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Saving Schonell, Zed, Forum and Refec @ UQ Union complex

Any stories, memories, or images that you have about Schonell theatre, Zed, the Forum, Refec and UQ Union send them into the Heritage department for why we should save the UQ Union centre.

Written submissions quoting the HRN 650238 must be received by 7 June 2019 and should be lodged with: Executive Officer, Heritage Branch Department of Environment and Science GPO Box 2454 BRISBANE QLD 4001
Or email:
heritage@des.qld.gov.au

Excerpt from ABC Local featuring interviews with Jeff Rickertt (SUQUC), Andrew Bartlett (Greens, 4ZZZ) Image: Margot & Pic building 4ZZZ studios at UQ Union complex

Heritage Application filed to defend threated complex at UQ

Campaigners for protection of the endangered Union Complex at the University of Queensland have made a formal application for its recognition on the Queensland Heritage Register.

The chairperson of the heritage campaign and nominee for the application, Dr Jeff Rickertt, said the books were open so all interested persons could read and contribute towards it.

“The area we want to see cherished not demolished is the open-air forum, with the Schonell Theatre, Union Building, Refectory, student services building and conference centre clustered around it”, he said.

“As we point out in the Heritage submission these buildings were specifically designed to make up a defined student area and set some innovative architectural standards in their time.

“The area became dramatically important as a centre for democratic change and alternative culture with its impacts going far beyond just the campus environment.

“It became a place of sanctuary under authoritarian governments from 1961-89, for years the only public space where opponents of government could meet and organise free of intimidation and violence.

“It was a main centre of resistance to military conscription and the Vietnam War commitment; the base for reform in civil liberties; an organising hub for the feminist movement, gay and lesbian rights, indigenous rights, and opposition to the Apartheid system in South Africa, together with racism in Australia.

“It became a cultural hub very important to generations of Queenslanders, especially through cinema and theatre productions at the Schonell, and through Radio Triple-Z, based at the Union Complex, which made great gains for free speech and new music.

“The mainstream life of Queensland today has been defined and enriched by the success of the movements that started here and by the contributions made in arts and culture.

“A rebuilding scheme from the university management will demolish this centre, trash its history and heritage, and install a new development for its own purposes — no longer to be student-run.

“The Heritage listing process invites people to have their say on applications.
“We urge all those who have a connection in their lives with the Union Centre and want to support its preservation, to write in before the due date – 7th June”.

Please see the full Heritage application here:
https://www.qld.gov.au/environment/land/heritage/register/applications#enter
To make a contribution, by post or email, please see the Heritage Department Notice for details, (to be effective submissions should follow the Heritage criteria as set out in the full submission):
https://www.qld.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0025/99313/650238-public-notice.pdf

Additional information from the Heritage application:
The complex built during the 1950s and early 1960s was intended as a student place within the university, as was made clear by the Queensland Governor, Sir Henry Abel Smith, when he opened it. At the ceremony, he and Vice Chancellor Fred Schonell spoke at length on the theme of student unionism as a vehicle for providing students with a “whole education” through extra-curricular activities. Schonell argued that “the union provides some of those experiences which lead to the education of the whole man.”

The forward-looking designs included the imitation of wooden lattice panels common in Queensland domestic architecture, enveloping the Union Building, a breezeblock form subsequently named the Trotter Block after the building’s architect Stephen Trotter.

The way the complex came to work as a forum was as foreseen by the University Architect James Birrell, who described it as “a pavilion development with pedestrian and casual areas between buildings.”

Within a short time, people who went to the forum to support ideas of freedom and reform came up against governments determined to admit no change.

That began with their unbending defence of heavy State literary censorship unheard of today.

When students backed the right to speak out and make a protest, the Queensland Government sent police to put them down, and in 1977 legislated to remove the right of appeal against bans on demonstrations. The then-Premier, Johannes Bjelke Petersen said: “The day of the street march is over.”

The complex has new roles to play in cultural life and negotiating social change, as in the past, functioning as a learning centre in its own right – “a university within the university”.

21 May 2019
For information contact …
Jeff Rickertt, 0421-637172, jrickertt@optusnet.com.au
Lachlan Hurse, 0417-231895
Lee Duffield, 0407702860, lduffield77@gmail.com

                            __oOo__

Campaigners for protection of the endangered 
Union Complex at the University of Queensland 
have made a formal application for its recognition 
on the Queensland Heritage Register.

Lee Richard Duffield PhD, Brisbane, Australia
Independent Australia, EU Australia Online, Subtropic
Research Associate, Pacific Media Centre, AUT, NZ
Tel +61 7 33670621, +61 (0) 407702860

2 responses to “Saving Schonell, Zed, Forum and Refec @ UQ Union complex

  1. Form letter to have UQU Complex Heritage listed

    The link for a form letter that people can use as a basis for their own submission to have the UQ Union Complex Heritage listed is:
    http://www.nteu.org.au/uq/localissues

    Like

  2. 'Leaving only the memories'

    Write submission to Heritage Department to save UQ union complex

    Written submissions quoting the HRN 650238 must be received by 7 June 2019 and should be lodged with: Executive Officer, Heritage Branch Department of Environment and Science GPO Box 2454 BRISBANE QLD 4001
    Or email: heritage@des.qld.gov.au

    Look what the Deen Brothers did to a watering hole for stars, toffs and pollies, so what would they do to UQ if authorised by glorified grape grower and VC of UQ?

    Like

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