From the front, Ipswich City Mall Newsagents in Nicholas Street looks like a typical store selling lotto tickets, gifts and magazines but inside there is a more than meets the eye.
A mural depicting Mickey Mouse holding a book, a woman in a yellow dress walking a poodle and a book with a lady dressed in feathers on the cover stretches the length of one of the walls.
The artwork is believed to date back to the 1950s but has sat hidden for more than two decades behind a false wall.
Mickey Mouse holding a “Kiddies Comic”.
Store owner Pauline Williamson uncovered the artwork one day while having a security system installed in the business.
That was about two years ago and ever since, the artwork and how it came to be has remained on her mind.
“I found it at least two years ago, there’s all this beautiful art that’s part of our Ipswich heritage and it’s been covered up,” she said.
“I’ve always wanted to pull the panels off, it’s been one of those going to do things, and then I thought let’s just do it.”
A book with a lady dressed in feathers on the cover and a woman in a yellow dress walking a poodle.
Ms Williamson is hoping by uncovering as much as the artwork as possible she will not only bring to light a touch of Ipswich history, but also perhaps prompt someone who knows about its origin to come forward.
“I’m going to reveal as much of it as I can, they’re quite big, you can’t see very well but the mural goes all the way up to the roof,” she said.
“I’ve seen (a picture of) the Eifel Tower above the ceiling, a lady in a beautiful pink dress with roses all around her, Daffy Duck is up there somewhere too and over behind where the lotto (counter) is, there’s another mural.
“It’s an old gentleman with his glasses on the end of his nose and he’s reading the Ipswich Tribunal, he’s quite huge and goes right up the wall, but unfortunately we can’t remove the lotto (counter) and reveal him.”
Ms Williamson said the only clue as to who painted the mural and why is a signature – R.Wilkinson – in small, cursive script among the pictures.
The Artists’ signature painted on the mural.
To date, Ms Williamson’s efforts to find out who R.Wilkinson is have proven fruitless.
“I spoke to the art gallery at the time I discovered them but they didn’t know anything about them,” she said.
“I’m hoping there might be some family here still and someone might know something about it or who might have done it.
“I’d love to try and track them down, it would be good to get a bit of history on it.”
Ms Williamson plans to add her own cheeky ‘art’ piece to the wall and make the space more appealing to customers walking by.
“I’m going to take some more panels down so it shows a bit more and I might put some spotlights in to shoot up to the roof, it should look amazing,” she said.
“I thought I’d spruce it up and thought a stuffed rat hanging out of the wall would look great, with whiskers and a pink nose too.
“The space has been a newsagency to my understanding for at least 40 years, the people that were here before me were here for 34 years and I’ve been here for four.
“I’m sure there’s a lot more history to it, it will be fascinating to find out, these old buildings have so much character and so many stories to tell.
“It’s a reminder that you just never know what you’re going to find if you look.”
Anyone wanting to pass on relevant information can contact Ipswich City Mall Newsagents on 0412 606 056 or [email protected]