LOOKING BACK: Mrs Ginny Johnston wife of James (Jim) Johnston. They and their family were among the early settlers at Redbank Plains.
LOOKING BACK: Mrs Ginny Johnston wife of James (Jim) Johnston. They and their family were among the early settlers at Redbank Plains. beryl

Settlers contribute to wealth of the Ipswich region


ON DECEMBER 12, 1860, the firm of John Campbell, son and "Another” of Redbank, notified stockholders that "having secured the steaming plant lately in the occupation of Joseph Fleming, they will be prepared during the ensuing season to boil down stock at the rate of 150 head of cattle or 1000 sheep daily (Sunday excepted)”.

It further notifies the boiling would be under personal supervision of Mr Campbell. It may be of interest here to give the charges made - boiling cattle 5 shillings and sixpence each, drying and curing, binding and tanning hides 1 shilling and 1 penny, drying and binding skins 1 penny each, cask to cover tallow at 50 shillings a ton.

The "Another” in the firm was captain Robert (Bobby) Towns who, for a while, was one of Australia's most energetic colonists. His connection with the Campbells gave a great impetus to the various industries then being carried on at Redbank.

In the early part of the 1860s, Redbank was the principal coaling centre for the steamers plying on the river between Brisbane and Ipswich - namely the Breadalbane, Black Diamond and Redbank.

The Redbank coal mine afforded much work for miners and there were also sawmills in the area.

Messrs Campbell & Co introduced the system of free education in Queensland by paying the teachers' salary.

The original Redbank Inn was licensed to Michael Hanrahan on March 20, 1864.

In the following year, it was offered for sale by William Hendren who said the hotel was situated on the Brisbane Rd close to Messrs Campbell's coal mine, consisting of 221/2 acres, it was securely enclosed with a three-railed fence.

By September 1865, the hotel was in the hands of William Simpson and this family occupied it for more than 42 years.


An interesting section of a write-up, which appeared in the Queensland Times in the early 1900s, was the following - The Peak Mountain:

"To sketch the important pastoral and agricultural district which is confined between Mount Goolman and Fassifern on the one hand, Dugandan and the watershed of the Bremer River on the other, is a difficult task.

The Ipswich Agricultural reserve, when free selection first became popular in this district, meant the area of land between Harrisville and the Peak Mountain.

Since the early days of immigration and "King Cotton”, successive governments have had occasion to proclaim other agricultural reserves such as Mount Flinders, Fassifern, Dugandan and Normanby.

These reserves include a wide scope of country, now densely studded over with farms and locally known as the Nine Mile, the Middle Road, the Peak Crossing, Nelsons Ridge, Limestone Ridge, the One Eye Waterhole, Dinner Camp, Normanby Gully, Milora, Harrisville, Warril Creek, Churchbank Dunlop and Normanby.

Ipswich was much indebted to the surrounding agricultural reserves in those early days, no matter whether the produce from them was wool, cotton, pigs, poultry, corn, hay, hides, tallow, fruit, vegetables and flowers.

Among the people who contributed to the prosperity of Ipswich were the Wilsons, Messrs Gammie and Cardew of the Peak Mountain, Messrs Cameron, Hardie and the Wieholts of Fassifern, the Thorns of Normanby, graziers Mr Burnett and Messrs Robert Dunn, McGrath, Sealy, Schneider, Kelly Peacock and Rose.

The soil in the area's names ranged from sandy and clay loams to the stiff, black soil, green swamps stony and lime ridges, flats covered with blue and green couch grass and also rich red and chocolate soils.