FANTASTIC LINK: Knights life member Ross Hallett has produced a special emblem memorabilia board commemorating the fascinating history of Ipswich soccer.
FANTASTIC LINK: Knights life member Ross Hallett has produced a special emblem memorabilia board commemorating the fascinating history of Ipswich soccer. Rob Williams

How Ipswich's fascinating football history is being saved

DEDICATED Ipswich football historian Ross Hallett has never shied away from a challenge.

His fantastic research has uncovered some fascinating moments in the city's sporting history, shared through special reunions and annual Ipswich Knights, Coalstars and St Helen's events.

However, in a year the Encyclopedia of Socceroos was launched in Ipswich, Hallett has completed another magnificent football project now on show at the Ipswich Knights clubhouse at Bundamba.

Although the Knights have been playing for 20 years, their history dates back 130 years.

Hallett has created a custom framed mural of emblems tracing the evolution of Ipswich soccer from its famous early clubs Dinmore Bush Rats (1888-1962), Blackstone Rovers (1888-1963) and Bundamba Rangers (1894-1963), through to the merger between St Helens United (1910-1997) and Coalstars (1964-1997) to form the current Ipswich Knights.

"We just needed something to tie it (precious history) all in together and just show how much history and how much tradition there is down there and now with the Ipswich Knights,'' Hallett said.

"It's come up really good.

"It all links in to the top where the Ipswich Knights are.

"It's just like a family tree.''


Ipswich Knights life member Ross Hallett has produced a special emblem memorabilia board commemorating the history of the soccer club.
The special mural in the Ipswich Knights clubhouse. Rob Williams

Hallett hopes the well-presented mural in the Knights foyer allows other people to see our football origins.

Ipswich has been a pioneer city in football, remaining in top-tier Brisbane competitions for decades, winning multiple premierships and trophies like the Ampol Cup along the way.

Hallett said the Redbank Seekers (1910-62) and Redbank Dinmore United (1963-66) clubs also contributed to Ipswich's valuable football history.

Amalgamations occurred in the 1960's to ensure Ipswich soccer's survival in the top Brisbane competitions.

The Bush Rats and Redbank Seekers joined to form Redbank Dinmore United.

Blackstone Rovers and Bundamba Rangers merged to become Coalstars Football Club.

Coalstars and St Helens United/Ipswich United represented the city for more than 30 years before joining forces to form the Ipswich Knights in 1997.

That's why the Knights mural is so valuable to the city.

"Many months of research has provided an accurate account of each club's achievements, home ground, colours, club emblems and how they became linked together to become the Ipswich Knights,'' Hallett said.

"This rich and colourful history needed to be recorded now, so it is not forgotten and to be admired by future generations.

"There are very few sporting clubs with such a rich and colourful history as the Ipswich Knights.''

Hallett played junior football for Bundamba Rangers before joining the Coalstars under-18 team in 1964. The halfback progressed into senior ranks over the next decade, becoming Coalstars president from 1995-97. He received Coalstars life membership in 1978.

Hallett said his next major project was finishing an "Ipswich Internationals'' honour board he hopes to have completed before next season.

In his latest extensive research, Hallett acknowledged and appreciated assistance from authors Andrew Robinson, Ted O'Loughlin, Reg Erskine and the support of the Queensland Football History Project.

Hallett said O'Loughlin provided some exceptional material from the early years of football when information was hard to get.

"That was a tremendous help,'' Hallett said. "I got right back to the beginning, 1888 and 1886.''

Hallett also thanked Simon Boegheim, Nev Cruichanks, John Roderick and Michelle Sawyers for their contribution; and Trevor Murphy, of Magical Memorabilia, for the finished display.

Valuable information to enhance city heritage

IPSWICH'S proud representative successes were showcased in the Encyclopedia of Socceroos presentation at the North Ipswich Corporate Centre in late May this year.

Research from author Andrew Howe showed at least 49 Australian male and female footballers have played for Ipswich clubs. They feature well-known Ipswich footballing families like the Gibbs, Kitchings, Rules and Lawries.

Socceroo number one Alex Gibb was Australia's inaugural captain in 1922.

"Ipswich per head (of population) has the highest Socceroos representation of any region in the country, mostly from the early days - those important foundation years,'' Howe said during his visit to Ipswich.

However, Hallett wants to explore three more fascinating pieces of history as he looks to expand on Ipswich's list of national representatives.

He asked if anyone knew about M. Shanks, what his Christian name was, after he played against New Zealand in 1933.

Hallett is also seeking more information on Les McCrea and Duncan McKenna Snr, specifically if they played for Australia and when.

Anyone who can help Ross can contact him on 0447 167 530.