(Image: Darkday; the burnt-out ruins of Brisbane’s Red Hill Skate Arena)
Urban Ghosts recently featured an abandoned skate park in Brisbane, Australia, in our article covering 10 abandoned places Down Under. But as an important heritage building that remains a burnt-out, ruined shell – reflecting the condition of so many historic structures across the world – we felt that it warranted a more detailed examination, plus a series of atmospheric photographs by urban explorer Darkday.
(Image: Darkday; the historic building was destroyed by fire in 2002)
The abandoned skate park stands at the corner of Musgrave Road and Enoggera Terrace in Red Hill, an inner suburb of Brisbane, in the Australian state of Queensland. The historic building, which dates back to the 1920s, provided decades of roller-skating fun for local youth, and was still popular when a fire swept through the structure in 2002.
(Image: Darkday; rusting wheels and old roller skates litter the interior)
Thoroughly gutted by the blaze, what remained of the crumbling concrete walls soon became a blank canvas for graffiti artists to work their magic. The resulting clash of dark fire damage and brightly coloured paint make the abandoned Red Hill Skate Arena a surreal place. Long-forgotten skates, shoes and wheels still strewn about the ruin add to its eerie atmosphere.
(Image: Darkday; graffiti covers the walls of the abandoned Red Hill Skate Arena)
But despite its obvious appeal with Brisbane’s urban exploration community, not everyone is happy to leave the dangerous, derelict building to the mercy of the elements. One couple made an ambitious proposal to repurpose the abandoned heritage building as a recreation centre, with space for a function room and bar, while also turning what’s currently being used as a car park into a grove of olive trees.
(Image: Darkday; the abandoned rink, thoroughly wrecked)
As an adaptive reuse project, transforming the fire-ravaged, abandoned Red Hill Skate Arena into a functioning facility at the heart of the local community seems preferable to dereliction or demolition. But plans had local residents concerned over a whole host of issues, from parking and traffic congestion to noise.
At the time the abandoned skate park was at its height in popularity, it was fueled by music. From 1950s rock ‘n’ roll to disco, the park was a place that locals teens could go to spend a safe, happy, afternoon. Fast forward to 2016 and Brisbane’s Red Hill Skate Arena remains an abandoned, burned out shell, but not quite as empty as it normally is.
(Image: Darkday; roller skates abandoned after the blaze)