Category Archives: History

Council exhausts all reasonable legal challenges to stop historic home’s demolition


Redland City Council has exhausted all reasonable legal means available to protect a historic 136-year-old Queenslander home at Wellington Point from demolition.

Mayor Karen Williams said despite Council’s best efforts the property owners took the matter to the State Planning and Environment Court which this week ruled in favour of the new owner of the home at 509 Main Road, Wellington Point, allowing it to be demolished.

“The owners had planned to demolish the property earlier this year, prompting me to write to the State Government asking them to intervene,” Cr Williams said.

“Following my letter the Acting Minister agreed to issue a Stop Work Order on the proposed demolition of the Wellington Point homestead while the State Government considered listing the property on the State Heritage Register which they subsequently refused,” she said.

“Despite this decision, Council argued the property had local heritage values, with it included in a list of private properties proposed for protection on our local heritage register.

“In court, Council argued that the house should not be demolished because it was on the proposed register and had been assessed by consultants as having significant local heritage value.”

Local Councillor Wendy Boglary said Council also argued the property should not be demolished because Council had put in place an interim planning control – Temporary Local Planning Instrument 01/21 – Protection of Heritage Places (TLPI) – that required community consultation and approval by Council before any demolition could take place.

“Unfortunately the court did not agree, effectively allowing the demolition to proceed,” Division 1 Cr Boglary said.

“Council will continue to consider the future adoption of amendments to the Redland City Plan to ensure the protection of the remaining private properties proposed for listing on the local heritage register and appropriate support for their owners.

“We have also secured interim protection for the 45 properties proposed to be included on Council’s local heritage register through a TLPI, helping retain important local heritage.”

 

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Council to make a submission on Willards Farm state heritage listing application


Redland City Council has moved to ensure work to protect the historic Willard’s Farm can start as soon as possible while the Queensland Heritage Council considers another application from a small group of neighbouring residents calling for the property to be listed on the Queensland Heritage Register.

Mayor Karen Williams said Council supported the community’s desire that Willards Farm be protected but was concerned the application currently before the Queensland Heritage Council could delay restoration works on the homestead and farm buildings.

Historic Willards Farm at Birkdale Community Precinct.

“Council bought this property in 2016 to save it from demolition, which had been approved by a private certifier, and prevent the land from being developed into residential housing,” she said.

“We also included the farmstead it on our Heritage Places Register to help protect its local heritage.”

“We are committed to ensuring this piece of local history is protected and have $250,000 allocated this financial year to plan the restoration of the Willards Farm homestead and farm buildings to protect the property for future generations to enjoy.

“Unfortunately, the application from a small group of residents to list the property on the Queensland Heritage Register will delay this body of work and subsequently the restoration works, as the application creates uncertainty in the scope and timing of design works.”

Cr Williams noted that a previous application made in 2015 to have the property listed on the Queensland Heritage Register was denied by the State Heritage Council, and said Council’s initial submission to the Queensland Heritage Council would seek to clarify inaccuracies in the new application.

“As the owner of the site and the local government authority responsible for planning the site, we need to make sure the community has accurate information, so we will be correcting some inaccuracies in the application with the Queensland Heritage Council,” Cr Williams said.

“This includes a suggestion there will be large scale development on the site that will threaten known heritage values. We have already done a great deal of work to identify and protect heritage on the site and any suggestion this won’t occur is just inaccurate and puts at risk the projects the community has told us they want to see delivered.”

“We are committed to the protection and preservation of Willards Farm, which is located on Old Cleveland Road East and is part of Birkdale Community Precinct.

“Earlier this year we asked the community what they would like to see on the Birkdale Community Precinct, resulting in an exciting vision that includes protecting and celebrating Willards Farm, while also delivering new recreation spaces such as a water park for the community.

“Council will also make a further submission once the recommendation by the Queensland Government’s Department of Environment and Science is received and before the Queensland Heritage Council’s final determination.

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Exciting vision for Birkdale Community Precinct


Redland City Council has formally adopted the Birkdale Community Precinct Vision document – another step towards creation of an exciting community heart for Redlands Coast.

Mayor Karen Williams said the ideas from the community and presented as a spatial representation in the vision document provided an exciting glimpse at what the 62-hectare site could become.

The vision concept plan.

“This is not the Council’s vision for the site; it is what the community told us they would like to see there,” Cr Williams said.

“To see many of the ideas suggested by the community during our sensationally supported engagement phase actually placed on a map really gives you an impression of how large a scale this vision is and how much can be accommodated on the precinct.

“It shows how the precinct could operate effectively with a multitude of purposes and outcomes and is an exciting glimpse into what our future generations can enjoy.

“It also begins to show the broader picture. Birkdale Community Precinct will have benefits well beyond its boundaries with major public transport upgrades; employment opportunities during its establishment and then ongoing; and as an attractive location for enterprises and ventures across a wide spectrum.”

Cr Williams said the vision placed a range of rural experiences around a restored Willards Farm.

“It could operate in tandem with bush tucker gardens and agritourism opportunities and more,” she said.

“It respects and protects the precinct’s valuable natural habitat while also providing plenty of room for bush walks, wetlands boardwalks, an aquatic centre and adventure play hub, open lawn spaces and eco-camping facilities.

“The vision places the Redland Whitewater Centre – which will be an event venue for the Brisbane 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games – in an existing cleared area adjacent to the aquatic centre and with the area possibly having canoe access from Tingalpa Creek. It clearly shows the centre and associated aquatic playground takes up just a small portion of the overall site.

“The heritage-listed former World War II radio receiving station takes pride of place in the centre of a pedestrian spine running through the precinct, offering the possibility of a memorial site as well as World War II artefact displays. This sits next to a First Nations ceremonial space and cultural history centre.”

Cr Williams said the vision showed Birkdale Community Precinct’s potential to be transformed into a world-class precinct that would be a multi-generational showpiece for Redlands Coast.

“It will be a picturesque, vibrant and diverse destination which provides benefits beyond its boundaries in helping to define Redlands Coast,” she said.

“The plan doesn’t represent a completed design that is ready to be built. It is instead an interpretation of what it could look like.

“This document brings together the ideas gathered from the community during an extensive seven-week engagement program and presents them as concepts. It will be used to inform a draft master plan for the precinct for which there will be further extensive community engagement.

“The vision document is structured around the precinct’s significant heritage, cultural and conservation values, all of which will be protected.

“Remember, this was Commonwealth land before Council bought it in December 2019 to save it from being subdivided after the Federal Government had earmarked it for about 400 housing lots.

“To see it on the path to becoming a world-class community asset is such an achievement.”

Cr Williams said this stage in the visioning process had been shaped by a huge and unprecedented response from the Redlands Coast community.

“When the community was invited to help create a shared vision for the site during the engagement program which ran from March to May this year, the response was phenomenal,” she said.

“All of those, literally, thousands of ideas and creative suggestions and discussions and sharing of personal stories, are now coming together to form the heart of this precinct.

“This is a long-term project that delivers on the diverse views our community showed us they had for future use of this unique site.

“The community will continue to have ongoing input into the planning for what is shaping up as potentially one of this city’s finest achievements.”

Precinct Vision highlights:

Adopted by Redland City Council on 18 August, 2021, the Birkdale Community Precinct Vision document is an overarching framework to guide decision making and allow individuals, institutions and businesses to establish a dialogue about the prospective future of the precinct. It brings together the multitude of ideas gathered during the engagement process and presents them spatially on the site as concepts.

Environment and ecology

Whether it’s a bush walk on an Aboriginal art trail or wetlands boardwalk, kayaking along Tingalpa Creek, learning about local wildlife and landscape stewardship on an overnight camping trip, or taking in the scenery from a treetop walk – the precinct could deliver a multitude of sustainable ways for visitors to enjoy and experience the landscape. Key elements include: wetlands walk, bush walks, eco-camping and treetop walk.

Agriculture and rural tradition

The legacy of Willards Farm presents a unique opportunity to create a dynamic cluster of agritourism destinations and community assets that celebrate the region’s rural tradition and history. Key elements include: Willards agrifarm experience, flexible farmer’s market space and paddock-to-plate café and dining.

Heritage and history

Birkdale Community Precinct could incorporate the respectful protection, adaptation and reuse of the area’s significant heritage assets through showcasing local First Nations stories and land management practises and celebrating and reusing Willards Farm and the US Army Corps-built World War II radio receiving station. Key elements include: connection to Country, pioneer past and World War II history

Adventure and recreation

The precinct could offer a dynamic and diverse range of adventurous experiences that cater to all ages and abilities, while also establishing a world-class destination for live sport and events – a truly multidimensional destination with something for everybody, keeping visitors coming back for more. Key elements include: Redland Whitewater Centre, aquatic centre, swimming and water play, adventure play hub and flexible events lawns.

Education and discovery

Engaging learning experiences could be embedded throughout the precinct, with opportunities for local stewardship showcasing everything from Traditional Owner land management techniques and wildlife education, renaturalising processes, as well as innovative agricultural research and technologies. Key elements include: bush tucker garden, ag-tech hub and wildlife and landcare centre.

For more information on Birkdale Community Precinct, go to: yoursay.redland.qld.gov.au/imagine

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Historic Willards Farm looks to the future within Birkdale Community Precinct


Maintenance work and an updated Conservation Management Plan (Heritage) are underway for the historic heritage-protected Willards Farm as its future place within Birkdale Community Precinct begins to take shape.

Redland City Mayor Karen Williams said a program of works was being prepared around future restoration priorities for the site, which is one of the oldest surviving farms and residences on Redlands Coast, believed to date back to the 1870s.

“Works were completed recently to help stabilise the structural integrity of the farmhouse’s main supports,” Cr Williams said.

Historic heritage-protected Willards Farm at Birkdale Community Precinct.

“This is such a well-loved and important property in terms of our city’s European history and it will no doubt become a jewel in the crown of Birkdale Community Precinct as we go forward.

“On-site investigations have been completed as part of developing the updated conservation management plan for Willards Farm.

“There also will be maintenance work carried out on some of the farm’s significant trees in coming months.”

Cr Williams said that as well as Willards Farm, Birkdale Community Precinct’s protected heritage areas included the former World War II radio receiving station built in 1943 by the US Army Signals Corp and its associated rhombic array of radio antennas.

“The heritage values of this precinct are incredibly important, genuinely fascinating and will be protected,” Cr Williams said.

Division 10 Councillor Paul Bishop said Willards Farm, aka The Pines, held a special place in both history and the heart of the Birkdale community.

“There are so many heritage values tied up in this place, there are gateways to knowledge and ongoing stories of significance yet to be explored here,” Cr Bishop said.

The original homestead and surrounding buildings, such as the milking shed and creamery, help to anchor the entire Birkdale Community Precinct within its early European and pioneer context.

“The place is of so much value to future generations it cannot be underestimated.

“The structures were built by the Willards using simple bush carpentry techniques made from local timbers felled on site, including white beech, swamp beech, cedar and pine.

“The exact date the homestead was constructed is uncertain but it was likely around 1876 when owners James and Margaret Willard took out a mortgage on the land they had owned and farmed since 1865.”

An early photo of the Willards farmhouse in Birkdale.

Cr Williams said Council bought the property at 302 Old Cleveland Road East, Birkdale, in March 2016 following community concern that the site was subject to a development approval for subdivision into residential allotments.

“Once Willards Farm was saved, Council worked long and hard to negotiate the purchase of the neighbouring 61-hectares of Commonwealth land,” she said.

“The Commonwealth had indicated this land was tagged as surplus. As such, it also was in threat of being subdivided into residential allotments, with the Government suggesting it could accommodate 400 houses.

“Council managed to secure the purchase of the land in December 2019.

“The combined properties now form Birkdale Community Precinct.

“It is such a large property that a large number of uses and facilities can be accommodated without impacting on the precinct’s heritage values.

“Other uses will also bring attention and appreciation to the heritage-listed sites that it contains.”

Cr Williams said a vision document for the precinct was currently being prepared and would be presented to Council shortly.

“The document will include high level, aspirational concepts for Willards Farm and its surrounding land to reflect ideas as suggested by the community during Council’s seven-week community engagement program earlier this year,” she said

Some of the ideas put forward for Willards Farm by the community include ventures such as farmers’ market place, bush food gardens, a café or restaurant, paddock-to-plate dining experiences, and an agrifarm experience demonstrating traditional and contemporary farming methods.

Further community consultation will occur at the master planning stage, Cr Williams said.

For more information on Birkdale Community Precinct go to: yoursay.redland.qld.gov.au/imagine

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Council moves to preserve local heritage places 


Redland City Council has asked the State Government for approval to add a number of local properties to its local heritage register.

Redland City Deputy Mayor Julie Talty said today’s decision followed public consultation on Council’s Heritage Major Amendment package that ran late last year.

“Today’s decision shows Council’s commitment to support our local heritage on Redlands Coast,” Cr Talty said.

“More than 300 places that contain European Heritage Values were examined by a heritage expert and in January 2019, Council made a resolution to commence the major amendment process to list priority sites to ensure that all local heritage themes identified in the City were represented.

“Today’s decision follows a 55-day public consultation period that resulted in 45 places proposed for inclusion in the Heritage Schedule.

“Almost 800 website visits and 37 submissions were received, including questions from property owners about the effect of adding their places on Schedule 7 (Heritage Schedule) of City Plan.

“Councillors have now adopted the public submission review report that was informed by submissions received during the consultation period as well as one-on-one meetings between interested property owners, Council officers and its heritage expert.

“Prior to commencement of the proposed amendment, Council will also consider an associated incentive packages to support affected property owners.”

Cr Talty said the amendment process had now reached a critical stage.

“Before any planning scheme amendment can be implemented, the Planning Minister must consider the proposal and provide approval to adopt it.

“Council will work with owners, the community and State Government in coming months in an effort to facilitate the preservation of our local heritage places.”

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Council starts upgrade of 148-year-old Cleveland Cemetery


Redland City Council has started upgrade works at the historic Cleveland Cemetery.

Mayor Karen Williams said the works would ensure the community could continue to comfortably reflect and honour their loved ones within the cemetery.

“The works will include the installation of a lychgate structure and columbarium walls at the Clarke Street entrance, a reconstruction of the Randall Walls and Garden and the addition of a shelter and formalised pathways,” Cr Williams said.

“The project is expected to take four months to complete but has been scheduled to have minimal impact on people using and visiting the cemetery during that time.

“Importantly, there will be no changes to public funeral and interment services or visits to graves and monuments.”

Cr Peter Mitchell and Mayor Karen Williams outside Cleveland Cemetery.

Cr Williams said the upgrade would help preserve the 148-year-old cemetery for future generations.

“The works include the installation of a lychgate which is a replica of the one placed at the Clarke Street entrance in 1927.

“The original lychgate was commissioned by George Randall of Birkdale in memory of his wife and two sons and was modelled on the gates of St Martin’s Church, Canterbury in England.

“It was removed in 1998 due to a white ant infestation.

“The new lychgate will include two new granite columbarium walls which will increase capacity for the interment of cremated remains.”

Cr Williams said the Randall Walls and Garden would also be reconstructed.

“During construction the cremated remains will be recovered and held in safekeeping at a Council facility, and will be interred into their original location once the reconstructed walls are completed.

“Some stakeholders have chosen to have their family or friend’s remains returned to them during this construction phase.”

Unknown group of men standing in front of the lychgate on Clarke Street circa 1927. (Redland City Library Images and Digital Archive)

Division 2 Councillor Peter Mitchell said the upgrades would not only address concerns over the condition of the Randall Walls and Garden, but would also improve access to and amenity of the cemetery.

“Concrete pathways will replace the current gravel paths from the Clarke Street entrance to the Randall Walls, improving safety for visitors,” Cr Mitchell said.

“The area will also include a new shelter with a table and seating, which will provide a spot where people can sit and reflect.

“Another welcome addition to the Garden is the planting of six Blueberry Ash trees which will offer shade.

“Temporary fencing will be in place to restrict access to the construction area, but burials will not be impacted.

“Plans are in place to halt works during burial services and Council officers will be working closely with the construction team to ensure disruptions are kept to a minimum.”

The Cleveland Cemetery upgrade is expected to be completed by late-June, weather permitting.

A new lawn burial section is also expected to open along Clarke Street before the end of the year.

For more information on the upgrade, visit Council’s Your Say page.

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Mayor achieves stop work order on demolition of historic homestead


Redland City Mayor Karen Williams has won a reprieve for a local heritage building after Acting Minister for Environment Leeanne Enoch agreed to a Stop Work Order on the proposed demolition of a 136-year-old Wellington Point homestead.

Cr Williams wrote to Minister Enoch earlier in the week after being alerted to the potential demolition of the privately-owned building.

“Council had already identified this property as having local heritage value and we are undertaking a City Plan amendment to add it, along with 48 other local properties, to our local heritage register to protect them,” Cr Williams said.

“This process is governed by State legislation and takes time, meaning there is the potential for the property to be demolished in the meantime without any approval being needed from Council.

“Earlier this week I discovered the owners were proposing to demolish the property, prompting me to write to the Minister, asking her to intervene through a stop work order to allow time for other options to be explored.

“I am pleased the Minister has listened to my request, which will now prevent any work which could be detrimental to the property for 60 days.

“Council officers have also contacted the owners to discuss options.”

Cr Williams said Council’s move to list the property on its local heritage register followed a city-wide heritage assessment.

“Council is committed to protecting local heritage and as part of the City Plan we have a local heritage register that protects locally significant heritage places,” she said.

“Recognising local heritage values may exist on properties that are not currently listed, Council recently engaged a heritage consultant to identify and document local heritage values across the city, with this property being one that was identified.

“We will now continue this process to help protect our local heritage.”

Division 1 Councillor Wendy Boglary said adding these properties to Council’s heritage register would help protect the city’s European heritage places.

“Redlands Coast has a rich history and many of these valued heritage places represent the historical themes and periods of Redlands Coast’s post-European history,” she said.

“It is important that we strive to protect them.”

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Council donates photos of Diggers to Redlands RSL


Redland City Council has donated 14 framed photographs of First World War Diggers to Redlands RSL Sub Branch, just in time for Remembrance Day.

The photos, of Diggers whose names appear on local cenotaphs, were printed and framed for the 2018 launch of a commemorative book sharing the stories of Redlands Coast servicemen and women.

Mayor Karen Williams said the photos had been in storage since the launch of Remembering Them: Honouring the First World War servicemen and women of the Redlands.

“The photos deserve to be on display in a public space so these local servicemen are recognised and honoured for generations to come,” she said.

“What better place than the Redlands RSL Sub Branch to display these photos and tell the story of these brave locals on Remembrance Day.”

Redland City Mayor Karen Williams, Redlands RSL Vice President Les Warner, Redlands RSL President Alan Harcourt and Councillor Peter Mitchell.

Division 2 Councillor for Cleveland Peter Mitchell said the installation of the photos would act as a visual reminder of the sacrifices made.

“With the Redlands RSL being central to Remembrance Day, these photos will help locals put a human face to those who gave so much for the freedoms we enjoy today,” Cr Mitchell said.

Cr Williams encouraged the community to take time on Wednesday 11 November to remember Australia’s fallen servicemen and women.

“These brave people were sent into horrendous conditions to ensure their loved ones at home, and the generations to follow, could live in peace and safety,” she said.

“I encourage everyone to spend a minute in silence at 11am on 11 November to remember all those who fought and died to keep us free.”

The book Remembering Them was developed by Redland Libraries and was funded through a Queensland Anzac Centenary Grant.

It documents the stories of local servicemen and women and their experiences of war, and includes photographs, letters, postcards and archival documents.

There are several copies of Remembering Them available to borrow through Redland Libraries. An ebook copy is available via the Redland Libraries website, redland.qld.gov.au/library, and through the State Library of Queensland.

The photos of the 14 local Diggers are now on permanent display in the Redlands RSL Library-Museum at Cleveland, which is open to the public Monday to Friday from 9am to 2pm.

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Banana plantation housing lots more than 100 years old


Redland City Council wishes to advise residents that recently built homes constructed on the site of a former banana farm at Redland Bay do not form part of a new development subdivision.

The original Broadwater Terrace plantation was set across more than 30 existing residential blocks, believed to have been created as part of the original village survey in 1884.

While Council understands that historically the lots were in the hands of one family, they are now owned by multiple property owners.

Under the Redland City Plan, these lots are within the Medium Density Residential Zone, which allows dwelling houses to be built on each individual block and a planning application to Council for this is not required.

The housing designs are assessed under the requirements of the Queensland Development Code (QDC), which provides a building standards framework specific to Queensland.

At the time these blocks were subdivided – more than 100 years ago – there was no requirement to provide a public footpath.

However, Council’s infrastructure plan does identify public footpaths for the area in the near future.

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Redlands Coast played crucial role in WWII victory messages


A former top-secret US military base hidden in Redlands Coast is being remembered for the crucial role it played in announcing that World War II was over.

Redland City Mayor Karen Williams said it had remained relatively unknown that the radio receiving station, built by the United States Army at Birkdale, had been a vital link in receiving and sharing the news that Japan had surrendered – signalling the end of the war.

“As our local community marks the 75th anniversary of Victory in the Pacific (VP) Day tomorrow (August 15), it is fitting that we acknowledge the crucial role Redlands Coast played in this significant event,” Cr Williams said.

“This site was regarded as one of the most important South Pacific communications centres supporting the Allied Forces, and it played a critical role in connecting General Douglas MacArthur from his Brisbane base to Washington DC.

“High-frequency encrypted radio messages were received at the Birkdale station and then relayed via cable to Brisbane’s war offices.

“To our knowledge this is the last remaining building of its kind in Australia.”

Cr Paul Bishop, Mayor Karen Williams and Redlands RSL Sub-Branch Military Wellbeing Advocate Volunteer Graham Hinson inside the Birkdale radio receiving station.

Division 10 Councillor Paul Bishop said a number of interesting stories surrounding local World War II military activities were starting to be revealed – and many had remained secret for decades.

“When Redland City Council purchased the site from the Federal Government in December last year, it was the first time there had been access by others outside the Commonwealth Government, to what was otherwise a top-secret military site,” Cr Bishop said.

“VP Day is an important opportunity for us to recognise the significant war efforts that went on right within our community.

“For the first time, we are finding out incredible stories that we now need to record and keep for future generations.”

In commemorating VP Day, Cr Bishop likened local efforts during the battle of World War II to current challenges faced during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Once again we are faced with a global threat,” Cr Bishop said.

“The events from 75 years ago represent a reminder to us of the last time our resilient local community was fighting an invisible enemy, facing austerity and working as one in lockstep with government leaders.”

Redlands RSL Sub-Branch Military Wellbeing Advocate Volunteer Graham Hinson said he had been surprised to discover the secrets of the Birkdale site.

“Having lived on Redlands Coast for 43 years, I did not realise that there was a US Army radio receiver station on the Cotton Farm during WWII – and that it was the first place in Australia to receive the message that the war was over,” Mr Hinson said.

“Redlands RSL has always been community minded, and believes the site to be very important to the history of the Redlands Coast area.

“We at the Redlands RSL Sub-Branch are pleased that it has been heritage listed now for future generations to see.”

Mayor Karen Williams, Redlands RSL Sub-Branch Military Wellbeing Advocate Volunteer Graham Hinson (centre) and Redland City Councillors outside the radio station.

Cr Williams said Council was keen to hear from residents who may have stories to tell about the history of the 61.78ha site.

“The Redlands Coast community has had a long and strong relationship and interest in the Birkdale site over many decades, including its Quandamooka cultural significance and historic role in World War II,” Cr Williams said.

“While much is already known about the land, a great deal of its history is locked in the memories and experiences of residents, with many having childhood stories of the land and the creek.”

To share your stories with Council, visit the Your Say Redlands Coast Birkdale Land page.

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