15 August 2022
The Queensland Heritage Council (QHC) has visited one of Ipswich’s soon-to-be treasured heritage sites, the rebuilt Commonwealth Hotel in the Nicholas Street Precinct.
Growth, Infrastructure and Waste Committee Chair Ipswich Mayor Teresa Harding said the QHC had several significant items on its agenda while meeting at Ipswich City Council’s new administration building today.
“We were thrilled to have the QHC in our heritage city to discuss matters such as council’s new planning scheme, state and local heritage places, identifying and assessing places of local significance, and historic, first nations and landscape places,” Mayor Harding said.
“They also enjoyed site visits to the Walter Burley Griffin Incinerator, Pumpyard bar and brewery (Memorial Technical College) and of course the Commonwealth Hotel, built more than a century ago and put back together by council.”
Mayor Harding said the irony was not lost on QHC members that while Ipswich is the fastest growing city in Queensland and in the top ten in Australia, it is also recognised for having one of the best heritage programs in the state, if not the nation.
“We are definitely a mix of the old and the new. Heritage is a lived experience in Ipswich. We consider heritage to be an active ongoing part of the contemporary culture of the city not just a static view of things that have been,” Mayor Harding said.
“The QHC was today in one of the newest buildings in the city, council’s administration headquarters located at 1 Nicholas Street in Tulmur Place.
“Right next door, squeezed in between our new block of restaurants, cafes, sports bars and retailers in the precinct, is the iconic century-old Commonwealth Hotel.
“The Commonwealth Hotel has been meticulously restored by council to restore its heritage character and the forthcoming extension of the hotel will transform the site into a state-of-the-art dining and entertainment hub.
“The Commonwealth Hotel, also known as Murphy’s Pub, was built in 1910 and extensive plans for the redevelopment include indoor and outdoor dining, a feature cocktail bar, beer garden and function rooms, while keeping its classic and authentic persona at its core.”
Today’s visit – the third by the QHC to Ipswich – had another close city council connection: chairperson of the Ipswich Central Redevelopment Committee Councillor Marnie Doyle was appointed to the body in January for a three-year term.
Cr Doyle is the first local councillor to sit on the QHC in its 30-year history, with Ipswich previously providing two senior council officers to the QHC in former city planners John Adams and John Brannock, who also served as QHC chairman from 1998 to 2004.
The QHC’s most prominent and public responsibility is to decide what is entered in and removed from the Queensland Heritage Register, ensuring the preservation of our built and natural history for future generations.
Cr Doyle said she was honoured to be appointed to the QHC as a representative of the Local Government Association of Queensland.
“I am passionate about protecting and celebrating the heritage of our communities,” Cr Doyle said.
“Growing up in Ipswich, Queensland’s oldest provincial city, surrounded by Colonial, Federation, and timber-and-tin architecture, sparked my affinity for heritage and architecture.”
The QHC also provides impartial and independent strategic advice to the State Government on cultural heritage matters, encourages the appropriate management of places of cultural heritage significance, and advocates on behalf of the owners of heritage places.
Membership comprises of heritage conservation experts and representatives from the National Trust of Queensland, the Local Government Association of Queensland, the Queensland Council of Unions, and organisations representing the interests of property owners and managers, and rural industries.
Cr Doyle said Ipswich is already home to 7,500 heritage protected places, some of which appear on the Queensland Heritage Register including Booval House, Bostock Chambers, the Bremer Rail Bridge and the Challinor Centre.
“As chair of the council’s Ipswich Central Redevelopment Committee, I am acutely aware of the challenges cities face as they change and grow, and the tension between providing new opportunities for people to live, work and play while preserving that city’s heritage,” Cr Doyle said.
“As a member of the Queensland Heritage Council, I look forward to listening and learning about heritage issues beyond Ipswich and offering my perspective on the Ipswich experience.
“I will also be a fierce advocate for the protection of heritage buildings and places within our city.”
The new Ipswich Planning Scheme will expand protection of our city’s heritage. There are more than 7,500 places protected under the current scheme and it will be expanded.
The new scheme also includes changes to zonings that that will protect the settings of our character houses by protecting traditional neighbourhood lot sizes and reduce intensification.