Featured Programs
Local History Librarian in Residence

Want to learn more about Ipswich’s history? Looking to solve a local or family mystery?

Come join the resident Local history Librarian in the Ipswich History Room to discover some hidden gems or research your own Ipswich roots.

April 17, 2024
Researching Your War Connections

Explore a range of resources including the Australian War Memorial and the National Archives of Australia and uncover your family’s service history.

May 1, 2024
House History – Getting Started

Are you curious about the history of your house?
This workshop will show you how to get started in your journey to discover who previously lived at your house.

May 15, 2024
First Connections: Researching Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Family History

Learn how to access guides and resources exploring First Nations ancestry.

June 5, 2024
New on Picture Ipswich

Picture Ipswich is constantly growing. Discover what is new in the collection and how you might be able to use the archive for your family history research.

June 19, 2024
VR: Trekking Your Roots

Immerse yourself in history and culture with the power of virtual reality and 360° Photography.

Resources and Local History Information
Microfiche & Microfilm

Historical information from a variety of sources can be viewed on microfiche.

Microfiche & Microfilm

Historical information from a variety of sources can be viewed on microfiche.

Popular microfiche include – Queensland Immigration index, Post Office Directories and Queensland Births, Deaths and Marriages.

Picture Ipswich

Explore our collection of historical images, interviews and books of Ipswich.

Local History Stories

Stories detailing some of the people, places and events of Ipswich’s past.


Explore defining moments in Ipswich’s history – the events, people and places of significance that made our city.


The European history of Ipswich began with the exploration of the Bremer River in 1827 by Captain Patrick Logan, the commandant of the convict settlement at Brisbane. He discovered hills of limestone along the banks of the Bremer, and in the following year, sent an overseer and five convicts to quarry limestone and erect a lime-burning kiln. This settlement was known as Limestone Station. The convict period began in 1827 and lasted for fifteen years. It was initially little more than a convict camp for supplying lime and sheep for Brisbane’s needs. However, in 1842 a site for a town was surveyed.

In 1842, following the opening up of the region to free settlement, Limestone Station was transformed into a town and the following year it was renamed Ipswich. Being at the intersection of routes to the Darling Downs and Upper Brisbane Valley gave Ipswich strategic significance and for a time townspeople and graziers alike hoped that it would become the capital port on the river. However after Queensland separated from New South Wales, Brisbane leapt ahead and became the new state’s capital city.

While the colony of Queensland was struggling for independence, so too was the fledgling settlement of Ipswich, which gained municipal status in 1860. In the early 1860s, the first railway line in Queensland began construction and by 1865 the line from Ipswich to Bigge’s Camp (later known as Grandchester) was officially opened. However, it was another decade before the line between Ipswich and Brisbane was completed. But for the shortage of cotton during the American Civil War, the town might have been seriously hindered, due to droughts, floods, high unemployment and depression which the people of Ipswich faced in the late 1860s.

Because of the demand for local produce and manufacturers, Ipswich was commercially buoyant by the end of the 1870s and enjoyed prosperity during the boom of the 1880s. As coal was required for the increasing number of steam engines employed in boats, trains, mills and works, there was a remarkable growth of mining to the north and east of the town from the mid-1870s onwards, swelling the population of the Ipswich area.

By the 1870s, however, America had regained its economic impetus, so that local farmers turned increasingly to dairy farming. In 1893 floods and severe economic depression were once again having a serious effect on the Ipswich area. Nevertheless, Ipswich was partially insulated by its diversified economy.

Family History and Heritage

Discover more about your family history and the heritage of our city.

Local History Rooms

The Local History Rooms contain extensive resources to assist with local and family history research.

Local History Rooms

The Local History Rooms at Ipswich Central and Rosewood Libraries contain extensive resources to assist with local and family history research.

The purpose of the Local History Rooms is to ensure the preservation of information and resources specifically related to the history of Ipswich and the surrounding region for present and future generations.

Picturing Your Past

Join us at the Ipswich Children’s Library, Springfield Central Library, Redbank Plains Library, and Rosewood Library as we showcase the fascinating history of Ipswich!


Search the Ipswich Libraries website or online catalogue