Councillors voted to tear down the railway station in Kershaw Gardens, but reporter Adrian Taylor says that’s wrong.
Councillors voted to tear down the railway station in Kershaw Gardens, but reporter Adrian Taylor says that’s wrong. Chris Ison

Safeguard our history

IT has stood, uncared for and unloved in Kershaw Gardens for years.

And now councillors have unanimously voted to demolish this historic timber railway station because it would cost too much to repair.

An officer's report this week admitted that the council had allowed the station to rot. It described its condition as deplorable. But it's the decision that's deplorable, not the building.

Councillors were told it would cost at least $128,000 to repair and that was all the information they needed to consign it to the shredder.

There was no debate. Not one of them asked for further information about its historical significance or whether it could possibly be given away.

No one suggested an inspection or asked for an alternative perspective.

Only Cr Graeme Brady offered a comment, and that was to say that although the sign on the station said Kalka, he believed it had originally been the North Rockhampton station.

The decision to trash it was attacked yesterday by mayoral candidate Margaret Strelow.

"It might not be heritage listed, but it is historic and a mark of the importance of the railways in our region's history," she said.

"There's always another way to do things and I think rather than tear it down we should be looking for an alternative use.

"There must be an organisation out there looking for a home. With a bit of elbow grease and some volunteer labour it's amazing how these old buildings can be transformed for much less than professionals would charge."

She said she hoped the council would delay demolition until after the election. The report said the building had termites, the toilets were in a sorry state and there was graffiti.

But when I walked around the station yesterday I could see no justification for spending $60,000 of ratepayers' money on demolition.

The exterior walls were entirely sound and although a few of the pillars supporting the veranda roof were eaten through, the veranda was in no danger of collapse.

One of the external doors had termite damage but could be easily replaced and the smattering of graffiti could be painted over.

Some of the floor boards were uneven and worn, reflecting its age. It would make a great tea room or cafe.

If the council's wishes were carried out, it would be removed and a shelter and barbecues would replace it.

The Masonic Club has offered $30,000 for a shelter which the report says "could provide a far more effective use for that area of the gardens".



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