EXCITING TIMES: Developers Peter Byrnes and Anthea Nicholas have unveiled their plans for Brigalow.
EXCITING TIMES: Developers Peter Byrnes and Anthea Nicholas have unveiled their plans for Brigalow. Matthew Newton

Microbrewery and more coming to Brigalow

CHINCHILLA developers Peter Byrnes and Anthea Nicholas have unveiled their plans to transform the town of Brigalow into one of the Western Downs' premier tourist destinations.

The team behind the redevelopment of Chinchilla's old butter factory and Brigalow's That Shop For Her have set their sights on bringing a cafe / restaurant, artisan gallery, commercial shops, church / conference centre, cabin village / motel and a craft micro-brewery to the township.

The "Brigalow Village”, as it will be known, will run with a 1930s-1960s theme and Mrs Nicholas said they were currently looking for old farming properties to purchase and transport to the site for renovation and use as shops.

But why Brigalow?

There are several reasons, Mr Byrnes said, but the main one was its prime location in the sweeping grain fields of the Western Downs.

"It's because of the microbrewery,” Mr Byrnes said.

A work-in-progress draft design of what the site would look like.
A work-in-progress draft design of what the site would look like. THumphrey

"We are in the centre of the grain growing region out here. What's beer made from? Grains. Malted barley, wheat, oats. We think a craft brewery or a microbrewery would be a great asset for this region.

"It will become a tourist destination stop and that's the whole idea behind it.”

And access to Brigalow from domestic and overseas tourists is about to get a whole lot easier, Mr Byrnes said.

"I don't think many people have caught onto the fact that when the Second Range Crossing is open, tourists will be able to drive from Brisbane to Brigalow in two hours and 20 minutes; that's a huge difference,” he said.

"The other part that is exciting is we have the new airport at Wellcamp. They just had a delegation of all these people from Asia and Europe come out here to look at everything from tourism to agri-business... so I think long-term, it will be really good.”

The couple first came to Chinchilla "for six weeks”.

"Now we're chalking up four years,” Mr Byrnes said.

They "love the place”, but were ready to throw in the towel, frustrated by the time it took to get any of their developments approved.

Under the old Chinchilla Shire Planning scheme it took them three years to get the approvals for their cafe / restaurant and motel.

That scheme was superseded as of Monday by the Western Downs Planning Scheme, which Mrs Nicholas said was much clearer and less costly.

They now hope to have their final approvals for the project within three months.

The couple has financial backing for the project, and is searching for tenants and taking expressions of interest.

"(Council) has been so good to deal with and they are just wanting to help you to get this happening,” Mr Byrnes said.

"So many doors are about to open - it's an exciting time.”


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