Works on the old Murphy's town pub.
Works on the old Murphy's town pub.

Multimillion-dollar deal to restore historic city pub

THE COMMONWEALTH Hotel, better known as the old Murphy’s Town Pub, is one step closer to being restored after the project was given the green light at last week’s council meeting.

Ipswich City Council has signed off on the $2.354 million project as part of the $250 million CBD redevelopment.

The hotel was taken apart piece by piece and materials stored in a council warehouse ahead of possible reconstruction.

Councillors were told that few contractors would have been capable of putting the heritage building back together and that the project would enable the hotel to return to its former glory days.

A report to the committee said a lengthy process had involved stabilising the building and deconstructing it to prevent any further deterioration.

“To date approximately $3.5 million has been spent on the Commonwealth Hotel in terms of the underpinning of the site, the demolition and storage of a significant portion of the southern facade and the temporary bracing of the remaining structure,” the report said.

“The Commonwealth Hotel still requires extensive repairs to stabilise and reconstruct the structure and reduce associated risks to site workers and the public.”

The tender was awarded to Built Qld Pty Ltd.

One prospective tenant had expressed an interest to council in operating the hotel/bar and negotiations would continue during reconstruction.

Committee Chair and Deputy Mayor Marnie Doyle said there had been a lot of community feedback with residents keen to see the structure restored.

“People understand, in Ipswich in particular, the heritage value and importance of these buildings. Certainly the old Murphy’s Town Pub has a lot of significance and sentimental value to myself and others within the community,” Cr Doyle said.

The project has cost about $6 million overall, but Cr Doyle said the building had significant heritage value.

“In Ipswich, we have lost so many significant heritage and historical buildings that were victims of the 80s; many beautiful buildings were just bulldozed and replaced with modern structures that are now outdated. I think this is one important win we need in Ipswich to preserve some of our history,” Cr Doyle said.

Reconstruction will take 23 weeks.