Schonell Theatre recommended for heritage listing

The Department of Environment and Science has given notice that the Schonell Theatre be placed in the Queensland Heritage Register as a State Heritage Place.

Facts on the ground
However Arts & Heritage have knocked back submissions claiming that Queensland Union Complex has significant historical and social associations for it too to be heritage listed. Arts & Heritage say the UQ Union complex has played:

a key role as the centre of Queensland’s political protest movement between the 1960s and 1980s.”

However the committee claim that:

the Administration Block, Relaxation Block, Forum, and Refectory and its extensions and associated spaces have undergone extensive change through removal of original features, additions and alterations and no longer retain sufficient fabric to demonstrate the Complex’s significant historical and social associations.

Over the years student unions have made cosmetic changes to the site. The University has done little since it took over after the abolition of compulsory student unionism. Maintenance on the buildings is minimal.

A former right-wing student union led by Victoria Brazil expelled radio station 4zzz from the site in the late 1980s thus removing independent media from the campus. That space remains but is now occupied by the Uni Bike shop.

On 20 August 2019 the delegate for the Chief Executive of the Department of Environment and Science (the Department) recommended to the Queensland Heritage Council that the Schonell Theatre be entered in the Queensland Heritage Register as a State Heritage Place.

The Heritage Council will make the final decision.

It has 60 business days (100 business days with owner consent) from the recommendation date to decide whether a place is or is not entered in the Queensland Heritage Register. The Heritage Council has the discretion to make a decision which differs from the Department’s recommendation.

The recommendation relates to the property at University of Queensland, St Lucia Campus, Brisbane and comprises:

Lot       Plan
382      SL6788

It is anticipated the Heritage Council will hear any oral representations in response to the Department’s recommendation at its meeting in Brisbane to be held on 25 October 2019.

A request to make an oral representation should be made on the enclosed form and must be received no later than 17 September 2019.

The images below show the parts that have been recommended for Heritage listing.

Ian Curr
3 Sept 2019

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