By MICK ROBERTS.
CONTRACTORS began the demolition of Bulli’s historic Ocean View Guest House today.
Ocean View was one of Bulli’s last two Victorian brick guest houses.
As reported in The Bulli Times earlier last year, the Wollongong City Council heritage listed building joined the nearby former Railway Guest House in Railway Street as coming under threat of demolition.
The Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) lodged a development application with Wollongong City Council to demolish the former guesthouse to make way for the extension of the Northern Distributor in March.
The Princes Highway land on which it sits is earmarked for the continuation of the Northern Distributor through to Bulli Pass. Despite its heritage significance the RMS said it demolished what is believed to be Wollongong’s last remaining “temperance hotel”, to prevent it becoming home to vandals or squatters. The road extension is still years away.
An RMS spokesperson said there had been several break-ins already and its demolition would “avoid unnecessary spending of public money to renovate buildings which will eventually be demolished”.
The property was identified as a heritage item of local significance by Wollongong City Council in 1991. A heritage impact assessment, prepared by consultants Godden Mackay Logan (GML) for the RMS, says the house has been altered and is not worth preserving.
Illawarra historian and University of Wollongong archivist Michael Organ has been scathing on social media of the building’s demise.
“[The] Bulli historical village is a designated heritage precinct,” he posted on Facebook.
“This reflects the general sorry plight of our city. No vision – past, present or future.”
Mr Organ, who photographed the heavy machinery demolishing Ocean View today, said the “bulldozer is like some beast eating away at our past…”