The CSIRO wants to demolish two heritage-listed buildings once used to study the dreaded Australian blowfly, saying they are derelict and a risk to public safety.
The open-air insectaries, believed to be more than 80 years old, were among the first purpose-built facilities at the CSIRO's Black Mountain headquarters, and used for research into issues such as sheep blowfly work and the biological control of weeds.
The buildings, known as the Blowfly Insectary No.1 and Blowfly Insectary No. 2, have both been registered on the Commonwealth Heritage List since 2004.
A 1997 heritage report said Blowfly Insectary No.2 was ''the first purpose-built veterinary entomology laboratory in Australia and perhaps the world''.
''The scientific work has been of considerable importance,'' the report read.
However, the CSIRO says the buildings, which date from about 1930, are now derelict, unusable and unsafe.
They had ''deteriorated due to lack of use, age and climatic conditions''.
A report by conservation architect Peter Freeman in May recommended the site and buildings be ''thoroughly documented'' before the facilities were demolished, subject to a number of provisos.
The report suggested as part of the process that the buildings be subject to an oral history, which could be managed by the National Library of Australia.
The Freeman report said the insectaries, on Silo Road, were gable-roofed glasshouses with fine mesh screens. No.2 was ''nicknamed the Bull Ring because of the animal pen inside the building''.
The 1997 report, which commended the buildings for Commonwealth heritage protection said they were ''also associated with the early phase of the development of what has become the CSIRO''. The CSIRO has applied to the Commonwealth for permission to remove the insectaries and as part of the process has to seek comment on its plans for the public.
The consultation period runs until October 3. Documents on which to comment are at the CSIRO Corporate Centre in Campbell, Civic Library and National Capital Authority in Parkes, and at www.csiro.au/heritage /BlackMtnACT.
A spokesman for the CSIRO said there were no plans at the moment for new uses for the land should the buildings be removed.
''It is more an health and safety issue about removing the buildings,'' he said.