The illegal demolition of the Corkman (Carlton Inn) to make way for an apartment block raises questions about the protection of built heritage during a time of rapid urban change.

Victoria was the first Australian state to enact legislation protecting historic buildings and sites, influencing local governments like the City of Melbourne to develop their own planning controls in heritage areas.

However, Melbourne’s development boom may now be challenging the effectiveness of these controls. The seemingly unrestrained actions of industry ‘cowboys’ suggest that penalties are easily absorbed within the windfall profits from apartment construction. Does the furious response from local officials, Melbourne residents and unions to the Corkman demolition, though, signal a new phase of heritage activism?

This public forum hosted by the RMIT Centre for Urban Research brings together heritage professionals, local government officials, planners and academics to analyse the context and implications of the Corkman demolition. Speakers will briefly discuss the issue from the perspective of expertise and audience members are invited to ask questions


  • Dr Chris McConville, College of Arts and Education, Victoria University
  • Professor Keir Reeves, Director of the Collaborative Research Centre in Australian History, Federation University
  • Dr Kate Shaw, Australian Research Council Future Fellow in Urban Geography and Planning, University of Melbourne
  • Sarah Taylor,  Mathematics and Geospatial Sciences PhD Candidate, RMIT University
  • Professor Jeremy Gans, Melbourne Law School, University of Melbourne
  • Matthew Reggars, Urban Planning, University of Melbourne

Image capture: Dec 2014 via Google Maps ©Google


RMIT University – Swanston Academic Building, 445 Swanston Street, Building 80, Level 2, Room 2, Melbourne, VIC 3000


17 November 2016