Announcing our October meeting with guest speaker Geoff Thompson


The Ipswich Heritage Club is very excited to confirm Geoff Thompson will be joining us at our October Meeting to present ‘Bleak House Ipswich – The house that moved twice’

Bleak House was originally a five-roomed cottage in Eastern Heights built in the 1860s. It was rebuilt by James Foote as a grand, two-storey mansion in the early 1890s, bought by his nephew Henry Smart Cribb after his death in 1895, before being partially demolished and moved in 1928 to make way for the Cribb Estate.

The lower story survived in South Street until 1985, when the house moved to Camp Mountain near Samford. There the new owners have restored it to its former glory.

Geoff Thompson is the great-grandson of Harry and Esther Cribb, through his late grandmother May Palmer and late mother Meg. He has had the benefit of access to his late cousin Viva Cribb’s research, along with access to family photographs, documents and stories.

Bleak House, Camp Mountain, SEQ.

Geoff has a background in entomology, scientific illustration and deep-focus digital photography. He has worked at the Queensland museum for 35 years, 30 years assisting curators of the insect collection and the last five as a Collection Imager.

In 2005, he was awarded a Queensland Smithsonian Fellowship to learn digital illustration techniques and assess digital imaging systems. He has been able to use his photographic and Photoshop skills to copy, restore and adjust many old family and Queensland Museum photographs.

We hope you can join us at The Ipswich Club on Friday 6th October from 6pm.

Tickets for non-members are $30 per person. Or become a member for $150 and attend 10 meetings as part of your membership.

RSVP to or phone 3202 4999


Built in 1895 for Richard Watson and his wife, Elamang, is a magnificent example of Victorian architecture. Located in East Ipswich, the property originally covered 22 acres, fronting Watson Street, Fox Street and Brisbane Road, and included stables and tennis courts.

Richard Watson, with his brothers and brother-in-law, establisted the successful Ipswich butchery firm, Messers Watson Bros and McLeod. Mr Watson served as Mayor of Ipswich (1911 -1912), Councillor to Bundamba Shire (1904 to 1910) and Brassall Shire (1914 – 1916), and Alderman (Ipswich City Council 1907 – 1920). On his death in 1928, an obituary in the Brisbane Time said  Mr Watson carried out his Mayoral duties with distinction.

Photo Elemang 1900 – 1910, Image courtesy of Picture Ipswich, Ipswich City Council

In 1924, Elamang was bought by Mr H. S Cribb’s son, Rex, and his wife. Although the Cribb family maintained the stables, the property’s size decreased from the original 22 acres to 3.

The property remained in the Cribb family until 1950, when it was sold to the Queensland Times, who converted the property to four flats for use by it’s employees.

Proposed Conversion of Residence into 4 flats for QLD Times Pty Ltd Brisbane Rd Booval

In 1965, Mr C W Gorbul purchased the property. The property was later purchased by the Pisasle family.

Elamang, as purchased by Mr and Ms Petersen

In 1984, the property was purchased by Ben and Valma Petersen.

In a huge undertaking, the Petersen’s converted the property back from flats into a six bedroom residence. They unveiled the previously enclosed verandahs and restored the cast iron lacework visible in early photographs. The roof was replaced and years of work with carpenters, painters and plumbers have brought this beauty back to life.

Despite the changes it has gone through over the years, Elamang has retained many of its original features.

Fortunately, when converting the property into flats, the original central hallway was preserved and enclosed, retaining the original cedar and allowing the Petersen’s to reveal the original floor plan.  The property also retains the original four Italian marble back to back fireplaces (two of which have been converted to gas), which would have been shipped from Italy at great expense.

Outside, the original sweeping staircase leads to an outstanding central gable frontispiece with intricate fretwork with double post front and side.  Elamang also retains the original cast iron crests, adoring the roof ridges, and the chimney.

Thanks to the hard work and dedication by Ben and Valma Petersen, Elamang today is a beautiful home.

Elamang 2016, photo by Shri Adigopula, Open2View

A tremendous thank you to the current owner of Elamang and Ipswich Heritage Club member, Val Petersen, for providing this information and many of the images included.

The Ipswich Heritage Club encourages all Ipswich Heritage property owners to share their experiences of our city’s heritage property. Please don’t hesitate to share your photos and stories to our facebook page

For more information about the Ipswich Heritage Club or to join call 0434 345 871 or email