We need your help to shape heritage tourist attraction

Have your say about how the Cooneana Heritage Centre will develop over the coming years to meet the needs of the Ipswich community.

Ipswich City Council, in conjunction with stakeholders and community feedback, is developing a Cooneana Heritage Centre Master Plan.

The plan will outline priorities for the strategic development of the site and how council can balance the historical importance of conservation with the centre’s capacity as a heritage tourist attraction.

The master plan will be the foundation document that will capture the planning and development of a detailed design as well as the priority staging of the Cooneana Heritage Centre’s ongoing restoration.

While the site is owned by Ipswich City Council, the Ipswich Historical Society and several artisan groups currently operate from the site.

To kick the process off, council is asking the community for input by completing a survey here.

These 11 questions will help garner the community’s views and will inform the design of the master plan.

The survey will close on Sunday 19 January, 2020.

From there a concept will be developed and feedback on the draft Master Plan will be sought again.

The aim is to have a completed Draft Master Plan to put before council committee to be approved by councillors next year.

The approved Cooneana Heritage Centre Master Plan will then be published on the Shape Your Ipswich website.

Image: Picture Ipswich

 History of Cooneana Homestead

Cooneana is the name of an early homestead at 1041 Redbank Plains, New Chum.

The site is owned by Ipswich City Council and leased to the Ipswich Historical Society since 2002 when it became part of the Cooneana Heritage Centre.

Samuel Pearson Welsby, an Ipswich auctioneer and stock, station and commission agent dealing in land and a wide variety of farm and domestic goods, selected portion 283 Parish Goodna (557 acres) on which Cooneana stands in c. April 1868.

One of the conditions for acquiring title was to effect improvements to a specific value.

For this portion, the improvements noted in the Lands Department files were:

  • Fencing – £221 (reduced to £175 by the Ipswich Commissioner of Crown Lands)
  • Clearing – £50
  • House & outbuildings – £250 The people who certified the values of these improvements in March and April 1871 were photographer George Challinor and Mr Welsby’s future son-in-law Charles Christopher Cameron.

They stated that Mr Welsby had lived on the selection from October 1868.

Family stories collected by the Ipswich Historical Society suggest that the house was built in two sections, the current ‘back’ of the house first, followed by the front section at a later, unspecified date.

The slab house was floored with pine, a shingle roof and vertical timber slabs which is rare for a building built off the ground at that time.

Mr Welsby named his property Cooneana.

The origins of the name are not certain, though it is said to mean ‘where the ringtail possum sits up’.

Today, Cooneana Homestead is in a state of restoration on the site.

Work is being done to preserve and maintain the building and to retain as much history as possible.

The goal will be to allow the community the opportunity to walk the hand-made floor boards once more while transporting you back to what it would have been like to do so, 151 years ago.

Cooneana Homestead as it is today

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