by Joel Gould
THE RESTORATION of historic Murphy's Town Pub is closer to reality after a development application (DA) for vital works was lodged with Ipswich City Council yesterday.
The DA has been lodged on behalf of Ipswich City Properties (ICP), as required for the council to make any temporary or permanent structural alterations.
As reported earlier by the QT, the building has been undermined by an unknown water source going back almost 30 years, which has caused damage to the foundations leading to cracks in the structure. Council-owned Ipswich City Properties (ICP) will undertake the major remediation work, including conserving the facade, as part of the upcoming CBD redevelopment.
ICP chairman Paul Tully said the works, which include a rebuild of sorts, would put the building in Union Place back into a sound structural position so it can be tenanted in future.
"The front facade will be painstakingly rebuilt from the original materials,” he said.
Cr Tully said the council could have jacked up the building to get it running for the short term.
"But this would not have resolved the underlying problems,” Cr Tully said.
"We want to make sure that Murphy's is fixed properly with all care taken to preserve its unique heritage features.”
He said the planned works would will mean that the current state of liquefaction of the subsoil, the cause of the current damage to the building which forced the pub's closure in December of 2014, would "be resolved by compacting the soil in the sub-structure and installing the necessary drainage systems to avoid future issues”.
The pub was acquired by ICP as part of an insurance settlement. Mayor Paul Pisasale said the planned works were vital as there was "a real risk that planned nearby demolition work associated with the CBD redevelopment could cause further damage to the building”.
"It is a part of our city's history and if we want future generations to enjoy it we need to take action now.”
Local councillor Andrew Antoniolli said the aim was to bring in a commercial operator "as soon as practical”.
"The ultimate goal is to reopen the premises as part of the future food and beverage offer in the new CBD,” he said.
Construction teams will need to ensure the heritage elements of the building are preserved, including newly discovered original ornate ceilings which date back to the pub's first construction.
The original ceilings had been covered by modern ceilings for the past few decades.