GONE: The Church Pharmacy was destroyed by fire last year.
GONE: The Church Pharmacy was destroyed by fire last year.

Pharmacy rebuilding 12 months after fire

MORE than a year after fire gutted the Church Pharmacy, owner Brent Byrne is ready to move forward, submitting plans for a rebuild to the council.

While repairing the historic building was deemed too costly and potentially unsafe, Mr Byrne has used the tragedy as an opportunity to double the size of the pharmacy and employ up to seven more people.

However, it will no longer be known as the Church Pharmacy. Instead, the site will become a major chemist franchise, the name of which Mr Byrne wants to keep under wraps until everything is finalised.

The franchise is well-known in Sydney with 40-50 stores and has just begun its northern ascent into Queensland.

As well as the new staff, the pharmacy will have extended trading hours and more to offer its customers.

Following the fire, there were concerns from the community that a piece of Bundaberg history had been lost forever, but Mr Byrne is determined for this not to be the case.

He is asking anyone with any memorabilia they are willing to share to come forward, so these pieces can be collated and hung in the pharmacy.

Church Pharmacy owner Brent Byrne.
Church Pharmacy owner Brent Byrne. Mike Knott BUN060416BRENT1

"The pharmacy had character. Lots of people would come in who knew someone who had been married there, baptised there or spent some time there, so there was a lot of history with it and that's what we're trying to honour now. Even though the building is gone, we still want to acknowledge the history and the role it had in Bundaberg,” he said.

Parts of the building, including the site that sustained the most damage in the fire, were more than 100 years old but insurance and cost prohibited Mr Byrne from restoring the pharmacy to its former glory.

"We want photos of anything related to the building that we can take a copy of so we can acknowledge the past,” Mr Byrne said.

He said they were about three to four months away from opening once the plans had been approved by the council.

”We're going into a bigger building, twice the size, longer hours ... that's sort of the frustrating part. There's work there for people when it gets built ... everything just takes a while,” he said.

If you have memorabilia you would like to share, you can visit the temporary premises on Barolin St.



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