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
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

Michael Leiper Michael Leiper 7:10 am 12 Oct 21

Hope they incorporate it in to the build

Steve Hall Steve Hall 5:01 am 12 Oct 21

It must have aboriginal heritage.... stop the construction, preserve the well and move the council chambers!!!

Sarah Welsford Sarah Welsford 4:51 am 12 Oct 21

Well, well, well, well lookie here well, you’re looking well 👍🏼 (a bit creepy) but well😆

    Penny Lindh Penny Lindh 5:18 am 12 Oct 21

    Sarah Welsford well well well, three holes in the ground!

Tim Stanton Tim Stanton 12:51 am 12 Oct 21

Don’t cover it up again protect it!!!

    Tracey Howard Tracey Howard 9:42 pm 12 Oct 21

    Tim Stanton haha! Your talking about Queanbeyan council, they already demolished the old houses there so I bet they will destroy this too

    Tim Stanton Tim Stanton 10:03 pm 12 Oct 21

    Sad that we never knew about had it not been for uncovering it now exposed has created a lot of interest hopefully money doesn’t win this like it always does!!

Dominic Chalker Dominic Chalker 10:55 pm 11 Oct 21

Mark Kennedy well well well

    Penny Lindh Penny Lindh 5:19 am 12 Oct 21

    Dominic Chalker three holes in thdd we ground

Peter McQueen Peter McQueen 10:35 pm 11 Oct 21

Well, Well, Well.... what do we have here

Raymond Whitford Raymond Whitford 9:54 pm 11 Oct 21

The ring

Sarah McDougall Sarah McDougall 9:21 pm 11 Oct 21

Marylou Pooley wish we had a copy of the family cordial recipe!

Christopher Cuba Rabanal Christopher Cuba Rabanal 8:14 pm 11 Oct 21

It’s a wormhole 🐰

Warren Taylor Warren Taylor 6:59 pm 11 Oct 21

Nathan Heerey that's a big well

Ivan Jolic Ivan Jolic 6:43 pm 11 Oct 21

It's a hole really the brick work looks pretty new

Penny Hemsworth Penny Hemsworth 4:21 pm 11 Oct 21

Who says Queanbeyan is boring😄

Sean Roberts Sean Roberts 3:49 pm 11 Oct 21

Is Timmy stuck down there??

    Naomi Dale Naomi Dale 11:09 pm 11 Oct 21

    Sean Roberts Lassie will let us know for sure

    Rachel Hornsby Rachel Hornsby 11:13 am 12 Oct 21

    Naomi Dale Or a fake, just ask Bart Simpson.

Alexandra Craig Alexandra Craig 3:44 pm 11 Oct 21

Gareth Williams thought you’d find this cool given the history of your house!

    Gareth Williams Gareth Williams 5:45 pm 11 Oct 21

    Alexandra Craig a cordial factory is pretty interesting compared to our place - an old laundromat with empty whisky bottles under the floorboards 😅 Oh, and a couple of cool coins

Richard Allen Richard Allen 2:51 pm 11 Oct 21

They say they know thier history its a pity the pioneer walk the date on one of them is so wrong

Great researchers

Phillip Cox Phillip Cox 2:15 pm 11 Oct 21

Hayley Luck well would ya look at that👌

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