QUESTION: Saving the Mount Gambier roundhouse

During Question Time Mark asked the Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, representing the Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Local Government, to prevent the demolition of the Mount Gambier roundhouse in order to gauge community support for a rescue operation that would to enable the restoration and repurposing of the roundhouse for public purposes.


The Hon. M.C. PARNELL: I would be delighted if the minister chose to answer in his own capacity, given this segues nicely from what he was just talking about, the Mount Gambier rail corridor that is now disused and could be used for cycling. Anyway, I digress. There is a growing campaign in Mount Gambier to save one of only three railway roundhouses left in South Australia. According to local campaigners and the local media, demolition of the Mount Gambier roundhouse is scheduled for next Monday, 25 June.

Local campaigners have mounted a spirited campaign, both locally and on social media over recent weeks, to stave off the demolition in order to buy time for community consultation to explore possible future uses for the site. Their hope is to restore and repurpose the roundhouse and its adjoining railway turntable for community purposes and to complement the existing rail lands development in Mount Gambier.

I understand that the roundhouse and the turntable are on state government owned land and they were once heritage listed but that this status was removed following a fire which destroyed part of the site a few years ago.

My question of the minister is:

Will the minister order the postponement of the demolition in order to gauge community support for a rescue operation that would enable the restoration and repurposing of the Mount Gambier roundhouse for public purposes?

The Hon. D.W. RIDGWAY (Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment): I thank the honourable member for his question. Clearly, I will have to refer part of it to the Hon. Stephan Knoll, Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Local Government. I did want to pick up on one particular issue that the honourable member raised about using the rail corridor for cycling. It is used for cycling right now. The Mount Gambier council has put a bitumen seal between the two old bits of railway line, so there is a very perfect cycling track right through the middle of Mount Gambier.

This means, of course, that the railway line all the way to Wolseley is still in existence, albeit through some parts of the South-East there are gum trees 50 feet high in the middle of it and they would need to be cut down. I know the honourable member would struggle with cutting down a tree but would allow a cycle path. Certainly, there are some great opportunities for cycling in the South-East.

The actual details around the roundhouse I will refer and bring back. We have two advocates here from Mount Gambier sitting in the front row opposite and I am surprised they have not raised this particular subject. It is really pleasing for the people of Mount Gambier to know that they have somebody in this chamber who is actually sticking up for them. I will refer that to the honourable minister and bring back a reply.

Reply provided on 24th July 2018

The Hon. David Ridgway MLC:
"The Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Local Government has advised:

The demolition of 'The Roundhouse' in Mount Gambier has been postponed, given that the Chair of the SA Heritage Council has, under delegation, provisionally entered it into the South Australian Heritage Register under section 17 (2) (b) of the Heritage Places Act 1993 following a nomination from the National Trust."