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Kilmore’s All Nations Hotel building to lose second storey

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By Tricia Mifsud

The historic precinct in Kilmore’s Sydney Street is set to change with a demolition order imposed on the former All Nations Hotel, next to the Mill Street Mall.

Mitchell Shire Council has imposed a building order to demolish the second storey of the building at 38 Sydney Street.

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Built in 1865, the All Nations Hotel is an early example of commercial buildings in Kilmore and has had many landowners and commercial uses since it was first established.

Council last year obtained a structural engineer’s assessment, which, despite efforts of the owner to make the building structurally sound, detailed safety concerns about the second storey, with a recommendation it be removed.

After reviewing the report, council’s municipal building surveyor confirmed the top floor should be removed and a building order was issued on January 27.

The owner has 90 days to comply with the order. Council provided advice on planning and design requirements, as well as on what building features were recommended for salvage, reuse and record keeping.

Numerous cracks on the exterior of the building are now more prominent.​

Mitchell Shire Council Mayor Bill Chisholm said the decision was the only appropriate one, despite the building’s historical value.

“Our community has told us very clearly on many occasions how much they value Kilmore’s heritage streetscape as one of Victoria’s oldest inland towns,” he said.

“We are disappointed that this course of action was the only one available to us and we will work to ensure that any future plans will complement the heritage of the area and capitalise on the proximity to Mill Street Mall as well as the upcoming Kilmore rejuvenation of the historic precinct.

“Kilmore has many buildings with heritage overlays. We hope that property owners recognise the value of this heritage and the importance of preserving it and celebrating Kilmore’s unique historic character.”

The building is among many on Sydney Street heritage listed.

Kilmore Historical Society expressed disappointment that building owners had left properties to end up in a poor state – to the point where pieces of the town’s history were being forcibly removed.

“We really do wish owners would preserve their buildings more thoroughly because really what’s happened here is the lack of maintenance has rendered it unsafe and the council has been forced to issue a demolition order,” Kilmore Historical Society committee member Franics Payne said.

“While we’re obviously not happy with seeing an old building go, the council is doing the right thing.”

Fellow committee member Rose King said it was important the history of old towns was preserved, and in Kilmore’s case, it was buyers from out of town making that possible.

She said she hoped other building owners showed initiative and the community realised it came down to owners to ensure building safety was maintained.

“It’s very important for old country towns to have a brand and ours is Kilmore is the oldest inland town, but we really need to promote that a whole lot more and we do that with how our town looks to begin with,” she said.

“I think there is more recognition of heritage … and it’s the new people heading into town that’s making it work.

“It’s really hard when people blame council for the state of the main street and the state of buildings. They can’t do a thing, and when things become unsafe like the All Nations Hotel, then they have to make the unfortunate decisions.”

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  1. Every heavy vehicle passing through Kilmore is contributing to the decline of the old buildings – and until a bypass road is constructed, the heritage buildings will, bit-by-bit, disintegrate.

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