Demolition threatens Queensland Heritage

Queensland governments have a bad history – support for the Vietnam war, rigged electoral boundaries, censorship, suppression of democratic rights, apartheid-style segregation and control of first nations people, persecution of gays, criminalisation of women seeking abortion, corrupt and politicised police, destruction of the Great barrier reef and mining fossil fuels to name some.

Much of this was discussed and organised against at the UQ union complex in what was known as the Forum area.

The Schonell Theatre is a very small part of the significance the the UQ Union complex and for students to cede control of the space would end student unionism on campus once and for all. The university have been clever to restrict its few media releases to the Schonell while it plans to demolish the remainder of the UQ Union complex.

Contrary to what Professor Peter Høj said in the interview (below) the university have already had discussions with the lease holders telling them that they will be moved. One told me that their future seems bleak.

The University plans to construct its main entrance onto campus via an outdoor escalator up from the bus station near the Schonell bridge. This is despite maintenance difficulties of such escalators.

They may end up using lifts instead. There appears to be some superficial concrete cancer at the back of the UQU Refec above the bike shop. No maintenance is being performed so both the Refec and Schonell are being run down in order to get approval for demolition at a future date. Developers usually use fire to obtain approvals to pull old buildings down (e.g. Broadway Hotel). That is why the Heritage listing for all the buildings is so important.

Here UQ Librarian and historian Jeff Rickertt speaks to the ABC about attempts to have the buildings heritage listed and to have people boycott gifting to UQ until the University senate reverses its decision to demolish the Union complex and the Schonell Theatre.

Heritage council chair Helen Best will have to adjudicate if the UQ Union complex meets the criteria for heritage listing.

Ms Best, a former high school teacher, has ruled that Wavell High which was built at the same time at the UQU compex should be heritage listed.

“Wavell State High School is important in demonstrating the principal characteristics of a 1950s Queensland state high school,” Ms Best said.

“Constructed over the 1950s and 1960s, the site layout of the buildings, covered links, open spaces, and playing field is a particularly extensive and intact example of late 1950s Queensland state school master planning.

“This model aimed to provide ordered growth arising from the centre of the school, in response to the booming post-war population.

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