Bridge builder's stories revealed

AT A time when Brisbane River crossings – or the lack of them – are being hotly debated, an Ipswich man is preparing to honour one of Queensland's greatest bridge builders.

Noel Davis is the grandson of Walter Taylor, the designer and builder of the distinctive bridge which bears his name between Chelmer and Indooroopilly.

Mr Davis spent a good deal of last year working on his maternal grandfather's record of achievements, The Remarkable Walter Taylor.

“I've wanted to do the book for a while,” he said.

“It's the 75th anniversary of the opening of the bridge on February 14.

“My grandfather not only did an enormous amount of building in south-east Queensland he was also an inventor and a visionary.

“In 1924 he had a plan to construct a tunnel running under the Brisbane River to Woolloongabba.

“I just felt that no one knew all the facts of his life.

“People had no idea of the man he was. He was very reserved.”

Walter Taylor worked as an architect, designer, engineer and builder, though he had no formal qualifications.

He built four bridges before the suspension bridge known as the Indooroopilly Toll Bridge opened in 1936.

Ipswich City Council and the Ebbw Vale Progress Association were involved in early discussions about its planning.

Walter Taylor's many building contracts included schools, a hospital, office buildings, concrete houses and an apartment building.

Mr Davis remembers his grandfather as being a devout Methodist.

“He was glad when I went into the ministry,” he said.

One of Taylor's enduring legacies is the Graceville Methodist Uniting Church, where the book of his life and work will be launched on February 13 at 2pm by the Queensland Governor Penelope Wensley.

The Oxley-Chelmer History Group has helped produce the book, and text written by Ipswich historian Margaret Cook has been included.

If you would like to own a copy of the book, call 3202 3660.

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