With a city that boasts a soccer history that dates back to the late 1800s, Ipswich’s soccer heritage can boast to be one of the oldest in the State of Queensland – Australia. Likewise does the linkage between these early clubs and the Ipswich Knights Soccer Club as it stands today.
So where does the “Knights” fit into this mighty history trace? The Ipswich Knights Soccer Club Incorporated was formed in 1998 and was an amalgamation of two powerhouses in Ipswich soccer, the Bundamba based “Coalstars” and the Ebbw Vale based “St Helens United”. Both of these clubs have played a significant role in Ipswich’s soccer history and the following is a brief description of their history.
Although Bundamba and Blackstone have both claimed to be Ipswich’s first soccer clubs, the first recorded soccer match in Ipswich took place on North Ipswich Reserve on the 26th June 1886. This was played under the Anglo-Queensland rules with the contesting teams being the Rovers of Bundamba and the Queenslanders of this city “Ipswich”.
The Dinmore Bush Rats were formed in 1888 with the Bundamba Rangers being formed in 1894 and their first game being played on Saturday 19th May. It was also in the 1894 period that Montes, Booval Enterprises and Fernvale were formed. Booval Enterprises later changed their name to the Booval Stars in 1902. The club disappeared just after World War 2 (1946) and the ground was sold to the Booval Swifts Rugby League Club in 1950. St Helens were formed prior to World War 1 and the date believed to be the formation is 1912.
In the late 1950’s and early 1960’s, dramatic changes were about to impact Ipswich soccer with many ethnic Brisbane cash strapped clubs ready to spend up on Ipswich talent and hence the birth of professionalism in Queensland soccer. Players including Col and Spencer Kitching, Cliff Sander, Al Warren, Duncan McKenna, Graham Kruger, Ross Kelly, Graham Kathage, Les McCrea, Brian Vogler and Ian Johnston. With a loss of State and National experience, a change in the tides was occurring and in a dramatic turn around, the Ipswich power house clubs that had dominated Queensland soccer for so long were now feeling the pinch and the struggle began. The Dinmore Bushrats were the first club to go and they merged with Redbank. Redbank later merged with St Helens in 1966 to form St Helens United. Blackstone Rovers and Bundamba Rangers amalgamated in 1964 to form Coalstars. After both clubs experienced success, their amalgamation eventually took place in 1998 to form the “Ipswich Knights”.
Women’s Soccer in Ipswich
The first women’s soccer match in Ipswich was staged on the Bundamba Racecourse some 80 years ago. Crowds normally sat in the grandstand; however, the crowd was so great that they streamed across the racetrack. The first team to enter the Brisbane competition was Coalstars in 1965 and in 1976 they won the Premiership and the grand final in the first year of the South Queensland Women’s Soccer association.