Gold Coast Bulletin
THE grand old lady of Southport will be no more next week as bulldozers bring down Southport’s historic Star of the Sea Convent.
The Marine Parade building, which has been disused for more than three years will be demolished in coming days to eventually make way for a multi-tower development.
But that project, proposed by Chinese-linked developer Garuda GC, will not progress until after the 2018 Commonwealth Games, leaving the site to be operated as a carpark for the world sporting event.
Southport resident Lindsay Jackson lives in the neighbouring Nexus building and spent yesterday watching over the first demolition works.
While acknowledging the need for progress, the 72-year-old said he was sad to see a piece of the suburb’s history destroyed.
“It is really sad to see it go and it is another piece of history gone,” he said.
“But it is progress and at the end of the day it had to happen because the building had not been used for a long time.
“I think the decision to bring it down came after we had a lot of vandalism in there and a fire in the past few weeks.
The convent school was established by the Sisters of Mercy in 1899 and moved to the once-seaside site in 1901 and was one of Southport’s major features during its early decades.
In 1934 the school became a co-ed facility.
Among its early students was future Gold Coast mayor Denis O’Connell.
In the mid-1960s the older wooden structures were demolished and replaced by modern stone buildings which are now being demolished.
It is now commended to history along with its other long-gone contemporaries The Southport School of Arts and the Southport Pier.
The school was relocated in 1990 and the building was occupied by Central Queensland University from 2001 until 2013.
The multimillion-dollar Star of the Sea project is expected to become a resort and lifestyle precinct and has been proposed by Huixin Real Estate Group, through Australian arm Garuda GC.
The developer paid the benevolent Catholic order the Sisters of Mercy $27 million for the land.
According to documents filed with the Gold Coast City Council, its proposed features included residential, commercial and hotel towers, a pedestrian mall connecting the development to Nerang St, a historic plaza and retail space.
It is also expected to include restaurants, bars and al fresco dining, along with an art laneway.