Community & Business

3 July, 2024

Passionate plea to protect pavilion

A PASSIONATE address to Tablelands Regional Council has hammered home how important the Patrick English Pavilion is to the community of Malanda and accused the organisation of failing to maintain the historic structure so it could be demolished.

Passionate plea to protect pavilion - feature photo

In their presentation, advocate Matt Lachlan and traditional owner Warren Canendo, of the Ngadjon-Jii people, outlined the council’s failure to address the issues of the pavilion over the past nine years, but then offered “an olive branch on behalf of the community” to work with council to find a way to save the much-loved building.

“The pavilion is more than just a building. It is part of the social tapestry that gives Malanda its identity. It is the iconic defining landmark of our town,” he said.

“The building holds immense historical, cultural and social value, and is an integral part of our community. The community outcry over the last six weeks is unprecedented. 

“The community is devastated. The community is angry. Devastated that this iconic building has been allowed to deteriorate to this point. Devastated that the demolition of the building is being considered. Angry that we as a community yet again feel like we have been let down, not consulted, not listened to, and ignored.

“I have seen tears, desperation and real sadness.”

Mr Lachlan asked why the council had not acted appropriately to repair issues revealed in a 2015 building inspection report and then again after a 2018 structural engineering assessment found that the damage to the building had not been rectified.

“The report summarised that ‘in addition to the works proposed to return the property to a sound structural condition, it is recommended that the asset owner consider a detailed maintenance and inspection regime’,” he said.

“Despite TRC recently claiming that assessments had been conducted annually, there were no further engineering reports carried out in 2019, 2020, 2021 or 2022. Why not?”

Mr Lachlan called the council out over its failure to act on a 2023 structural assessment that placed risk factor of the curved truss frame as “high” with failure likely within a one-year period. 

“We are talking about the impending failure of the structural integrity of the building, posing a potential threat to life and despite this, despite TRC having been informed that failure was likely within just 12 months, nothing was done – the building was not repaired, and every person that used that facility unbeknown to themselves was put at risk,” he said.

“TRC has a duty to maintain public building assets to a reasonable standard. TRC has an absolute duty of care to the public. TRC has failed on both accounts.”

Mr Lachlan also drew attention to a 2020 internal report that was submitted to council titled “Malanda Community Facilities Options” in which, he says, council officers proposed demolishing the pavilion and replacing it with a “multi-purpose” facility. 

“It is clear that the decision was made not to carry out the repair work to justify the demolition of the building. Council knew this was inevitable – it had the reports,” he said.

“The question is where does it end? Is it acceptable, for council to wilfully neglect this building seeking to justify its demolition? Is it acceptable for the building to now be bulldozed in spite of what has occurred? Absolutely not!”

Mr Canedo also spoke of the importance of the igloo to traditional owners, saying the building had been the scene of many community celebrations and funerals over the years and elders were upset there had been no consultation.

“If you demolish the igloo, it’s taking away from our cultural heritage,” he said.

“You knock down the igloo, you knock down our cultural heritage.

“Come to the table and sit down and talk with the community of Malanda – let’s come together and discuss it.”

Mr Lachlan also urged the council to work with the community to resolve the matter.

“I am here extending an olive branch on behalf of the community. We want to work positively and constructively with council to ensure the Patrick English Pavilion is saved and restored,” he said.

“With that in mind, and in the absence of any information being provided, we’d like assurances that temporary supports have been, or immediately will be, added to prevent the collapse of the building.”

Mr Lachlan has organised a petition which calls for the council to properly restore the building. It currently has around 1000 signatures and is available at a variety of noticeboards and businesses in Malanda, Atherton, Yungaburra, Ravenshoe and Millaa Millaa. (full list of locations on The Express website).

After the presentation, Mayor Rod Marti gave an assurance that once the annual show has been held, council would start a formal process of consultation with the community before any decisions on the pavilion were made.

Anyone interested in the campaign to save the pavilion can email to or sign the petition.

Patrick English Pavilion petition locations

Atherton – Noticeboard opposite Woolworths

Atherton – Food Co-Op 7E Herberton Rd, Atherton QLD 4883

Malanda – Cellarbrations 11 English St, Malanda QLD 4885

Malanda – Closet Hippy 19 English St, Malanda QLD 4885

Malanda – Doggystyling Mobile Dog Wash & Grooming PH: 0498 071 720

Malanda – Eacham Fuel 8 Pioneer Ave, Malanda QLD 4885

Malanda – Noticeboard at Post Office

Malanda – Malanda Rural Supplies 37 James St, Malanda QLD 4885

Malanda – Majestic Theatre 3 Eacham Pl, Malanda QLD 4885

Malanda – TFIT 30 James St, Malanda QLD 4885

Millaa Millaa – Noticeboard to right of Historical Society

Ravenshoe – The Barn Shed 1, Railway Reserve Grigg Street Ravenshoe 4888

Tolga – Noticeboard at Post Office

Yungaburra – Noticeboard at Post Office

Yungaburra – Yungaburra Butchery 2 Kehoe Pl, Yungaburra QLD 4884


Most Popular