpacific communications.


Lady Bowen, wife of Sir George Ferguson Bowen, the first governor of Queensland performed the ceremony of turning the first sod for the commencement of the first Queensland Line from Ipswich to Bigg's Camp (Grandchester) on February 25, 1864.

Lady Bowen was a member of the Greek nobility. Her maiden name was Diamantina Roma and both her Christian and surname survive in the geography of Queensland's "Roma” as the name of a Western town in "Diamantina” as the name of a Western river.


At the Ipswich Railway Workshops, it was reported: "Every day a knock-off time, hundreds of machinist, forgers and tradesmen stampede to the exit gate.” The Workshops up until 1988 had produced 218 locomotives, manufactured munition during World Wars I and II and gun barrels and forgings for horse power marine engines and aided two famous aviators (Ross and Keith Smith) in a historic flight.


The original name of the Spring Bluff railway station was "Main Range Station” the reason being it was the main crossing station and watering station for the steam locomotives.

Due to the abundant water supply and suitability of the gradient. The name was then changed to Spring Bluff in the early 1870s due to the natural springs running beside the station and the bluff or cliff at Shannon Park Guest House on top of the hill to the right of the station.


The opening of the railway line to Tweed Heads in 1903 made Coolangatta and Tweed Heads easily accessible for the people of Brisbane and Ipswich.

In those days, most people camped and the railways made special carriages available to carry the tents and camping gear. Perhaps the greatest number of campers were from the Ipswich Railway Workshops and the coalmines. They were a great bunch of people, who always stuck together and never caused any problems. They were proud of their area, looked after each other and allowed no bad behaviour.

It was often considered that the people of Ipswich were the people who commenced the tourist trade in the twin towns, unfortunately the closing of this railway line in 1961 saw a decline in holidaymakers.


Two carriages of Queensland Dental Service had trial runs from the Ipswich Workshops in March 1950 and on board was the latest in dental equipment.

In the carriages were two dental surgeries (one for adults and one for children) a dinette, bunks, and showers. At one end of the first carriage was a garage for the clinic panel van.

The unit was listed as school dental clinic No.4 and was to be in charge by Mr and Mrs K Blain who would make the carriages their headquarters and the van their transport in visit to outback areas.