History belongs to all
A group of Oaklands and Federation Council residents have made an urgent plea to council to save from demolition the historical RSL sub-branch building. Originally the Back Paddock Provisional Schoolhouse, five miles west of Oaklands, the building was re-erected at the current Milthorpe Street site in 1921. In 1934 the Returned Services League took ownership, and began renovations.
Since the determination of the demolition, some councillors have had a change of heart in favour of a new use and new life for the building. At the time of writing, 76 individual submissions of opposition to the demolition have been collected which will be presented to council today (October 22).
Once this building is gone it can never be replaced. When returned to original condition as a shelter, meeting place and information hub, both current and historical, it will be a welcoming feature for visitors, travellers and locals, and a picturesque addition to our historical streetscape.
To quote Mr Peter Kabaila (heritage advisor to council), "a suggestion to re-locate or demolish this building would waste funds and not be good heritage practice. Being an RSL building, its spatial relationship with the Remembrance Area is important to preserve". Come on councillors, step up to this challenge. Our history and heritage belongs to all. Future generations will thank you for preserving it.
Heather J Kerr, Corowa (formerly Oaklands)
Don't arm serial offender
Working for the church feels unnervingly like being employed by a tobacco company in a world that has "given up the smokes". The damage to mental health and wellbeing from faith-based prejudice and discrimination is a cost where minorities foot the bill and if ignored may be throwing the spiritual baby out with the institutional bath water.
The Christian ideas of justice and compassion have inspired a national Anglican backlash against the intolerance expressed by the diocese of Sydney and its archbishop. The dangers of an outdated ethical system forcing people into hiding is a tragic narrative only starting to unfold with an ordained gay couple recently revealing their relationship after secular legislation and retirement has made them less vulnerable to institutional attack by the church they have served for decades.
Religious freedom legislation is not just a danger to secular Australia. It will give ammunition to religious organisations that turn their guns on their own members and currently forces individuals, couples and families into a closet because of the real danger of honesty. Faith-based discrimination also makes minorities vulnerable to institutional abuse that continues to the source of untold human suffering.
Religious leaders such as the archbishop of Sydney are only demanding a legislative gun because they intend to use it. Our secular government has a responsibility to ask the question before arming a serial offender.