The first Ipswich Railway Station was built in Lower Ellenborough Street as the terminus of the first railway line in Queensland.
This first line linked Ipswich to Bigge’s Camp, later to be renamed Grandchester, and was officially opened on 31 July 1865. The building was constructed in iron and wood, by J. and R Fisher of Westminster, England and was a beautiful and ornate structure with its wide verandah supported on cast iron columns and additional columns supporting the roof.
This photograph, taken only a few years after its construction, shows the station building largely intact and still true to its original design, with lattice work features, wide balcony and attractive roofline. The man standing rather casually at the front of the station is possibly a station attendant and a couple of carriages stand waiting for the engine. Within a few years, additions and alterations to the building were changing its general appearance. These included a floor being added within the space over the actual railway line and a new stairway built to provide access.
The coming of the railway transformed life in Ipswich as it would other centres in Queensland, as the network expanded. The fact that this first line was constructed in Ipswich demonstrates the important position that Ipswich held in Queensland at the time, a position strengthened by the strong pastoral representation in the early Queensland Parliament.
Brian Randall – Queensland Places Coordinator, State Library of Queensland