In 1857 government proclamation was made by the first NSW Parliament to set aside at least 200 acres “for the health and well being for the people of Parramatta “The land is now largely operating as Cumberland Mental Health Hospital adjoining World Heritage Listed Parramatta Park and contains many of Australia’s most wonderful buildings designed by government architect Francis Greenway and Walter Liberty Vernon. This 30 hectare oasis cradles the largest and most intact Female Factory, the first Roman Catholic Orphanage and infamous Parra Girls home. In total around 40,000 women and children were institutionalized through these walls.
We call this precious precinct the Fleet Street Heritage Precinct.
The State Government is now proposing to parcel up and sell 20 hectares of public land to developers.
While the government says it will retain some of the heritage buildings, it is getting rid of more than 50% of the buildings arguing they do not have sufficient merit and instead proposing to introduce a high-rise urban precinct. This includes 3,000 + high density residential units. And commercial facilities.
These plans would spoil this wonderful heritage estate, that is currently being considered for national heritage listing with also the potential for a world heritage listing. In response, community, academics, experts and organizations alike including the National Trust, ICOMOS, Royal Australian Historical Society, Parramatta Female Factory Friends are fighting to protect the Heritage Precinct from being sold off.
With Parramatta City Council currently under administration, the community has been left without democratically elected Councilors to defend the voice of the public interest, while the Berijiklian Government attempts to bulldoze its plans through.
The Fleet Street Heritage precinct contains Australia’s oldest and most intact Female Factory where 5,000 convict women were sent from the British Isles. These women were the mothers of our colonial colony. If the government’s plans go ahead this will destroy the chance of having this important site listed as World Heritage site and spoil plans which would see this cultural legacy become an international tourist destination.
We need every in Parramatta and across Australia to make their voice heard. You can do this by taking a few minutes to send off make a formal objection to the plans. Simply use the template on the right, which you can edit as you wish.
To view the government’s plans (this includes changes to the planning controls):
To view the communities plans that would see the precinct become a cultural legacy: