Town Hall work on track

Stonemasons Stephen Trower (left) and Victor Cartright are among a team of a dozen fellow craftsmen working on the Town Hall. The total cost of the project is estimated to come in at around the $475,000 mark.
Stonemasons Stephen Trower (left) and Victor Cartright are among a team of a dozen fellow craftsmen working on the Town Hall. The total cost of the project is estimated to come in at around the $475,000 mark. Jeremy Sollars

GREG Thouard has a mission set in stone - to see restoration work being done on the Warwick Town Hall finished in time for the Jumpers and Jazz in July festival.

The council's manager of facilities has been a passionate advocate for work on one of the city's signature sandstone monuments, the cost of which is edging closer to the half million dollar mark as each day passes.

Following the re-setting of frontal columns onto bedrock below the Town Hall, stonemasons are now hard at work on the jigsaw puzzle that will see hundreds of tonnes of sandstone slowly pushed back into place.

The work is the result of the build-up of moisture, including from an underground stream below the grand old lady, which caused columns to begin to subside and sink.

Mr Thouard said it had taken a century for the damage to occur and it would be another century before the many thousands of sandstone blocks fully re-align.

"There's around 200 tonnes of pressure on each corner pillar, and between 600 and 700 tonnes in the middle section," Mr Thouard explained.

'We have tested the moisture which had built up underneath the town hall and there was no fluoride in it, suggesting there is an underground stream, which we think runs to the south-east.

"Another other issue is that over time vents at the base of the building have been blocked by bitumen walkways, which has meant the building hasn't been able to breathe properly."

Mr Thouard said he was confident the masonry work would be complete by the scheduled time of June 8, and associated footpath works at the front of the town hall would be done by June 30, in time for Jumpers and Jazz.

He said as well as re-positioning critical sandstone pieces such as central archway keystones - which lock all the other blocks together - a large part of the work was cleaning the building.

"There are some dark sections which people will notice which are actually iron leaching out of the sandstone," Mr Thouard said.

"We can't do much about that, but where we can clean we are using low-pressure water cleaning, just plain water and no solvents."

The walkway between the Town Hall and Suncorp will now remain closed to pedestrians for the remainder of the work for public safety reasons.

Topics:  council, festival, jumpers and jazz in july festival, renovations, town hall, warwick town hall



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