Redland City Council is urging the community to consider Birkdale Community Precinct’s fascinating past when imagining future uses for the land.
Mayor Karen Williams said the land’s past was an important part of the discussion and its heritage values should be considered when imagining how to best use the 62-hectare site.
“With Aboriginal heritage and heritage-listed structures such as Willards Farm and the World War II radio receiving station protected on the site, there will always be physical reminders there of our past,” she said.
“This also provides an opportunity to honour and celebrate those who walked the land before us.
“From Traditional Owners through European settlement in the 1850s, to World War II, we can learn so much from this site – about our history, ourselves and our community.”
Deducing those lessons is Marianne Taylor (also known as The House Detective), an architectural historian highly experienced in heritage strategy and management.
“Our heritage survives as a reminder of our story so far, which is why it is so important to retain it,” Ms Taylor said.
“By sympathetically incorporating existing heritage features into new endeavours like this one, we can pay tribute to our history while also celebrating the next chapter in their story.”
Heritage expert Benjamin Gall, managing director of Australian Heritage Specialists, was part of a team that inspected the Birkdale site early in 2020 and prepared for Council a Conservation Management Plan for the land.
Mr Gall said he was passionate about how the past informed our future.
“I believe the unique and varied heritage values of the site will play a strong part in its success as a community precinct into the future,” he said.
“The key words in heritage practice are identify, protect, enhance and conserve.”
Cr Williams said that after many years of negotiating with the Commonwealth, the land was sold to Council for the purpose of conservation and community use.
“Over the years I met with no fewer than six Federal Government representatives and handed petitions to two Prime Ministers before we finally secured this important land,” she said.
“As a condition of the sale Council is required to protect the land’s important heritage and environmental values, including the two heritage-listed sites – Willards Farm and the World War II radio receiving station.
“These sites add so much to this land and I urge people to think big; there is plenty of land for many exciting projects that would enhance lifestyle, create jobs, boost the local economy and could bring forward important transport infrastructure.”
Division 10 Councillor Paul Bishop described the future of Birkdale Community Precinct as “perhaps the biggest public project in Redland City’s journey”.
“With so much history and ecology still intact on this rare site, this is an important, special parcel of land,” Cr Bishop said.
“We want visitors and locals to share their curiosity and relevant stories about what this place means to our past, present and future.
“This is a legacy site and we invite you to help identify what matters most to current and future generations. Please have your say.”
For more information about Council’s community consultation on possible future uses for Birkdale Community Precinct, visit yoursay.redland.qld.gov.au – see expert urban designers’ ideas, watch the videos, read the fact sheets, take a virtual tour of the precinct, and have your say.
Consultation closes on Tuesday 4 May 2021.