Last weekend, Melbourne lost a part of its history. The Corkman Irish Pub, which has lived on the corner of Leicester and Pelham streets for the last 159 years, was demolished, despite there being no permits in place for the demolition to occur.
Unsurprisingly, Melburnians are furious. “This is a very, very serious matter – that building was protected by a heritage overlay,” Lord Mayor Robert Doyle told The Age. The demolition has re-ignited the call to enforce larger penalties for illegal commercial demolition, which, at a maximum of $200,000, is nothing compared to how lucrative a multi-million dollar commercial development could be for those who demolished the pub. The building, which was regarded as an important heritage site, had been purchased by development company 160 Leicester Pty Ltd back in August for $4.76 million.
Time will tell whether new laws will be put into place. Right now, we’re still in mourning for one of the city’s oldest and noblest pubs. Time Out Melbourne's pubs and bars writer Fred Siggins felt the loss keenly – and in the spirit of the pub’s Irish heritage, he was moved to put his feelings into verse. So grab your mates, raise a glass, and send off the old girl with a song.
'Lament for The Corkman', by Fred Siggins