DEMOLITION has begun on one of Bundaberg's most recognisable historical buildings.

The Church Pharmacy was ripped apart by fire last April and the damage was too severe to save the structure.

Lammi Brothers House Removals started to pull the building apart on Saturday and are looking to have a clear site by the end of Monday afternoon.

They are encouraging people to come down and take photos of the historic event as it unfolds.

Office co-ordinator Cameron McDonnell said traffic wouldn't be disrupted as most of the work would be done in quiet times.


"We will be in there before business times," he said.

"There will be safety fencing up and people can view it from a distance."

Mr McDonnell said it would take five employees to clear the entire building by Monday afternoon and the roof would be the first part to go.

He said excavators and jack hammers would be used to break the building down in to pieces, which would then be carted away.

He said all the asbestos had already been removed and there was no safety concern for near by residents.


TOTALLED: The NewsMail's front page on April 7, the day after the fire.
TOTALLED: The NewsMail's front page on April 7, the day after the fire.

The owner of the Church Pharmacy said it was a sad decision to knock down the historic building but it had to be made.

Brent Byrne spoke with the NewsMail saying it took a long time get his head around it and he would now be focusing on the future.

"We had a number of engineers go through and no one could guarantee it would be safe," he said.

"It's taken so long because we had a number of engineers go through it."

He said one of the main factors was safety and the other was cost.

"It's a sad day for Bundaberg as I know it was a loved landmark," he said.

"I've spent time now looking at a plan for a new building and am waiting for all the approvals before we can start."

When a devastated Mr Byrne spoke to the NewsMail at the time of the fire he said engineers had concerns about the safety aspect of the building.

His pharmacy relocated to Barolin St following the fire.

During the fire, large plumes of dark smoke emanating from the building filled the morning air across the Bundaberg CBD.

It took 20 firefighters and four trucks half an hour to bring it under control.

Bundaberg Queensland Fire and Emergency Services inspector Ron Higgins said there was severe damage inside the old building which had a lot of combustible material in it.





GUTTED: The interior of the Church Pharmacy was extensively damaged in April's fire.
GUTTED: The interior of the Church Pharmacy was extensively damaged in April's fire. Contributed



The Church Pharmacy building was originally the Church of Christ and was built in 1926.

The origin of the congregation was during the 1880s, when John Thomson, of the Pialba Kanaka Mission, conducted services in the Elliott River area (now Calavos).

Mr and Mrs J Asmus kept the declining congregation going during later years.

After a six-week mission at Bundaberg in 1923, a chapel was erected at the corner of Targo St and Normanby Square.

The building destroyed by fire was built three years later, and the previous chapel became a Sunday school.

Restricted parking and a lack of land for expansion led to the building of a new church in Twyford St in 1988, and the sale of the site and church building on March 27, 1989.

It was turned into Chippindall Pharmacy by chemist John Heaps, and later became the Church Pharmacy.


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