Ratepayers to fork out $100k to relocate historic loo

Wayne ( Benny ) Hill outside the Russell St Mens toilet. Photo Nev Madsen / The Chronicle
Wayne ( Benny ) Hill outside the Russell St Mens toilet. Photo Nev Madsen / The Chronicle Nev Madsen

A HERITAGE-LISTED toilet block in the city centre is in line for royal-flush treatment with a plan to spend more than $100,000 to protect it from road works.

The Russell St urinal was built in 1919 and is believed to have become the first sewerage connection in Toowoomba in 1926.

Run-of-the mill thrones were added in the following years.

The pending construction of a traffic-diverting ring road around the city centre has forced the once-proud and now-lopsided dunny to be either knocked down or moved.

Its status as a heritage-listed treasure has made the first option impossible.

Council will fork out $107,425 to dismantle the historic thunderbox and re-assemble it after the road's construction has been completed.

Cr Sue Englart fought hard to protect the seasoned commode from meeting its maker.

Should council pay $100,000 to relocate the historic Russell St toilets?

This poll ended on 10 November 2013.

Current Results





This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.

"It is the only one of its kind left in Queensland," she said.

"It is reflective of the days when this city was not sewered and all of our waste went into the creek.

"The other interesting point is that it was built for men only - there was no such thing as a public toilet for women.

"I'm not sure what they were expected to do."

Cr Englart said the QCWA eventually installed toilets at its Toowoomba clubhouse so women could also take care of business when caught short in the city.

The structure's survival of the 2011 floods is testament to its sturdy construction, though roots from nearby trees have given it a definite slant.

Councillors were presented with two viable options for keeping the toilets out of harm's way during the ring road's construction.

The first alternative - Cr Englart's preference - was to relocate the entire structure in its current condition at a cost of $352,300.

Once the road was completed, it would be hoisted back to its original location.

Council has already secured a lease for a site on Queensland Rail land opposite the Russell St toilet block, which could act as a temporary home to the latrines.

The cheaper ($107,425) option has been supported by all councillors bar Cr Sue Englart.

It involved contracting a heritage masonry company to pull apart the structure brick-by-brick and then re-build it to its original specifications after the road has been built.

State government approval is still needed before the plan can be executed.

Work on the ring road is due to begin in December, meaning time is of the essence for moving this run-down water closet.

If those crooked walls could talk, their tales would make for fascinating listening.

Most expensive toilets

$14,123 - "Dagobert" wooden throne:

  • The designer of this five-foot tall latrine took the word "throne" very seriously. It was named after King Dagobert I - the last king of the Merovingian dynasty. Once flushed, a ringing bell alerts attendants that their duties are required. It also includes an ashtray and a candle holder.

$5 million - Hang Fu Gold toilet:

  • Hang Fung jewellers added this 24-carat gold commode to its solid-gold bathroom in Hong Kong.

$19 million - International Space Station toilet:

  • This zero-gravity dunny was launched into space in November 2008. One of its key functions is to recycle number ones into drinking water.

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