Tasmanian Times


Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair! …







Dave Groves’ Picture Essay on the demolition of Gunns Ltd’s HQ building, Launceston, ( Mercury here )

I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: “Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown
And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed.
And on the pedestal these words appear:
`My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings:
Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!’
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,
The lone and level sands stretch far away”.
Percy Bysshe Shelley

Garry Stannus: Alas, but from the grave … Read the Garry Stannus tribute here

Heidi Lee Douglas: Spend the night with Julian Burnside AO QC

Author Credits: [show_post_categories parent="no" parentcategory="writers" show = "category" hyperlink="yes"]


  1. Clive Stott

    July 23, 2013 at 4:42 pm

    Thanks Estelle, I am sure ‘most competitive’ had a lot to do with it. It was trashed what I saw, not dismantled for reuse.
    As for gas being ‘captured’ from the air conditioners; it has to be reclaimed that is the law.
    Hopefully next time a little more care will result with the changes being brought in.
    After all, we are all paying for it in one way or another.

  2. Estelle Ross

    July 23, 2013 at 12:26 pm

    I also heard from Bunnings see their reply below

    Throughout the site clearance process, it is hoped that the contractor will recycle, re-use or re-sell approximately 95% of the material (by weight) from the site, with only a very minimal volume ending up in landfill and this is at the high end of the industry average.

    Currently the demolition contractor is salvaging building materials, plant and equipment for recycling into other purposes, including for reuse on the actual site. This includes the crushing and recycling of approximately 18,000 tonnes of concrete pavement and reusing on the site. Bricks are also being crushed and left on site for re-use.

    As unsightly as the demolition process may appear, most materials are sent off-site and sold for re-use. This includes hardwood timber floors, light poles and light fittings, air conditioners, electrical wiring, timber doors, office kitchen and bathrooms accessories, security systems, metal sheds and carpet. Also, all metal products are being sent off site for recycling and even gases within the air conditioners have been captured and removed for re-use.

    For all property development, Bunnings runs a competitive tender process to ensure the best outcome and local businesses are always invited to bid. On this occasion, a 142 year old family-run regional Victorian company, H Troon won the tender on the basis of being the best and most competitive candidate.

    We expect that around two thirds of the contracts to be awarded by H Troon over the coming months will go to local Tasmanian businesses. Also, a local foreman has been employed and the majority of building materials – such as concrete panels and structural steel – will be procured locally.

  3. hugoagogo

    July 23, 2013 at 3:35 am

    If the building had been built of nice ash F17 beams and floor joists, and Tas Oak flooring there would likely be plenty worth salvaging.

  4. Garry Stannus

    July 22, 2013 at 11:08 am

    Hi Clive (#40): the Examiner put a sale price from Council to Gunns of $1.2m and $1.4m to Bunnings.
    Actually, I was surprised, I’d thought Gunn had paid something less than that. I also thought that the state govt had had some role in it whole thing as well, in order that/after the park was ‘demobbed’.

    Well done Estelle! (#35), for asking the company for those details and for sharing them on TT!

  5. Russell

    July 22, 2013 at 2:13 am


    They coulda got the job done quicker and for free if they let the public at it. Ha ha f’n ha

  6. Clive Stott

    July 22, 2013 at 12:39 am

    When I drove past I saw those buildings being trashed.
    Bit like the logs out of our forests being split up the middle by heavy machinery to reduce their worth.
    A comparison would need to be made as to what it was all worth and what they got for it after it took a beating.
    I guess they did their sums, or didn’t care.

  7. Steve

    July 21, 2013 at 10:54 pm

    #38; I was wondering if this is all the buildings on the entire Lindsay road site and they’re also including concrete slabs and footings. Even still, at about 2.5 tonnes per cubic metre and a average slab of 150mm, it’s still over 20 acres of concrete with some structure thrown in as a make weight!

  8. pat synge

    July 21, 2013 at 10:24 pm

    I think they may have got their figures wrong.
    (A pool 50m x 50m x 7.6m deep would contain 19,000 tonnes of water).
    Most of the volume of the buildings is empty space.

  9. phill Parsons

    July 21, 2013 at 8:29 pm

    I am happy to admit the photos are not a complete time series but the response recieved by #35 does not appear to match with the pics.

    All metal products i.e. aluminium, steel, iron sheeting (not suitable for re-sale), copper has been sent to Onesteel for recycling

    Looks like perfect iron sheeting to me but i suppose once the excavator tears it off the roof its reusability may have fallen

  10. Steve

    July 21, 2013 at 4:30 pm

    “19,000 tonnes of construction and demolition waste”?
    Sounds to me like they’ve added the weight of Gunn’s liabilities to the building mass!

  11. Estelle Ross

    July 21, 2013 at 2:17 pm

    I emailed City Circle the company doing the demolition of Gunns’ buildings and it seems they are in fact recycling, see their reply;

    We intend to attain 99% recycled product from the above site by way of:

    • Concrete to be crushed and left on site for re-use as road base
    • Bricks to be crushed and left on site for re-use
    • All metal products i.e. aluminium, steel, iron sheeting (not suitable for re-sale), copper has been sent to Onesteel for recycling
    • Hardwood timbers & timber purlins sold off site for re-use
    • Light poles and light fittings sold for re-use
    • Air conditioning gas was extracted from air conditioners for re-use
    • Air conditioners were sold off site
    • Electrical wiring sent for recycling
    • Timber doors sold off site
    • Office kitchens and bathroom accessories sold off site for re-use
    • Security Systems sold for re-use
    • Entire metal sheds sold for re-use
    • Office carpet & carpet tiles sold off site for re-use

    We have calculated to be 19,000 tonne of construction and demolition waste of this 100 tonne of rubbish will go to land fill.

  12. Richard Brown

    July 20, 2013 at 10:43 pm

    This is quite typical..You just have to look at all the rubbish on the road sides of tasmania now, to see that some tasmanians couldnt care less about Tasmania…I wonder how the tourists feel when they see all the road side rubbish…and i wonder what the councils are doing about it? Not much

  13. Garry Stannus

    July 20, 2013 at 7:01 pm

    Touché bien, m’sieu Mike. (#32). My typist is alf German. I suppose I shall av to let him go… but I am very – ow you say – very loathëd so to do. A ton santé – G.

  14. Mike Adams

    July 20, 2013 at 1:43 pm

    Thanks, Garry, for #24 and apologies to Dave G.

    And by the way there’s no ‘c’ in Shelley.

  15. phill Parsons

    July 20, 2013 at 12:13 pm

    It’s against the law to commit murder and to litter therefore it should ne against the law to waste reusable material. If you want work you have to change the social landscape from throw away to round and round.

  16. Garry Stannus

    July 20, 2013 at 11:30 am

    David (#27): Wrecking buildings rather than recycling them might be common practice these days, but it doesn’t always happen.

    The original Rocherlea Primary School, here in Launceston, was recently demolished by a mainland mob from up near Puckapunyal, I think it was. They did a very good job and recycled whatever they could. They employed our locals and they put as much as they could up for sale. The job went for two or three months and there was a steady stream of Launcestonians who rolled up with a trailer on the back, or the ute. Even trucks and on one occasion a low loader which took one of the buildings down the road a bit, for later use at the Rocherlea Football Club. Earl, who headed the demolition company, did the job well, with due regard to safety, (e.g. his asbestos handling was by-the-book and a credit). And he made some money out of the job. The job probably could have recycled more, but there was a time constraint which I believe was written into the job tender. It had to be finished by a certain time. Since the demolition was completed (just after Christmas) the site has sat there, empty but for a ‘For Sale’ sign.

    [If any historian/heritage person is interested, I have an extensive photographic record of the entire site, from the start to completion of the new school, and from the day of vacation to the completion of demolition of the old.]

  17. David Obendorf

    July 20, 2013 at 10:44 am

    David [#27], [b]Oscar Wilde[/b] in the 1890s recognised this ‘common practice’ as you refer to it.

    His paradoxical line:

    [i]’Nowadays people know the price of everything and the value of nothing.'[/i] [Lady Windermere’s Fan 1892]

    It could be an epitaph for Tasmania!

  18. phill Parsons

    July 20, 2013 at 1:01 am

    #25 points out the difference between fine words on the websyte and deeds on the worksite.

    Many companies say they are to get the tick box for the job. Those issueing the contract can then claim they are blame free except thay always seem to forget to either include or invoke a penalty clause.

  19. David

    July 20, 2013 at 12:39 am

    This is common practice these days! Gone are the days when you could sell a building to be demolished for a sum,now you pay the demolisher/recycler an exorbitant sum to take it away or have it demolished and taken to the tip for another exorbitant fee.
    As well as all that it is almost impossible to enter a building site these days unless you have a degree in health and safety ,a scaffolding diploma, a white,red and blue card, contract works insurance,a six million dollar public liability policy,an expensive document to see if there is asbestos present,and thousands of dollars worth of fencing barrier.

  20. Bonni Hall

    July 19, 2013 at 11:38 pm

    Re # 16. I don’t understand what you mean. Who is silly and who should not have bothered?

  21. Anne Layton-Bennett

    July 19, 2013 at 10:24 pm

    I hope whoever was responsible for awarding demolition company City Circle the contract is thoroughly ashamed of themselves. Because #9 is quite right, City Circle is a mainland company.

    On its website the banner trumpets ‘Demolition – Recycling’. City Circle also claims to ‘deliver sustainable outcomes’ http://citycirclegroup.com.au/

    The brutal dismantling of Gunns that clearly disregards any opportunity for people to take advantage of the recycling option suggests neither claim is accurate or sincere. But when Tasmanian unemployment is so high, and businesses are struggling to survive, the decision to award the contract to a mainland company is a disgrace, and Tasmanians deserve an explanation.

  22. Garry Stannus

    July 19, 2013 at 3:20 pm

    Mike (#12): re your…

    “An earlier version of Garry’s photo shoot in TT showed the present ‘Gunns’ office in Charles St, L’ton.”

    Actually Mike, those great pix and the Schelley poetry are Dave Groves’ work. For technical reasons, TT has embedded my piece – a link to it appears directly under the Schelley poetry and looks like:

    “Garry Stannus: Alas, but from the grave … Read the Garry Stannus tribute here”

    You’ll have to go back to the (above the comments) and click on the ‘tribute’ there.

    And supplementary to Warren Hastings (#19) who wrote:

    ”Does anyone remember the significance of the Ogilvie Park pic. ? Correct me please if I am wrong in believing that this land was privately owned by the Ogilvie family and was bequeathed to the City of Launceston for recreational use by the people, in perpetuity. The L.C.C. , in its wisdom, arrogantly & immorally sold it for a pittance to Gunns Ltd. What a colossal insult.”

    Yes, that’s how I remembered it. Though when I looked for it on the ‘net, I came across a reference to Eric Ogilvie, as the Education Minister, arranging the gifting.

  23. Rod Crass

    July 19, 2013 at 3:07 pm

    Thanks Garry for the photo’s,I bet I could have rustled up half dozen men and demolished the building for free, we could shared the spoils,wanton waste.

  24. pat synge

    July 19, 2013 at 1:05 pm

    Simon #14.
    Exactly my thoughts.

  25. Frank Strie

    July 19, 2013 at 12:41 pm

    Could our leaders in Towns, Capitol Cities and in Canberra learn something from the indigenous peoples in the Amazon Rainforests?
    Here just 10 minutes of comments, advise and faces of what it takes to be a happy community.
    Greed is not what they teaching us. Far from it.
    Here is your chance people.
    Watch, listen and read – think about change, real positive change.
    Indigenous Community Terra Preta, Amazon, Brazil

    Published on Jan 23, 2013

    This video shows the real life of the Indigenous community Terra Preta ca 50km northwest of Manaus. This video was realized by Amazon BackPackers Tour, http://amazonbackpackers.com.br

  26. phill Parsons

    July 19, 2013 at 11:42 am

    Nothing has changed. You don’t value what you don’t earn. Manly Council is busy trying to dispose of foreshore parkland part of which was given by the Farrell family.

    Every community has to defend its interests or they will be sold, chipped and exported, any or all for a pittance.

  27. Warren Hastings

    July 19, 2013 at 10:26 am

    Does anyone remember the significance of the Ogilvie Park pic. ? Correct me please if I am wrong in believing that this land was privately owned by the Ogilvie family and was bequeathed to the City of Launceston for recreational use by the people, in perpetuity. The L.C.C. , in its wisdom, arrogantly & immorally sold it for a pittance to Gunns Ltd. What a colossal insult.

  28. hugoagogo

    July 19, 2013 at 7:07 am

    The Pharoahs had it right: pyramids are much more durable geometry than say the Colossus of Rhodes.

  29. Harpy

    July 19, 2013 at 2:31 am

    That’s what Liberal Party HQ will look like after that jumpy drongo Abbott has led them into the wilderness.

  30. Henry

    July 19, 2013 at 1:54 am

    One of the silliest things I’ve ever read on Tasmanian Times. Why would anyone bother?

  31. Steve

    July 19, 2013 at 1:54 am

    #11; Ain’t that the truth! Mind you, in this instance it was landfill, not the chipper.
    I reckon John’s nailed it (#10), easy come, easy go!

  32. Simon Warriner

    July 19, 2013 at 1:38 am

    There is something poetic in this end for that companies headquarters. It rhymes with the waste and destruction championed by the man that had them built.

    The waste is despicable, but Bunnings would never allow someone to avoid the opportunity to buy from them, It would not be sound business. (sarcasm)

  33. David Obendorf

    July 19, 2013 at 12:41 am

    Evelyn Emmett – [b]By Road and Track[/b] (1952):

    [i]’Perhaps some mathematician will work out the amount by which the taxation of Tasmania would be lessened if the island had not been sprinkled all over with [b]Lost Endeavours[/b] – roads beginning and ending nowhere and now growing good crops of gum trees; tracks opened and obliterated by disuse; canals cut and smothered by sand; harbours built for ships that never used them; railways whose main work was to lose money; piers pushed into the sea to rot; bridges that invited floods to bear them away; shafts sunk where there was no metal; towns built and abandoned!

    Doubtles other countries have guided their inhabitants into blind alleys and left them there, but surely none have a record in this respect to beat Tasmania’s.'[/i]

  34. Mike Adams

    July 19, 2013 at 12:40 am

    An earlier version of Garry’s photo shoot in TT showed the present ‘Gunns’ office in Charles St, L’ton.
    Time was when it was the Teachers’ Centre.
    Time was when we had School Sisters.
    Time was when we had a School Dental Service.
    Time was when the Housing Dept. had its own Welfare Officers.
    Time was when the state government thought about its responsibilities to its citizens, not its mates.

  35. John Wade

    July 18, 2013 at 9:36 pm

    Parquetry floors, special species timbers – no, you can’t have it, it is going to the chipper!

    The doors were saved, someone wanted them.

    There it is people, in your face. You can harp and carp as much as you like but at the end of the day no one gives a rat’s arse about you or your complaints or ideologies.

  36. John Day

    July 18, 2013 at 7:57 pm

    Easy come – easy go

  37. Roger Cameron

    July 18, 2013 at 5:56 pm

    Agree with all the above re recycling but did any one notice from the photos of the demolition in the
    Examiner it was a mainland demolition company doing the work! Don’t we have companies here that are capable of this work ?

  38. Stephan

    July 18, 2013 at 5:10 pm

    Well, well, well. The philosophy of Gunns and whoever is trying to get value back from the company is exposed for what it is.

    Wasteful, trashing, spiteful and ignorant.

    As has been said – it’s not an old building and much of that material should have been recyclable.

    Our society is f**cked with examples like Gunns to go by.

  39. Pete Godfrey

    July 18, 2013 at 4:37 pm

    Bloody vandals. What a massive waste of perfectly good buildings and materials.
    So why weren’t tenders offered for dismantling, why weren’t the materials offered to those who need them, why didn’t the government offer to buy the buildings and give the materials to the needy.
    That is it for me no shopping at Bunnings.
    “Bunnings are Vandals”

  40. Karl Stevens

    July 18, 2013 at 3:49 pm

    So whats changed in Tasmania? Nothing. Look at the people who facilitated the massive payouts to Gunns? They call themselves ‘environmentalists’.

  41. Sue DeNim

    July 18, 2013 at 2:57 pm

    Thanks for the pics Garry. Again the wanton waste is jaw-dropingly appalling. But then again what have we come to expect.

  42. john hayward

    July 18, 2013 at 2:39 pm

    Like Ozy himself, Gunns had stacks of avid heirs: Ta Ann, Shree, Abetz Pyramids PL, and almost anyone else with at least $350,000 in baksheesh.

    The sun never seems to set on the Tassie Klepto Dynasty.

    John hayward

  43. Ava's Opa

    July 18, 2013 at 1:33 pm


    “Clean green clever”? and this in the “Family friendliest City of Australia”??!!
    Think about the less fortunate, people, families that come to Tasmania from war zones and start with nothing but the shirts and trousers, if that.
    To witness this wanton waste and destruction in our society in 2013, in a decade of realisation of climate change, it is sickening to the core!
    Sham, shame, shame to all the people who signed off this non reusing but smashing project.
    Someone must think there is no future to care for.
    So states Ava’s Opa

  44. pat synge

    July 18, 2013 at 12:55 pm

    Quite apart from any other consideration it appears that everything (windows, roofing etc) is simply being smashed up to be carted off to landfill.

    No recycling and reuse.

    Surprise, surprise!

  45. Steve

    July 18, 2013 at 12:51 pm

    I’m staggered that they aren’t dismantling the building. It’s not old, all that CB roofing would be worth a bit. It’s all trussed construction. The trusses would come out and be perfectly reusable.
    Not to mention all the panelling, windows etc etc.
    What a waste and all the while we’re encouraged to wash out our milk cartons and pop them in the recycling bin!

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