Workshops and expos galvanize interest in heritage trades

An ode to Ipswich’s heritage, Galvanized – A Festival of Heritage will showcase the trades of yesteryear as well as many events, workshops, talk, tours and chances to explore Ipswich’s rich heritage.

Ipswich Mayor Teresa Harding said Galvanized had doubled in size since its launch in 2021, reflecting interest in the city’s notable heritage trades, arts and culture.

“Ipswich boasts a rich history, from the culture of its First Nations peoples and as one of the oldest cities in Australia,” Mayor Harding said.

“The festival will be officially opened with a traditional welcome from the Nunukul Yuggera Aboriginal Dance Company, followed by an opportunity to learn of the virtual reality tour, Virtual Tulmur, uncovering tens of thousands of years of the local area by the award-winning Virtual Songlines.

“This is just the start of 11 days full of wonderful opportunities to experience the Ipswich of days gone by.”

One new event focuses on a trade enjoying a recent resurgence of interest.

It is estimated there are just 250 of them left in Australia, but they were once one of the most popular and important jobs before the industrial revolution: blacksmiths.

Blacksmiths made nearly all metal objects and underpinned Ipswich’s development in the agriculture, mining and railway industries.

Ipswich resident Martin Geddes is the only qualified educator teaching blacksmithing skills through TAFE Queensland.

He is the renowned blacksmith overseeing the workshops and festivities at the inaugural Sky Iron Festival of Blacksmithing, part of this year’s Galvanized – A Festival of Heritage.

Mr Geddes said there was a renewed interest in blacksmithing and its sensory and creative experience.

“It’s a very unique situation when steel is heated and brought to the anvil at 1000 degrees celsius and you create something that is uniquely yours,” Mr Geddes said.

“All your senses are engaged – you see the sparks and smoke, the light and glow of the fire and heated metal, the smell of the furnace and forging, the weight of tools and metals in your hands and the sounds of the clanking and striking.

“It’s all an addictive combination.”

Community, Culture, Arts and Sport Committee Chairperson Councillor Andrew Fechner said there were Galvanized activities across the city.

“In addition to seeing and experiencing blacksmithing, festival visitors can explore the Workshops Rail Museum by torchlight, take a spooky tour of Ipswich General Cemetery, be guided around the historic Woodlands of Marburg, and discover White Rock Spring Mountain Conservation Estate at dusk,” Cr Fechner said.

“Galvanized offers abundant opportunities to explore the rich heritage of our own backyard.”

The Galvanized festival calendar, from 31 August to 10 September, is now available, covering all the activities and events to explore.

On Father’s Day, a Bikes, Beards and BBQs event will be held in Tulmur Place at the Nicholas Street Precinct to enjoy vintage bikes and trucks, live music, and mouth-watering food and barbecue demonstrations.

Participants can also transport the whole family back in time for the day at Cooneana Homestead and enjoy live music and entertainment while delighting in old-world skills of spinners, weavers, fibre artisans and blacksmiths from 2 to 3 September.

If torch-lit museum visits by night sounds more enticing, embrace this once-a-year opportunity to visit Cooneana Heritage Centre after dark and be regaled with tales of past residents while flames fly high as blacksmiths working their forges.

Once can also visit Queensland’s oldest Anglican church that will be laden with a magnificent display of crafts including quilts, lacemaking, tatting, spinning and weaving, while a restored pipe organ fills St Paul’s high ceilings and historic walls.

Or celebrate 150 years of woollen textile manufacturing heritage right here in Ipswich, the centre of the industry in Queensland since its beginnings in 1874.

Galvanized – A Festival of Heritage is presented by Ipswich City Council in partnership with McNamara Law.

For more details, visit

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