Leichhardt’s Toby Mountford, 7, likes drawing, building Lego and playing with water.
On Saturday, the Immaculate Heart Catholic Primary School grade one student, will make history as the lucky child who stomped on the Tulmur Place water play zone start button, sending water cascading down as a curtain while spurts of water shoot up into the air signalling the official opening.
As the water rises from the ground, Ipswich Mayor Teresa Harding and Deputy Mayor Marnie Doyle will cut the ribbon officially opening stage two of the $250 million Nicholas Street Precinct redevelopment.
Toby was the winner of a River 94.9 Make a Splash competition which asked listeners to nominate their child to turn on the new water feature.
Alan Mountford, Toby’s dad, said the family usually have the radio on and listen to the local channel.
“It’s a nice community based station and my wife heard about the competition and entered him online,” Mr Mountford said.
“On the day they called I answered the phone and got all the glory.”
Toby is ready to take centre stage on Saturday.
“I’m really excited, more than anybody else,” Toby said.
“I get to be the winner, turn on the water and play in it.”
Deputy Mayor and Chair of the Ipswich Central Redevelopment Committee Cr Marnie Doyle thanked the community for taking part and sharing ideas and feedback as part of Ipswich City Council’s extensive community engagement and consultations about Tulmur Place and the Nicholas Street Precinct.
In 2019, council held a two-week consultation session with members of the local Indigenous community (the Indigenous Community Consultation – Public Art Plan) and invited them to share their thoughts on how the essence of traditional culture, art and lifestyle could be included in the overall design
“Participants were invited to have their say on a wide range of areas, from suggestions on the types of native plants used in the cultural garden to the use of art and sculpture throughout the civic plaza, main library, children’s library and council’s administration building,” Cr Doyle said.
A report to council said all of the 378 participants wanted Indigenous art and design included, believing that it would make the CBD a culturally safe place for visitors.
Based on the findings, Director of IAM Projects (Independent Arts Management) Simon Koger developed the Indigenous Art Strategy, incorporating unique cultural elements into each of the different precincts within the Nicholas Street redevelopment. Ipswich Indigenous artists Kim Ah Sam and QCA artist and Kyra Manktelow were engaged to produce a range of artworks for the Nicholas Street Precinct.
“As a result of this engagement with the community, council is excited to unveil the art strategy – Evolve,” Cr Doyle said.
“The overarching theme of the strategy, Evolve, reflects the evolution of Ipswich’s city centre, traditionally a place of gathering and entertainment, as it has changed and developed over time.
“The theme explores the concepts of movement, interaction, fluidity and gesture throughout the space and provides a vibrant gesture to residents and visitors, capturing the essence of the redevelopment.
“Evolve includes the traditional art mural which you can see on underside of the shade pavilion.
“The colours of the mural represent the tradition of travel and trade between Aboriginal people. Song, dance, stories and goods were traded along these communication routes, keeping clans connected all throughout Australia. A colour palette of deep blue for salt water, light blue/green for fresh water, yellow for sand, brown for earth and orange for the desert has been used.”
Eleven bronze fish trap sculptures have been installed in the water play zone. Fish traps have been used for thousands of years by the Indigenous community. Native animal sculptures will also feature in the cultural garden, with three life-sized, Brush-tailed Rock Wallaby sculptures taking pride of place among native grass trees, red-flowering Yuccas, swamp oak ground cover, local sandstone boulders and crushed granite pathways.
“Our other new artwork is the sculpture inspired by Ipswich’s rich history and culture that has been installed in front of council’s new administration building,” Cr Doyle said.
“As well as art and culture, council is excited to announce Tulmur Place’s upcoming events and activities calendar for the remainder of the year.
“We’ll be holding daily lunchtime pop ups with music, pop up food vendors and we encourage the whole community to come down, enjoy the new water play area and visit the new library when it opens on Monday 7 December.
“On Saturday 5 December we’ll be holding a Future Flavours food truck event with live local music, pop up food trucks, free kids’ activities, an Ungermann’s Brothers ice cream pop up and a special pop up bar brought to you by Ipswich’s iconic Four Hearts Brewing Company which will be located on the Tulmur deck.
“We invite the Ipswich community to join us in the new Tulmur Place, Nicholas Street Precinct, now and for many weeks and months to come.”