A history of Black Gully, Black Gully (1840s-1914), The Manufacturing Centre of Toowoomba, a tribute to the people who lived in, worked in and developed the area, has been written by local historian, Diana Beal, and published by the Toowoomba and Darling Downs Family History Society Inc.
Black Gully started on its industrial period in the 1840s, because it was away from settlement, and therefore industrial odours would cause less offence, and it had a plentiful and secure supply of clean running water, which on the downstream side became a cheap effluent dispersal system. The first industry was fellmongering or the initial treatment of raw skins and hides so that they would not rot before further treatment or tanning could take place. Later came tanning and wool-scouring, and this group of smelly industries was undertaken in the Gully for about 150 years.
Malting was the second most enduring industry. It was undertaken in Black Gully for almost 120 years. A malthouse was established in the Gully in the 1890s and continued, with some breaks, until very recently. The Redwood family was intimately involved in the enterprise, as was the large English malt-ster, William Jones and Son (Maltsters) Ltd, for about 20 years. The bluestone and brick drying kilns and the long malting floor still remain on site, and are the best physical remnants of the industrial past of the Gully.
Other industries include brewing, bacon and smallgoods manufacturing (centrally in the Gully near Gordon Avenue (and not to be confused with the KR site at Willowburn), foundry, saleyards and flour mills. Apart from these secondary industries, the Gully supported a vigorous farming community for many years, including the famous Eton Farm, whose owner, John Shipman, showed many a newcomer how to farm on the Downs.
Perhaps the most conspicuous reminder of Black Gully’s industrial past for casual observers is the perceptible bump which they experience when driving in Mort Street and crossing the railway tracks by the Toowoomba Maltings building. These tracks are no longer connected to the main line and are partly covered with bitumen in the old maltings yard. The book will be launched by Emeritus Professor Maurice French on Monday 11th April at 2 pm at the Society’s library, 452 South St, Toowoomba, phone 46347377.
The book comprises 70 A4 pages, con-tains about 550 names, and is available at the library for $15 or can be posted for an extra $5