Wednesday, August 4, 2021

Historic Goulburn orphanage to be demolished

Goulburn Mulwaree Council has issued a demolition order for all buildings on the site of the city’s fire-damaged historic former St John’s Orphanage.

“Three smaller outbuildings onsite will be required to be demolished within 90 days, under the order issues by Council,” Council said in a statement released today.

“For public safety reasons Council have also required the main largest building to be demolished.”

Council General Manager, Warwick Bennett, will now consult with the land owner regarding the required period of compliance for this building.

“Unfortunately after successive fires over a number of years we have no option but to require the demolition of these buildings as a matter of public safety. They are past the point of being salvaged as usable buildings however Council will impose a number of conditions with regards to heritage conservation,” said Mayor Bob Kirk.

“We know that this site and the buildings hold an important place in Goulburn’s history, acknowledging there are many former residents with good and bad feelings about the St John’s Orphanage site.”

“Council will require significant features such as the crucifix, specific stone elements and the foundation plaque to be salvaged for future interpretation or relocation. We have also required that the mason boundary wall, driveway, forecourt area and remnant trees and shrubs be retained and restored.”

The St John’s Orphanage site is of local heritage significance, and is listed as item 262 in the Heritage Schedule of the Goulburn Mulwaree LEP 2009. The site is also located within the Goulburn City Heritage Conservation Area.

The buildings on site were extensively damaged by fires in October and November 2016. A series of further fires have occurred since 2016, most recently in June this year which has resulted in additional damage.

An inspection undertaken by Council’s heritage advisor on 6 July noted that the roof has largely collapsed and upper floors are largely destroyed, while one wing to the west has also mostly collapsed.

The General Manager will provide a report regarding the main building back to Council in the coming months.

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