Thursday, November 28, 2013

What is happening to our heritage listed buildings?

I was struck by this piece in the local Fairfax press ( which warns that our local heritage is going up in smoke. In the last couple of weeks arsonists have destroyed the historic Belvedere at South Brisbane and the Albion Flour Mill at Albion. Both buildings were listed on the Brisbane City Council Heritage List, but not on the State list.
 (Belvedere on fire - Photo

(Belvedere, formerly named Bandarra. Photo: nla.pic-vn3311316-v)

(Albion Flour Mill - Photo SLQ 10189-0002-0139)

A search in the local press will show you the devastation caused by these fires. Both buildings have subsequently been demolished for safety reasons.

It seems to me that not enough is done to protect these buildings. I don't know the actual legislation, but I am told that the local council's legislation does not have the teeth that the state's version has.

It is quite clear that some owners do not take care of heritage properties. Some of the places lie derelict for years, finally succumbing to vandals, squatters and/or arsonists. When the building then becomes unsafe then it can be knocked down to allow the site to be redeveloped.

It is just not good enough.

I have been alerted by reader Wes that another of Brisbane's old buildings is likely to suffer a similar fate. Abbotsleigh at Bowen Hills has been cruelly treated of late. A fire and squatter damage has already marred this grand old residence, and the absence of proper incentive for the owner to remedy the situation could create similar issues to what we have seen in the last couple of weeks.
(Photo: woc)

Like the other two buildings, Abbotsleigh appears on the BCC Heritage Register but not on that of the Queensland Government. It would be a desperate shame if this residence was also lost due to inaction.

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  1. I wholeheartedly concur! More needs to be done to protect our history before it's all gone. It seems highly suspicious to me that both properties were earmarked for redevelopment and the devolopers need to be held accountable with massive fines for not looking after the properties

  2. It's just dreadful that more is not being done to save our heritage buildings. It really is everyone's loss when such significant buildings disappear from our be replaced by carparks and unit blocks...a tragic loss.

  3. That developers get arsonists to do their quick and dirty work is not surprising. But why did the Queensland state government not act and get the planners and funders of the arson into gaol? The criminals will destroy the heritage buildings one way or another, then develop as quickly as they can - unless they are stopped.

  4. I always enjoyed stopping at Albion Station as a kid going on the train to the city. I loved the smell of the station because of the flour mill. Can't believe that such a landmark is now gone and I too share your concern for other "undervalued" properties around our city. Who needs the Joh & the Deen Bros when you've got weak, ineffectual BCC laws?


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