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‘Authorised heritage vandalism’ – demolition crew caught ‘red handed’ smashing Flynn school

Inside of Green Unit

Demolition at Flynn Primary - almost all internal walls have now been demolished

Demolition crews have been caught ‘red-handed’ smashing and pulling down almost all internal walls in one of the buildings at the Flynn Primary School over the school holidays without a public development application and while heritage matters concerning the site are before the ACT Supreme Court.

Local residents’ groups are incensed by the latest act of vandalism against the school and the community according to spokesperson, Roger Nicoll.

“This partial demolition of Flynn’s school and community centre is a senseless act of authorised vandalism and thuggery against a known heritage and community asset,” Mr Nicoll said. “The response to our queries yesterday has been to send any army of workers from dawn this morning.”

“Demolition at Flynn flies in the face of commitments made by the Chief Minister to protect heritage and community values and appears to be in contempt of the heritage appeal that is before the ACT Supreme Court”.

In line with ACT Government commitments, Flynn community groups including the John Flynn Community Group and the Flynn Primary School Parents and Citizens Association had thought that they were part of a consultative process—with the Department of Disability, Housing and Community Services—to work up a heritage conservation plan and negotiate the community’s proposal for future use of the site, according to Mr Nicoll.

Reading steps at Flynn

Demolition at Flynn Primary School - this reading platform is (or was?) part of a withdrawal area, which is a key architectural feature of the internal fabric

“We were gutted to find out that this department appears to have secretly lodged a development application and decided to steamroll ahead when no such application or detailed plans have been provided to us, no signage is on display at the Flynn site, and we can find no development application on the ACTPLA website.”


“This appears to be the another underhanded and contemptuous act among a long list of similar acts by this department that are now the subject of a formal complaint and independent investigation.”

The Flynn community is very grateful to Chief Minister Jon Stanhope who, in a recent meeting with Flynn group members, acknowledged the problems in the process and committed to starting it over, according to Mr Nicoll.

“We have to ask: has the department been telling the Chief Minister the truth about its actions at Flynn? There is a real concern that this department will do much the same as in 2010, and try to push through its development agenda for Flynn as part of next week’s ACT budget.”

Inside of the Green Unit, showing the lack of walls

Demolition at Flynn Primary School - almost all internal walls have now been removed

“We now call on the Chief Minister and fellow MLAs to halt the Flynn school demolition works immediately, scrap the costly and damaging childcare relocation process, and start a genuine negotiation of the Flynn community proposal as promised.


Images from Flynn

Angles on the textured concrete walls


Flynn grounds

Landscape setting & grounds

Enrico Taglietti visting the school he designed

History and design

Memorial to John Flynn

Memorial to John Flynn