What are your memories of Ipswich 25 years ago?
In 1998, Deborah Acason (née Lovely) was a Queensland champion in the under 16s discus, shot put and hammer events, an Ipswich teen chasing a dream to represent Australia at the highest levels.
She would do just that, representing Australia at the 2004 and 2008 Olympic Games and five Commonwealth Games from 2002 to 2018.
Mrs Acason joined Ipswich Mayor Teresa Harding and councillors to inspect the contents of a time capsule set into the wall of the Barry Jones Auditorium, in the former Ipswich City Council library building 25 years ago. The capsule included profiles of Mrs Acason and other up-and-coming Ipswich athletes.
Mrs Acason said the trip down memory lane helped her realise the importance of setting goals and working hard every day to achieve them.
“If you have a dream, surround yourself with people who will support you and keep you accountable, make daily goals that you can attain and work hard towards it,” Mrs Acason said.
“Stay positive and you’ll see the days turn into weeks, the weeks turn into months and the months into years. The time will fly by, so keep working hard and you will see your accomplishments realised.”
Growth, Infrastructure and Waste Committee Chair Ipswich Mayor Teresa Harding said the time capsule was a valuable way to connect the past and present generations.
“Ipswich has such a rich heritage and history and its people have always been central to that, helping to conserve these priceless cultural and social artifacts that show just how much the city has achieved over the past 25 years,” Mayor Harding said.
“Deb is a perfect example of this, going from Ipswich track and field to being an Olympian and now full circle to her involvement in the Ipswich 2032 Legacy Working Group, helping Ipswich achieve all it can in the lead up to the Brisbane 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
“The city is lucky to have her and all the countless others who have helped make this city what it is today.”
Another item in the capsule is a chipped gavel and stand, used by former Mayor John Nugent.
Growth, Infrastructure and Waste Committee Deputy Chairperson Councillor Paul Tully was a councillor at the time the capsule was buried.
He fondly remembers the meeting when former Mayor Nugent broke the gavel.
“The meeting was a very heated council meeting. Mayor Nugent was trying to call the room to order and he hit the gavel so hard that it chipped,” Cr Tully said.
“Everyone was a little stunned. The piece flew off into the public gallery – I’m not sure what workplace health and safety would say if they were around back then.”
Division 3 Councillor Andrew Fechner said he was encouraged that the arts and cultural scene continued to grow in Ipswich.
“The posters and ads in the time capsule for productions such as Jesus Christ Superstar reflect the city’s proud history in the arts,” Cr Fechner said.
“A quarter of a century later, our diverse and vibrant arts and cultural scene continues to flourish with no better example than the 2023 Ipswich Art Awards where a record 427 artists have entered 570 artworks.”
Deborah Acason in a photo from the 1998 time capsule.
The 34cm x 57cm x 30cm stainless steel capsule was placed in a wall of the Barry Jones Auditorium behind a plaque.
The ceremony for the sealing of the time capsule was performed by Mayor John Nugent and Councillor Joanie Woods and was followed by a morning tea. The ceremony was held on 18 May 1998, at 10am.
The time capsule was scheduled to be re-opened on 18 May 2023; however, due to council relocating from South Street to Nicholas Street, the capsule was removed from the auditorium in October 2021 and placed in safe storage.
The items, chosen to provide a snapshot of life in 1998, include the Mayor’s damaged gavel and stand, the Box Flat Memorial Visitors Book, posters from around the city, popular toys, first day cover of Queen’s Birthday Stamps, a copy of The Queensland Times, street scenes taken by photographer Lyle Radford and profiles and interviews of Ipswich residents at the time.
The items can be viewed online at Ipswich Time Capsule (Ipswich Library), 1998-2023 at Picture Ipswich.