Famous ‘Pig Pen’ demolished to make way for new era at Ipswich Turf Club
Workers have begun demolishing the Ipswich Turf Club’s famous Pig Pen to make way for a multimillion dollar redevelopment of the club’s facilities.
Visiting Ipswich Turf Club today, Racing Minister Stirling Hinchliffe said the long-awaited redevelopment would create a brighter future for the historic racing centre.
“Racing in Ipswich dates back to the 1840s and the city has always played an important and valued role in the State’s racing industry,” he said.
“This redevelopment is a crucial part of our plan for sustainability and growth of racing in Queensland and will bring many opportunities for the club to prosper.
“It will provide a platform for the future growth of racing in Ipswich and throughout South East Queensland.
“I look forward to monitoring progress and being part of a tremendous new chapter for not just the club, but Ipswich itself.”
Mr Hinchliffe said a construction site has been established at the club and demolition is now in full swing, with the old kitchen area removed under the eastern grandstand and a major portion of the main bar area’s roof already demolished.
The redevelopment is being funded through Racing Queensland’s Racing Infrastructure Fund.
It will provide a new purpose-built function centre with capacity for major conferences and functions as well as new facilities for jockeys and stewards, new horse stalls and a car park.
Member for Ipswich Jennifer Howard said the redevelopment would be a game-changer for the club and for Ipswich.
“Anyone who has ever experienced the excitement of Ipswich Cup day will know how much the local community loves its racing,” she said.
“It’s great to see this redevelopment gathering momentum and providing an important economic boost to the city.”
Ipswich Turf Club Chairman Wayne Patch said it was pleasing to see work underway.
“I want to thank all our racing participants and race fans for their patience,” he said.
“Now the redevelopment is finally underway we have much to look forward to. This will be a game-changer for us and I can see our club becoming a sporting and community hub for all people, not just race fans.”
The temporary jockey and stewards facilities are already in use allowing a start to the demolition of the structures around the main building, to be followed by the main building itself. Other enabling works are progressing that prepare for the start of the major building.
Painting has been completed on the existing buildings that will remain and a suite of other activities, including surveys and minor works is continuing.
Racing Queensland CEO Brendan Parnell said the club and racing participants have been consulted on the final plans. The tender period closes this month and work on the major building is scheduled to begin by October.
“This project is happening at a busy race track and we are grateful for the cooperation of all racing stakeholders as we move into full construction activity,” Mr Parnell said.
“There are some challenges but we are committed to ensuring the that the new facilities will be in place for the Ipswich Cup including new race day stalls, new car parking and the new function centre will be operational. After the Cup there will be some finishing touches to be added before the entire project is complete.
“I want to thank the Racing Minister and the club for the collaborative manner in which they have worked with RQ to see this redevelopment become a reality.”