26 September 2023

Bribie Island wartime heritage unsafe

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The Department of Environment and Science (DES) has announced it will have to demolish parts of the northern and southern searchlight fortification remains within Bribie Island National Park.

The DES says the difficult decision was made in the interest of public safety following the increased corrosion of the structures as a result of recent severe weather.

Executive Director of the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service, Neil Cambourn said the natural decay of the World War II structures had led to a serious safety risk and it was necessary to bring the structures to a safe and stable state.

“The Department has been working to find a way to keep park visitors and staff safe while preserving as much of these historically significant, structures as possible, as they form part of the State heritage-listed Second World War fortifications on Bribie Island,” Mr Cambourn said.

“The Queensland Heritage Act 1992 allows for action to be taken in emergency situations which endanger peoples’ lives or health, as is the case here.”

He said the structures were originally built between 1939 and 1943 for a temporary purpose using concrete and steel reinforcing, which was expected to continue crumbling in Bribie Island’s highly erosive coastal environment.

Mr Cambourn said the Department had taken previous steps to protect the public around the searchlight forts including the installation of fences, security panels and signs.

“The DES continues to maintain the remaining structures, but there is no way to prevent natural coastal processes from taking place,” he said.

He said the Department was considering long-term options to further manage all fortification structures on Bribie Island.

“To ensure the history of these fortifications is not lost, a project to digitally capture this heritage in a timeless interpretive memorial has been conducted,” Mr Cambourn said.

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