LANDMARK: Ipswich Historical Society president Hugh Taylor and Cr Bruce Casos inspect the “castle” site which will also be a home for mountain biking.
LANDMARK: Ipswich Historical Society president Hugh Taylor and Cr Bruce Casos inspect the “castle” site which will also be a home for mountain biking. Rob Williams

Blackstone Hill castle to return as our social playground

THE site of the former "coal castle" Brynhyfryd at Blackstone Hill will open to the public as a recreational and tourist attraction, with council adopting plans to develop the land.

Mountain bike trails, a lookout and historic displays will be developed at the site, purchased by Ipswich City Council late last year.

Former owners Juxgold Group/Blackstone International effectively gifted the land to the city, with council acquiring five parcels of land for $1.

Local councillor Bruce Casos said the 44ha site, which commands spectacular views across the city, was expected to open to the public for a preview access day before Christmas with the development of the site to roll out in stages from next year.

"The site was originally the place to be for many family and social functions. Guests included Governors, Premiers and even Prime Minister Billy Hughes," Cr Casos said.

"For the first time since the 1930's Ipswich residents will once again be able to enjoy the magnificent views experienced by previous generations."

The masterplan details a lookout, a "walking museum" with walking trails around the former castle location, bushwalking trails, formalised mountain bike trails with intermediate and advanced trails, staging areas, a bike skills area and a pump track, and a trail of smooth dirt mounds.

The masterplan was developed through consultation with interested groups and a survey with the broader community.

Cr Casos said the plans would formalise Blackstone Hill as an official mountain biking site for local and interstate riders for recreation, training and competition purposes.

He said plans would also showcase the significant part Blackstone Hill played in Ipswich's mining industry, early architecture, cultural and social history.

Development of the former castle "Brynhyfryd" location would include an artistic interpretation of castle footings, partial re-creation of castle gardens edging and interpretive displays.



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