Madeline Stuart strutted her stuff on the catwalk at New York Fashion Week.
Madeline Stuart strutted her stuff on the catwalk at New York Fashion Week. SUPPLIED

YEAR IN REVIEW: Our top stories

A LOOK back at what made news in August last year.


Robelle Lagoon ready to go

August 29: FOLLOWING a lengthy construction phase, the enormous Robelle Lagoon is tested and ready to open in time for the start of spring.

The $10.3 million lagoon was part of stage 2 works for Robelle Domain and took 17 months to build.

Proving hugely popular since it opened in September, the lagoon ranges in depth from zero to one metre and covers 4700 sqm.

Just prior to opening, city parks spokesman David Morrison rightly predicted that the lagoon would be a major drawcard, even for those from outside Ipswich.

"The lagoon will attract many people to the area for the first time, which will also be of benefit to the local shops," he said.

Lifeguards are on duty and a large number of security cameras are monitored via Safe City to ensure the safety of lagoon users, especially children.


Ripley breaks all the records

August 26: RIPLEY asserted itself as the fastest growing community in south-east Queensland with the suburb's largest developer recording $4 million worth of residential land sales in one weekend.

Providence director Michael Khan announced the record sales in August, achieved during the new estate's HomeExpo.

"Sales totalling $4 million were made in just 48 hours during the Providence Home Expo opening weekend indicating that affordable, high quality house and land packages in close proximity to major centres are what buyers are after," Mr Khan said.

With 3000 people through the gates during the weekend, Providence broke a record for opening weekend numbers.

"Not only are we the largest display village to open this year in south-east Queensland, this was by far the most successful property event in the region for 2015," Mr Khan said.

The HomeExpo launched the display village of 24 new home designs from nine of the country's top builders.


St Andrew's expansion gets the tick

August 25: ST ANDREW'S Hospital was set to double its bed capacity as part of a multi-million dollar expansion project.

The private Ipswich hospital will double in size and provide increased health care to the region after Ipswich City Council approved a development application.

The DA was funded by Ramsay Health Care whose board now just has to tick off on the final plans and funding of the project.

Planning and Development spokesman Cr Paul Tully said the expansion would allow for a timely and significant boost in services for residents with Ipswich set to close in on a population of 200,000 in the next few years.

"This development ensures as the population of Ipswich grows, our health services are growing and keeping pace with demand," Cr Tully said.

"We have exceeded a population of 190,000 and Ipswich is on track to exceed 200,000 in the next two years.

"This is a good complement to the Mater Hospital that will be opened in the eastern end of the city at Springfield Central later this year."

Cr Tully said St Andrew's Hospital had cared for patients since 1909, with dramatic changes in its 100-year existence seeing it now boast a 97-bed facility.

He said the proposed development would include significant internal changes to the existing hospital building at 12 Roderick Street and two new four-storey buildings at 43 and 45 Thorn Street.

"This 7,714m2 development will bring 99 extra ward beds, more single rooms, refitted hospital departments, a new hospital entry courtyard and lobby with pedestrian entries from both Pring and Thorn Sts and an emergency department with ambulance access from Pring St," he said.


Indigenous group says development site is on burial ground

August 14: A PROPOSED residential development on the Deebing Creek Mission site angered local Aboriginal families, who said houses and children's play areas would be built over sacred burial sites.

Major property group Australand lodged plans with Ipswich City Council in November, 2014, for close to 600 homes on the heritage listed site.

The site began as a mission in 1887 and operated until 1915 when the mission was relocated to Purga.

It was gazetted for Aboriginal purposes from 1892 to 1948 and then used for grazing where it was transferred into private ownership.

An intact brick well, historic plantings and a cemetery are noted in the Queensland Heritage Register listing of the site.

Current land owner Daryll Kelly lodged a proposal for a residential development under Deebing Developments in 2008, which received preliminary approval from council for further detailed investigations and cultural assessment and has not progressed.

The land has since been recognised as a priority area for future residential development by the State Government under the Ripley Valley Development Scheme and is surrounded by residential estates including Stockland's Sovereign Pocket and the recently approved Paradise Waters and other large lot estates along Grampian Drive also approved for development.

A group of 20 Aboriginal people representing the Yuggera, Ugarapul and Waka Waka people, who said their ancestors were buried on the site, gathered at the former mission to protest the proposal.

They said authorities had confused the mission's cemetery with the site where the headstone of the mission's teacher was erected in the 1890s.

Roberta Graham said the authorities did not consult all the traditional owners when they sold the land and on the proposed development plans.

"It is a very significant site," Mrs Graham said.

"It's a spiritual site to us. This is our identity here. My great-great-great grandfather is buried here. There's a lot of history. We want to preserve it."


Special model hits Big Apple

August 20: LOOK out, world, Madeline Stuart is coming.

In August last year the QT reported that the Mount Crosby teen, who was born with Down syndrome, would be living every model's dream when she strutted her stuff on the catwalk at New York Fashion Week.

Since launching her Facebook page last May, Madeline has gone viral on social media and currently boasts more than 445,000 fans on Facebook and 68,000 Instagram followers.

Since then she has become the face of three major campaigns, modelled at charity events in Australia and the US, has attended red carpet functions and has even had a handbag designed in her honour, with 5% of sales going to the National Down Syndrome Society.

Her mother and manager Rosanne Stuart said she was always confident Maddy would make it to the Big Apple one day.

"I'm not surprised at all. I knew she would walk New York Fashion Week," Ms Stuart said.

"She's super excited and I'm so proud of her.

"She's really come out of her skin and is so confident now.

"In the last two weeks (in America) it's like she has matured five years.

"She is being so professional and it's just amazing to see."


Booval residents in the dark on development

August 8: A DECISION to transfer surplus council land to a private council owned company kept neighbouring residents and other potential developers in the dark on plans for a controversial townhouse development.

Ownership of the former council depot at 23 Nimmo St, Booval, was transferred by council to Ipswich City Developments Enterprises weeks after a developer showed interest in the property.

The change in ownership allowed the former council depot site to be sold to the developer without expressions of interest and without any requirement to advertise the sale.

The development site had also previously been rezoned from a council depot to "Special Opportunity (Booval)" and did not require the developer to notify the community of the residential development plans.

Council-owned Ipswich City Developments Enterprises sold the property to the developer 25 Nimmo Street Pty Ltd.

Neighbouring property owner Bill McCrea said the community was kept in the dark on the townhouses development and had no opportunity to raise their objections.