In the wake of the demolition of Lonsdale House and the scandal over the Windsor Hotel development a new group is about to be formed called ‘Melbourne Heritage Action’. It will have a focus on fighting for the protection of Melbourne’s built heritage specifically in the CBD. They will have a meeting on this Friday 30 July 2010 at 6pm at Tasma Terrace to elect their first office bearers. The group describe themselves as follows:
Melbourne Heritage Action provides a forum for people dedicated to preserving, protecting and promoting the ongoing use of significant heritage places such as buildings, streetscapes, laneways and interiors in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. We advocate for the preservation of significant heritage places primarily within Melbourne’s Central Business District. We lobby the State Government of Victoria, City of Melbourne council and developers to make decisions that value and enhance our built heritage. We promote a greater awareness within the wider community of central Melbourne’s substantial and important endowment of built heritage. We aim to build a strong public support base. We advocate for the protection of significant built heritage from all periods, which is threatened by unsympathetic development or demolition by any means. We promote greater respect for heritage within the government, business and development community. We encourage developers, architects, academics and businesses to explore ideas of adaptive reuse and heritage preservation.
It looks like the days are numbered for Lonsdale House, with the people’s paper reporting in a somewhat impassioned article that:
With the backing of Melbourne City Council and Planning Minister Justin Madden, demolition of this unique and much-neglected Art Deco building at the corner of Lonsdale St and Caledonia Lane is expected to be completed by early February.
In the aforementioned article, reporter George Lekakis takes a swipe at both the State and Local governments, with Melbourne City Council coming under the harshest criticism as he writes:
Instead of doing the right thing by engaging with people who wanted to prevent the demolition, no councillor was prepared to publicly acknowledge they were signing off on the trashing of another signpost of Melbourne’s past.
With the future of Lonsdale House seemingly destined to be at the wrong end (is there a right end) of a wrecking house, both the State and Local Governments surely need to come up with a better way to handly inner city retail development.
Following on from the news that Lonsdale House would most likely make way for an iconic new Apple Store, although not probably directly linked, is the announcement of a community protest against the building’s demolition. Details are as follows:
Community Protest against Demolition of Lonsdale House
Date: Saturday, 22 August 2009
Time: 12:00 – 13:00
Location: Outside Lonsdale House and Caledonian Lane, 269-273 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne
For those interested in being part of the group who want to save Lonsdale House, there is now a website where you can keep in touch with all that is happening in relation to its proposed demolition. And for all those Facebook people out there, there is also a group on there dedicated to those who want to save it.
It has been announced today that one of Melbourne’s landmark art-deco buildings – Lonsdale House – will be bulldozed to make way for a new CBD shopping centre as part of the Myer redevelopment that is to be called The Emporium Melbourne. Architectural historians are naturally outraged with Art Deco & Modernism Society president ,Robin Grow, saying the decision to demolish Lonsdale House was a “disgrace”.