WWII hall in Greenslopes dubbed ‘unrepairable’ by the Department of Veterans’ Affairs

The Courier Mail – Monday 19 July, 2021

Natasha Emeck

The heritage-listed Red Cross Hall in Greenslopes has been described as “unrepairable” by the Department of Veterans’ Affairs following extensive surveys of the site.

The former Australian Army hospital, located opposite the entrance to Greenslopes Private Hospital, was fenced off in 2013 due to the presence asbestos.

The hall and hostel buildings were built in early 1945 by the Red Cross to support ­recuperating returned ­soldiers.

A spokeswoman from the Department of Veterans’ Affairs said in order to determine a way forward for the site, they engaged a structural engineer, construction manager, heritage architect and quantity surveyors to consider options for restoration.

“The structure was found to contain asbestos and other hazardous materials that made the former centre unrepairable,” he said.

“An agreement between the Federal Government and the Brisbane City Council was proposed for consultation whereby the department remediate the site to remove contaminates and Brisbane City Council redevelop the site for the use of the Brisbane community.

“Options are also to be developed to preserve the significance of the site and honour its history.”

She said the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) had undertaken “extensive consultation” with locals on the proposal to determine the future of the site but said the predominant consideration was the safety of the local community.

“The DVA recognises the significant historical value the site holds for the local community,” she said.

“Consultation included door knocking and letter drops from the local council to homes in the immediate vicinity of the site.

“Letters were also sent from DVA to several thousand residences surrounding the site in the suburb of Greenslopes, roughly within the area bound by Cornwall St, Highway 95, Highway 10 and the A7.

“Local residents could also provide submissions electronically via email.

“Feedback from the community engagement delivered overwhelming support for the proposed rehabilitation of the site.”

HISTORY OF RED CROSS

■ The two timber buildings were built in early 1945 as a wartime Red Cross recreation hall and an accommodation hostel

■ Films were screened and dances and concerts staged for soldiers recovering at neighbouring military hospital

■ The buildings included the hall, library, billiards room, reading rooms, handcraft store, workroom, and storeroom

■ After the war, the Red Cross continued to operate the hall and hostel for ex-military patients until 2013

The old Red Cross building across the road from Greenslopes Hospital. Photo: Stuart Quinn.     

Veteran Affairs has locked up and fenced off the WWII Red Cross Hall. Photo: Stuart Quinn.
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