Works have commenced to bring the former World War II Radio Receiving Station located within Birkdale Community Precinct into the 21st century.
Redland City Mayor Karen Williams said the historically important building, constructed by the US Signal Corps in 1943, was the centrepiece of the Communications Hub featured in the Birkdale Community Precinct Master Plan.
“This fascinating building has been an important communications centre for Redlands Coast and is in need of some essential repairs to help revitalise the structure prior to its future restoration,” Cr Williams said.
“Works have commenced, with the roof and gutters to be repaired in consultation with Australian Heritage Specialists to ensure protection of the building’s important historical values.
“At the same time, hazardous materials and some of the newer, unusable and unstable structures – added by past occupiers from 1950 onward – will be removed to make the area safer for Council staff, visitors and contractors.
“Electricity is already connected, and soon sewerage and WiFi connections will also be in place, helping prepare the building for its ultimate purpose as a community space within Birkdale Community Precinct.”
Cr Williams said work being undertaken by local restoration company Baroque Group Pty Ltd for the Willards Farm homestead and outbuildings on another section of Birkdale Community Precinct were also progressing well.
“We have reached a milestone in that the Baroque Group are preparing the homestead for restumping, which will provide a solid foundation for this legacy building into the future,” Cr Williams said.
Division 10 Councillor Paul Bishop said undertaking the works on the historical buildings was an important step at this stage of delivering Birkdale Community Precinct.
“The former radio receiving station was one of the first places in Australia to receive vital telecommunications, including the message that the Japanese had surrendered and World War II was over,” Cr Bishop said.
“This legacy building is one of only a handful of US Army-built radio receiving stations remaining in Australia and these important works will pave the way for its eventual restoration so it can be appreciated for generations to come.
“Australian Heritage Specialists are also overseeing the restoration of Willards Farm homestead and outbuildings to ensure the heritage values of the circa 1870s dairy farming property are carefully protected while work undertaken to revitalise its historic beauty.”
The structures to be removed at the former World War II Radio Receiving Station are the radio hut and telecommunications tower, with works expected to be completed by early 2024. Once works are completed, the building will be used as a temporary site office for Council staff and a central meeting point for visitors to Birkdale Community Precinct.
The restoration of Willards Farm homestead and outbuildings is expected to be completed in mid-2024.
The 62-hectare Birkdale Community Precinct – designed for and by the Redlands Coast community – will feature seven hubs:
- Cultural Hub – a meeting point and launching pad for all the precinct offers
- Willards Farm Food Hub – a celebration of farming heritage with a restored Willards Farmhouse, classic Victorian garden and space for outdoor food markets, restaurant, café and cooking school
- Innovation Hub – an exhibition space showcasing the future of farm methodologies and techniques, agricultural technology and food production
- Entertainment Hub – multiple outdoor spaces for local performers and touring artists as well as BBQs, picnic areas, oversized games and outdoor movies
- Communications Hub – memorial and contemplation space paying homage to war and peace-keeping services, anchored by the former US Army-built World War II Radio Receiving Station
- Recreation, Resilience & Adventure Sports Hub – Redlands Coast’s first public lagoon, whitewater centre as well as an adventure playground and running track
- Conservation Hub – 2.8km of walking trails, interactive tours, wilderness experiences and enhanced koala habitat.
Site photos showing progress of the works as well as studies and reports that inform how Council is upholding and enhancing the cultural and environmental values of the precinct are available on Council’s Birkdale Community Precinct Your Say site.