Community Rallies to Protect Wildlife in Woogaroo Forest

Wildlife advocates in Ipswich are making a last-ditch effort to block a major residential development in Woogaroo Forest, located between Springfield and Brookwater, in the hopes of preserving critical habitat for endangered koalas and other native species.

Read: Platypus Found Thriving in Unlikely Urban Oasis in Ipswich

A public protest is planned for June 16 against the approved plan for “Springview” to build over 1,800 homes with a commercial centre and childcare centre on 160 hectares of the forest area. 

Woogaroo Forest is a 450-hectare natural woodland area situated between the suburbs of Brookwater, Bellbird Park, Camira, and Springfield in Ipswich. It represents the last major remnant of forest linking the Goodna and Camira wildlife corridors to the White Rock Conservation Park. 

Photo credit: Save Woogaroo Forest – Ipswich QLD/Facebook 

According to wildlife advocates, this forest provides vital habitat for significant native species like koalas, powerful owls, echidnas, brush-tailed rock wallabies, and brush-tailed phascogales – all of which have been spotted and photographically documented in and around the area within the past five years.  

Photo credit: Save Woogaroo Forest – Ipswich QLD/Facebook 

Despite objections from some locals, Ipswich City Council signed off on the precinct plan for the development this March as an initial step. 

Facing a severe housing shortage and rapid population growth, the Council is promoting new residential developments like Springview as critical for accommodating the influx of new residents expected in the area. 

With the population of Greater Ipswich currently around 250,000, projections indicate it could potentially double to 500,000 within the next ten years as more people move away from the city centre to the outer suburban regions in search of more open green spaces. 

Keith McCosh of Bellbird Park is helping organise the protest, who noted that people see koalas quite regularly around the place. They have the fear that this will take the koalas to extinction in Ipswich.

Photo credit: Save Woogaroo Forest – Ipswich QLD/Facebook 

A petition by protesters to save the remnant forest has gathered over 15,000 signatures so far. 

However, the developer Stockland says the state environment department has no records of koala presence in the area. Their application included independent flora and fauna studies.

Mayor Teresa Harding has said the project did not require consultation with councillors, and environmental approval rests with the federal government due to claims of endangered species on site. It’s reportedly a code-assessable project, which means it did not require public consultation or allow appeals.

Read: Almost 700 New Homes Built in Ipswich to Support the Housing Market

With housing in high demand yet biodiversity at risk, the June 16 protest at Opossum Creek Dog Park aims to raise awareness and make one last push to save Woogaroo Forest before the development advances.

Published 29-May-2024

Ipswich Detectives Seek Public’s Help to Identify Repeat Robbery Offender

Detectives from the Ipswich Criminal Investigation Branch are appealing to the public for assistance in tracking down a serial robbery suspect believed to be responsible for two violent crimes in the Springfield area.

Read: Police Identify Man Killed In Greenbank Dog Attack

The first incident took place around 11:50 p.m. last January 31, when an unidentified man reportedly entered a business on Woodcrest Way. 

Authorities say the suspect threatened a staff member with a knife and demanded money. The employee complied, and the robber fled the scene heading towards Woodcrest Way and Commercial Drive.

Photo credit:

Just over a month later, on 2 February 2024, what appears to be the same man allegedly struck again – this time targeting a business on Springfield Parkway around 8:30 p.m. Police claim the suspect threatened workers with a large wrench, assaulted one of the attendants, and made off with an undisclosed sum of cash.

Photo credit:

Authorities have released descriptions and images of the suspect, who is described as a tanned man around 6 feet tall with a stocky build, short dark hair, and a patchy black moustache.

During the robberies, he was reportedly wearing a grey or navy blue “Blues” football jumper, black pants, and black athletic shoes.

Read: Intervention Initiative Helps African-Australian Youths Reconnect With Their Community and Culture

Members of the public with relevant details are encouraged to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000. You can provide information using the Queensland Police’s online suspicious activity form available 24 hours a day at Alternatively, you can call Policelink on 131 444.

Robbery cases in Springfield

Photo credit: Queensland Police Service

Whilst the recent robbery incidents in Springfield are concerning, data from Queensland Police Service indicates these have been isolated events, with the broader Springfield area experiencing relatively low levels of crime over the past year.

According to the Online Crime Map, there were only two cases of robbery in the suburb in the 12-month period leading up to 9 April 2024.

Nevertheless, apprehending this suspected repeat offender remains a top priority for Ipswich detectives, who are hopeful the public can provide the crucial information needed to track down the perpetrator and prevent any further violent crimes from occurring.

Published 10-April-2024

Mater Health Hub Helps Students Graduate Career-Ready in Healthcare

The newly opened Mater Health Hub in Springfield is giving high school students from Springfield and surrounding Ipswich areas a head start on their health care careers. Students can now gain nationally recognised qualifications in health support and assistance right in their local community.

Read: Mater Celebrates Springfield Lakes Leadership Team’s Achievements

Mater Education has expanded its renowned Vocational Education and Training in Schools (VETiS) program to the Springfield hub to help meet substantial growth in demand for qualified healthcare workers in the booming region.

This year, a record enrollment of over 630 students makes this the largest cohort in Mater’s history. From years 10 to 12, students undertake certificates at the state-of-the-art simulation center, graduating job-ready years before completing high school.

Photo credit: Mater Health Hub/Google Maps 

Schools participating in the program at Mater Health Hub, Springfield include:

  • Brisbane School of Distance Education
  • Bremer State High School
  • Emmaus College
  • Ipswich Girls’ Grammar School
  • Ipswich State High School
  • St Mary’s College, Ipswich
  • St Peter’s Lutheran College, Springfield
  • The Springfield Anglican College
  • West Moreton Anglican College
  • Westside Christian College
  • YMCA Vocational School

Fueling the training push is the impending 2026 opening of the Mater Hospital Springfield Stage 2 – set to make healthcare one of the major local industries and employers.

Toni-Maree Henaway, Mater Education’s Director of Learning and Development, said the new Springfield facilities demonstrate Mater’s commitment to developing the region’s future healthcare workforce. Students can now rapidly gain qualifications, with the Certificate II course fully subsidized to be completed part-time alongside school in just two terms.

“Mater Education remains committed to training future healthcare heroes in Springfield, and our VETiS program provides local high school students the opportunity to pursue their dream career while they are still at high school,” Ms Henaway said

Those completing the Certificate II also have the option to continue with the Certificate III during a discounted 10-week school break stint, made affordable for families through government funding.

Read: Bloodbikes Australia Volunteer Crusade: Springfield Lakes Local Heads Lifesaving Deliveries

Students interested in getting a head-start in jobs from patient care to admin roles can inquire about the VETiS program at their high school.

Published 27-February-2024 

Tragedy Strikes Ipswich: Elderly Mobility Scooter Rider Dies in Raceview Collision

An 80-year-old mobility scooter rider tragically lost his life in a collision with a car in Ipswich. The shocking event has left residents deeply shaken, raising concerns about road safety in the area. 

The fateful collision occurred on Robertson Road in Raceview around 1:00 p.m. on 4 Jan 2024, when the 80-year-old scooter rider, whose identity remains undisclosed, collided with an 86-year-old woman driving a Toyota Rav4. 

The elderly scooter rider sadly succumbed to his injuries at the scene, while the driver of the car was transported to Ipswich Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

According to one witness, a loud crash sounded like a cargo falling off a truck. The sombre sight of the hurt biker on the road came after this sound. Neighbours’ prompt action and their attempts to support those affected demonstrated the resilience of community spirit in the face of such a tragic incident. 

Many locals expressed concern about Robertson Road’s perceived danger, with some stating that speeding has become a common problem. Some residents reported cars reaching speeds of “100km/h at least, sometimes more” on this 60km/h stretch of road.

Photo Credit: Google Maps

Longtime resident Berise Jones, who has lived in the area since 1967, has noticed a worrying trend of drivers becoming more aggressive in recent years. Ms Jones and her neighbours believe that the road’s narrowness and the propensity for drivers to exceed the speed limit contribute to its hazardous nature.

Residents have made several proposals to enhance road safety. Suggestions range from reducing the speed limit to 50km/h to installing traffic lights at key intersections, such as Wildey Street, near the Brothers Leagues Club. Others have recommended the creation of a marked pedestrian crossing, or the introduction of a speed camera to deter speeding.

As the Ipswich community mourns the loss of one of its own, investigators from the Forensic Crash Unit are diligently working to uncover the details surrounding this tragic incident. At this point, no charges have been laid, and police continue to encourage any witnesses or individuals with relevant information to come forward.

Published 9-Jan-2024

Beloved Sculpture in River Heart Parklands to be Relocated

In the heart of Ipswich’s River Heart Parklands, an iconic piece of public art called “Looking Back to a Childhood” is set to be relocated due to its vulnerability to floods and potential vandalism. 

This bronze sculpture, created by renowned Queensland sculptor Dr. Rhyl Hinwood AM, from Kenmore Hills, depicts young children playing on a riverbank with their pet dog. The decision to temporarily move the artwork comes after it was affected by the 2022 floods, prompting concerns about its preservation.

River Heart Parklands
Photo Credit: Heather Stevenson/Google Maps

Dr Hinwood’s remarkable contributions to visual art have been recognised through various accolades, such as her appointment as Patron of Sculptures Queensland in 2015 and her induction as a Member, General Division of the Order of Australia (AM) in 2006. Her dedication to her craft and the cultural enrichment of Ipswich are evident in this cherished sculpture.

Preservation of a Priceless Piece of Art

The careful removal of the artwork has already taken place, with council officers ensuring its secure storage while the community and council work together to find a new location for public display.

Community, Culture, Arts and Sport Committee Chairperson Councillor Andrew Fechner expressed the importance of protecting this significant piece of public art.

Dr. Rhyl Hinwood AM
Photo Credit: Sculptors Queensland

 “Dr. Hinwood is one of Australia’s most respected artists, and it is a privilege for Ipswich to have one of her artworks in our public art collection,” he said. 

While River Heart Parklands is undergoing restoration efforts following the 2022 floods, the city council aims to safeguard this cherished artwork from further damage.

“Council has decided to temporarily remove the sculptures and store them safely until a new, permanent location can be identified. Ipswich Art Gallery Director Claire Sourgnes has advised our Assets and Infrastructure Services team on the removal of the statues,” Cr Fechner added. 

A Journey from D’Arcy Doyle Place to River Heart Parklands

This iconic artwork was commissioned by Ipswich City Council in 1993 and was initially situated in D’Arcy Doyle Place. In the early 2000s, it found its new home in the scenic River Heart Parklands.

River Heart Parklands
Photo Credit: Heather Stevenson/Google Maps

Division 3 Councillor Marnie Doyle revealed that during this process, it was identified that two of the five bronze children from the sculpture were missing. To preserve and present the artwork more widely for the community’s enjoyment, the decision to relocate it to a more prominent and suitable location has been made.

“’‘Looking Back to a Childhood’ is an artwork with a story we can all recognise – the light-hearted joy of exploring a riverbank and the hidden delights of native animals and plants,” said Cr. Doyle.

She went on to explain that four of the bronze children were relocated to River Heart Parklands in the early 2000s, but the fifth was not. The loss of another bronze child was noted during the flood cleanup, prompting the need for the relocation and discussions with the community regarding its future display.

Published 3-Nov-2023

Iconic Ipswich Cafe, Rafter & Rose, Bids Farewell After Almost a Decade

The Rafter & Rose cafe, a cherished establishment in Ipswich, located at the heart of the historic Top of Town on Ellensborough Street, has announced its impending closure, leaving its loyal patrons heartbroken. 

Having enchanted locals and visitors for nearly nine years with its exceptional coffee, pastries, and dietary-friendly offerings, the café has left an indelible mark on the community.

Owners Elle Morar and Candy Gazdagh expressed their heartfelt gratitude to the patrons who contributed to their business’s success. In a social media announcement, they shared their journey and deep appreciation for their customers. 

“When we opened back in January 2015, someone said to us they hoped we’d last. To be honest, we had no idea if we would, but we were determined to give it our all,” the owners stated.

“We found a community; you guys invited us into your lives, your families, and you certainly became part of ours. We all managed to get through the challenge of a worldwide pandemic, we watched your kids grow, and ours have never known anything other than hospitality life. To say we’ve loved it would be an understatement.”

On 23 Oct 2023, after having served for 8 years, 9 months, and 10 days, Rafter & Rose will pass the reins to someone deeply connected to Ipswich. The cafe’s last day of operation will be on the 20th, and the owners have assured customers that they will provide their usual array of delectable treats to celebrate the end of an era.

Published 18-Oct-2023

Plans Lodged for a Greyhound Breeding and Training Facility in Ipswich

Did you know that Ipswich may soon have its own greyhound breeding and training ground near the Greater Brisbane Greyhound Centre?

DA 2129/2023/MCU, filed on 6 March 2023, calls for the creation of an intensive animal husbandry and training facility at 763 Ipswich Boonah Road, where litters of greyhound dogs will be trained for racing. The plans indicate a sprinting track, exercise yards, medical facilities and on-site residence for the trainers and staff. 

Greyhound trainer Ned Snow and fellow trainer and former Capalaba Racing Club president John Catton are behind the proposal to turn a 56-acre property in Purga into a breeding and training ground.

The facility will be built near the Greater Brisbane Greyhound Centre.

About the Greater Brisbane Greyhound Centre

In September 2022, Steve Miles, the Minister of Minister for State Development, Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning, gave his nod to the $40-million Greater Brisbane Greyhound Centre.

“The GBGC will feature three tracks – a straight track, a one-turn track and a two-turn track – with the health and safety of greyhounds at the heart of design and construction,” Mr Miles said.

“Racing Queensland is engaging with experts in track design and injury prevention in order to build a Centre that is as safe for dogs and trainers as possible.

“Design features like appropriate radius and surface banking, air-conditioned kennels and world-class racing surfaces will be incorporated to achieve this.

“There will also be a veterinarian clinic on-site to provide quality care for greyhounds.

“Racing at the Centre will be broadcast to 60 nations around the world, putting the industry in Queensland on show to a global audience.

“The community will also benefit from the construction of a multipurpose function centre that will be incorporated in the Centre’s design.”

Photo Credit: Herbert/Pixabay

However, more than 70,000 locals supported a petition opposing the centre.

“The proposed location contains core habitat for threatened species such as koalas and grey-headed flying foxes and is close to culturally significant areas and artifacts that are sacred to First Nations people,” the petition cited.

“The Greater Brisbane Greyhound Centre will cost close to $40 million, money which is coming directly from the state government. There are so many ways to spend $40 million in Ipswich which would benefit the community as a whole. This investment will result in the exploitation, injury and death of many greyhounds and will contribute to gambling and binge drinking.”

First announced in 2019 by the State Government, the construction of the facility started in February 2023.

Despite the strong objections, the State Government said that the racing complex is expected to boost the economy of Brisbane and Ipswich once the racing site is operational. It will support over a thousand full-time roles to ensure the highest standards of care are provided to the racing animals. The greyhound racing industry in Australia is a billion-dollar industry generating $4 billion a year. 

Published 27 March 2023

Ipswich Logs Biggest ‘Clean Up Australia Day’ Participation for the City

Great work Ipswich, for a record 55 registered sites for Clean Up Australia Day, yielding the biggest turnout yet for the city!

Hundreds of locals stepped up and participated in the annual, nationwide Clean Up Australia Day activity held on 5 March 2023. Environment and Sustainability Committee Chairperson Councillor Russell Milligan said he was proud and “blown away” by the rubbish Ipswich locals collected.

The Springfield Scouts Group had 40 members and 65 parents as participants and covered two parklands around the YMCA Springfield Lakes Community Centre. The group was able to clear over 300 kg of rubbish. 

“We were very happy to contribute back to society and help the environment and we look forward to next year’s event,” Springfield Cub Scout Leader Thomas Hewitt said.

“Community groups around the city should be applauded at the great work they’ve done in cleaning up and helping to keep Ipswich beautiful,” Cr Milligan said.

“I would also urge everyone to think carefully about their waste and to always dispose of rubbish in the correct manner.”

Ipswich City Council’s Environment and Sustainability team supports educational programs that encourage locals to attend events like Clean Up Australia Day. Participation in environmental events encourages positive behaviour change and promotes appreciation and care for the local environment.

Council is also working on several initiatives to improve resource recovery as part of its Resource Recovery Strategy and Implementation Plan 2021-2031.

Published 19 March 2023

Almost 700 New Homes Built in Ipswich to Support the Housing Market

Did you know that almost 700 new homes were built in Ipswich, the fastest-growing city in Queensland, in the last quarter of 2022?

Mayor Teresa Harding, who is also the Growth, Infrastructure and Waste Committee Chair, said that the Ipswich City Council has been “going from strength to strength” in approving more lands and preparing more dwellings to support the housing market. 

“Last quarter, Council approved 269 proposed new lots, 573 new lots were created, and 690 new dwellings were built,” the mayor said, amidst the growing population of the city. 

Councillor Paul Tully, the Growth, Infrastructure and Waste Committee Deputy Chairperson, said that there were 1,884 new Ipswich residents from October to December 2022 based on the city’s Quarterly Activity Report thus the need for more action to support the city’s growth. 

“That’s a 55 per cent rise from the previous quarter, pushing our total population to 245,472,” Cr Tully said.

“Most of these residents are moving to the suburbs of Ripley, Springfield Lakes, Spring Mountain, Redbank Plains and Bellbird Park.

“These were the top five suburbs for new dwellings and additional population in the past quarter.”

Photo Credit: IpswichCityCouncil

In September 2022, Ipswich also approved 1,033 homes as the city’s influx of residents rose to 27 per cent. 

Published 5 March 2023

New Building With Childcare Centre, Commercial Spaces Proposed For Brisbane Street Ipswich

Plans for a four-storey building have been submitted for Brisbane Street, Ipswich to accommodate a new childcare centre along with several commercial establishments.

Read: New Primary School Officially Named Ripley Central State School

The highlight of the mixed-use building, to be located at 7 Milford Street and 3-5 Limestone Street and 2 Brisbane Street, Ipswich is the childcare centre with spaces for 100 children. 

The 797 sqm childcare centre will feature an outdoor play area and will be located on the ground floor, in conjunction with the cafe/lobby component to create activation of the street. 

Photo credit: Sparc Architects

Designed by Sparc Architects, the building will feature a subtropical design and will include public art to the corner. 

“This building has a commercial role to play, and it has been designed with a practical eye that also utilises the design principles of scale, context, presence, articulation, rhythm, order, and consideration of the sub-tropical design ethos that defines Southeast Queensland architecture. It creates a building that suitably reinforces its landmark contex,” designers at Sparc Architects said.

The rest of the 2,997 sqm property will be used for business purposes or as commercial offices. A medical centre and educational establishment uses have been added to the proposal to allow for flexible uses within Levels 1 and 2 in the future.

Photo credit: Sparc Architects

The two driveway locations along Limestone and Milford Street will be kept as part of the development. The site itself is currently vacant and does not contain any buildings or structures.

The applicant is also seeking to establish an undercroft car parking that can accommodate 63 cars, three motor bikes and five bicycles. Access to the building will be via Limestone and Milfors Streets.

Read: New Woogaroo Creek State School to Open Next Year

For more details about the development application, see the City of Ipswich application enquiry with the application number 7576/2022/MCU.