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Fears For Future Of Randwick Literary Institute

By Em Allen on April 10, 2014 in

Picture: Randwick City Council

Picture: Randwick City Council

On February 4, 1913, the first stone of what was to become the Randwick Literary Institute was laid on Clovelly Road. Nobody would have been able to guess it at the time, but this Institute has become one of the most adaptable and multi-functional creative spaces to exist within the Eastern Suburbs.

In 2002 the site became a designated Crown Reserve, meaning that the state government would manage it and it would be available for public recreation.

The four halls of the RLI have been used for an array of activities including classes in and showcases of drama, dance, painting and sculpture, meetings with authors for lovers of reading and writing alike, as well as everything from embroidery to martial arts.

When it was revealed at the beginning of the year that Marion McIntosh, who has been the manager of the RLI for approximately eleven years, was to be terminated from her position and an administrator appointed in her place, a feeling of shock spread throughout the local community of users.

The transfer of administrative duties began just over a week later, with Ms McIntosh’s contractual arrangement with the Reserve Trust to officially end on March 31, 2014.

After the announcement by the powers that be, the members and avid users of the RLI are holding their breath in anticipation of what the future of the Institute will hold. There has been an enormous swelling of support for both Ms McIntosh and the maintenance of the purpose of the Randwick Literary Institute.

Local resident Brent Clough is one of the most determined of these supporters and has begun rallying the community behind the reinstatement of Marion McIntosh.

He describes her as a “community gem” who has not done “anything untoward” that would warrant this sudden replacement.

This sentiment was echoed by the majority of users of the site, who agreed it was run effectively by Ms McIntosh. The primary fear of Mr Clough and other members is that the site will be sold-off or developed and thus repurposed, which would prove detrimental to the large amount of groups (there is said to be 74 in total) who utilise the RLI for classes, activities and events.

A spokesperson for Crown Lands issued a response to questions about the reasoning for the change in management of the venue.

“Trade and Investment Crown Lands has appointed an administrator for a six-month period to oversee the management of a number of reserves in the Metropolitan region, including Randwick Literary Institute,” the spokesperson said.

According to an issue of the Government Gazette issued on January 10, 2014, some of the other Reserve Trusts that are being placed under administration include the South Head Signal Station and the Observatory Hill Meteorological Building.

The role of the administrator will be to “report on matters such as the condition of the reserve assets and make recommendations for any repair or improvement”.

In answer to an apparent lack of information in relation to the future of the site, the spokesperson concluded that “there are no plans to change the function or purpose of the Randwick Literary Institute”.

Anyone who is interested in showing their support of the Randwick Literary Institute can do so via the Facebook page ‘Friends of the Randwick Literary Institute’.