Thursday, March 24, 2011


Ms Marschke,

Your article on Springbrook in the GOLD COAST SUN, Thursday 17th March 2011, page 8, ‘SPRINGBROOK DEMOLITION PLAN PROCEEDS IN DARK’, is as much a concern as it is misleading. The cry for the heritage listing of an unspecified group of structures based on a photograph of one building that has an ‘olde worlde’ name and image, only highlights an ignorance in these matters that any government would find difficult to overcome even with a surplus of information.

Springbrook, with its unique cool, moist, misty climate that makes functioning fireplaces a necessity rather than a decorative, social-climbing feature, has stimulated in some a certain nostalgia for things English or European. So it is that Springbrook has ‘The English Gardens’ just up the road from the site of the old ‘Tulip Farm’ that once generated traffic chaos when the flowers bloomed. ‘The Manor’ that you have used as the illustration to support the argument for heritage listing – even cultural heritage – is in the order of twenty years old and continues the ‘English’-themed charade that some like to impose on this plateau.

It was ‘The Settlement’ that had collected much of the heritage from the region on its site. This history was all auctioned off and dispersed, without any cry from the locals, when the property was sold to the golf course developers. Residents seemed to have no concern with this loss other than in trying to get whatever one might have wanted – cheap - from the sale that saw old Mudgeeraba and Springbrook buildings and paraphernalia go mostly elsewhere. Yet when buildings are being demolished to consolidate and expand the very fragmented Springbrook National Park, there is a great cry. I suggest that this is a very hollow anxiety with interests in things other than heritage, culture and national parks. To have these misguided aims stimulated by your silly support for the foolish heritage listing of a relatively new theatrical building, is a serious problem as the argument pretends to be otherwise.

While Springbrook’s climate is attractive, its heritage lies more in slab huts and other simple traditional structures rather than in fake manor houses. As a beginning, your efforts might be better directed to the portion of the infrastructure that we know for certain is a heritage item – Springbrook Road itself – the narrow, winding approach to this lovely mountain retreat that becomes the spine of the plateau. It is an essential part of the place and experience that we know and love as Springbrook. The great shame is that this heritage road is being developed – albeit piecemeal - to become like a highway similar to every other one in the world. Springbrook is a National Park area precisely because it is not like anywhere else. We should all work to ensure that it remains so. The demolition of the buildings is part of the growth and renewal of this special World Heritage region for the future. It should be supported, not pooh-poohed with misguided, distracting, false arguments.

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