Artist Julie Maddocks was shocked to hear the Ipswich City Council failed to consult the community before removing a mural 130 locals helped create. Photo: Ebony Graveur
Artist Julie Maddocks was shocked to hear the Ipswich City Council failed to consult the community before removing a mural 130 locals helped create. Photo: Ebony Graveur

Artist shattered after popular Bottle Alley mural removed

AN ICONIC Ipswich mural documenting the city's history has been removed barely five years after more than 130 people took eight months to create it.

The 26-metre painting brightened up Bottle Alley after local artists worked together to create the painting as part of the 2015 Animating Spaces project.

Artist, project co-ordinator and designer Julie Maddocks only discovered the painting had been removed when an Ipswich City Council worker called her on Wednesday.

"(A council worker) rang me and said 'just letting you know, we have already destroyed (the mural)," Ms Maddocks said.

She said she had received a bizarre phone call a month ago from the same council worker, who questioned how she would feel should the mural be removed.

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"He said he was from the council and asked if I would be upset if they painted over the mural … I said yes, of course I would, because it's the community's mural," she said.

After receiving the first call, Ms Maddocks contacted Discover Ipswich to clarify if the mural was under threat but was told it would not only remain but would be included in the heritage trail.

The mural took about eight months to complete, including a lengthy period of research.

"I'd researched all these stories about the alley's history," Ms Maddocks said.

"(Stories of) walking to school every day, the trains, a guy who supposedly lived in the alley."

Ms Maddocks said she had aspired to hand a paintbrush to as many Ipswich locals as possible.

"Anybody and everybody who walked past and wanted to do it could do it," Ms Maddocks said.

"Business people, school kids, graffiti artists, taggers, local artists, two old ladies who used to walk up the alley - everyone."

She said the mural had united people from many different walks of life.

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"So many people contributed to that wall and all had something that they had done for Ipswich and they belonged," she said.

"The mural told history and people in Ipswich belonged to it."

She said the council had failed to communicate between departments.

"They can't co-ordinate between two council departments to keep a historical piece of art and destroyed all the community involvement," Ms Maddocks said.

"If they had asked Discover Ipswich if the mural was significant, the answer straight away would have been yes."

An Ipswich City Council spokesman confirmed the mural was gone. 

"The bottle alley mural was removed as part of the redevelopment of the $250 million Nicholas Street Precinct redevelopment," the spokesman said. 

They told the Queensland Times the mural had been photographed by Picture Ipswich before it was removed. 

"The council is currently exploring options of how the digital image of the mural can be incorporated into the redeveloped precinct," the spokesman said. 

 

Read more news by Ebony Graveur.



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