City’s Rich History Sees Light


Acknowledge the QT and Isentia



When digital archivist and historian Sally Hetherington got her hands on The Queensland Times’ old photographic negatives, her reaction was a mix of delight and frustration. Frustration due to the fact that so many historic images had yet to see the light of day and delight in finally having them. As the digital archivist of the Picture Ipswich database, Ms Hetherington has spent years dedicated to preserving the photographic history of our City. The council-run database, which began in 2006, uses pictures obtained from the photo albums and memorabilia of local residents and stores them online. The database currently has a treasure trove of about 12,000 images, which include photos, oral histories, letters and videos. The 69-year-old has been the library digital archivist since 2008. Before that, she was a librarian in Ipswich from 1985 to 2000. As Ms Hetherington recently went through the QT’s photo catalogue she said she couldn’t believe how much lost history there was to be discovered.


“A lot of people in Ipswich are sitting on personal images they believe are of little interest to the community,” she said.  “However their pictures can help capture and preserve our heritage for future generations. The site is a great is a great way for people to relive old memories again and get insight into cities rich history”.   The Picture Ipswich office is filled with machinery which scans, copies and photographs various formats of images from prints, film negatives and old glass plates.  Working with a team of volunteers, Ms Hetherington said she was always on the hunt for fresh images to add to the site. Tourism and Libraries Committee chairman C David Pahlke said invited anyone with old images or videos to submit their material. “Streetscapes, people undertaking leisure activities, sporting highlights and major events such as floods are the types of things we are looking for,” he said.  “We are bringing people together images in the past and present so in the future there will be a record of the evolution and growth of our city.

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