Public Artwork to Interpret Ipswich's History

7th of November 2014

A striking metal sculpture for the Ipswich City Centre is set to be gifted to the City to mark the construction of its newest landmark.


Deputy Mayor and City Management and Finance Committee Chair, Councillor Victor Attwood said the sculpture would be installed on the corner of Bell and Brisbane Streets outside the entrance to ICON Ipswich's Tower A.

The finishing touches are currently being put to the $93 million nine-storey commercial Tower A development in Ipswich's CBD.

Cr Attwood said the joint venture partners for the ICON Ipswich redevelopment project, Ipswich City Properties Pty Ltd and Leighton Properties (Brisbane) Pty Ltd, planned to provide the artwork to Council.

"This public artwork will be provided at no cost to Council to celebrate the construction of ICON Ipswich. The public artwork will demonstrate the evolving history of the site and celebrate the long association that this location has had with Ipswich's CBD."

Leighton Properties Project Director Brian McGuckin said the sculpture would be a celebration of a new era for Ipswich, acknowledging both the past and future direction of the city.

"This iconic sculpture will mark the beginning of the changing face of Ipswich and provide the city with an historical landmark for the community to enjoy well into the future," Mr McGuckin said.

Cr Attwood said the planned sculpture was a modern interpretation of the iconic "I" for Ipswich and was designed to be a freestanding public art piece.

"Finished in stainless steel, the sculpture will be topped by a mirror polished stainless steel ball. The artwork will also act as an information source with site specific graphic elements and historical information to be etched into the design."

Cr Attwood said the ICON Ipswich site had an historical and special association with Benjamin Cribb who commenced a successful business in Ipswich in the 1850's.

Benjamin Cribb went into partnership with John Clarke Foote in 1855 and the firm traded under the name Cribb and Foote for many decades.

Over the years, Cribb and Foote evolved to become a modern and progressive department store.

In 1977, Cribb and Foote was purchased by Walter Reid and Company Limited and the store then became known as Reids.

The catastrophic Reids fire in 1985 and the subsequent demolition of what remained of the department store completely erased the CBD's visual link with the glory days of Cribb and Foote.

Up until this time the fire damaged buildings in Brisbane and Bell Street had occupied the site for well over a century.

Despite the destruction of the building the people of Ipswich continued to identify this site with the name Cribb and Foote and to this day, many still do.

"In its day, Cribb and Foote was a true icon for Ipswich and the iconic nature of the new artwork will reflect this, drawing people's attention to the sculpture and the historical information installed on its fascia panels."

Cr Attwood said Council was pleased to be able to accept the offer of the artwork from Leighton Properties (Brisbane) Pty Ltd and Ipswich City Properties Pty Ltd.

"This offer provides a fully funded opportunity for Council to establish a significant piece of public art in recognition of the history of a prominent streetscape in the Ipswich CBD."

Ipswich City Properties Pty Ltd Chairperson, Paul Tully said the joint venture partners wanted to ensure that the history of the site was captured and recorded for the future.

"This public artwork will provide a unique way to honour this history," Mr Tully said.

"The ICON Ipswich site is one of the foundations of Ipswich's CBD and has been part of the continuing evolution of Ipswich's city centre. ICON Ipswich is one of Australia's largest regional urban renewal projects and will be a catalyst for future growth in Ipswich."