The new owners of a historic Ipswich pub have revealed their plans to knock down the 124-year old venue to make way for what they say will be a “wow” factor in its own right.

The Walloon Saloon stands at the major intersection of Queen Street and Haigslea Amberley Road, Walloon – approximately 9.2km west of the Ipswich CBD.

It was acquired for $4.8 million in 2018 by long-time Brisbane-based hoteliers David and Trish Gibson and is currently managed onsite by their son Stewart Gibson.

Gibson Hotels Pty Ltd submitted a development application on Wednesday for the lot’s reconfiguration, material change of use and building works.

“We always intended to renovate the hotel,” said owner David Gibson.

“The hotel as it was — as it is — can’t supply what it needs to supply to the community anymore … the community has outgrown it.”

Despite making several renovations since acquiring the hotel in 2018, Mr Gibson said their vision for the Walloon Saloon would ultimately require the old building to be demolished and rebuilt.

Refurbishment planning has been underway for the last 12 months, and a heritage expert was enlisted to advise the process.

The hotel isn’t officially listed as a heritage site, as the majority of what still stands today was constructed post-1946. Additions include a gaming room, bistro, beer garden, office, store and a manager’s residence.

Of the building’s early features, only the brick fireplace, sections of the timber ceilings and elements of the original foundation remain.

“If we can, we’ll try and keep those elements,” said Mr Gibson.

The new single-story design proposed for the hotel incorporates many character elements of the original building – including a steeply pitched roof, gables, and a large wraparound veranda.

“I want people to drive down Queen Street and say ‘wow’ when they look at the pub,” said Mr Gibson.

The new hotel will also include a 100m sq children’s room to facilitate a more family-oriented environment, and a functions room that could hold 140 to 150 people.

Mr Gibson said he envisions the new Walloon Saloon will create over 40 new jobs, and employ at least 60 people in total.

“It will be something the community will be proud of,” said Mr Gibson.

The proposed drive-through bottle shop will stand separately from the hotel with a more contemporary design, and the site would include 88 parking spaces and vehicular access from both Queen Street and Haigslea Amberley Road.

The project is expected to take three to four years, with priority given to the construction of the separate bottle shop before demolition of the hotel commences.

The application is currently still in the confirmation period and awaiting the council’s approval.

Source: The Queensland Times


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