Minister for Environment and Heritage Protection
The Honourable Andrew Powell
23/08/2012

Celebrating 20 years of heritage protection in Toowoomba

Over the past 20 years the heritage values of 55 places in Toowoomba have been protected by Queensland’s Heritage Act.

Minister for Environment and Heritage Protection, Andrew Powell, said the Queensland Heritage Act which celebrated its 20th anniversary this week, ensured greater powers to protect Queensland’s most important places.

“In Toowoomba alone, 55 places have been entered in the Queensland Heritage Register since the legislation was introduced including the Empire Theatre, Toowoomba Trades Hall and Baille Henderson Hospital for mental health,” Mr Powell said.

Toowoomba icon and landmark The Empire Theatre, a former cinema built in 1911, is significant for its close link with the expansion of mass entertainment in Queensland in the first half of the 20th century.

“A major entertainment venue from 1911 to 1971, the Empire shows theatre lighting and film projection technologies of the interwar period – providing rare evidence of cinema goers’ increasingly sophisticated expectations,” Mr Powell said.

“Nationally, it remains one of the largest and one of the most intact Art Deco provincial picture theatres and it is the finest Art Deco picture theatre surviving in Queensland.”

“One of the most recent places in Toowoomba to be entered in the register was the Toowoomba Trades Hall in Russell Street,” Mr Powell said.

“This was a central gathering place for unions and the labour movement since its opening in 1934.”

Queensland Heritage Council (QHC) Chair, Professor Peter Coaldrake, said the Queensland Heritage Act 1992 formally recognised the significance of the State’s heritage in a legal sense and also within the community.

“The advent of heritage legislation in Queensland 20 years ago coincided with our coming of age,” Professor Coaldrake said.

“Queenslanders understand how important it is to protect the historical markers that define our story.”

The Queensland Heritage Act established the independent Queensland Heritage Council and the Queensland Heritage Register.

“Some 1600 places throughout Queensland have been entered in the Queensland Heritage Register since it was established in 1992,” Professor Coaldrake said.

“Many of the places on the Queensland Heritage Register would have been lost without the protection afforded by the Queensland Heritage Act.”

For more information about heritage listed places, visit the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection website and search the Queensland Heritage Register at < http://www.ehp.qld.gov.au/heritage/index.html

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