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October 15th 2009
Flinders Street East: heritage to be restored

An artists impression of the restored Flinders St Few good things were ever said about the Mooney Council's redevelopment of Flinders Street East, where fine heritage architecture was clad in ugly steel fixtures. But today a different Council has released its plans to remove the steel and restore the heritage values.

The thick steel poles will go and sight lines will be restored to highlight the heritage of Flinders St East and Ross Creek in plans for the first stage of the Flinders St redevelopment.

Townsville City Council today released the plans and started community engagement with traders and property owners in the entertainment strip to gain feedback on the designs.

An early works package in Flinders St East is scheduled to start in the last week of November as the first stage of the $56 million Flinders St redevelopment.

Planning and Economic Development Committee chairman Cr David Crisafulli said the project would remove the clutter from Flinders St East and open up the area’s heritage values for the public and tourists to see.

“Flinders St East is one of our most historic precincts and it has been hidden behind a forest of steel,” Cr Crisafulli said.

“The new design takes out the inappropriate elements such as the steel poles and bulky shade structures so that the look and feel of the street is consistent with the great old buildings in the area.

“Now that the designs have been developed, the council is ensuring property owners and traders in Flinders Street East are fully informed of what is planned.

“It’s extremely important that all stakeholders are kept up to date and have the chance to provide feedback throughout the Flinders St redevelopment.

“There’s no doubt that in a project of the size of the Flinders St redevelopment there will be disruption but we are committed to working with the traders, property owners and the public to minimise the impacts as much as possible.”

Council is holding a series of meetings with traders and property owners to go over the plans before moving to construction late next month.

The plans were developed by Cox Rayner AECOM, who won the contract for the detailed design of the overall Flinders St development, and include the removal of shade structures, and steel lighting poles and palms trees in the centre median strips.

Rock wall planters will also be removed and existing street trees will be replanted in the city’s parks.

The new look for the street will feature less obtrusive lighting on the footpaths, new trees planted at street level, new structures to provide shade and low level median plantings.

To add your comment,
or read those of others, see below

Flinders Street East: heritage to be restored
Jenny Stirling
October 15th 2009
Hip hip Hooray!
Wendy tubman
October 15th 2009
Was ANYTHING good EVER said about the Mooney Council's redevelopment of Flinders Street East?! I recall a National Heritage newsletter featuring it on its front cover - under the heading 'Heritage preservation - What not to do'. The site was a disgrace and an abomination - indicative of exceedingly bad taste. Good on the 'new' Council for restoring the area to its former glory - worth every penny; just a shame we can't get the perpetrators to foot the bill.
October 18th 2009
Cars, cars and cars shall soon erode the heritage while the $56 mill burn in the pocket of the few tribal members who got it.
Pat Spence
October 18th 2009
It will be great to 'see' the area again where my Butler grandparents lived at nearby 5 The Strand and where they walked to 'town' almost daily down Flinders St East. Grandfather George Butler and his bride Elizabeth Dunwoodie settled there in 1900 and then ran the first ferries to the Island to the Butler developing tourist resort on the Island. Close by is the place where George's father, my great grandfather Henry Butler, set forth on his grand adventure to settle with his family at Picnic Bay on Magnetic Island in 1876.

More importantly I'll be able to 'see' again the Commercial Hotel where my maternal great grandparent family lived and worked in the late 1880s. Samuel Dunwoodie and his wife Mary ran the Commercial Hotel where he died following a fall on wet cement while making lemonade in 1887. Mary his widow was left with five young children to raise. Before taking on their hotel enterprises in Townsville they had run a men's boarding house on a site that is now the Cowboys Club in Flinders St.

Mary Dunwoodie as a widow moved to run a hotel in Cairns where 'Dunwoodies' resturant commemorates the family name even today.

Flinders St East is the precinct with the very early history of Townsville enfolded within its boundary and this heritage should be treated with the honour this demands.

Well done Townsville Council,

Marg Sewell
February 9th 2010
Thank god for some sense at last. We will be able to enjoy the charm of the old buildings again.
Shame about the huge costs involved in creating the nightmare in the first place and now as much again to remove the eyesore. Whatever possessed them!!!

What do you think? Send us your comments.

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