The Queensland Times (QT) was first published as the Ipswich Herald on 4 July 1859, the eve of Queensland’s separation from New South Wales. Its initial mandate was to campaign for a separate colony of Queensland, and for Ipswich as its capital. It is the state’s oldest surviving provincial newspaper.
The Herald was launched by Walter Gray, H.M. Cockburn, John Rankin and Arthur Macalister (who became premier). In 1861, editor Edmund Gregory moved to the Moreton Bay Courier, which eventually became the Courier-Mail. The Herald was bought by Hugh Parkinson, Francis Kidner and J. Bowring Sloman, former employees of Ipswich’s first newspaper, the North Australian (1855), begun by Arthur Sidney Lyon. Lyon is also credited with establishing the Moreton Bay Courier (1846), the failed Moreton Bay Free Press (1850) and the Darling Downs Gazette (1858), later absorbed by the Toowoomba Chronicle.
The new Ipswich Herald editor, J.C. Thompson, rechristened the paper the Queensland Times on 8 October 1861. The QT represented not only the people of Ipswich but the ‘vast interior’ of the state, against what it called Brisbane’s centralisation. The QT and its predecessor, the Ipswich Herald, competed with the North Australian from 1855 until the latter’s move to Brisbane in 1863. The North Australian closed in 1867.
In the lead-up to Queensland’s 2 September 1899 referendum, the QT actively agitated against Federation, and Ipswich resoundingly voted against it. The newspaper displayed the latest polling results on a screen outside the newspaper office, using the new technology of a telephone to access results.
The QT became a daily on 1 October 1908. It faced competition over the years, partly due to the close proximity of Brisbane. With the exception of a printers’ strike in 1972, the QT never missed a scheduled edition—despite fires, technical hitches and three major floods—in 1893, 1974 and 2011. On 28 January 1974, the QT told readers it had managed to print the day’s edition on almost the last of the newsprint, having lost its stocks in the suburb of Bundamba.
For much of its life, the paper was a family affair, run by several generations of Stephensons, Parkinsons, Kippens and Cooks. In 1968, the newspaper interests (including the QT) of three Ipswich families merged with other historic provincial mastheads to form Provincial Newspapers (Qld) Ltd (PNQ). Irish interests took over PNQ in 1988, and the company eventually became APN News and Media in 1988. Under APN ownership, the QT appointed its first female editor, Natalie Gauld, in 2006.
In 2013, the QT’s circulation was 8470 on weekdays and 11,720 on Saturdays.
REFs: G. Harrison (ed.), Jubilee History of Ipswich (1910); QT, 4 July 1899 and 12 June 1918.
KASUN UBAYASIRI and LINDA BRADY