68 Barker Street, Casino, built in the 1890s and formerly known as Holwood House.
68 Barker Street, Casino, built in the 1890s and formerly known as Holwood House. Courtesy of NSW Office of Enviro

Demolition starts on one of Casino's oldest buildings

DEMOLISHERS have begun knocking down one of Casino's oldest heritage listed buildings.

The Barker St property, formerly known as Holwood House, was described by NSW Office of Environment and Heritage information as "a rare example of a two storey weatherboard Victorian building in Richmond Valley" and "one of the most historically significant buildings in Casino".

The former boarding house was built in the 1890s, when it was home to around 20 people - mostly bank clerks and school teachers, department notes said.

Eventually the house was converted into flats and there were two small cottages on the same site.

Features of historical significance included a "steeply pitched iron roof", "gables to the front and side with barge boards intact" and "some original joinery in the windows under the front and side gables".

But in 2005 department officials noted "the building has been substantially modified and the enclosing of the verandahs, removal of chimneys and other decoration have made it rather plain".

The house was heritage listed under council regulations but not at a state or national level.

Last year Lenore Watson, whose grandmother bought the property in 1944, successfully applied for approval from Richmond Valley Council to it knocked down.

Director of Infrastructure and Environment, Angela Jones, said a full structural engineering report was submitted with Mrs Watson's application, as well as photographic documentation of the property's condition.

No objections to the demolition were lodged with the council.

"It was found that it was justifiable to approve demolition given the poor state and structural integrity of the property," said Ms Jones.

"We encourage owners of heritage listed properties to maintain their properties.

"We have heritage grants available, matched dollar to dollar at a maximum of $2000 and we often send mail-outs to owners advising them of the grants."

Ms Jones said the availability of council and state sponsored grants meant heritage building owners could apply annually for maintenance projects funded up to $4000 in value.

"Richmond Valley Council has made exceptions previously when a project is of significant merit and the funding is available," she said.

"The school of the arts has received funding on a number of occasions."

Applications for heritage grants were open until March 30.

Photographs of the former Holwood House would be distributed to a local historical society, she said.

Demolition of the property began before Christmas and is understood to have resumed after a brief break.

Council authorities reviewed local heritage listings regularly and owners of listed properties were able to apply for permission to make alterations or to demolish them in line with regulations.

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