Newspaper article The Queensland Times (Ipswich, Australia)

How Liquid Gold Flowed through New City

Newspaper article The Queensland Times (Ipswich, Australia)

How Liquid Gold Flowed through New City

Article excerpt


with Beryl Johnston


TENDERS were called in June 1876 for work in connection with the Ipswich Water Supply, consisting of a service reservoir, well, tunnel and breastwork at the pumping station.

All metal work for the project was being ordered from England and Mr Highfields, the superintendent, hoped to have water laid on in Ipswich by July 1877.

It was sometime in 1876 that the tender of Mr J T Biggs was accepted. His quote was for 3175 pounds 5 shillings. The highest quote was 5970 pounds.

The Ipswich Waterworks was well on the way to becoming a reality in October 1876. A reservoir, when completed, would be 100ft long, 50ft deep and capable of holding 377,000 gallons of water.

At the construction site there was a wheelwright's and blacksmith's shop, stables, stores and a brickfield. Some 30,000 bricks had been made and men were building a kiln in which to burn them. A short distance away was a quarry where stone needed for the works could be obtained.

By June 7, 1878 it was reported water had been introduced into Ipswich. One of the fire plugs near the locomotive stores at North Ipswich was opened and a stand pipe inserted. After a while water bubbled and gushed forth with great force. A hose was then attached and the water sent to mid-air.

Even though some water pipes were laid down by June 1878, there was not enough water to cope with a fire in July 1878.

In 1879, Ipswich Municipal Council decided to levy a separate rate to be called a water rate and charges were to be 5% for business premises, 5% for business premises with a residence combined, 7.5% for private residences and only 10% on the assessed annual value thereof, with breweries, foundries, mills, factories, bakers, butchers and other businesses to be subject to special rates.

The formal opening of the Ipswich waterworks took place on February 13, 1879. His Excellency the Governor Sir Arthur Edward Kennedy smashed a bottle of champagne on the flywheel of the engine and name it "Millie Francis" after the youngest daughter of the Mayor of Ipswich Josiah Francis. …

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