Erindale Brick Banks HERITAGE NOMINATION
Erindale Brick Banks have been nominated to be on the ACT Heritage Register and we are awaiting the outcome. Details from the nomination are below.
What is it that is significant? (e.g. why is it unique or the best example of its type)
The ‘Brick Banks’ at the Erindale Skatepark (known as ‘Erindale Banks’ or ‘The Brick Banks’) are the last remaining of many curved brick structures that were built around the Erindale college and library in the 1980’s and we feel they should be preserved for current and future generations. They were not purpose built for skateboarding – our understanding is that they were built by local technical college students who were learning to construct curved brick surfaces, which required a high degree of creative and technical achievement for that period – but by chance they are ideal natural obstacles that could not be accurately replicated in a purpose built skate facility, making them of huge social importance to the skateboarding community and unique architectural importance more broadly. Because of the popularity of skateboarding at this spot, they were converted into a skatepark in the early 1990’s when modern concrete skatepark features were added. Their continued existence and use contributes to our understanding and appreciation of the broad pattern and evolution of the history and heritage of skateboarding and the skateboarding community in the ACT. Photos that highlight the location, use and historical significance of the Brick Banks can be found on this page.
While the skatepark itself is not the most frequented facility in Canberra today due to the high level of skill required to utilise the facility effectively, Erindale Banks are unique and iconic enough to have attracted international coverage in skateboarding media. The Banks are world renowned and considered an Australian Skateboarding landmark. Erindale Banks are still visited today by many Australian and international professional skateboarders that tour the country, including a visit by the world famous Tony Hawk in 1988 (see photos) and countless other professional skateboarding teams over the years. Testimonials from international professional skateboarders can also be seen at the bottom of this page. In addition to being a skateboarding landmark and icon of the Australian skateboarding community, the Banks are also the last remaining of the brick embankment structures in a larger set that contributed to the consistent design in the Erindale area throughout the 80’s and 90’s. The Banks provide a glimpse into the what the rest of the area was like during that time.
How and why is it significant?
Criterion (a) – importance to the course or pattern of the ACT’s cultural or natural history
We consider that Erindale Banks meets this criterion for the following reasons:
The Erindale Banks played an important role to both the Canberra, Australian and international skateboarding communities, serving as Canberra’s early defacto street skateboarding spot at a time when skateboarding’s popularity was in its infancy and some young people were just beginning to favor skateboarding over traditional recreational activities and sports. In the decades since then, the Brick Banks have continued to be a hotspot for skateboarding and have spawned a rich history. A continued appreciation for the distinct features of the Brick Banks has spanned over generations of skateboarders. See on this page a group photo of skateboarders at the banks in the late 1980’s along with a comparable photo in 2016. Despite not being purpose built for skateboarding, the Brick Banks have stood the test of time and maintained relevance and integrity while skateboarding has evolved. Because of the unique and memorable aspects of the Brick Banks, most professional skateboarders who have visited Australia from overseas will often associate Canberra with this spot in particular and ensure they take time to visit the spot while travelling. The Brick Banks are one of the single most extensively covered Australian spots in skateboarding media, having appeared in many national and international skateboard magazines and videos.
Courtyard built circa 1985 by technical college students learning how to build curved brick surfaces.
Converted to Skatepark in early 90’s and extensively used and loved by Australian and international skateboarders.
Key significant (or intrinsic) features:
Intricate brick work that creates uniquely ideal terrain for skateboarding despite not being originally built for that purpose. Erindale Banks are unparallelled throughout the world in terms of their uniqueness and profile in the skateboarding community.
Imminent threats to its significance:
The Erindale Group Centre Master Plan released in 2012 has the area potentially earmarked for a new road when the land is released for development in Stage 2. The ACT Government budget announcement on Tuesday 6 June 2017 made mention of 7,600 square meters of land in the Erindale Centre being released for development. This development may require the destruction of the iconic Erindale Banks, causing great concern among the Australian and international skateboarding community. The loss of Erindale Banks would significantly impoverish the history of skateboarding in Australia and the ACT given that there is no other facility like them, and that loss would be felt deeply among the skateboarding community. They are also a key part of the ACT’s educational history, demonstrating techniques used by technical college students in the 1980’s.
August 2011 Survey
99 responses. 50% of respondees live in Canberra.
92.9% of respondees rated the brick banks as what they liked most.
95.2% of respondees said if they could upgrade Erindale skatepark, they would KEEP the brick banks.
99% agreed that the brick banks were iconic.
“The Erindale brick banks have been a world famous destination for skateboarders for decades now. I personally have made a point of visiting and skating there on four separate occasions when I have visited Australia from the United States over the past 20 some years. Because the banks have been around for so long I feel like they are a piece of history for skateboarders and they hold a uniqueness that cannot be duplicated when building a park solely for the purpose of skateboarding.”
– Dan Drehobl , World renowned professional Skateboarder for over 25 years (USA)
“I grew up skateboarding in Wollongong, and when I was in my teens in the mid-1990s, I first heard stories of the legendary ‘Brick Banks’. Older skateboarders who had travelled to Canberra came back telling of this unique spot that blew their minds. I began to see pictures of the Banks in skateboarding magazines and videos and became determined to visit them myself. I managed to visit once in the late 1990s and again in the early 2000s and found that the spot lived up to the legend. I eventually moved to Canberra in 2010 and I often make the trip to Erindale to skate the spot and watch touring professional skateboarders shred there. The Banks are truly something unique in the skateboarding world. Something this renowned should be preserved for future generations.”
– Tony Caruana, President, Canberra Skateboarding Association.