NEW ERA: Building owner Sarah Gilchrist and project consultant Skie Harris outside the restored hall.
NEW ERA: Building owner Sarah Gilchrist and project consultant Skie Harris outside the restored hall. David Nielsen

Renovation saves landmark and delivers a pregnancy service

THE old "Blair Church" at Sadliers Crossing has been given a new lease of life, restored and reopened to the community as a private midwifery service.

The restoration project won a Gold Award in the heritage category of Ipswich City Council's Awards for Excellence for builders Queensland Heritage Restorations.

A local landmark in Sadliers Crossing, the church hall building at 29 Burnett St, had fallen into disrepair with termite damage and fibro sheeting in the interior which had to be replaced.

Queensland Heritage Restorations project consultant Skie Harris said the open-plan hall was redesigned to accommodate six offices with the original heritage archways retained in the design to close in the wings.

Built in 1901, the Methodist Church hall operated as a Sunday School until the 1980s. When it opened it was named The West End School by Ipswich Methodist circuit superintendent Rev W. H. Harrison.

New owner Sarah Gilchrist said the recognition at the council Awards for Excellence was the icing on the cake to what had already been a rewarding project.

BIG PROJECT:
BIG PROJECT: "Blair Church" before the award winning renovations by Queensland Heritage Restorations. Contributed

"It is such a beautiful church and I could see the potential," Ms Gilchrist said.

"Sometimes you get a bit disillusioned with such a big renovation project, but it's all worth it in the end.

"Nobody had been in the building for 12 months and it was in disrepair. You had to have foresight.

"But (the hall) had a purpose. I approached My Midwives about getting a building for them. It was something I wanted to do for them because they had been so wonderful to me when I was a client and we found this church."

The church hall was among 28 award winners for the best in Ipswich design of new development, conservation of built heritage, environmental and school initiatives recognised at the Awards for Excellence.

Along with conservation and environmental projects, the awards named former QT chief photographer Lyle Radford and long-time Whitehead Studios employee John Rossiter as inductees into the Ipswich Heritage Hall of Fame, recognising their work with Picture Ipswich and the Ipswich Library Local History Room.

Overall winners

Heritage Category

  • Ariane Milinovich and Nick Petroeschevsky for "Restoration of 14 Mt Crosby Road, Tivoli".

Design Category

  • Queensland Fire and Emergency Service and the Public Safety Business Agency for the "Ripley Valley Fire and Rescue Station".

Environment Category

  • Ipswich Grammar School Agriculture and Horticulture students for "Revegetation of Wallaby Ware Park, Brassall and Smith Park, Woodend".

Student Award

  • Ipswich High Schools Unite for MyRiver Bremer.


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