WELL KNOWN: Edward Augustus Bullmore.
WELL KNOWN: Edward Augustus Bullmore. beryl

When the Bremer teemed with life

YES, Ipswich was a very busy town when Sir George Ferguson Bowen conferred the name of "Modern Athens" upon the settlement on the north and south sides of the Bremer River - perhaps he was having a sly joke with his handsome and somewhat despondent wife who came from the "Isles of Greece" and summed up everything colonial in her favourite word "hejous" (hideous).

In earlier days, if you wanted to visit Ipswich or rather if business took you that way, you would probably have had to rise at 3am to catch the tide and the ships Bremer the Ipswich or the Settler would have taken you leisurely up the Bremer River to your destination in five or six hours.

If you had undergone previous experiences, you would have donned your travelling garb the night before, secured yourself from nightly visitations of lizards, cockroaches, mosquitoes and spiders by sitting under a well tucked-in net, and have sat in state and patiently waited for the first screeching whistle of the steamboat. Brisbane teemed with pest in those days and flies rose in myriads with the sun.

At the first shrill whistle, you would have been on your feet, have snatched up all your portable property and rushed for the wharf. There was no one to do anything for you, no cabs, no drays and most of the men were buttoning on their collars or pulling on their coats as they rushed pell-mell on the boat.

Crowds of passengers, two or three women perhaps, the rest businessmen, occasionally a theatrical troupe, and everyone very grumbly at getting up so early in the morning. The passengers settle down once breakfast were served. This included think slices of ham with poached eggs and fried steak and tea in the company's huge cups.

The river journey was always hot, the air seemed on the water in the early morning and the breeze only came up in the middle of the day and the heat was far worse further up the river where the dense scrubs and vines came down to the banks.

As you continued up the river, the water snakes would lift their heads and the turtles dived into the water, and the ducks rose and flew ahead to another bend of the river.


The death of Mr Edward Augustus Bullmore at his residence "Rockton" East Ipswich was recorded in The Queensland Times on July 27, 1892.

Mr Bullmore left England in 1853 landed in the State of Victoria, worked in New South Wales and the Warrego district and was one of the pioneers who pulled through the drought of 1868.

It was then he came to live in Ipswich, where he entered the saw milling business with Messrs A.W. Darvall and John Byrne and they established the Riverbank Sawmill. Later he owned Trelawny where he became interested in dairying and erected a large butter and cheese factory.

During his time in Ipswich, he had been appointed a justice of the peace and for some years held the position of Presidents of the Queensland Pastoral and Agricultural Society of the Ipswich Hospital of which he became a life member and the Grammar School Trust, while he was also chairmen of directories of a financial institution on Brisbane. He was twice a candidate for parliamentary honours.

In all his dealing, Mr Bullmore proved himself to be a thoroughly honest and straightforward man.

He left behind his widow, one son and five daughters.


Ipswich in the 1860s was a very busy place as far as the river traffic was concerned and all the material for the construction of the Southern and Western railway line came from Brisbane to Ipswich by various ships and Ipswich was gazetted a port on September 29, 1860.

For a time, some of the boats which plied the Brisbane and Bremer rivers were - large vessels of light draft, one of them being the "Emu (170ft long) smaller steaming craft, punts, schooners and paddle wheelers.

The Platypus steamer (in pieces) was brought from England in the hull of the Emu. Another of the ships The Settler could convey 300 bales of wool from Ipswich to Brisbane.