Vale Ann Garms

Ann Garms 2009

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.

Petrie Mansions on Petrie Terrace, Brisbane 1981. John Oxley Library, State Library of Qld. Accession # 5559

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.

Stain glass window. Petrie Mansions on Petrie Terrace Brisbane . John Oxley Library, State Library of Qld. Accession #5559

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


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Thank you for this posting. It's easy to forget that so much of Queensland's heritage that we now enjoy was saved not by governments but by individuals who valued our environment, both built and natural and fought to save it. Ann Garms contributed much to the battle to retain some of Brisbane's heritage. She deserves to be remembered.

I worked as a waiter for Ann and Harry at the the Old Courthouse Wellington pt in the late 1970’s and they hosted us as one of their first weddings at Petrie Manaions in early 1981. Ann was always gracious, with, very intelligent and with a great sense of humour. It was my privilege to have known her. Brisbane will always be in her debt for her tireless and fantastic heritage work.

Ann was extraordinary and has left an enduring legacy for the people of Brisbane and Queensland. She was someone you always heard about in Brisbane, and although I did not have the privilege of meeting her, I admired her and am sad to hear of her passing.