Moreton Shire, an area of 1813 sq km entirely surrounding Ipswich, was formed in 1917 by the amalgamation of Bundamba, Brassall, Purga and Walloon Shires. Rosewood and Normanby Shires were added in 1949.

The shire had considerable non-agricultural industry, particularly in the east: the Bundamba collieries, including the Blackstone township, were the source of over three-quarters of Ipswich's coal around 1900. There were also mines at Ebbw Vale and Dinmore, and scattered among them were brick-works and potteries. East of Dinmore, there was Morris Woollen Mills (1934) at Redbank, the last of three mills in the Ipswich region. At the height of its activity the Morris mill employed nearly 1000 people.

North of Ipswich and the Tivoli coal fields was Brassall, itself the home of several collieries. Beyond Brassall, at Mount Crosby, a pumping station (1890) and filter beds were installed for Brisbane's water supply.

Walloon, a station west of Ipswich on Queensland's first railway line to Grandchester, was a mixed farming, dairying and coal mining area. Since the 1980s it has been a dormitory suburb of Ipswich.

Purga, an agricultural district to the south of Ipswich, was on the railway line to Boonah. Its principal place of residence was an Aboriginal school and huts, the Purga Mission, home to the singer, Harold Blair, until the age of 15. Blair was separated from his teenage mother at the age of two when she was sent away to be a domestic servant in 1926.

In 1946 Moreton Shire was described in the Australian Blue Book:

The possibility of the southern part of Moreton Shire being suburbs of Brisbane was barely apparent in the late 1940s, but during 1971-76 the proportion of the shire's population counted as being in Greater Brisbane went from 18% to 53%. By 1991 it was 74%. While statistically joined to metropolitan Brisbane, Moreton Shire was amalgamated with Ipswich City in 1995.

Moreton Shire's census populations were:

Census Date Population
1921 8094
1947 8792
1971 8735
1976 14,803
1986 37,266
1991 46,722

Joan Starr, Moreton Shire Queensland: discovery and settlement, Tenterfield, NSW, Southern Cross PR and Press Services, 1988

Ipswich entry


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