The Soldiers’ Memorial Hall, located in Nicholas Street, dates from 1921 and remains an imposing building and landmark in the Ipswich streetscape. The impetus for the building came from the newly formed RSL, towards the end of the First World War, when it argued for a building to act as a recreation hall and a war memorial. The funding for the building, costing some ₤12,000, came from the Queensland government, the Ipswich City Council, the local Patriotic Committee as well as through the fund raising efforts of the local community.
The building was designed by George Brockwell Gill and built by F.J. Lye. Soon after the building’s completion, a memorial window was commissioned for the second floor, being designed by William Bustard and unveiled in November, 1922. This memorial window was removed to the new RSL building when it was opened in North Ipswich in 1979. There is a memorial chamber located just inside the front entrance which holds the original marble World War One memorial as well as a series of timber honour boards for those honoured in later wars
This photograph shows the actual opening of the building by the Governor of Queensland, Sir Matthew Nathan on 26 November, 1921. The foundation stone had previously been laid by General Sir W.R. Birdwood on 4 May 1920. It is interesting to note the prominent positions of the flags of the Allies, including the French and American flags as well as the large crowd in attendance. The hall is still the focal point for Anzac Day celebrations and, in acknowledgement of its historical importance to Ipswich, it is listed on the Queensland Heritage Register.
Brian Randall – Queensland Places Coordinator, State Library of Queensland