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Down come the trees at McGregor Hall

By qedbynature - 31 August 2010 35

[First filed: Aug 30, 2010 @ 8:13]

With the ink barely dry on the government decision to override any planning objections at McGregor Hall, the ANU has wasted no time in bringing down the trees, some of which were provisionally listed with the Tree Conservator.

Of course it’s the sort of work you would do on a Sunday afternoon when no-one was looking…

What’s Your opinion?


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35 Responses to
Down come the trees at McGregor Hall
troll-sniffer 3:41 pm 30 Aug 10

JessP said :

Troll-sniffer is John Stanhope!!

Most definitely not 🙂 But I am well-known by my three or four remaining friends as being an emotional desert!

Rawhide Kid Part3 2:14 pm 30 Aug 10

The Times They Are a-Changin (Bob Dylan)

Ronnie 1:35 pm 30 Aug 10

troll-sniffer I totally agree. We need a city that is able to be rejuvenated and redeveloped to enhance the university and city precincts (and elsewhere). We are a small economy and need to attract students/ professionals/ businesses etc and to forgo these opportunities for the sake of an old timber shed is entirely unfeasible for a modern city.

PM your point is fine but back in the day timber buildings in inner city Sydney were torn down to make way for the great sandstone buildings. Imagine if Sydney had preserved the original timber structures simply because they were old or had some community connection (which some probably had).

London is a little different as the City had engaged renowned architects such as Wren etc to design large swathes of urban landscape.. hence their heritage status. They didn’t put up timber sheds.

GardeningGirl 1:18 pm 30 Aug 10

I agree with troll-sniffer. There was a whole row of McGregor Hall type buildings, all looking very run down, not to mention all the fibro offices in Barton and the old hostel near Glebe Park to name a few more. In the right spot perhaps something of that nature could be kept but I think it would be a challenge to make it look any good while also preserving a heritage-worthy appearance. After all I imagine those buildings were erected rather quickly at a time of major growth in Canberra and probably intended to be temporary. If there is anything I regret about Canberra’s development it is the loss of the old Canberra Hospital (the earlier wing which became maternity/pediatrics and which in my opinion would have made a wonderful Canberra Museum) and the old library on KIngs Avenue (though I do like the silo buildings) and Glebe House (which I’ve only seen in pictures), the shabby state of the Sydney and Melbourne Buildings (which being on either side of the main road into town should be subject to very strict heritage regulations, I mean how many different shades of cream can there be?) and the lengthy inaction on what’s to become of the brickworks (I remember attending an open day which demonstrated so much potential, must be two or three decades ago). Having said all that, if MacGregor Hall provided convenient and affordable accommodation for various community groups then it is important to make sure a suitable alternative is provided. How difficult would it be to identify some land on the outskirts of Civic and spend some of the money that goes on suburban artworks to build a basic hall with toilet and kitchen and invite community groups to do the tiling, painting and landscaping and give it its style and character? Yes, old buildings develop a special place in people’s hearts, but that doesn’t mean a new building can’t do so too. Seems to me there’s a great opportunity…

bitzermaloney 1:12 pm 30 Aug 10

PM said :

The point is it had historical elements to it ie used as lodging for early Canberran workers. We don’t have much in way of history.

The old Canberra Uni ressies blocks X,Y & Z were also used for early Canberran (& Snow Mountain Scheme) workers, and there was a barely a ripple when they were demolished. In fact most I recall their destruction was most welcomed.

Again, what about the other buidlind that used to sit along side McGregor Hall? From memory these places were asbestos ridden energy inefficent eye-sores.

But… back to the issue, if McGregor Hall is actually being used then sure, keep it, but as the Pensioner Club has now been out for abotu 3 years and there was only one group that used the hall once every two or three months why keep it? Because former Canberran Workers lived there? If that’s reason stands then 99% of houses in the ACT region should be preserved. It’s not like it’s Mawson’s Hut.

JessP 1:11 pm 30 Aug 10

Troll-sniffer is John Stanhope!!

Fiona 12:53 pm 30 Aug 10

What’s going to happen with the daycare centre?

ghughes 12:38 pm 30 Aug 10

On Sunday, as it was happening – a very smug David Lamont was personally supervising the work.

PM 11:11 am 30 Aug 10

The point is it had historical elements to it ie used as lodging for early Canberran workers. We don’t have much in way of history. It isn’t sandstone, sure, but don’t forget many Sydney sandstone buildings in the 60s were under threat for being “derelict”, such as the Queen Victoria Building.

What I find most disturbing is the ACT Government’s alacrity in such matters. That is, it seems things only happen fast in this city when there’s concern raised by a segment of the community.

harvyk1 11:02 am 30 Aug 10

dvaey said :

Im wondering what priorities youre talking about, more important than community spaces? In this instance, its keeping the developers pockets lined. The comments Ive seen about this issue, have simply been asking for a replacement community venue to replace the one being removed. Unfortunately, things like public art take priority in this city.

So you want an ugly fibro building, with no heritage value other than “it’s been here for a while” to stay?

And I don’t believe it was quite the “community space” you have advertised. I have only used the hall once, but I’m pretty sure we had to pay for it’s hire.

dvaey said :

and a building that is 50 years old, might be derelict to most canberrans, but to a londoner the paint has barely dried.

That’s more to do with the crappy weather, paint takes a long time to dry in cold wet climates. 🙂

dvaey 10:12 am 30 Aug 10

troll-sniffer said :

McGregor Hall had a certain charm and in another place may have had a future but in a city the size of Canberra there are priorities that override sentimentality.

If we had to keep and maintain every old building that groups had sentimental attachments to the city would not onll start to look even more run down than it is but we would all be saddled with massive debt servicing all the maintenance requirements.

Im wondering what priorities youre talking about, more important than community spaces? In this instance, its keeping the developers pockets lined. The comments Ive seen about this issue, have simply been asking for a replacement community venue to replace the one being removed. Unfortunately, things like public art take priority in this city.

Also, maybe you havent travelled very far, but Canberra isnt an old city with old buildings. Try travelling to Sydney, London, or heck even into regional NSW to find that even tiny towns can maintain good looking old buildings, and a building that is 50 years old, might be derelict to most canberrans, but to a londoner the paint has barely dried.

troll-sniffer 9:41 am 30 Aug 10

So there ya go… the whingers forum coming in loud and clear.

The block is part of the ANU/City interface that has been recognised as a redevelopment area. A master plan was developed years ago and has been progressing towards Barry Drive for several years. So far, from what I have seen, the work has transformed a dingy decrepit corner of the city into a vibrant modern precinct. McGregor Hall had a certain charm and in another place may have had a future but in a city the size of Canberra there are priorities that override sentimentality.

If we had to keep and maintain every old building that groups had sentimental attachments to the city would not onll start to look even more run down than it is but we would all be saddled with massive debt servicing all the maintenance requirements.

I’m happy to say I live in a city that can redevelop and move on to suit the needs of the community, and although I may occasionally feel a slight twinge of loss about some of the places I grew up in I am also mindful of the needs of a dynamic city.

johnboy 9:18 am 30 Aug 10

Or they could have fenced off the car park.

harvyk1 9:17 am 30 Aug 10

Not that I am going to say the conspiracy theory doesn’t have merit there qedbynature, but I would also take a guess it was done on a Sunday afternoon when the car park was empty, thus minimizing the risk of damaging cars, and thus opening up a holding spot for the now dead trees.

Just a guess.

JessP 8:33 am 30 Aug 10

I saw this happening yesterday. It wasnt a slow considered lop, they were cut about a metre from the ground and immediately felled. Nasty.

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