Ipswich councillors Paul Tully and Marnie Doyle next to Blackall Monument.
Ipswich councillors Paul Tully and Marnie Doyle next to Blackall Monument.

Council to explore moving monument back to CBD

IPSWICH City Council will again explore moving a historic 140-year-old Ipswich monument into the centre of the city, with residents reigniting calls to move it back “where it belongs”.

The Blackall Monument, named after Queensland’s second governor Samuel Blackall, is also known as the ‘drinking fountain’.

It was moved to Denmark Hill in 1927 to make way for traffic in the CBD.

According to Ipswich historian Beryl Johnston, work was finished on the fountain section of the monument in December 1880 and it was erected on Brisbane and Nicholas streets.

Blackall Monument in 2021. Photo: Jason McNamara
Blackall Monument in 2021. Photo: Jason McNamara

A report was put to councillors last month concerning three public monument and memorial applications submitted by community groups.

As there is not an active membership for the Ipswich Heritage and Monuments Advisory Committee, these applications are referred to the council for review and consideration.

The applications are from the Ipswich RSL Sub Branch, the Zonta Club of Ipswich and the Brisbane Bangla Language School and Ethnic Schools Association.

The RSL sub branch wants the council’s approval to install eight memorial stones, a commemorative plaque mounted on a sandstone plinth and three memorial plinths to commemorate World War II at the Soldiers Memorial Hall and memorial gardens.

November will mark the hall’s centenary.

The Zonta Club wants to install a memorial sculpture at Lobley Park in Churchill to commemorate the club’s contribution.

The Brisbane Bangla Language School and Ethnic Schools Association wants to install a monument which “promotes the importance of mother languages in a multicultural society, as well as to demonstrate respect to the language martyrs around the world” at Robelle Domain in Springfield.

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Deputy Mayor Marnie Doyle moved a variation on the related motion to request a report be put together to determine the cost of moving the Blackall Monument to d’Arcy Doyle Place.

Councillors unanimously voted for the applications to proceed to the next stage of the application process and the report compiled.

While discussing moving Blackall Monument, veteran councillor Paul Tully said the council had previously found the cost to be “phenomenal”.

“I know that the previous council did previous work around this and I’m keen to revisit it,” Cr Doyle said.

“I’ve already spoken with councillor officers and my expectation is any previous quotes or estimates of costs should be disregarded.

“We start from scratch and see if there is somebody, certainly a local business, willing to do this piece of work at a fair price.

“Obviously it will come down to costs.

Blackall Monument was moved to Denmark Hill in 1927.
Blackall Monument was moved to Denmark Hill in 1927.

“The current location on Denmark Hill is in the thick of our hospital precinct and as the West Moreton Health master plan progresses and the health precinct there becomes even busier there’s very limited opportunity for somebody to park … and appreciate the monument.

“It certainly makes sense to move it.”

Cr Tully said an issue that could arise would be whether the foundations of the monument meet current building and construction requirements.

“Obviously it was a traffic issue many years ago when it was moved and that is correct what (Cr Doyle) says that we should disregard earlier costs,” he said.

“The problem is the costs are usually rising.

“It’s been beavering away in the community for a long time.”

Real estate agent Jason McNamara lives next door to the monument and has long been behind a push to have it moved back to the centre of town.

Jason McNamara has long been behind a push to move the monument back to its original home. He is pictured here with the monument in 2012.
Jason McNamara has long been behind a push to move the monument back to its original home. He is pictured here with the monument in 2012.

“For many people it’s such an important part of Ipswich history,” he said.

“It’s one of the rare things that we have the ability to put back where it was.

“A lot of buildings have been demolished and can’t be put back.

“If you look at any old photo of (the Ipswich CBD) the Blackall Monument features within that photo.

“It would be great to have it back there and have people take photos with it or have photos for future historical photos of Ipswich in 2021.”

Mr McNamara believed the previous council’s reluctance to move the monument was not just down to costs.

“I think that was just ‘I don’t want to do it and we’ve got other things to focus on’,” he said.

“It was moved in 1927 and we’ve got a lot better technology now and it’s all downhill.

“I would say it would be a lot easier to put it back there. There’s no reason not to put it back.

“It’s definitely out of the way (on Denmark Hill).

“I think people who work at the hospital go past it all the time but probably don’t know what it is or the historical significance of it and where it belongs.

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“It might as well be in someone’s backyard.

“I just think it’s perfect timing to have it back in the CBD while it’s being rejuvenated.

“We’ve got artworks going into the mall and we’ve got all of these great features.

“I think by putting it back there it would show that council do care about our history and not just making things nice and new.

“I think it would send a signal to a lot of the people like myself who are passionate about Ipswich history that council do care.”

Read more stories by Lachlan McIvor here.



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