Heritage champion and local businesswomen Ann Garms OAM died late last month after a short illness. Ms Garms was a well-known identity in Brisbane for many decades. She saved (and restored) a number of heritage buildings from the wrecking ball that swung all too frequently in the 1970s and 1980s.
The Old Courthouse in Cleveland became a restaurant, as did Roseville in New Farm and the Petrie Mansions on Petrie Terrace. An ex-bakery built in 1917 became the Tivoli Restaurant and Theatre in Fortitude Valley. These sites evolved into some of Brisbane’s most popular venues.
If she couldn’t save an entire building Ms Garms salvaged elements of heritage buildings such as the pressed iron ceilings, decorative sculptures and doors. Today you can see remnants of Queen Streets’ two grand theatres – the Regent Theatre and Her Majesty’s Theatre – at the Tivoli in Fortitude Valley. From 2007 to 2011 Ms Garms sat on the Queensland Library Foundation Council and was a supporter of the Library Foundation for many years. In 2009, State Library of Queensland recorded a digital story with Ms Garms where she discusses her role in drafting Queensland’s first heritage legislation. Chrissi Theodosiou – Coordinator Research, State Library of Queensland