Near century-old water tower at Madsen Close in Eastern Heights restored

Urban Utilities has completed refurbishment works on the water tower at Madsen Close in Eastern Heights, ensuring it will remain a local Ipswich landmark for many years to come.

The facelift included repairs to the water tower’s reservoir and roof after Ipswich City Council and the community requested the water utility retain rather than remove the near century-old tower.

Built in 1929 to supply water to the eastern suburbs of Ipswich using a gravity feed system, it was decommissioned in 2009 after the local water network was upgraded with a new water booster pump.

Growth, Infrastructure and Waste Committee Chair Ipswich Mayor said Urban Utilities was initially planning to remove the water tower, however a council notice of motion in March 2022 requesting its preservation because of the historical significance resulted in an about-turn.

“We are delighted that Urban Utilities listened to the feedback from council and the community,” Mayor Harding said.

“This is a great outcome for our city and its residents who wanted to see the tower retained as a local landmark. I’m pleased the Madsen Close Water Tower will remain part of the Ipswich skyline for years to come.”

Growth, Infrastructure and Waster Committee Deputy Chair Councillor Paul Tully said following feedback from council in the community in 2022, Urban Utilities stopped a proposed demolition project and carried out detailed heritage and condition assessments.

“The independent heritage survey recognised the tower was of local significance owing to its historic and aesthetic values and recommended keeping the tower,” Cr Tully said.

Urban Utilities Executive Leader Integrated Solutions Chris Bulloch, with Ipswich Mayor Teresa Harding and Councillors Marnie Doyle and Andrew Fechner cutting the ribbon to the restored Madsen Close water tower.

Division 3 Councillor Marnie Doyle said she was also glad the water tower was staying.

“I am delighted that my March 2022 notice of motion to council that spoke to the importance of the Madsen Close Water Tower and called for a comprehensive assessment of its heritage significance, together with my and Cr Andrew Fechner’s advocacy on behalf of residents and our ongoing discussions with Urban Utilities, has helped save this iconic tower,” Cr Doyle said.

“Ipswich has a rich history and as our city grows, it’s important we consider and protect our local heritage where we can.”

Division 3 Councillor Andrew Fechner, in supporting Cr Doyle’s notice of motion, said at the time the “very least” that could be done was investigate so council could have all available information.

“Common sense prevailed and some innovative work was carried out to complete the necessary restoration while reducing impact on nearby residents and meeting council and community desires,” Cr Fechner said.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony to mark the restoration project was conducted at the water tower on 2 August.

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