HISTORIC: The Christian Brothers school, St Mary's Catholic Church, The Christian Brothers Presbytery, The Convent (upper right) and the Ipswich Bath House.
HISTORIC: The Christian Brothers school, St Mary's Catholic Church, The Christian Brothers Presbytery, The Convent (upper right) and the Ipswich Bath House.

St Mary's grandeur thanks in part to parishioners and priest

THE foundation stone of the present St Mary's Church in Ipswich was laid on October 28, 1900, by the Archbishop of Brisbane, Reverend Robert Dunne D.D.

It wasn't until 1904 that the church was completed.

There had been a previous church but it became too small as the Catholic population increased.

The parish priest of the time, Andrew Horan, after long and mature deliberation, decided there was no way out of the difficulty. Later on, he went on to build a new and much larger church.

As mentioned, the foundation stone of the new church was laid on October 28, 1900, and was placed under the first pillar next to the altar on the eastern side of the church.

Operations began soon afterwards by quarrying stone in Goodna for the base.

MAJESTIC: St Mary's Roman Catholic Church Ipswich after its completion in the early 1900s.

In May 1901, the levelling of the ground and the digging of the trenches for the foundations started.

The foundations were sunk in rock everywhere to a depth of 4.26m in places. All the foundations were made of concrete. There were two lines of steel rails and were normally used on railways and fishplated and bolted together at every joint and bedded in concrete.

This church, which could seat 3000 people, was 142.62m long and 21.21m wide.

It was built in the Gothic style.

The church featured two rows of white pillars - eight on each side supporting the nave wall.

The windows were a special feature of the building, with there being eight on each side.

Two towers were incorporated into the design.

Father Horan had been undecided as to the building of these towers.

His objection with them was the difficulty in finding money to finish them, but his parishioners told him to commence "without fear of failure” as they would all help him in the undertaking with their last shilling.

They pressed him to build the towers as the church would look nothing without them.

The parishioners assured Father Horan that "they would sell not only their coats but the very shirts off their backs to pay for the towers”.

The class of stonework adopted was very costly. It was all chiselled or punched on the face throughout.

When finished, St Mary's New Church would undoubtedly be one of the finest ecclesiastical buildings in Queensland.

It wasn't until October 2, 1904, that the church was officially opened by Patrick Francis Cardinal Moran of Sydney.

St Mary's was described as a cathedral in its appointments and proportions and was the same design and size as the Catholic Cathedral in Rockhampton.

BUS COMPANY

By September 1998, the Amberley-Rosewood Bus Company had been operating in Ipswich for 60 years.

The business began life as a one-bus service to the One Mile before extending its service to Amberley when World War II broke out (1939-1945).

Back then, Tom Berry, who worked with the company as a driver and motor mechanic, said a bus cost just 1600 pounds and was very primitive with seats set around the walls.

In the early 1950s, the business merged with the Ipswich Bus Service and became a company.

The owner of the company in 1998 was Mr Berry who, with his wife June, turned the business into a family affair - two sons and a son-in-law drove the buses while their daughter was in the office.

By 1998, the Amberley Rosewood Bus Company had 11 buses and specialised in school runs, shopping tours, day charters and extended tours. Its modern coaches ranged in size from a 49-seater to a 61-seater. One of the newer buses was a five-door coach with seat belts, air-conditioning, TV and toilet equipment.

MURPHY'S TOWN PUB

In September 1998, customer service was a high priority at Murphy's Town Pub, Union St, Ipswich.

Debbie and Wayne McLachlan, "mine hosts'' at that time, had operated hotels in Ipswich for 18 years and their idea of listening to what customers wanted was part of their successful business.

Both Debbie and Wayne worked in the hotel were told years earlier that "a successful business owner needs to get out of the office and be among their customers”.

In 1998, Murphy's Town Pub had food available most of the day in their cafe-bistro areas and this was served in Murphy's Sidewalk Function and Laneway sections.

Upstairs, there were rooms which were offered for long term accommodation from $55 to $85 a week.

Debbie said: "Murphy's Town Pub is a small place where we all work together to put customers first.''