News & Media
Ipswich Antique Centre Complex [Antiques & Art in Queensland]
5 March 2012
[from article in the Mar-Jul 2012 Edition of Antiques & Art in Queensland, published March 2012]
The hub of a visionary arts and antiques precinct
Loving the antique business, Heather and John Mildwaters looked for a landmark heritage building in which to establish their next antique centre, after their Paddington Antique Centre's partners wished to retire.
In 2009 they found an 1895 Memorial Hall with an adjoining 1957 former church, under-utilized and neglected; they won the tender. Twelve months' substantial renovation resulted in their purpose-built Antique Centre Complex in the two buildings, the Queensland Heritage-Registered hall and the former church.
As with any 1895 antique or mid-20th century vintage piece, sympathetic restoration to the original condition with modern amenities were necessary. Along the way, many original elements were uncovered, restored or replicated. All plumbing and electrical wiring were replaced to highest safety and environmental standards.
Good lighting was important for customers to see our stock clearly and for everyone's safety, so we combined traditional materials and methods with modern technologies. The three-light stained glass window and clerestory windows are back in prominence. The arched stained glass sidelights in the entry vestibule were sympathetically repaired and the glass re-stained to match the original.
At least 50 panes of glass were replaced and approximately 300 panes of window glass were pinstriped and painted in the original Victorian manner to match the few remaining in good condition. All window hardware was replaced where necessary with complementary fittings. Replacement windows were reproduced to match the originals.
Victorian light fittings were sourced, notably the magnificent brass multi-light chandelier installed in the vestibule. A Victorian style cast iron street lamp features in the beautifully rejuvenated gardens, and matching wall lights are placed around the building as secuirty lighting.
The arches, rendered masonry walls and the square columns with square capitals and barley twists all needed repairs. We found a staircase from the stage to the main level that had been bricked up. Architraves throughout the building were replaced by sections moulded to match the originals. The magnificent cedar double entry doors had suffered damage from fire and were restored and French polished before being re-installed with brass kick plates and fittings. The interior was cleaned and painted in colours to match the originals. Floors were polished and carpet laid in all rooms and the stairs.
We created another area The Basement, by digging out under the building. This area hosts general retail business and a small modern commercial kitchen for the Cafe and Coffee Shop offering teas, coffee, cold drinks, cakes and light lunches. This replaces the old hall kitchen.
Important for dealers and customers, a loading ramp was created on the northern side of the building, leading to one of the five timber entrance porticos. Under-floor air conditioning, security and sound systems were designed and fitted so as to have a minimum impact on the late 19th century building.
OPEN for business
Ipswich Antique Centre was officially opened by the Mayor of Ipswich, Hon Paul Pisasale at a gala evening attended by 500 guests on 15 December 2010. The next day enthusiastic collectors arrived to browse and buy our quality stock.
As part of the renovation to the counter area, we installed a large old cedar haberdashery counter, the Mawson geological showcase formerly in the University of Adelaide, and a large shipping clerk's desk made by the Derby Desk Company in Boston USA in the late 19th century.
Darryl Vietheer's The Annexe Antiques is in the Memorial Hall. Access his vast collection from our car park via double wrought iron gates which have been specially manufactured to match the period of the building.
Tom Mason's Naked Arts Gallery & Studio is in the former 1957 church. Tom holds changing exhibitions of paintings and photographs (especially the F-111 series) by well-known artists, ranging from local to internationally known. Tom also sells early photographic equipment and associated memorabilia.
Only 30 minutes from Brisbane, the Ipswich Antique Centre Complex caters for all tastes and interests, and is regularly restocked. This is a dedicated collector's destination as one rarely leaves without a find. Located at the corner of East and Roderick Streets in downtown Ipswich, our large car park is accessed from Roderick Street. A full website will be available soon, with regular postings on our facebook page.
Since opening the Ipswich Antique Centre Complex has been extremely well received by Ipswich locals and the wider community who have remarked on many occasions that Ipswich needed a magnificent facility. Now not a day passes without several people praising the building, the restoration and the concept, particularly in view of its formerly run-down condition.
Enjoy browsing and buying in air-conditioned comfort. Relax and refresh in our Cafe and Coffee Shop offering Ludos coffee especially blended for our customers. We are open Thursday to Monday between 10 am and 5 pm. Closed Tuesday and Wednesday.