Launch of petition to save historic building

The former Methodist church building in Traralgon is one of only five pre-1880 timber churches left in Gippsland. file photograph

Michelle Slater

A couple of Traralgon history buffs have launched an online petition asking Latrobe City Council to backtrack on a decision to demolish the 1870s Latrobe Visitor Information Centre building.

Jack Callow and architecture student Jonty Clare-Turner put up the petition after Latrobe City councillors agreed to knock down the building that sits next to the Traralgon train station.

Mr Callow said he was frustrated that Traralgon would be losing one of its oldest buildings.

“Living in Traralgon, I notice the CBD is full of signs about the buildings that used to be here but are no longer there,” Mr Callow said.

“I see people get council approval to demolish old houses and put up new ones, this is frustrating as this building could easily be moved, but I understand it would cost a significant amount.”

Latrobe City councillors agreed to demolish the former Methodist Church but will salvage significant cultural items including timber doorframes and panelling.

The building sits on VicTrack land but it needs to go to make way for train station upgrades.

It had already been moved twice, once at its original site by Victory Park.

Relocating the approximate 150-year-old building would cost ratepayers more than $600,000, whereas demolition and salvaging items would cost $80,000.

“The building is a classic example of simple late 19th century architecture and one of the last remnants of design from this era,” the petition stated.

“Too many characterful, historic buildings have been lost in Traralgon.”

Latrobe City had consulted with the Traralgon and District Historical Society and Traralgon and District Community Development Association (TCDA) before making the decision.

But Mr Callow said he believed there should have been wider community consultation.

He called for other options to be considered such as putting out expressions of interest for a private investor to purchase it, or for the state government to provide funding for its relocation.

TCDA representative Bronwyn Kerr understood the building did not sit on Latrobe City land on which the lease was about to expire and recognised the building was in a state of neglect.

“We appreciate that Latrobe City consulted with us, but we are a small representation of the community, I think further consultation would be a good thing for people passionate about this,” Ms Kerr said.

“They have come out strongly and this needs to be explored, but people need to get off their seats to do so.”

Latrobe City chief executive officer Steven Piasente said council was aware of the petition.

“We will seek to contact the lead petitioner to ensure it meets the requirements of the Latrobe City Council Governance Rules for consideration at a future council meeting,” Mr Piasente said.

To view the petition, visit