Save Fort Largs
UPDATE: June 2016- Success!
After years of uncertainty about the future of Fort Largs at Taperoo, the National Trust has joined a partnership with the State Government and developer A V Jennings to restore the historic fort and open it to the public as part of an overall redevelopment of the site. Read the whole story
Fort Largs at Taperoo is one of only two forts built to defend South Australia. The other, Fort Glanville, is further down Adelaide’s coastline at Semaphore. Both forts have great heritage significance as evidence of nineteenth century defence strategy and technology.
Now, there is a new risk to the fort. Not the Russians, but a State Government proposal to sell off the Fort Largs site to developers, including the historic fortifications and associated buildings.
As part of the British Empire, South Australian colonists took a keen interest in international affairs. Following Russia’s easy victory in the Russo-Turkish War of 1877-8, Britain moved to shore up defences against possible attacks by Russia’s Pacific fleet. South Australia’s governor, Major-General Sir William Jervois, personally oversaw the strengthening of coast protection in all the Australian colonies, including the new forts at Taperoo and Semaphore.
Fort Largs was constructed between 1883 and 1884. It operated as a military installation for almost 80 years. Between 1961 and 2011, it housed the South Australian Police Academy until a new facility opened in 2012. Thousands of people have served at the site for both the army and the police force. Fort Largs was officially confirmed as a listed State Heritage Place in 1986.
In March, the State Government announced plans to sell off the Fort Largs site. Despite a number of representations to the Government, Deputy Premier and Minister for Housing and Urban Development John Rau has declined to provide any assurances about the future of Fort Largs. He has advised that the site will be offered for sale by Renewal SA as a whole, including the heritage listed structures. He is proposing that it will be up to the new owner of the site to determine a new use for the Fort.
Simply shifting responsibility for preserving the Fort to the new owner of the site provides no guarantee for the Fort’s preservation or for providing public access to this important heritage site.
Recent experience with sites like Union Hall at the University of Adelaide, the City Steam Biscuit Factory (home of the Jade Monkey music venue) Eastwood Lodge at Glenside, Islington Railway Works and the Mission to Seamen building at Outer Harbor shows interim heritage listing offers uncertain protection from demolition. And even permanently listed sites such as Bell’s Plumbing in Stepney can be allowed to deteriorate into ruins. In recent years successive Planning Ministers have summarily removed provisionally listed sites from the heritage register to make way for their demolition. South Australia’s heritage protection system has been seriously undermined by Ministerial whims and the special pleadings of developers.
We seek your support to demand that the heritage of Fort Largs is not sold off to developers but protected and preserved for future generations.
What can you do?
You can write to the Premier, Hon Jay Weatherill, GPO Box 2343 ADELAIDE SA 5001
or the Planning Minister Hon. John Rau, GPO Box 464 ADELAIDE SA 5001
Join the Facebook Page Say NO to selling Fort Largs to show your support. Or get social and talk back on social media #SaveFortLargs
Local residents can also press the Port Adelaide and Enfield Council to take a stand to protect this irreplaceable piece of South Australian heritage.
You can also sign our online petition to the Premier below and share this website and petition via social media.