Local community organisations will be given the opportunity to reclaim some of the memorabilia items collected by previous councils as the new Ipswich City Council looks to close the door on another chapter of the past.
More than 750 items, from a Brisbane Broncos jersey signed by Allan Langer to tea sets and plush toys, were catalogued following the Crime and Corruption Commission (CCC) Investigation, Operation Windage, and the dismissal of the previous council in August 2018.
The catalogue contains items retained by Council via two former mayors, returned items from former councillors and items located in Council facilities across several locations.
In March this year, Council determined the items would be sold via auction, returned to their original owner or donated to community groups and charities.
Mayor Teresa Harding said Council was committed to ensuring disposal of the items benefited the community and the first step was to reunite as many as possible with their rightful owners.
“The circumstances surrounding how some of the items came to be in the possession of Council and some former councillors has caused significant concern for our community,” Mayor Harding said.
“There is substantial value in these more than 750 items, with 148 items of sporting memorabilia alone valued at almost $54,000.
“This is community money, and this Council is determined to ensure no matter their history, these items are disposed of transparently in line with community expectations and in a manner that benefits our community into the future.
“The first step on this journey, which we’ve dubbed Project Reunite, is we are asking those who believe memorabilia items may belong to them and would like them back to make a claim with Council and it’s important to note there will be a verification process for all claims.
“This will allow, where possible, for items to be reunited with their rightful owner before Council proceeds to dispose of remaining items.
“Most remaining items will be auctioned with the net proceeds to be committed to a Special Community Funding Program to be channelled back into community projects.”
The ‘Project Reunite’ phase will run until Sunday 21 November, with members of the community able to view a catalogue of items and lodge a claim via Shapeyouripswich.com.au
Proof of ownership is required. Each claim will be assessed individually, with items determined to belong to claimants expected to be returned by the end of the year.
Once Council has completed the ‘Project Reunite’ engagement phase, it will proceed to auction remaining items before establishing a Special Community Funding Program. Once items move into the auction process, they will be unable to be returned.
The Special Community Funding Program will assist Ipswich community organisations.
Mayor Harding said Council’s community reference groups and general feedback to Council indicated widespread support for the sale of these items and the money going to a good cause.
“This is a chance for Council – and ultimately ratepayers – to recoup some of the outlaid costs of these memorabilia items, particularly the genuine sporting memorabilia,” Mayor Harding said.
The sporting memorabilia includes a Brisbane Broncos jersey worn by Allan Langer worth $7,000, an autographed Muhammad Ali photo and signed glove worth $2,000 and $900 respectively, a set including a cricket bat signed by NSW and Queensland players from the Sheffield Shield game worth $3,000, a hat signed by champion racing driver Michael Schumacher worth $900 and a trio of cricket bats signed by Sir Don Bradman worth more than $1,200.
To be kept updated on the progress of the memorabilia items including auction event details and information on the Special Community Funding Program as they come to hand, residents can follow the project on Shape Your Ipswich.