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Yungaba Action Group continues fight to save historic hostel

Background

This was originally published on this site on 15 Jun 08.

The Queensland Government have entered into a contract with a private developer, Australand, to sell them the magnificent Yungaba building and grounds for around $10 millions. Australand have had their development application approved to construct 180 units on the site. They will construct 10 residential units within the main Yungaba building, retaining the exterior façade but shutting it away in a gated community. They will construct a theatre for multicultural use in the car park.

Brisbane City Council Approval

Australand's Development Application 964931 (see www.brisbane.qld.gov.au) was approved, subject to conditions, on 14th December. Australand have made representations to BCC about the Approval conditions and negotiations are in progress. These may be completed shortly. Groups and individuals who made submissions on the DA will then be invited to submit an appeal within 20 days.

Yungaba Action Group

In July 2007 we made a submission on the DA (along with some 80 other objectors) and are preparing to appeal when the invitation arrives from BCC. We have retained a legal team who have kindly reduced their fees pro bono. We are fundraising for the legal action and have held a Yungaba Immigration Museum evening at City Hall on May 25th and are holding a Yungaba Concert on June 14th. We plan a fund-raising river cruise stopping at Yungaba on August 23rd.

Our correspondence with the Queensland Government continues to be blocked by bureaucratic regulations that can be applied (but are not applied in similar situations that have their approval). We are proposing that Yungaba is restored and operated as a vibrant museum with the visitor standing in the shoes of an immigrant around 1890. The building would operate much as it was designed for, with groups arriving, being welcomed and briefly accommodated in the dormitories for theatrical re-enactment. The Department of Works is blocking this proposal by invoking the Building Code (which is normally relaxed for historical buildings).

Queensland Government

When appeals were being heard to Australand's first DA, the application was ‘called-in’ by the government. Subsequently, Australand put in the current DA, removing a building and adding a theatre but has been successful in proposing a swimming pool in the grounds and significantly more units.

Yungaba was the first building listed on the Heritage Register but the Heritage Council has not seen fit to protect it from being gutted. The interior is unique, with separate dormitories for single men and women, and with separate family quarters. It is the only surviving purpose-built nineteenth century immigrant reception centre in Australia. Our information is that members of the Heritage Council wanted to protect it but the council's decision was made to conform with government wishes

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Donations

Yungaba Action Group was incorporated in 2007 to keep Yungaba and its grounds for the people.

Yungaba Action Group, PO Box 5564, West End, 4101.

Treasurer: Guido Cifaly

President: Delene Cuddihy, mobile 040 259 7259

www.yungaba.org.au

All donations would be gratefully received

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Appendix: Yungaba Action Group asks you to nominate Yungaba as a site worth retaining

Dear Yungaba supporters and community representatives,

Many thanks for your support for the Yungaba cause - it is very much appreciated & Yungaba has not yet been handed over to the developer - so there is still hope. We held a very successful fundraising concert last Saturday (thanks to all who came) and are rejuvenated to continue the fight!

The Brisbane Courier Mail ran an article yesterday on pages 24 and 25 called "Brisbane's story told by its landmarks: but we're losing our heritage".

Unfortunately the article didn't even mention the loss of Yungaba. However, we have a chance to remind them of it in a big way -

By Yungaba supporters and community members nominating Yungaba as a site worth retaining on the Courier Mail feedback form - go to

www.news.com.au/couriermail/story/0,23739,23895334-3102,00.html

For those of you who submitted your story, or a comment on our website, it would be great if you could submit something similar on the Courier Mail feedback form. They might use some of these for their letters to the editor. And it will remind them of Yungaba. It's unbelievable how a building with links to at least one in ten Queensland families is completely ignored by the Courier Mail.

Hoping you can help us - it would be great if you could also send this on to a few of your friends - even if only to two, it will help us generate the groundswell that is needed to bring this to the attention of the media and the government.

Many thanks

Del Cuddihy, 22 Jun 08
President, Yungaba Action Group
www.yungaba.org.au

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