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Painting starts on mural honouring historical Ipswich buildings

Crs Andrew Fechner and Marnie Doyle with artists Sharon Billinge (centre) and Karla Hayes

The first brush strokes have kissed the towering walls and five historic and iconic Ipswich Central buildings have begun taking shape as two artists get to work painting Bottle Alley’s new mural.

Ipswich Central Redevelopment Committee Chairperson Councillor Marnie Doyle said the Bottle Alley heritage thoroughfare dates back more than 150 years, with its new mural to showcase the ‘Lost Buildings of Ipswich Central’.

“Over the weekend we welcomed renowned large-scale artists Sharon Billinge and Karla Hayes who are already at work bringing life to some of our city’s beloved and historic buildings,” Cr Doyle said.

“Their mural design features iconic buildings and businesses that were close to Bottle Alley decades ago including the Whitehouse Café, Hoopers Store, Rockmans – formerly Fleischmanns Saddlers – and the Waltons Building, formerly the Beirne building.

“With work on this major new public art project underway, Bottle Alley is temporarily closed to pedestrian access from Nicholas and Ellenborough Streets to allow the artists to complete their work.

“If you normally use Bottle Alley to access the Nicholas Street Precinct you will need to seek an alternate route via Brisbane Street until the alley re-opens 1 April.”

Division 3 Councillor Andrew Fechner said the mural will be one of Ipswich’s largest and most impressive pieces of public art, stretching more than 80 metres long, three metres tall and over 60 metres of open-air space.

“Once the mural is completed, Bottle Alley will return as a new addition to the city’s street art trail and a historic connection between Top of Town and the Nicholas Street Precinct,” Cr Fechner said.

“Sharon Billinge’s art focuses on building community, and she has over 25 years of experience making art including award-winning murals and partnerships with organisations such as Sydney University, Lendlease as well as numerous councils, schools and community-based groups.

“Karla Hayes is an emerging multi-disciplinary artist who has an international design award under her belt and has forged a creative practice that encourages thoughtful engagement with Australian flora and fauna.

“As a gateway to Tulmur Place, the ‘Lost Buildings of Ipswich Central’ mural will tell a unique local story that sets the mood for visitors entering the Nicholas Street Precinct.”

More information about the ‘Reimaging Bottle Alley’ project is available on Shape Your Ipswich.

The previous mural that was in Bottle Alley was photographed in 2017 before its removal and has been documented through dozens of photos on Picture Ipswich.

Neighbouring Bottle Alley, the geometric blue mural on Ellenborough Street has been removed as part of the Nicholas Street Precinct redevelopment. New tenant signage for the building is to be installed at a later date.

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