Corones needs our help, quick

Western Times - - NEWS - By AN­DREW MES­SEN­GER

THE bull­doz­ers went in at 4am.

The whole Cloudland theatre was match­wood within the hour, the loveli­est and most pop­u­lar dance hall wrecked to make way for a few apart­ments.

That was 1982. It’s a re­minder of what can hap­pen to our her­itage. Like bank­rupt­cies, de­cay and de­mo­li­tion hap­pens first slowly, then sud­denly.

Last week’s pa­per we splashed front page with a story lament­ing the state of the Corones Ho­tel.

Since late last year the ho­tel has been aban­doned, af­ter the own­ers, ERI Part­ners, went into re­ceiver­ship.

McGrath Ni­col is now man­ag­ing the huge mid-20th cen­tury her­itage listed ho­tel – and, in the view of many in­clud­ing me, they could be do­ing a bet­ter job of it.

The place is an ab­so­lute mas­ter­piece. The place has it all – a mas­sive bar, great res­tau­rant, rooms, a few small busi­nesses, even a hall.

The in­side of the build­ing is spooky, with knives and forks and plates set out for din­ner. The only things miss­ing are cus­tomers and staff.

Who knows how long it might take to at­tract a buyer? It might take months or years. It is the mean­time that is the prob­lem.

Some­one needs to hold the fort at Corones – for the good of the build­ing, for the town, even for the re­ceivers. The bet­ter the state of the build­ing, the more they can sell it for.

At the mo­ment, it is no­body’s re­spon­si­bil­ity.

Coun­cil doesn’t even have keys to get in.

We all have to take re­spon­si­bil­ity for pro­tect­ing this bit of Aus­tralia’s her­itage, I think.

If we don’t, maybe Charleville’s Corones might go the way of Bris­bane’s Cloudland – in the blink of an eye. And no­body wants that.

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