City Hall’s beautifully restored Reception Room will officially be named in honour of long-serving Councillor and former Mayor, Jim Webber at a Civic Reception next week.
Rockhampton Regional Mayor Margaret Strelow said the ‘Jim Webber Reception Room’ plaque will be the final touch to the stunning restoration works.
Mayor Strelow is inviting those who had a particular association with the former Mayor, or those who would like to honour Mr Webber’s contribution, to attend the official opening on Wednesday, 10 April at 5.30pm.
“Mayor Webber was an inspirational leader and has left an amazing legacy in our city – a legacy that I am delighted to honour through the naming of City Hall’s restored Reception Room which will be used for many special civic ceremonies to come,” Mayor Strelow said.
“Under his leadership, Mayor Webber oversaw the creation of Kershaw Gardens and the opening of the million-dollar Music Bowl which are two of Rockhampton’s most iconic places that continue to serve our city today.
“I invite anyone who would like to honour Jim to join us for this special occasion as we reflect on his achievements during his 20 years of service and pay tribute to the foundations he laid for our city as a distinguished leader of Rockhampton.”
Mr Barry O’Rourke, Member for Rockhampton said it is fitting that this beautifully restored room, funded by the state government, be named in honour of Jim Webber.
“This is a welcomed acknowledgement of his truly remarkable dedication to serving the community of Rockhampton as alderman, Councillor, Mayor and Deputy Mayor,” Mr O’Rourke said.
“We all enjoy this forethought and vision to create Kershaw Gardens as we drive the highway north and south across our city daily. Many of us will still remember when the site was the city’s dump.
“He had vision in accepting the federal government’s offer of Customs House on Quay Street. This building now stands front and centre as a technology hub within the riverside streetscape bringing past history into a modern time.
“Jim Webber also brought our city airport into the 21st century by supporting its growth from a small airport centre to that which we see today, ensuring that regional Queensland can link with greater ease to our capital cities,” said Mr O’Rourke.
In 1970, and at 29 years old, Jim was elected alderman on Rockhampton Council and in 1982 he succeeded Rockhampton’s longest serving Mayor of 30 years, Rex Pilbeam.
He served as Mayor for three consecutive terms from 1982 to 1991 and from 1997 he served for a further 11 years as Councillor, and was Deputy Mayor during the last four years to 2008.
Funded through the State Government’s Works for Queensland program, the $1.3m restoration saw the removal of the mezzanine level, revealing the original mouldings, stunning glass windows and original parquetry floor and timberwork. A replica of the original stage was also built. The Jim Webber Reception Room will be used for civic ceremonies and functions.