Friday 21 December 2007

Cairns Yacht Club worth fighting for

The Cairns Yacht Club is something more than an old building on prime land.

This story, and the Cairns City Council's lack of support for it's retention, needs to be told over the coming months, as various greedy hands try to build another bloody highrise on our land and our waterfront.

Cairns Tropic Jazz club's website has a shipload of info regarding the dud process of listing, and is well worth a look. Cairns Port Authority, Tourism Tropical North Qld, Advance Cairns, along with Cairns Mayor Kevin Byrne all state that the Club must go. They often cite that it is "out of Council's hands", however any reading of some recent history will show this Council and it's mayor do not favour anything other than developing the site that the 100 year old Yacht Club building sits on.

This Council is set on not consulting the people of Cairns about how to use our waterfront, and not advocating that view to the State Government and the Port Authority.

The Cairns Heritage Group, a group fighting for the building's retention, has just written to the State Minister...

The Cairns Heritage Group
A non profit Group dedicated to the preservation of Cultural Heritage.
Principal: Rob Williams j.p.(Qual.)
Tel 0418 774 175

Friday, 21 December 2007

The Hon Paul Lucas MP
PO Box 15009, City East
Queensland 4002

Dear Minister,

Your letter of the 17th Inst refers : ref : MC07.7831.

Your letter does not tell me anything that I don’t already know. In fact I am probably in possession of a lot of pertinent information that you do not have. We know the lengths to which the CPA and your government has gone to get rid of this Historical Building, but we haven’t finished yet.

Whilst we have empathy with the Cairns Yacht Club Committee, their future in is their own hands. Under duress they made an agreement with the CPA to move. That is their problem. My group has been single minded fighting to save the Historic Aquatic Clubhouse (existing 100 year old Cairns Yacht Clubhouse) right where the building has been since 1895. A date I might add precedes the Cairns Harbour Board by 9 years.

The building had such significance that the Cairns Historical Society mounted a Nomination for State Heritage after previous attempts had been headed off by threats from the CPA on the immediate future of the Cairns Yacht Club. We have all that first hand from previous executive officers of the CYC Committee.

Through the freedom of information, we have also obtained a great deal of information about the way the Queensland Heritage Committee dealt with the Nomination. We haven’t been able to prove political interference yet but we are very close to it. “We challenge the sidelining of Dr.Wegner to vote, when the Chairman had publicly stated in the Cairns Post, that he would support the Nomination himself.” Dear me.

Because of the Wartime involvement of the Clubhouse, we have launched a National Nomination. That is with the Federal Minister for Heritage as I write. That may or may not be successful but it has the support of the Cairns Historical Society, The Australian Council of National Trusts and is on The National Trust of Queensland Register.(31st March 2005).

The Cairns Yacht Club has announced a Centenary Regatta for the week ending 30th March 2008. The Cairns Tropic Jazz Club, of which I am the President, has combined with them to produce a Festival of Music to commemorate the musicians who have played the Aquatic over the past 90 years.

Here are some comments on the statements made in your letter to me.

  1. I do not accept that the Cairns Port Authority has delivered unprecedented public waterfront access and amenity in Cairns. Quite the contrary , over the past 30 years the Cairns public has lost a great deal of their beloved waterfront and amenities, boat ramp, Historical Marlin Wharf, Hales Wharf, and particularly views of Trinity Inlet and access due to the activities of the Cairns Port Authority.

  2. I and my colleagues a not aware of any extensive community consultation carried out by the Cairns Port Authority or that any consultation with the community has occurred at each stage of the Cityport Project. That is simply not true.

  3. That the building structure called "Harbour Lights" was not open to any transparency or public consultation despite our concerted effort we still have not been able to get the details of the transaction the CPA had with the developers. It is still secret.

  4. I strongly objected to the fact that 5,000 of our City folk signed a petition that was presented to your government who treated it with contempt and took 12 months to answer disregarding our plea to save the Cairns Yacht Clubhouse.

  5. I objected again when my ePetition was handed to you by Desley Boyle in a closed shop manner and you sent a letter to the Clerk of the Court who eventually told me what had happened. I lost confidence in Desley Boyle and asked Lawrence Springborg to present the main petition.

The question is, how can you put all this injustice right and give the people of Cairns what they justly deserve to have. A place that they have cherished and helped build over a hundred years. A place that is an integral part in the history and fabric of Cairns Community like no other building in the City.

I suggest that the Government remove the Certificate of Immunity you have placed on the Cairns Yacht Club building and allow Cairns City people the chance to re - nominate the building for further consideration of a State Heritage Listing.

This way you will save face and be not embarrassed when the Centenary hits the National papers in March.

Yours faithfully,

Rob Williams

Cairns Heritage Group
Cairns Tropic Jazz Club Inc.


Anonymous said...

To "factman", here's another 'fact' for you. You say the council has nothing to do with the outcome of the Yacht Club, yet KB's exact words were in 2003 'The Cairns Yacht Club has no cultural or historical significance whatsoever'. It has n chance while he's in power. Good riddence to him come March.

Anonymous said...

Please support us in saving the Aquatic Clubhouse.
Its Historical fabric and meaning will be destroyed if it is moved and it probably wouldn't survive the move anyway.
The History of thousands of Cairns residents is chronicled and embodied in this last surviving Historical Building.
It must be saved on its present site.

The other alternative will be its destruction.

Rob Williams
Cairns Heritage Group

Anonymous said...

(Sent to The Hon Peter Garrett MP, OA.
Minister for the Environment, Heritage and the Arts)

Our fight is supported by every past and present surviving musician in Cairns. We have launched a book called "At the Aquatic" to commemorate those musicians and the valuable service they rendered to people from all over the world who visit the place. In particular their contributions to the war effort in WW2.

We have lodged a National Nomination which you will soon be asked to consider.

As a valued musician of Australia yourself, you will know the indisputable role we play in entertaining and bringing joy to others.

On behalf of my fellow musicians I ask you to give our Nomination your favourable consideration.

Rob Williams
Cairns Heritage Group

Anonymous said...

Screw the "yacht club". It's a rundown clubhouse for drinkers. Nothing more. These people have never maintained this "historic icon" - every old building isn't "historic". Look at the lunatics that tried to make oil tanks in Edge Hill "historical". What a effing joke.

Tear the eyesore down, virtually no one cares.

Anonymous said...

Voice of Reason has demonstrated he or she knows absolutely nothing about the Clubhouse. He or she also shows disrespect for the people who want to save the Tanks as well. Five will get you ten that Voice of Reason is a disenchanted person who has been denied access to the Clubhouse in the past because of attitude and doesn't keep any photographs of his or her ancestry because they don't want to know from whence they came..

Anonymous said...

Why are the American-built oil tanks an Australian "historic icon"?

Why is American-born Nicole Kidman an "Australian icon"?

Why is Kiwi-born Russell Crowe an "Australian icon"?

Because we say so, that's why!

After the influx of American television, movies, music, and everything else we have little to call Australian anymore. We have any American who's lived on our street for six years - he calls himself "part of the advance team". It's over for Australia and Australians. We're the 51st State now, and even Kevin Rudd in his first month has begun to toe the line.