CLASSIC: The Fairlie Patent Double-bogie tank engine was used on the Queensland railways in 1876.
CLASSIC: The Fairlie Patent Double-bogie tank engine was used on the Queensland railways in 1876. Contributed

Times Past: Discovery was the spark coal industry needed

THE existence of coal on the banks of the Bremer River was discovered about 1837, although the first record of coal being found dated back to 1827.

Captain Patrick Logan, commandant of the Moreton Bay penal settlement, discovered lime on the Limestone Hills, as well as coal above and below the homestead station.

He also found lime on the banks of creeks dipping to the Bremer river and in the bed of the river itself.

In 1846 it was recorded that: "A seam of coal was opened at Redbank on the banks of the Brisbane River it was alleged, by John Williams.

This area had been previously discovered by both Alan Cunningham and Andrew Petrie, who found the coal extended over a large area of country all the way in the direction of Pine Mountain, about 12 miles north of Ipswich.

Some three years later the first detailed table of exports from Moreton Bay for the six months ending March 31, 1849 stated that 210 tonnes of coal at the value of 94 pounds 10 shillings was sent away.

Another coal mine on the western bank of the Bremer River just a short distance from Ipswich was also noted as having been opened by Messrs Reed and Boyland. Later this mine was subsequently known as Ferrets coal mine situated at Woodend.

One man who was employed by the New South Wales Government to report on the coal fields around Limestone (Ipswich) was Mr Samuel Stutchbury FGS who worked from 1853 until 1855 in the southern portions of what is now Queensland surveying a wide area reporting the many places where coal was evident.


"RED Gum" (T J Barker) recalled on 1913 having had a brief glance at a book of reminiscences published by David C McConnell entitled "Memories of Days Long gone by".

David McConnell her husband decided to visit Cressbrook a station he had established in the early 1840's near Toogoolawah and who had planted a Bunya tree which later became known as "grandfather's tree".

Mrs McConnell in describing the journey said they had passed through Ipswich and that when approaching Cressbrook they were met by the "Super" (manager) Appin Cameron a big burly Scotchman, who, with the men gave the group a great cheer and a hearty welcome and insisted on drawing their carriage to the house themselves.

This was Mrs McConnell's first appearance at Cressbrook as Mr McConnell's wife they having been married prior to the departure of the ship "Chasely from the old country.


Mr Henry Horniblow probably had the longest connection with the new railway in Queensland of any person, as it was on June 28, 1864 that he was engaged in London by Sir Charles Fox for work in Queensland. He commenced his association with the first railway built in Queensland on November 5, 1864.

Mr Horniblow as born and educated in England and he decided to pursue his inclination for the engineering profession.

When he arrived in Queensland no section of the railway had been opened and he assisted to erect the first engines used to ballast the section of rail line between Ipswich and Grandchester which was opened some 8 months later.

In November 1869 Mr Horniblow was appointed locomotive foreman at Toowoomba, but returned to Ipswich as foreman 8 years later. Then by 1876 he was promoted to the position of locomotive superintendent of the Southern and Western division.

Mr Horniblow in 1883 was appointed Locomotive Engineer of all Queensland Railways and transferred to Brisbane. During his time there practically all the rolling stock and locomotives were built from drawings and specifications prepared under his supervision. He held this position until 1899 when a new position was granted and Mr Horniblow became Chief Mechanical Engineer.

His death was recorded as being in February 1910.


An advertisement by the Department of Public Instruction Orphanage Office Brisbane in 1886 read "the Orphanage Department invites applications from saddlers, tailors, shoemakers, blacksmith and other tradesmen in country town for boys 12 years and over to be instructed as apprentices under the provision of "The Orphanages Act of 1879".

The notice as signed by Charles C Horrocks, Inspector of Orphanages.