Symposium – Better Ideas

FLEETSTREETHERITAGEPRECINCTSYMPOSIUMFor the last 10 months, NPRAG has worked hard to raise greater awareness to the broader public of the NSW Government’s development plans for an oasis of public land in the booming heart of Parramatta currently in use by the Cumberland Hospital. Cradling precious convict buildings, superb arts and crafts buildings, historic plantings and open green space all nestled alongside the Parramatta River, the Group has repeatedly requested the government “pause” the current process spear-headed by UrbanGrowth NSW to allow for genuine consultation about the unlimited potential of the Cumberland Precinct – a potential that if subjected to high rise residential encroachment, will remain forever unrealised.

The Symposium held on 12th October, was our attempt to facilitate an open discussion where participants could envisage an alternative vision for this incredibly unique site.

The day featured key speakers, Q & A panels headed by a field of experts and a (fun) brainstorming workshop that generated ideas for first drafts for a whole of precinct Master Plan.

Key speakers were:

Professor Peter Phibbs, Associate Dean Research, Head of Urban and Regional Planning and Policy, The University of Sydney

Brian Powyer, National Trust (NSW)

Charlotte Allen, Co Deputy Chair and former member of the
Abbotsford Convent Coalition, Abbotsford Convent Foundation, Victoria

Jon Hillman, Vice-President NPRAG and Heritage Advocate


Panellists were:

Dr. Cameron Logan, Director of Heritage Conservation, Senior Lecturer
Faculty of Architecture, Design and Planning, The University of SydneyA5DFEF06-DE01-42BF-8220-037C05E285B7998B5C15-CEB7-46FC-92A9-26A5963D5656

David Shoebridge, NSW Greens MLC,
Portfolios include heritage and planning

Professor Deborah Stevenson, Sociology and Urban Cultural Research, Senior Lecturer
Institute for Culture and Society, Western Sydney University

Associate Professor Dr Carol Liston, Coordinating ACA, Bachelor of Arts
Arts (SoHCA), Western Sydney University

Gay Hendriksen, Curator, Educator and President Parramatta
Female Factory Friends 

Roslyn Burge, Professional Historian

Emma Brooks Maher, President Haberfield Association,
Crown Lands Advocate

Carl Sciberras, Artist, Steering Committee, Western Sydney
Arts and Culture Lobby

The NPRAG Committee would like to express its thanks to the speakers, panellists and all the delegates who attended the Symposium with a special nod to MC Maire Sheehan. We also acknowledge and thank elected representatives from state and local government and business who gave brief addresses throughout the day: Michael Mekhitarian, President Parramatta Chamber of Commerce; Dr. Geoff Lee, NSW State Member of Parliament for Parramatta; Penny Sharpe, NSW State Shadow Minister for Planning, Environment & Heritage; Parramatta Councillor James Shaw, on behalf of Parramatta Lord Mayor Paul Garrard.

The afternoon “blank canvas” brainstorming session was a lively and important component of the Symposium’s program. It generated pages of ideas enthusiastically presented by delegates. A snippet of these ideas were captured by Maire Sheehan and noted on the whiteboard.

Scan 12 Oct 2015 4.50 pm page 1_2

We collated all the ideas shared at the Symposium. These will be used to guide us as we continue to work with the community in creating a whole of precinct Master Plan.



This Symposium was proudly supported by the National Trust (NSW), and the Parramatta Female Factory Friends

and sponsored by


Thanks also to Snap Parramatta Printers on George Street 9633 2144 for excellent service and rates; Gatehouse Tea Rooms, Corner of Pitt Street & Macquarie Street, Parramatta NSW 2150 Phone:(02) 9635 1515; and The Smith & George, Cafe, Restaurant & Bar, 100 George St, Parramatta NSW 2150