Early today (13/11/2013) the heritage listed Belvedere Home in South Brisbane caught fire. The fire service were unable to save the building, and the remains were declared too unsafe to allow entry by investigators. An excavator was ordered in by the fire service to allow fire crew to dowse unsafe areas of the building. The cause of the fire remains unknown, and police have declared the fire ‘suspicious’.
In 2010, the owners of the Belvedere had applied for permission to demolish the heritage building, but the application was knocked back by Council. Rumours have long circulated that the owners, The Greek Orthodox Community, who also own the Greek Club next door, wished to build a carpark on the land for the Greek Club, however these rumours have always been denied by the owners. Not long after the demolition application was knocked back the house was boarded up and all services disconnected.
A long legal battle to appeal the decision ended recently with the Council retaining the right to block demolition. The owners entered mediation with Council in May with a view to restoring the building. The plans have at different times been to turn the Belvedere into a restaurant, extension of the nursing home, or conference centre. No definite plans were in place at the time of the fire.
Belvedere was built in 1888.
Photos of the insides of the abandoned Belvedere home: http://www.flickr.com/search/?q=%22abandoned%20belvedere%20house%22
Photo of the Belvedere in it’s heyday: http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/photogallery/queensland/historical-brisbane-home-the-belvedere-20101213-18uhk.html?selectedImage=2
Photos of the demolition today, here, and below: