I was struck by this piece in the local Fairfax press (www.brisbanetimes.com.au) 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.
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.
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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