Fire Destroys Landmark Building Next to Greek Club in Brisbane

fire_belvedereA fire destroyed a historic house next to the Greek Club at South Brisbane in the inner-city early in the morning. The 125-year-old building is known as the Belvedere.

The blaze occupied the abandoned two-storey building in Edmondstone Street around 6:20am (AEST). The properties were threatened on either side, including the Greek Club.

The landmark building was listed on the Brisbane heritage register. This morning’s fire was fuelled by the intricate timberwork that made it a showpiece of its time. It had been a boarding house until about five years ago.

Resident Susan Hetherington says fire crews worked to protect the Greek Club. “I would say there’s no more than two meters between the Greek Club and this building,” she said. At the same time, she has never seen anyone in the derelict building.

She added “there have been no signs of squatters, but it’s all boarded up whereas it’s been abandoned for as long as I’ve lived in the area. The fire trucks couldn’t control the situation.”

In addition, Lord Mayor Graham Quirk says the Brisbane City Council had fought to save the 125-year-old building from being demolished to make way for development. He said, “that had been an appeal but earlier this year the Greek Club had indicated they were planning to restore that building,” adding, “it is just a very big loss for the city.” The cause of blaze is still unknown.

The fire has left the building too unstable for investigators to enter and it is unlikely they will be able to determine how it started. The building has been doused with foam in preparation for demolition. Fire officer Richard Gorey says crews have been called to the site previously. “There are some people who had been residing in this property illegally,” he said.

Ms Brough declared “it is a tragic loss of local history because it’s part of our history that’s gone now. Local residents and the general public have been against it being pulled down due to its heritage value–it is a tragedy.”