BIG DAY: A crowd gathers in 1895 for the laying of the foundation stone at the Congregational Sunday School Hall, now the home of the Ipswich Antique Centre.
BIG DAY: A crowd gathers in 1895 for the laying of the foundation stone at the Congregational Sunday School Hall, now the home of the Ipswich Antique Centre. Lachlan Mcivor

Antique Centre hits a major milestone

IPSWICH Antique Centre director Heather Mildwaters never gets sick of walking into work and the historic building she enters five days a week has celebrated another milestone.

Last week marked the 124th anniversary of the laying of the foundation stone for the Congregational Church Sunday School Hall.

The building has been home to the antique centre since 2010.

"I still love it as much as the first day I clapped eyes on it,” Mrs Mildwaters said. "It really is a fabulous building and it has a wonderful feel to it.

"You can usually tell the people who have never been here before because they come in through the foyer and the first thing they do is look up.

"We have this amazing ceiling. Apparently it is reasonably unique because the University of Queensland used to bring their architecture students to gaze upon it. Most people are fascinated by the building itself.”

The foundation stone was laid on April 26, 1895 by the then governor of Queensland Sir Henry Wylie Norman and the building was completed by the end of that year.

The Cribb family, of Cribb & Foote fame, contributed three quarters of the £4000 construction costs.

The Ipswich Antique Centre opened its doors in its heritage-listed premises in December 2010.

"We spent a year and two weeks between when we paid our money for the building and when we actually opened the centre,” Mrs Mildwaters said.

"A lot of that was spent re-adapting it for our purposes.

"Largely the building was extremely well constructed in its time and it's still in extremely good condition.

"We used to jokingly say that anything done in the last 50 years was by well-intentioned volunteers after church on a Sunday.

"We painted over 300 panes of glass ourselves.”

A number of antique dealers display their wares in the centre, the largest of its kind in regional Queensland, with just about "everything” for sale from $5 items to a wardrobe worth $8600.

The centre's cafe will open on May 9 after being closed for four years.



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