Queensland Day is celebrated each year on 6 June. It is a celebration of the state’s birthday and its official separation from New South Wales as an independent colony in 1859. Queensland Day is an opportunity to commemorate the state’s culture heritage, people, places and industry. In the spirit of Queensland Day, here are six Queensland icons with links to Ipswich.

Allan Langer (Rugby league great)

When rugby league master coach Wayne Bennett needed something special to claim the 2001 State of Origin series for Queensland it was Ipswich’s Allan Langer he turned to. With the series tied at 1-all, Langer, who at the time played for English club Warrington Wolves, snuck back into the country using a false name to board a plane home for his 31st Origin appearance. The dynamic halfback inspired the Maroons to a 40-14 victory and series win. It was just one highlight in an outstanding career during which Langer scored 494 points at club level, represented his state and country and inspired countless youngsters on footy fields across the nation.

d’Arcy Doyle (Artist)

Few artists have captured the essence of regional and country life in Queensland and Australia as beautifully as Ipswich artist d’Arcy Doyle. Doyle was born in 1932 as William d’Arcy Doyle to Irish Catholics Thomas and Marguerite Doyle. He quickly became known as d’Arcy, and his parents later had his name officially changed. Doyle knew early on he had a passion for art, studying and copying the work of local sign writers to teach himself. However, it was not until the 1960s after a stint in the navy, which included a tour of duty in the Korean War, that he turned to art full time. His career took off and he marketed many of his paintings as prints. As a result, it was once estimated one in 10 Australian homes had one of his works in some form – be it a painting, calendar, biscuit tin, etc. The Doyle family lived at 39 Darling Street, Ipswich with the house and surrounding area featuring in many of Doyle’s paintings. Doyle passed away in 2001.

Photo courtesy Picture Ipswich.

John Bradfield (Engineer)

The legacy of John Bradfield to Queensland and Australia remains highly visible to this day. Bradfield was born at Sandgate before going on to do his early education at Ipswich North State School. He later studied at Ipswich Grammar School on a scholarship and was dux of the school before completing a Bachelor degree and Masters in engineering at University of Sydney. He has been described as “small in stature, with a quiet and humorous disposition” and “an outstanding Australian engineer in his generation”. In 1915 while working for NSW’s Public Works Department he proposed a grand scheme for Sydney’s railways involving electrification of the suburban railways, a city underground railway and the Sydney Harbour Bridge. World War I meant the proposals did not go ahead for several years, but Bradfield went on to oversee the design and construction of the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge and later Brisbane’s Story Bridge. He also designed several railway stations including Circular Quay railway station. He also designed the Cataract and Burrinjuck Dams in NSW. Bradfield died 23 September 1943.

Matthew Hickey (Barrister and The Ten Tenors co-founder)

Queenslanders have Matthew Hickey, in part, to thank for the Ten Tenors. The Ipswich born barrister co-founded the internationally acclaimed ensemble. With the group, he performed in high-profile venues around the world and was the ensemble’s executive producer and artistic director until 2010. The Ten Tenors have played to more than 90 million people worldwide and are regarded as “Australia’s premier classical-crossover group”. Hickey is highly regarded in legal circles, and was named in The Australian Financial Review’s Best Lawyers in Australia list for 2018. He has also done significant work with charitable associations and community groups.

Photo by ShaneWatson.com.au

Shane Watson (Cricketer)

There is not much in the game of cricket that Shane Watson has not done. The 36-year-old Ipswich allrounder has represented his region, state and country. He is a right-handed batsman and right-handed fast-medium swing bowler. Watson made his international debut in 2002 in a One Day International and went on to play 59 Tests, 190 One Day Internationals and 58 T20 Internationals, scoring 7,915 runs and taking 213 wickets at the top level before retiring in 2016. Since then, he has continued to excite in the lucrative Indian Premier League. Just last month he scored an unbeaten 117 off 57 balls to lead the Chennai Super Kings to a tournament win. He has also starred in the popular Big Bash League, Pakistan Super League and Caribbean Premier League. To this day he still holds several T20 International and One Day International records.

John Birmingham (Author)

Birmingham is one of Australia’s most entertaining writers. He is well acquainted with Ipswich having completed his senior schooling at Saint Edmund’s College. Birmingham went on to study at the University of Queensland before writing the iconic 1994 novel He Died With A Felafel in His Hand. It told stories about living in share houses and was later adapted into a stage play before being turned into a film. Since then, Birmingham has released several series and other titles. He is also well-known for his incisive commentary in newspaper, magazine and online articles.