Ipswich Excavation Unearths 120-Yr-Old Handmade Brick Drain on Milford Street

Ipswich Excavation Unearths 120-Yr-Old Handmade Brick Drain on Milford Street

A handmade brick drain believed to be over 120 years old has been unearthed during an excavation carried out along Milford Street near Queens Park.

The historical find appears to be in great condition. The discovery of the clay brick arch stormwater drainage system happened whilst Ipswich City Council field crews were working on the site as part of the Eastern Ipswich Bikeway Link project.

Ipswich Mayor Teresa Harding explained that a section of the artefact was exposed during the excavation. Realising the historical significance of the discovery, the field crews handled the brick drain with extra care whilst successfully connecting the new pipes into the existing and still fully functioning brick drainage network.

A 1947 ‘The Queensland Times’ article with a photo showing replacement work being undertaken on the old brick drainage structure 

Photo credit: Trove / trove.nla.gov.au/

“I would like to acknowledge the staff that uncovered the drain, recognising they had dug up something special,” Ipswich Central Redevelopment Committee Chair Councillor Marnie Doyle said.

“Council officers trawled through the history books to discover when the drain was built and unearthed the whole story behind it, which speaks volumes about our city pride and commitment to preserving local history.

Council research revealed that drainage works were carried out at the site in the 1880s and in 1910. At the time, the most prominent brick maker in Ipswich was the Welldon Company which was established in the 1860s by Thomas Welldon – acknowledged as a pioneer in the brick-making trade in Ipswich.

“While we may be the state’s fastest-growing city, we are also a city steeped in heritage and it is vitally important to protect historical artifacts where possible, “ Cr Doyle said.

“This wonderful piece of history is now part of a future bikeway and it is an example of how the future and past can sit together when both are valued.”