Shiny new buildings are opening up every day in Australia, but this list is not about them, rather the buildings that have seen better days.
From a grand old Victorian-era pub in Queensland to an almost-ghost town in South Australia, these eerie abandoned places – once an important part of their communities – are now largely forgotten.
Broadway Hotel — Woolloongabba, QLD
Grand old pubs dot the corners of many an Australian main street. Many are still buzzing with activity, but the abandoned Broadway Hotel, in the Brisbane suburb of Woolloongabba, had stood proudly since it was built in 1889 until fire gutted it in 2010, leaving it derelict. There have been plans to redevelop the site, but the hotel has been listed on the Queensland Heritage Register since 1992 and cannot be demolished.
The Big Textile Factory — Unknown, QLD
This former textile factory was discovered by an urban exploration group back in 2012, somewhere in the industrial suburbs of Brisbane. They uncovered a warehouse full of machines, with fabric still in the feeds and rolls of material lining the timber floors, looking as though everyone had just up and left — not even having finished the day’s work. Still today the exact location has been kept a secret and the former business name of the factory also remains unknown.
Balmain Leagues Club — Rozelle, NSW
Photo: Lost Collective
Some buildings become derelict and abandoned due to hard times, development deals gone wrong, or even government intervention. And that is the story behind the Balmain Leagues Clubs site in Sydney’s inner city. The club was forced out in 2010 when the site was earmarked for a metro station, which in the end never eventuated. The site has since been proposed for redevelopment with developers, council, and residents’ groups at an impasse over what is to be built.
Atlantis Marine Park — Two Rocks, WA
What was supposed to be Western Australia’s answer to the Gold Coast theme parks – Atlantis Marine Park – opened in 1981, on the back of Perth’s economic boom. However, just nine years after its opening, the park shut its gates and the business magnate responsible for the nautical-themed park, Alan Bond, was soon after declared bankrupt, and later imprisoned for fraud. Today the amusement park still lies empty, although in 2015 the famous King Neptune statue was cleaned up by local developers and the owner of the land, after being vandalised in the intervening years.
Peters’ Ice Cream Factory — Taree, NSW
Photo: Lost Collective
This factory was an important part of the mid-north coast of NSW for more than 50 years. It was built in 1939 and served the once-booming dairy industry around Taree, originally producing condensed milk for the manufacture of ice cream. The factory ceased operation in the 1990s, but still holds a significant place in the hearts of local residents, with a “Dairy Factory Reunion” held there in 2016, as part of the National Trust Heritage Festival.
Almost a Ghost Town — Hammond, SA
A single abandoned building can be intriguing, but there’s something about almost a whole town that is much more eerie. Several ghost towns dot the southern Flinders Ranges region of South Australia, yet Hammond stands out, due to the large number of buildings that still remain intact. The town began in 1879 and existed to service the rail line and surrounding farming community, but saw its decline in population start from as early as the 1930s, leaving just several houses with full-time residents today.
Wangi Power Station — Wangi Wangi, NSW
The Wangi Power Station came into operation in 1958, and at one point was the largest power station in NSW. At the time of construction, 1000-odd workers camped onsite during its entire ten years it took to build. The station was eventually deemed surplus to requirements and decommissioned in 1986 with all power generation & associated equipment removed, save for a few heavy gears and skid mounts. Since then, there has been a heritage listing placed over part of the site and there have been numerous proposals for redevelopment, though none have come to fruition.
This article has been updated to show a more recent image of the restored King Neptune, and the item about the Wangi Power Station replaces one about a former zoo in western Sydney.