Denmark bandstand bites the dust

Sarah MakseAlbany Advertiser
The John Clark Memorial Bandstand is demolished.
Camera IconThe John Clark Memorial Bandstand is demolished. Credit: Sarah Makse/Sarah Makse.

Denmark lost a piece of its history last week when the heritage-listed John Clark Memorial Bandstand was demolished because of the “unaffordable costs” of repairs.

The Shire of Denmark Council voted in 2019 to remove the bandstand, which had provided a stage for musicians for half a century on the eastern bank of the Denmark River.

A Shire engineer’s report published a year before the vote deemed the bandstand “structurally unsafe” and said repairs would cost $100,000.

With the bandstand having hosted community Christmas carols and concerts since 1964, community members compiled a petition, with more than 500 signatures opposing the decision.

The bandstand in 1965.
Camera IconThe bandstand in 1965. Credit: Supplied/Supplied.

Presented to the council last July by Denmark Historical Society president Bev McGuinness, the petition asked councillors to revoke the decision and open a community consultation period.

Shire acting chief executive David Schober said the asset was in “extremely poor condition and posed a significant hazard”.

“Two separate engineers condemned the structure and noted it was beyond repair,” he said.

“The community opposition was centred on historical significance, not its use. The Shire worked directly with the 12 user groups who run events in the area over the last two years.

“Not one of these user groups indicated they would use the bandstand and advocated for a mobile and flexible stage instead.”

Mr Schober said the bandstand’s original lettering and bricks were saved, but the plaque was stolen before the demolition.

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