150-year-old well unearthed in Queanbeyan, and it’s aged well

James Coleman 8 October 2021 54
Old brick well in Queanbeyan

A well has been unearthed in Queanbeyan that is estimated to be 150 years old. Photo: Gillian Kelly and Brendan O’Keefe.

An old well has been unearthed in Queanbeyan during excavations on the new precinct for Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional Council (QPRC).

Bulldozers had been preparing the site on the intersection of Crawford Street and Lowe Street when they struck a man-made ring of bricks, dating back about 150 years.

Buried beneath the previous structure, the well is approximately nine metres deep and in excellent condition.

At this early stage, it’s thought it was likely part of the Myers Aerated Water and Cordial Factory that stood on the site from 1874 until around 1950.

QPRC Mayor Tim Overall has recommended the well be protected and conserved for its “historic, aesthetic and technical significance” as part of Queanbeyan’s significant heritage.

A report on how this can best be achieved will be presented at the next meeting of the QPRC Heritage Advisory Committee.

Queanbeyan was officially proclaimed a township in 1838, with a population of 50. The area is ripe with history and heritage, not to mention plenty of old cordial bottles.

Historical photo of Myers Aerated Water and Cordial Factory

The Myers Aerated Water and Cordial Factory that operated in Queanbeyan from 1874 until around 1950. Photo: Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional Council Library.

Not much is known about the Myers Aerated Water and Cordial Factory, but several other cordial factories called the Queanbeyan region home during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

William Pike, state judge and twice mayor of Queanbeyan, ran a cordial business near his home at Trinculo Place, overlooking Queanbeyan River, until it burnt to the ground in 1917.

Pike’s obituary states he was born in 1851 in Tuggeranong (now Wanniassa) before coming to live and work in Queanbeyan, initially as a butcher.

“He afterwards commenced business as a cordial and aerated water manufacturer, and later started business in the same line at Captain’s Flat, where he won and held the respect of the whole community,” it reads.

Meanwhile, across the border in the new Federal Capital Territory, the sale of alcohol was banned from 1910 to 1928. People wanting a tipple had to either sneak bottles across the border, or head across to one of Queanbeyan’s 16 public houses.

READ ALSO: Queanbeyan’s new $74 million cultural precinct one step closer

But there was no limit on the production of cordial in the Territory, and in 1926, TJ Sheekey built its first cordial and ice-making factory on a block of land that is now Mort Street in Braddon.

But even this ended up in Queanbeyan. After being sold and passed through another’s hands, the business was bought by the Commonwealth Cordial Company and a new factory established on Derrima Road in Queanbeyan.

The new Queanbeyan Civic and Cultural Precinct (QCCP) is currently being constructed on the site of the former QPRC administration building at 257 Crawford Street, and into the Lowe Street car park, at a cost of $74 million.

The development will have a strong focus on community and cultural purposes, with more than 40 per cent of the precinct comprising community spaces, gallery linkages to The Q and Bicentennial Hall, new basement parking and public domain.

The QCCP includes a head office for QPRC staff, the council library, conference meeting rooms, and lettable space for NSW Government agencies, commercial offices and a smart hub.

The precinct is due for completion in early 2023.

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54 Responses to 150-year-old well unearthed in Queanbeyan, and it’s aged well
Owain Price Owain Price 2:52 pm 15 Oct 21

Well well well!

Penny Gray Penny Gray 7:00 am 15 Oct 21

What ever they are building they should make this a feature

Jan Bryant Jan Bryant 1:43 pm 14 Oct 21

Beautifully made. Ah craftsmanship. Remember that?

Brad Godwin Brad Godwin 10:46 pm 13 Oct 21

Yeah wow

Lyn Turner Lyn Turner 9:46 pm 13 Oct 21

Richard Pass and Kadambini Pass a story that may interest you. A cordial factory and a well!

    Jeanette Clout Jeanette Clout 8:09 am 14 Oct 21

    Lyn Turner Qeanbeyan is full of history. I love walking around the town. From the public School building beautifully preserved 1877. To the suspension bridge and the old cemetery on the river. And so much of it is signed with historical information. I'm really glad they are going to preserve the well. While digging the garden Alan has found lovely old pharmacy style bottles and has passed them on to the historical society. Who knows what we might dig up next!

    Kadambini Pass Kadambini Pass 1:12 pm 14 Oct 21

    Lyn Turner seems cordial was very popular back then.

Chris Bryant Chris Bryant 7:16 pm 13 Oct 21

well ,well, well,

Dorothy Brownlea Dorothy Brownlea 12:42 pm 13 Oct 21

Hope they incorporate it into what ever they build there

    Linda Stapleton Linda Stapleton 3:47 pm 13 Oct 21

    Dorothy Brownlea they were talking on the news the other night, about including it in the build so it could be viewed by the public.

    Dorothy Brownlea Dorothy Brownlea 4:20 pm 13 Oct 21

    Linda Stapleton that is great we need to keep history

    Linda Stapleton Linda Stapleton 4:21 pm 13 Oct 21

    Dorothy Brownlea I absolutely agree with you 🙂 I hope they manage to keep it and display it as they discussed

Isabella Allen Isabella Allen 9:40 am 13 Oct 21

Dan Patrick check it out!

Nikki Weir Nikki Weir 9:31 am 13 Oct 21

Just goes to show that things back when happen to be done properly time and money wasn’t a issue

Jesse James Jesse James 7:50 pm 12 Oct 21

That’s cool

Tim McMahon Tim McMahon 1:54 pm 12 Oct 21

Hope it left there to and not disturb

Emma Rebecca Wells Emma Rebecca Wells 1:14 pm 12 Oct 21

I didn’t realise we had Cordial factories here in Qbn in the old days.

Kris Walker Kris Walker 10:59 am 12 Oct 21

My dad picks the fruit that..

Tramcar Trev Tramcar Trev 10:16 am 12 Oct 21

An interesting discovery... Wonder if the original owners submitted an appropriate DA to dig the well?

Peter Hatfield Peter Hatfield 9:49 am 12 Oct 21

Well I never!

Patricia Sutton Patricia Sutton 8:40 am 12 Oct 21

So council has knocked a heritage building down to find this well.

    Cara Bush Cara Bush 3:24 pm 12 Oct 21

    Patricia Sutton the block of flats were demolished not sure if they were Heritage listed though.

    Here is an article I found:


    Patricia Sutton Patricia Sutton 4:58 pm 12 Oct 21

    Cara Bush thank you that’s interesting. I did think it was another building where the council was that had been demolished.

Chris Foudoulis Chris Foudoulis 8:11 am 12 Oct 21

I know of another well in QBN. Wouldn’t know if it is known or documented by Council. Wouldn’t know its age either.

    Dennis White Dennis White 9:18 am 12 Oct 21

    Chris Foudoulis did you work for QBN council back in the 70's

Darren Bryant Darren Bryant 8:05 am 12 Oct 21

This is overwellming

TP Simpson TP Simpson 7:28 am 12 Oct 21

Well well

Christopher Biddle Christopher Biddle 7:24 am 12 Oct 21

Visaa Lessells-Biddle well well well

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