Here in History by Betty Laver

Here in History by Betty Laver

The Gladstone Cotton Ginnery


Cotton was grown briefly around Brisbane, Ipswich and Maryborough as early as 1860 when the government offered a bounty to stimulate production.

The Diamantina Cotton Plantation was established on the northern banks of the Calliope River in 1864 but this was short lived when, in 1865, Henry Friend purchased this property as a holding paddock for fat cattle before exporting them live.

Cotton again came into the equation in the 1920s when growers introduced a variety that would withstand Queensland’s long dry winters.

The Australian Cotton Growers Association Ltd established a small cotton ginnery in Gladstone in 1922, on a reclaimed area near the butter factory and the Harbour Board offered free storage for cotton that was awaiting shipment.

Unfortunately, the cotton ginnery only treated a couple of crops before it was closed, and all cotton was then treated in Rockhampton.

The Gladstone plant remained in mothballs until 1934 when a full set of cotton cleaning equipment was installed, and it reopened with great expectations.

Cotton was stored in every available warehouse in Gladstone, including the Empire Theatre and an extra shed was built on the wharf, mainly to hold the treated product for export.

This was all in vain as, after just a couple of months, the industry was again in the doldrums and closed its doors.

The defunct ginnery went back into mothballs and was finally sold to the Brisbane Stevedoring Company for its Gladstone branch office.

Attracting industry was the primary objective of the Harbour Board since its formation.


Photo Courtesy of Jimmy Harris