The Rich History of Ripley Valley Is Worth Exploring
The Ripley Valley of today is a thriving economic hub of residential and commercial development, and since being declared a Priority Development Area in 2010 has been regarded as one of the largest growth areas in Australia.
The Ripley Valley of today is a far cry from much of its history as a sleepy farming area.
While Indigenous Australians have lived on the land for tens of thousands of years, the first Europeans arrived in Queensland in 1825 when Brisbane was established as a penal colony. The rough terrain and unfamiliar weather didn’t stop Irish and English squatters, convicts and free settlers from venturing west from Brisbane to begin their new life and set up in the Ripley Valley.
In the early days the area contained little more than a government farm and a penal settlement called Limestone Station, where convicts would mine the necessary resources for lime mortar.
In 1839, the Penal settlement was closed and in 1842, the area was opened to free settlers. Ipswich and Ripley Valley were interestingly still part of New South Wales at that time, despite constant advocacy for separation by Reverend Dr. John Dunmore Lang, who was eventually elected to the New South Wales Legislative Council.
According to the City of Ipswich, in 1856 nine petitions for separation had been sent to Queen Victoria, and in 1859, news was received that Queen Victoria had officially signed off on the new colony that was to be named Queensland.
According to the seminal history of the area by Pamela Lamb (In the Shadow of Mount Flinders, Agneau Press, 2015) , the valley was preferred for cattle breeding, as the soil was not suitable for mass cultivation and instead was utilised for expansive paddocks. Cattle farmers were able to remain connected to the main settlement in Ipswich thanks to Ripley Road, which was the main arterial track that ran through the valley and provided a connection for farmers and settlers to the rest of South East Queensland.
Over time as more families moved to the area a small community developed. Boys and girls would begin their lives in the Ripley Valley by attending school, where they learned reading, writing and arithmetic until the age of 14. At the time, 14 was the age when schooling would cease being compulsory, and rather than attend Ipswich’s private schools for secondary education, Ripley Valley children would typically go on to learn domestic sciences, clerical studies and various outdoor trades at Ipswich Technical College instead.
Ripley Valley has always ensured education, from academics to technical trades, remains a priority for its people. Nothing has changed more than 100 years on, as Ripley Valley prepares to welcome several new facilities including a new education precinct at Providence which will begin teaching the next generation in 2020.
Throughout its history Ripley Valley has produced many fascinating stories and interesting people.
Fast-forward to today, and Ripley Valley is set to cater to a population of approximately 120,000 people in a 4,680 hectare area. The Providence community is the perfect example of how plans are in motion to follow the tradition of those early settler, by potentially providing 50,000 new dwellings for people wishing to move to Ripley Valley and make a life for themselves, emulating the early settler spirit.
Copies of Ms Lamb’s book are available for purchase for $20 from the Providence Centre or by contacting Ms Lamb on firstname.lastname@example.org.