HomeCouncilFresh look for AMP building in Bourbong Street

Fresh look for AMP building in Bourbong Street

John Felesina, AMP building exterior.
Building owner John Felesina outside the AMP building in Bourbong Street, which has has a fresh exterior paint job with assistance from Council's Our Stories Our Place grant program.

The AMP building in Bourbong Street, Bundaberg has received a fresh look as part of its ongoing care, with new exterior paint in a heritage colour scheme.

A prominent building on the Bundaberg CBD streetscape, it has been repainted in grey, with features highlighted in charcoal and gold paint, reducing the blue tones that previously dominated.

The work has been assisted by Bundaberg Regional Council’s Our Stories Our Places heritage and character grant program, which supports private owners undertaking heritage or character improving works on eligible properties.

Built in 1928, the building at 180 Bourbong Street has been in the current owner’s family since 1991 after it was sold by AMP to Peter and Pietrina Felesina.

The current owner is the couple’s son John Felesina, who owns the building with his wife Dehlia.

“My dad actually gifted it to me and my brother back in 2001,” John said.

“I bought my brother's share out in 2006 and now it's owned by me and my wife.”

Building history

Though the building facade states ‘Est. 1849’, the building was designed in 1927 and opened in 1928.

John said it was a common misunderstanding, as the earlier date refers to the establishment of the Australian Mutual Provident Society (AMP) in Australia.

“When I sold the shop, which was April last year, I found some old plans,” John said.

“1927 in February, the drawings were done, and it was done by AMP themselves.

“So even though up the stairs you'll see ‘established 1849’, that's when the AMP was established, not when the building was built.”

The drawings John found show the original planned layout of the AMP offices, including public counters, a strong room and manager’s office, and detail elements of the façade which once featured a large AMP emblem along with the building signage.

AMP building plans
Architectural drawings from 1927 show the planned layout of the AMP offices and facade decoration.

“They had a nice brass AMP emblem in there, but when they sold the building to my father, they took that away,” John said.

“A lot of people think the building's heritage listed, but it's not, which is pretty amazing, because it's a nice looking building.

“We kept all the AMP historic stuff on it, I think that's a really good thing.”

The building is located within the Bundaberg Commercial Character Precinct within Council’s Planning Scheme which recognises the building’s heritage features, aesthetic qualities and its contribution to the streetscape.

There were alterations to the interior over the years, and the ground floor converted to retail when John opened his coin business in 2001.

“I was here for 23 years myself, and I really enjoyed it,” John said.

“I always used to get people coming in saying ‘oh, it's a beautiful building, beautiful building’.

“And we often see people taking photos across the street, tourists, they will stop over there and take a photo of it.”

Our Stories Our Places grant

John and Dehlia received a grant of $7,325 from Council’s Our Stories Our Places heritage and character grant program, representing a 50% contribution to the cost of the repainting work.

“The Council's incentive was a very good one, because there are some beautiful buildings in the street that do need restoration and looking after,” John said.

“I think it's important to keep history going.

“You know, you can't stop progress, that's just how it is, but it is good to keep some of the history, whatever possible.”

John said he encouraged other eligible building owners to take advantage of the Council grant program.

“It's not a lot of red tape or hurdles to do, the Council works with people,” he said.

“I've always been happy with working with the Council.

“The Council had their input, but we come to a compromise, and it's worked.”

Applications for Our Stories Our Places grants will be accepted on an on-going basis until 31 May 2024, while funding remains available.


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