Booval is in the heart of the bustling city of Ipswich, which traces its birth back to the convict settlement established on the Bremer River in 1827 to mine nearby limestone deposits. Shipped down river in barges, that limestone was the stuff from which early Brisbane was built.
The town’s original name of ‘Limestone’ was changed to Ipswich in 1843 and for many years the river port handled all the wool and other produce from the Darling Downs and the surrounding, fertile valleys east of the Great Dividing Range.
Ipswich’s prosperity was built on coal and, although the closure of mines has led to some social dislocation, the city remains an important commercial and historic centre.
Despite its industrial image, Ipswich is blessed with generous park and bushland reserves which offer recreation and tranquillity in the bustling city whose history is so closely linked to the development of Brisbane from penal colony to modern metropolis.
Booval House is situated on the remaining 4818 sq.m (approx 1.2 acres) od a farm established in the 1850’s. Booval, as it was originally called, is a rare Queensland example of Colonial Georgian architecture.
Booval House is the oldest 2-story house in Ipswich, and the third oldest remaining home in Ipswich. Construction of Booval probably commenced in 1856 and was completed by December 1859 when Governor George Bowen visited the house on the way to Ipswich. Gov. Bowen arrived in Ipswich on 20th December 1859, soon after his arrival in Queensland – Ipswich was in the running to be Qld’s capital. After “taking refreshment” and changing attire at Booval House, he was escorted by several carriages and 400-500 residents on horseback. Another 1500 people on foot joined the procession at “Limestone Ridge” as it was called then (called the Five Ways now).
Originally this region was the tribal grounds of the Ugarapul people. The name BOOVAL could be an aboriginal word for ‘frilled lizard’, or possibly it means an aboriginal initiation rite, or perhaps even a name from India – it is still being researched.