2023 Annual National Conference – Ipswich

Digging into the past – above and below the Limestone Hill

43rd annual conference: Ipswich ― 29 September to 1 October 2023

The City of Ipswich (Tulmur in the Yagara language) is in sub-tropical south-east Queensland about 40 km inland from Brisbane. In the 19th and 20th centuries Ipswich was a coal mining and industrial town. The wealth this brought can be seen in the city’s fine public buildings, houses and gardens.

In 1827 Europeans found limestone on the Bremer River and a small party of convicts was sent to make lime for mortar. The settlement was initially known as Limestone Hills, then Limestone before being named Ipswich after the English town in 1843. The geological riches of coal were key to Ipswich’s history and its fortunes. The early thriving industrial base led to construction of Queensland’s first railway line and the immense Railway Workshops.

Ipswich was built on the floodplain of the Bremer River. This contributed to Ipswich’s mixed fortunes. The river was entirely navigable to Brisbane but has regularly flooded, the first and worst recorded flood of the modern era being in 1893.

See ‘Landscapes evolution: Ipswich and environs’ by Jane Lennon,  AGH vol. 34 no. 4 April 2023.

Themes of the conference

      • The evolution of the landscape and its geology
      • Responding to the river
      • The beauty and diversity of original landscape
      • Gardening and cultural landscapes in the sub-tropics within in an industrial city – remnants of early public gardens and the challenges of climate.

Click here to access the conference brochure.

Recordings of the lectures can be viewed at:

Visits around Ipswich

Delegates visited several private gardens and Queens Park Gardens (built 1864‑1960).

Fern House in Queens Park.
photo: Francesca Beddie

A reception was hosted by the Ipswich Art Gallery and the conference dinner took place at the Ipswich Railway Workshops.

Ipswich Art Gallery (left), conference dinner (right).
photos: Francesca Beddie

Student scholarships

Thanks to an anonymous donation, three students were sponsored to attend the conference.

Ipswich Mayor Teresa Harding with Tegan Hall, Hana Nara, Joel Jeffreys, landscape architecture students from Queensland University Technology who attended the 2023 National Conference.