REVEALED: Popular wedding venue to re-open

AN ICONIC Ipswich venue that suddenly closed down in February will re-open.

A new operator has been found for Woodlands at Marburg with former staff from Ivory's Rock Convention and Events Centre in negotiations to take over the historic site.

David Ritchie and his business partner Michael Rowan expect to sign a contract with owners Copper Property Group for the venue within the next week.

If all goes according to plan, Woodlands will re-open in June and begin taking inquiries for events.

"We are really excited," Mr Ritchie said.

"It's a big job - there's no doubt about that, but we're excited to be doing it for ourselves and to be promoting Ipswich."

Scenes from the movie We Were Tomorrow filmed at Woodlands of Marburg. Photo: Contributed
Scenes from the movie We Were Tomorrow filmed at Woodlands of Marburg. Photo: Contributed Contributed

Mr Ritchie and Mr Rowan have extensive experience in organising large and small events.

"It was a baptism of fire at Ivory's Rock running 5000-people events, building a small city for a few days then packing it down," Mr Ritchie, who was the general manager for two years, said.

"So, we have lots of experience for small and large events and lots of relevant contacts in the industry.

"We want to make sure we are on the very edge of the best customer service available, that every experience is unique, and that people walk away satisfied.

"One thing we learned at Ivory's Rock is if you are going to do it, you must do it right and spare no expense to make sure the event goes well."

Ivory's Rock former general manager David Ritchie will reopen Woodlands at Marburg with his business partner Michael Rowan, under the business name Ipswich Entertainment.
Ivory's Rock former general manager David Ritchie will reopen Woodlands at Marburg with his business partner Michael Rowan, under the business name Ipswich Entertainment. Helen Spelitis

In February, brides-to-be were shocked to be told their weddings had been cancelled and Woodlands would close indefinitely.

The property's owner, Cooper Property Group CEO Graham Harding was equally as shocked and said the situation that lead to the historic and popular venue being mothballed had been "regretful".

"We're very happy," Mr Harding said.

"It's a beautiful place and we hated to see it mothballed. We're very pleased it will be up and running again.

"I feel David and Michael will be the most experienced and qualified operators we've ever had."

While the deal is yet to be finalised, Mr Ritchie and Mr Rowan already have plans to expand the venue's appeal, including hosting music festivals and potentially adding camp sites to the property.



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