Medals awarded for brav­ery in 1893 floods

The Queensland Times - - LIFE HISTORY - BERYL JOHN­STON

SEPTEM­BER 23, 1893 was a day of great cel­e­bra­tions in the town of Lowood, mainly be­cause the Gover­nor Sir Henry Wylie Nor­man was there to present Royal Hu­mane So­ci­ety Medals to Ma­jor J.F. Flewell Smith, Pri­vate Mal­colm Smith, Sgt. Ed­ward Nunn and Mr Wil­liam Rus­sell.

The medals were awarded to the men be­cause of their brav­ery when at the height of the Jan/Feb 1893 floods, they res­cued eight peo­ple who clung to trees in the mid­dle of the raging Bris­bane River. Those res­cued in­clude Cpt. and Mrs R Ver­nor, their chil­dren and oth­ers.

Also on that same day the an­nual in­spec­tion of K Com­pany (Lowood) More­ton Reg­i­ment by Com­man­dant Ma­jor Gen­eral Owen took place and the lay­ing of the foun­da­tion block for the new Lowood Angli­can Church (Three of the res­cue party were mem­bers of K Com­pany).

Cap­tain Ver­nor ex­plained “We had a fear­ful trial and for­tu­nately es­caped with our lives. Our home had been sur­rounded by flood water. We re­mained in the house un­til the water drove us out.

We then went in a boat to the loft in the sta­ble where I thought we would be safe.

Within half an hour we had the for­lorn hope we might reach the other side of the river but we ran into branches of trees, the boat cap­sized and we were all strug­gling in a fear­ful tor­rent. We clung to the trees for 23 hours un­til we saw two lit­tle flat bot­tomed punts com­ing to our res­cue. How the men man­aged to guide their frail crafts I can­not tell, but within 10 min­utes we were all aboard and were rowed to safety”.

His Ex­cel­lency Sir Nor­man made the pre­sen­ta­tions of the medals but the honours of pin­ning them on to the men was given to Mrs Ver­nor.


A new shirt fac­tory was be­ing erected at the cor­ner of Bell and Union Streets Ip­swich in Jan­uary 1908 for Messrs Alexan­der Ste­wart & Sons.

It promised to be an im­pos­ing struc­ture of brick.

The build­ing was re­ported to in­clude spe­cial fea­tures for the staff. Th­ese in­cluded a spa­cious din­ing room of 24ft x 50ft, a work­room of 76ft x 50ft and the build­ing was to have good light­ing.

A fur­ther re­port on the shirt fac­tory read “The Shirt fac­tory at the cnr. Union and Bell Sts is open­ing on March 28 1908.”

Op­er­a­tions com­menced early in the morn­ing and 25 hands were em­ployed.

Th­ese girls had re­ceived in­struc­tions for three weeks at the firm’s Bris­bane Fac­tory and had trav­elled to Bris­bane by train.

An­other 30 girls were em­ployed on the open­ing day and they would re­ceive train­ing from those who had ear­lier been trained in Bris­bane.

Mr Ste­wart who came to Ip­swich to su­per­vise the open­ing of the Ip­swich branch hoped to have 150 ma­chines in­stalled within 12 months and that 200 girls would be em­ployed.


Mr Jos. Fran­cis MP stated on the evening of Septem­ber 28, 1939 that he had dis­cussed with the Com­mon­wealth Di­rec­tor and Mr Cad­den, chief Engi­neer of the Com­mon­wealth Works Depart­ment, the po­si­tion of ex-sol­diers who were em­ployed con­struct­ing the aero­drome at Am­ber­ley. He had been in­formed that the con­struc­tion had reached such stage that the sur­fac­ing of the run­ways was so near com­ple­tion that there was not suf­fi­cient work now of­fer­ing for em­ploy­ment of all, he re­gret­ted to say that a fur­ther five men and two trucks have to cease work.

The Depart­ment had ad­vised Mr Fran­cis that there was the ut­most sat­is­fac­tion with the progress of the work and that the re­port of all men had been en­tirely sat­is­fac­tory.

Mr Fran­cis said he had dis­cussed with the Com­mon­wealth Min­is­ter for Works Se­na­tor Foll the ques­tion of the ex­pen­di­ture of the erec­tion of fur­ther build­ings on the aero­drome at Am­ber­ley, so that the men dis­charged might ap­ply to the suc­cess­ful con­trac­tor for em­ploy­ment when the works com­menced.

Th­ese con­tracts con­tained a clause pro­vid­ing for pref­er­ence to re­turned sol­diers in the work car­ried out by the con­trac­tor.


Good news came to Ip­swich in 1873 when J Hemp­sted & Co Man­u­fac­tur­ers of all kinds of aer­ated waters re­leased their Patent Stop­pered Bot­tles of drinks. The firm claimed that their prod­uct was drunk in all the best ho­tels in Eng­land and Amer­ica. They ad­ver­tised that th­ese bot­tles would be found to be far su­pe­rior to the old style.

Gin­ger beer, le­mon­ade, soda water, sar­sa­par­illa and all other drinks were sold at 2 shillings per dozen, syphons hold­ing a quart, 6 shillings per dozen.

Their man­u­fac­tory was in Bris­bane Street, Ip­swich.


Ma­jor-Gen­eral John Fletcher Owen.

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