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Your views: on Urrbrae heritage, contact tracing, wine tariffs and boxes

Reader contributions

Today, readers comment on built heritage versus cars and roads, public health and human nature, China’s wine crush and recycling waste wood.

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Commenting on the story: Historic Urrbrae gatehouse to be bulldozed – but study finds ‘relocating it is feasible’

Hands off the Gatehouse and trees in the Aboretum. This was gifted to the University so should be honoured.

I am sick of our heritage being destroyed for a few seconds of time saved. You destroyed the house of beautiful architecture on the corner of Portrush and Magill Rd. I have voted Liberal all my life but this disregard for our heritage is making me very, very angry. – Jillian Fox

I thought “heritage listed” meant “heritage listed”. Obviously not worth a pinch of pelican’s poop. – Sandra Mojsish

Obviously it is a waste of time putting something on a heritage list. So many heritage listed buildings have been attacked this year by greedy developers. Obviously no point having a heritage list of anything, government and developers pay no attention.

Instead of it being a means of saving our history, it seems to single stuff out for attack. This latest one is about widening a road to save a few minutes of travel time. What is the big deal? What is the big hurry to get anywhere? We are always being told to slow down! So take your time, and enjoy the scenery. – Joy Twartz

The decision to remove established trees and demolish a State Listed building is counter intuitive when the government is in the final stages of  implementing the new planning system which has preservation of cultural heritage and existing character, increasing tree cover in urban areas and reduction of reliance on road transport as core objectives.

Is there no other way to manage the traffic congestion that occurs two times a day for five days of the week? And once this intersection is enlarged, what is going to prevent bottlenecks developing on other sections of Cross Road? – Nicolette Di Lernia

What a disgrace that the historic gatehouse on the corner of Cross Road and Fullarton Road is set to be demolished and that significant trees in the Waite Arboretum are to be removed for road widening.

The state government seems to hold our built heritage and significant trees in low regard, and open space and park land is seen as a cheap option despite its status in this case as bequeathed land by Peter Waite for public enjoyment and developed as an arboretum.

Is it essential that every major intersection in Adelaide is “upgraded” by road widening regardless of the destruction to property and trees? Look at the destruction of properties occurring at present along Portrush Road – already a four lane highway – for widening of the Magill Road intersection. Some of these were very impressive historic houses. Look soon if you want to see the Portrush Road street trees before they too are destroyed.

Remember the trees in North Terrace outside the old RAH which were all destroyed not so long ago, despite public outcry. Soon South Road will be “improved”. There will be more destruction of properties, trees and neighbourhoods with tunnels and roads in canyons. Whilst we appreciate free-flowing traffic, there are situations at some intersections such as the historic Urrbrae Gatehouse and Waite Arboretum trees which should not be destroyed.

There must be many other major intersections which could be improved instead, without destroying a heritage building and significant trees. John Zwar

Old trees cut down on Portrush and Magill Rd intersection, developers cutting down old trees with gay abandon in order to fit in as many Mcmansions as possible on redeveloped blocks, so what difference does destroying a little bit of history make? Is any one surprised that this government is pursuing this course? I’m not.

Why don’t we just pour a few metres of concrete on anything that is either alive or of historical significance and have it over and done with? We’d all get used to it, and no one would complain! – Aura Valli

As a child I grew up in Port Adelaide and over the years have watched the Port lose its heritage feel. Beautiful old buildings bulldozed for progress.

I am tired of seeing beautiful old buildings demolished. The option of moving this one is not a consideration, it’s a must.

We waste millions for far less ridiculous reasons. – Peter Ede

The government’s decision to demolish the Urrbrae gatehouse is another example of its philistine lack of vision and thought. Why demolish when there are other possible avenues? And why? All for the precious car.

I often take a left turn at that point and even at peak hour the wait only adds a couple of minutes to any journey. Why not use the footpath to widen the corner? The existing footpath could even be diverted through the arboretum. It’s not as if millions of people walk through there. There are other ways. We need to learn to respect history. – Etiennette Fennell

We must relocate this building. It’s part of our State’s heritage. We will regret its demise in years to come. So many beautiful and worthy historic buildings have been bulldozed to make way for roads and carparks.  

Tourists flock to other parts of the world to see historic places and buildings, whilst we are destroying the few that we have in our young country. This needs to stop. Just a thought – the University is calling for relocation. Am certain crowd funding would be a start to get things underway. I would donate immediately. Irma Denk

Let all those people and organisations who want the Urrbrae gatehouse moved put their collective hands in their own pockets and not the rest of the pockets of South Australian taxpayers’ pockets, and pay for it themselves. – Fred Driver

Once again we give away our heritage for the almighty cars. Roads must have priority, but when do we keep our early buildings?

If it can be relocated how wonderful  it would be, and for generations to come. How many gatehouses do we have?

Does the public have any say in this? I guess 2020 is the time to despair! Jill Milton.

This building is of historical significance and should by no means be destroyed. I cannot believe how shortsighted the Transport Minister is to think this is in any way a solution. I do hope someone with common sense stops this demolition. – Belinda Meyers

The announcement of the Government’s decision to proceed with demolition of the State Heritage listed Waite Gatehouse was incomplete and misleading. 

It failed to mention that two structural engineers had affirmed that, if necessary, the Gatehouse could be successfully moved to an adjacent safe site. The Minister also stated that such a move would require the sacrifice of 14 substantial trees. He has either not visited the site, or has been misinformed. There are no significant, regulated or reasonably mature trees in the preferred route of relocation of this important historical building. – Warren Jones

I am a seventh generation South Australian whose family is registered as a ‘pioneer’ family here. I cry when I see these beautiful historic buildings destroyed.

What are we saying to our children – my now ninth SA  generation grandchildren. Does their connection to our early history and the stunning buildings built in harsher times by manual labour using local materials mean nothing? I shed tears each time a beautiful historic building goes and is replaced by concrete boxes or tar.

I’d like to know more about the people who lived in this house – were they important historical figures and deserve their home being treasured – I’m sure they do. – Joy Burrowes

The State Government’s announcement that it would bulldoze a state-heritage listed gatehouse at Urrbrae under the control of the University of Adelaide does not surprise. Our state governments have always been philistines in their contempt of heritage values, the park lands, and our heritage built-form. What is surprising is the University of Adelaide’s announcement that it will oppose the bulldozing of the gatehouse.

Demonstrably, the University’s heritage credentials are a template for the very opposite of heritage values and protection.

Since its founding in 1874 when an Act of Parliament allocated the University five acres (2.02 hectares) of the Government Reserve fronting North Terrace, the University has continued its park lands grab. It has a PhD in “Park Lands creep”, expanding its campus to almost the entire area bounded by North Terrace, Frome Road, Victoria Drive and Kintore Avenue. Thus, the University has amassed many hectares of community-owned National Heritage Listed park lands for playing fields that are increasingly having new or expanded buildings posing as recreation facilities added. In reality, they are often thinly disguised function centres, with long-term leases and peppercorn fees.

Many readers will recollect the charming and modernist Union Hall. In February 2010, the hall received provisional listing on the State Heritage Register. Community confidence was high that it would receive permanent State Heritage Register protection after more than 100 supportive submissions. One of Australia’s leading architectural historians, Dr Ross Thorn, submitted that the building had state and national heritage values. It was one of Adelaide’s few still-standing purpose-built theatres. The University, however, used it as offices and had other plans for the site.

The Rann Government succumbed to the University’s lobbying to remove the hall’s provisional listing on the State Heritage Register, which was achieved on 3 September 2010, paving the way for its bulldozing. This important theatre was replaced by a seven-storey, $75m undistinguished building that could have been built anywhere.

The University of Adelaide’s support for heritage values are qualified by self-serving disdain. How safe are Bonython or Elder halls if they are in the path of another University of Adelaide development?

The community should be wary of the University’s support for the retention of the Urrbrae gatehouse. – Philip Groves

Commenting on the story: “It happens all the time”: Contract tracing veteran reveals ‘lie’ was ‘not exceptional’

I’ve heard of plenty of people writing down false names and phone numbers on contact tracing sheets because they fear being locked up for a fortnight (or who really knows how long?) in a ‘Medi-Hotel’. There are reports circulating from people who have been through this situation of ‘forced quarantine’ of not being able to open windows to get fresh air, enduring ‘revolting’ food, and being treated like ‘lepers or criminals’ by hotel and security staff.

With that sort of public image, it’s not hard to understand why people would lie to avoid such an experience. The irony – which is not lost on the thinking public – is that we are continuously told that these measures are necessary to protect our health. It is also interesting and curious to note that SA Health does not offer any public information on simple things people can do to keep healthy and boost their immune system in order to be better able to fight off the virus should it be contracted. 

People do lie or ‘omit details’ for a range of different reasons but all the reasons, in one sense or another, boil down to a normal human instinct to keep themselves and their loved ones safe. Basic mistrust of the dominant narrative being pushed by governments (who themselves ironically are not immune from corruption and lies) and which are reported and often sensationalised by the mainstream media is one reason. A fear of having basic, hard-won freedoms eroded is another…as in the ‘slippery slope’ argument: ‘where will this end?’.

Then there is the potential threat to one’s income or visa status, and by extension one’s entire future. Breaches of privacy and confidentiality can potentially have a disastrous and irreversible impact on someone’s life, and may equally affect the lives of their family members as well. Our government and SA Health’s attitude and approach to the issue at hand is simplistic and paternalistic at best, and elitist and wilfully ignorant at worst. COVID has certainly brought many of these cancerous social divisions and harsh realities to the fore.

So while governments impose unwieldy and inconsistent restrictions on the public in a bid to ‘keep everyone safe’, the very fact that people sabotage these efforts in order to keep themselves safe is the biggest irony of all, and the one that remains firmly in governments’ blind spots. – Marina Lever

Commenting on the story:  China tariffs to squeeze jobs, production in leading SA wine regions

Please don’t forget the country’s engine room to the wine industry, the Riverland producing over 400k tonnes, and 98% is exported.

All regions will be impacted and so forging new relations with exporting countries takes time and trust, and that’s why we should forge new Free Trade Agreements with Europe and the UK. – Tim Whetstone

Commenting on the story: How thinking outside the box evolved an Adelaide sawmill

Great! I’ve been making exactly the same things from broken pallets thrown away by the local Bunnings – my wife can’t get enough of them. Good luck to you. – Gavin Dempster

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